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Best Vol Team Tournament, First Round: 1967 vs 2007

Our final first round matchup features a team with a share of the National Championship against our last division title winners...

Jamie Squire

Round One concludes today with...

1967: 9-2, SEC Champions, National Champions (Litkenhous), Final AP Rank #2

QB: Dewey Warren

RB: Walter Chadwick

WR: Richmond Flowers, Terry Dalton, Ken DeLong

OL: Elliot Gammage, Joe Graham, Bob Johnson, Charles Rosenfelder, John Boynton

DL: Neal McMeans, Dick Williams, Rick Marino, Derrick Weatherford, Jim McDonald

LB: Steve Kiner, Jack Reynolds

DB: Jim Weatherford, Albert Dorsey, Jimmy Glover, Mike Jones

The '67 Vols under Doug Dickey lost the season opener, with #9 Tennessee falling to #8 UCLA in California 20-16. The Vols would not allow more than 14 points in any game the rest of the regular season, running the table in the SEC. The Vols beat Georgia Tech 24-13 in a nationally televised contest (a huge deal at the time), then beat #6 Alabama in Birmingham 27-13. Those wins helped propel the Vols to #2 in the polls by November, where they stayed throughout the rest of the regular season. Litkenhous declared the Vols National Champions at the end of the regular season. #2 Tennessee faced #3 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, and the Sooners stole a 26-24 victory. The Vols missed perfection by six points.

2007: 10-4, SEC East Champions, Final AP Rank #12

QB: Erik Ainge

RB: Arian Foster

WR: Lucas Taylor, Austin Rogers, Chris Brown

OL: Chris Scott, Anthony Parker, Josh McNeil, Chris Scott, Ramon Foster

DL: Xavier Mitchell, Dan Williams, Demonte Bolden, Antonio Reynolds

LB: Jerod Mayo, Rico McCoy, Ryan Karl

DB: Brent Vinson, DeAngelo Willingham, Eric Berry, Jonathan Hefney

Any conversation about whether or not this was a good year has likely changed in the last five years. The start wasn't glamorous, no doubt: a 45-31 loss at California, followed by a 59-20 defeat to Tim Tebow in Gainesville, the most lopsided loss of the Fulmer Era. But the Vols bounced back in October, decimating #12 Georgia 35-14 in Knoxville and re-taking the East Division lead. In one of the crazier football seasons of all time, the Vols lost the division lead in Tuscaloosa thanks to an embarrassing 41-17 loss at Alabama, but won it back with an overtime win over #15 South Carolina in Knoxville. Tennessee then shut down Heisman candidate Darren McFadden in a blowout win over Arkansas, used the biggest fourth quarter comeback in Neyland Stadium history to outlast Vanderbilt, and played four overtimes before putting Kentucky away to secure the division. The Vols then had the lead and the ball on eventual National Champion LSU in Atlanta before a pair of Ainge interceptions in the fourth quarter ended the threat. The Vols did beat #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl, capping one of the biggest roller coaster seasons in UT history.