Tennessee football: 5 best seasons in program history

Peerless Price #37 of the Tennessee Volunteers. Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport
Peerless Price #37 of the Tennessee Volunteers. Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport /
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Tennessee football best seasons
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No. 3: Tennessee football wins another national title in 1950

In 1950, the Tennessee Volunteers were unable to go undefeated, but they were able to go win another national championship. The Vols started the season with a strong 56-0 win over Southern Mississippi at home, but a trip to Mississippi State gave Tennessee a 7-0 loss.

That loss in Starkville dropped Tennessee from No. 4 to unranked, but Tennessee bounced back, beating No. 14 Duke 28-7. The Vols then started to build a winning streak. Now No. 14 in the polls, Tennessee went on to beat Chattanooga 41-0. In their next game, the Vols beat Alabama 14-9.

Tennessee followed that win up by defeating Washington & Lee, North Carolina, Tennessee Tech, and Ole Miss. Those wins carried Tennessee up to No. 9 prior to the Vols’ game against No. 3 Kentucky. The Wildcats were unbeaten prior to the matchup, but just as Mississippi State beat Tennessee 7-0, the Vols handed Kentucky a 7-0 defeat.

Even though Tennessee beat Kentucky, that loss to Mississippi State prevented the Vols from being able to claim a conference championship. Tennessee and Kentucky finished with identical 11-1 records in 1950, but the Wildcats had a 5-1 record against SEC teams. Tennessee had a 4-1 record.

Still, Tennessee won a national title, beat the SEC champ, took down Texas in the Cotton Bowl, and took down its rival in Alabama. That’s a pretty great year, all things considered.