Should We Trust Metrics to Identify the Best Tennessee Volunteers of the 21st Century?

Rucker: Metrics telling us these are best-of-century Vols. Should we listen?

It’s been a great century for the University of Tennessee’s Vols and they’ve no doubt produced some of the best teams in the sport. But with all the success they’ve had, it begs the question: should we listen to metrics telling us these are the best-of-century Vols?

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the data. According to Football Outsiders, the best-of-century Vols have been the 1998 and 2001 teams. Both teams went 11-2 and had some of the best offensive and defensive units in the nation. The 1998 team had the nation’s best scoring offense and the nation’s 3rd-best scoring defense, while the 2001 team had the nation’s 5th-best scoring offense and the nation’s 10th-best scoring defense.

It’s no surprise that these two teams have been deemed the best, as they both produced some of the most memorable moments in the history of the program. The 1998 team won the SEC Championship and the 2001 team won the first BCS National Championship in program history. So while the metrics certainly point to these two teams being the best, the memories and moments that they created are what truly make them stand out.

But, it’s also important to note that the Vols have had other great teams in the century that may have been overlooked. For example, the 2007 team, led by quarterback Erik Ainge, went 10-4 and won the SEC Championship. This team also had one of the best offenses in the nation and was just a handful of plays away from making the national title game.

So while the metrics tell us that the 1998 and 2001 teams are the best of the century, it’s important to take into account other teams that may have been overlooked. The 2007 team is just one example of a team that deserves more recognition than they’ve gotten.

In the end, the metrics are certainly useful in determining which teams have been the best of the century, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. The memories and moments created by these teams should also be considered when determining the best-of-century Vols.

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