Butch Jones, Tennessee
Butch Jones is a great recruiter, and it’s not like he’s been a bad coach. He was 27-13 in three seasons at Central Michigan and went 23-14 in three seasons at Cincinnati. He took over Tennessee and started out with a 5-7 season but has since gone 7-6, 9-4 and 9-4 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The Volunteers have also won three consecutive bowl games.
Here’s the problem for Jones, though: His teams have vastly underperformed.
He’s one of the best recruiters in the country and has brought a ton of talent to Rocky Top. But for some reason or another, the Volunteers haven’t been able to get over the hump.
This past season, the Vols were considered a favorite to upset Alabama and win the SEC. And for a time, that looked possible. Tennessee started the 2016 season 5-0 with wins over No. 19 Florida and No. 25 Georgia but then went on to lose three in a row. The Vols also lost their season-ending contest against Vanderbilt, a barely bowl eligible team.
Sure, the Vols bounced back to make the season interesting and yes, they won their bowl game, but how much longer will Tennessee’s administration and fan base be patient with underwhelming results?
Only time will tell, but 2017 could be huge in that regard. It’s time to put up or shut up for Jones.