No resonable fan of the Tennessee Vols is expecting Jeremy Pruitt to lead UT to a ten win season in 2018.

Most fans will be happy just to see vast improvement on the field. They realize if the team is improving the wins will eventually start piling up.

But that doesn’t mean we can totally discount Tennessee’s win/loss total this season. Reaching a bowl game is still critical to the future success of the Vols (extra practices, exposure to young recruits, etc).

Perhaps just as important as reaching a bowl game is the upcoming game on September 22 against the Florida Gators.

The Gators showed against the Kentucky Wildcats last weekend that they’re a very beatable team (Kentucky beat Florida for the first time in three decades). This is a game that Tennessee can absolutely win. Florida’s run defense isn’t very good, and the game will be played in Knoxville in front of a rowdy night crowd.

Among those in attendance will be several of the Volunteers’ top 2019 recruiting targets, including five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright, four-star wide receiver Trey Knox and five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe, among a few others.

The Florida game being at night is already a great thing for Tennessee. It will be an incredible atmosphere for some of the nation’s top recruits to experience.

But a win by the Vols would take that experience to the next level.

I’ve seen Neyland Stadium erupt in joy many times, but Pruitt being Florida in his first try would take the celebration to a new level.

The future of the program

We’ve seen many times how one game can affect the trajectory of a program.

While I don’t think a loss to the Gators will necessarily set Tennessee back, I believe a win will jumpstart the Volunteers’ return to greatness.

There won’t be a more important game for Jeremy Pruitt this season than the matchup against Florida.

Of course, Pruitt isn’t going to approach the game against the Gators any different than he approaches the game this upcoming Saturday against UTEP.

And that’s one of the big reasons why the Vols have a chance to knock off Florida this year.

Featured image via Times Free Press

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