Football futility
Marlin Lane (4), Cameron Clear (88)
Marlin Lane (4), Cameron Clear (88)
Editor-in-chief
Posted Nov 27, 2011
Randy Moore


InsideTennessee gives its readers more than game previews and recaps. We give you Big Orange history lessons. Sign in now to read this one:

Tennessee football fans are discouraged, and that's understandable. The program has posted back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since Andrew A. Stone's Volunteers went 3-5-1 in 1910 and Z.G. Clevenger's team went 3-4-2 in 1911.

That was precisely 100 years ago for those of you keeping score at home.

Moreover, Tennessee's record of 23-27-0 from 2008 to now represents the worst four-year winning percentage (.460) since George Levene (1-6-2), Stone (3-5-1) and Clevenger (3-4-2, 4-4-0) combined to go 11-19-5 (.386) between 1909 and 1912.

There have been just eight four-year blocs in program history during which the Vols lost more games than they won. The worst was 1903-06, when H.F. Fisher (4-5-0), S.D. Crawford (3-5-1) and J.D. Depree (3-5-1, 1-6-2) combined for a 11-21-4 record and a .361 winning percentage.

Even Tennessee's first four years of collegiate competition were more fruitful than that. The Orange went 0-1 in 1891, 2-5 in 1892, 2-4 in 1893 and 4-0 in 1896, producing a four-year record of 8-10 and a .444 winning percentage.

Prior to now, the most recent four-year bloc featuring more Vol losses than wins occurred at the start of Johnny Majors' tenure. He went 4-7-0 in 1977, 5-5-1 in '78, 7-5-0 in '79 and 5-6-0 in '80 for a record of 21-23-1 and a winning percentage of .478.

Interestingly enough, Tennessee has had three four-year blocs that produced an equal number of wins and losses. The Vols went 16-16-3 from 1910-1913, 22-22-1 from 1975-1978 and 22-22-1 from 1976-1979.

For the masochists among you, here's a chronological breakdown of the worst four-year stretches in Big Orange history:

1891 THROUGH 1894

0-1-0 in 1891 (no coach)

2-5-0 in 1892 (no coach)

2-4-0 in 1893 (no coach)

4-0-0 in 1894 (no coach)

------------------

8-10-0 (.444)

1902 THROUGH 1905

6-2-0 in 1902 (H.F. Fisher)

4-5-0 in 1903 (Fisher)

3-5-1 in 1904 (S.D. Crawford)

3-5-1 in 1905 (J.D. Depree)

------------------

16-17-2 (.486)

1903 THROUGH 1906

4-5-0 in 1903 (Fisher)

3-5-1 in 1904 (Crawford)

3-5-1 in 1905 (Depree)

1-6-2 in 1906 (Depree)

------------------

11-21-4 (.361)

1908 THROUGH 1911

7-2-0 in 1908 (George Levene)

1-6-2 in 1909 (Levene)

3-5-1 in 1910 (Andrew A. Stone)

3-4-2 in 1911 (Z.G. Clevenger)

------------------

14-17-5 (.458)

1909 THROUGH 1912

1-6-2 in 1909 (Levene)

3-5-1 in 1910 (Stone)

3-4-2 in 1911 (Clevenger)

4-4-0 in 1912 (Clevenger)

------------------

11-19-5 (.386)

1961 THROUGH 1964

6-4-0 in 1961 (Bowden Wyatt)

4-6-0 in 1962 (Wyatt)

5-5-0 in 1963 (Jim McDonald)

4-5-1 in 1964 (Doug Dickey)

------------------

19-20-1 (.488)

1977 THROUGH 1980

4-7-0 in 1977 (Johnny Majors)

5-5-5 in 1978 (Majors)

7-5-0 in 1979 (Majors)

5-6-0 in 1980 (Majors)

------------------

21-23-1 (.478)

2008 THROUGH 2011

5-7-0 in 2008 (Phillip Fulmer)

7-6-0 in 2009 (Lane Kiffin)

6-7-0 in 2010 (Derek Dooley)

5-7-0 in 2011 (Dooley)

------------------

23-27-0 (.460)



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