Butch Jones and the Tennessee football program recorded one of its biggest yet most understated victories of the past several years: They got the program's four-year APR score to 932, two points over the all-important benchmark of 930. Had they failed to do that, they could have been looking at a postseason ban or a loss of practice time, neither of which they could have afforded. Could you imagine the team getting to .500 for the first time since 2010 only to be ineligible for academic reasons? Yikes.
How big of a hole was Tennessee in? Getting two points above the cutline was made possible in part by a perfect APR score of 1,000 Jones's first semester last spring when 48 players finished with a GPA of 3.0 or better. So you'll excuse Jones when he rambles on about how big of a deal this is:
"It's probably one of the greatest victories we've had in Tennessee football," he continued. "There's been a lot of hard work and a lot of hard effort by a lot of individuals behind the scenes that have made this come to fruition. I'm extremely proud.
"Maybe you guys don't understand the magnitude of it, but it's huge. That is one of the things that we have fought in the recruiting process. As you know, opponents, they're going to look and they're going to read everything and they're going to try to throw everything at your competition. We had a great plan in place, and we executed the plan. I'm very proud of that."
Hats off to Jones and the guys who had to put in the work to make it happen.
Etceteras. We've had several great posts right here over the past couple of days, including Hunter's look at the future of Tennessee's quarterback position, Hunter's link to a handy chart keeping track of the rapidly changing UT basketball roster, and VolfanatETSU's baseball previews. Yeah, the BaseVols are trying to make the SEC Tournament, and Florida's in the way. You can watch live here.