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Can anyone save the Tennessee football program?

The mountain may be too high for even the best coaches.

NCAA Football: Georgia State at Tennessee
Phillip Fulmer has a rough go of it during his first three years as AD.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend, another bad loss for the Tennessee football program.

At this point, it’s a yearly routine. Whether it be an unthinkable upset or just a sheer ass-whooping, the Vols are finding new ways to lose and are eclipsing program-worst lows along the way.

The recent loss to the Auburn Tigers featured a new low. The Vols have now lost five-straight games by double digits, which is something that has never happened in the program’s 130-year history.

It doesn’t look like the losing is going to stop soon, either. The only constant about the Vols is their inconsistency and inability to compete for a full four quarters. This team simply doesn’t know how to win. It’s beginning to look like 2019 was more a combination of luck and an easy schedule at this point.

An underachieving roster hampered by poor coaching and development continues to headline this football program. It’s been the modus operandi over the last decade. No one can figure it out.

And I’m not sure anyone out there can. It truly feels as if Knoxville is currently a black hole that consumes coaches and players and kicks them out in a void that is nothing but a winless purgatory filled with a never-ending sequence of taking a step forward just to take three steps back.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how it’s time to start thinking of life after Jeremy Pruitt and our own Clint Eiland asked if it’s the beginning of the end for the third-year head coach after the blowout loss to Auburn. It’s a legit question and there definitely needs to be a contingency plan in place if not for after this season, but for after the 2021 season, at least.

Many believe that Hugh Freeze would be a slam dunk and it makes sense, but let’s not forget he went 5-7 his last year down in Oxford and as odd as this may seem, you have to wonder how much of his recruiting success was tied to the reason(s) that led to his demise at Ole Miss. I mean, his official record with Rebels is 12-25 after the NCAA stripped him —and the program— of 33 wins over six seasons. There are just as many questions and unknowns with him as most other candidates.

I honestly don’t even know if Urban Meyer or Nick Saban could fix this program. On top of all the on-field dysfunction, you have an ever-dwindling level of patience among the fans and boosters, which only increases the pressure on whomever is in charge to get the job done. Sure, these guys thrive under pressure, but the job of reconstructing Tennessee Football is becoming more and more daunting each year.

However, this currently hapless feeling doesn’t mean you give up. It doesn't mean you quit trying, either. But hell, hopefully the Vols can catch a damn break at some point.

Because Lord knows they need one.