Tennessee’s bowl history has been stuck at 49 since 2010. The Vols will finally hit the half-century mark in the next month after logging a 6-6 finish in 2014. For your bowl edification, here’s a breakdown on which bowls the Vols have played in since the 1938 Vols broke new ground beating Okalhoma in the Orange Bowl.
Tennessee is 25-24 in bowl play. That doesn’t officially count a 13-0 win over New York University on Dec. 3, 1931 in the New York Charity Classic.
(The year listed below refers to that football season, not necessarily the date the game was played)
Rose Bowl (0-2): L 1939; L 1944. Comment: In the Grandaddy of them all, the Vols have been outscored by Southern Cal by a combined 39-0.
Sugar Bowl (4-3): L 1940; W 1942; L 1951; L 1956; W 1970; W 1985; W 1990. Comment: Three undefeated teams lost in the Sugar (1940, 1951, 1956); but the 1985 win made up for a lot of disappointment.
Orange (1-3): W 1938; L 1946; L 1967; L 1997. Comment: A gimpy-kneed Peyton Manning was oddly irrelevant in his final college game, a 42-17 loss to Nebraska.
Cotton (3-3): W 1950; L 1952; L 1968; W 1989; L 2000; W 2004. Comment: General Neyland’s last game as head coach was a 16-0 loss to Texas on Jan. 1, 1953.
Fiesta (1-2): L 1990; W 1998; L 1999. Comment: In between losses to traditional powers Penn State and Nebraska, there was a pretty nice win over Florida State.
Peach/Chick-fil-A (1-4): L 1982; W 1987; L 2002; L 2003; L 2009: Comment: The only win was a 27-22 thriller over Indiana in Fulton County Stadium. Once the game moved to the Georgia Dome, the curse set in.
Hall of Fame/Outback (2-1): W 1992; L 2006; W 2007: Comment: After a 21-17 win over Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2008, who would have guessed Tennessee wouldn’t win a bowl game for the next six (and counting) years.
Citrus/Capital One (4-1): W 1983; L 1993; W 1995; W 1996; W 2001. Comment: Steve Spurrier used to say you couldn’t spell Citrus without a U and a T, but this bowl has been very, very good to the Vols. By 2001, Vol fans were jaded and saw Orlando as a symbol of a season that fell short. The tune has changed by now.
Gator (3-2): W 1957; W 1966; L 1969; L 1973; W 1994. Comment: The ’94 Gator Bowl was moved from Jacksonville to Gainesville because of stadium renovation. A 45-23 win over Virginia Tech gave UT fans a rare opportunity to celebrate in The Swamp.
Liberty (3-0): W 1971; W 1974; W 1986. Comment: Arkansas fans of a certain age still grouse about Tennessee’s 14-13 win in 1971.
Bluebonnet (2-1): W 1965; W 1972; L 1979. Comment: Once there was a Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. In 1979, Johnny Majors’ third season back at UT, the Vols finally made it to a bowl, losing 27-22 to Purdue.
Garden State (1-0): W 1981. Comment: This New Jersey bowl lasted only four years. The Vols closed it down with a 28-21 win over Wisconsin.
Sun (0-1): L 1984. Comment: The Vols blew a 21-0 halftime lead to Bobby Ross-coached Maryland, losing 28-27.
Music City (0-1): L 2010. Comment: Derek Dooley’s only bowl, a controversial 2OT loss to North Carolina — after which a 2011 rule, the 10-second run-off, was created to avoid a team that’s behind getting an extra snap at the end of a game due to committing a penalty.