It has been a while since Tennessee football played a role in the national championship picture, but the Vols hope things turn around soon under the leadership of new head coach Jeremy Pruitt. In the meantime, plans are coming together for Tennessee to pay tribute to the 1998 national championship team, the first school to claim victory in the BCS era. This season marks the 20th anniversary of Tennessee’s last national championship.
A ceremony to honor the 1998 Tennessee team is scheduled for September 22 when the Vols host Florida. A number of players are expected to make an appearance at Neyland Stadium for the ceremony, although it remains in question whether or not one key member of that team will be there.
Tee Martin, who was the quarterback for the Vols after Peyton Manning graduated, may have the schedule work in his favor to make it happen. Martin, who is the offensive coordinator at USC, will be coaching a game for the Pac-12’s Trojans on Friday night. USC hosts Washington State on Friday, September 21. That game will be played at night, which means Martin would have to take an overnight flight across the country to show up, and then he would have to fly back across the country to begin preparing for USC’s next game the following weekend. The game time for Tennessee’s home game against the Gators has not been announced yet.
One former coach from the 1998 staff that won’t be in attendance will be David Cutcliffe. Then the offensive coordinator of the Vols and now the head coach at Duke, Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils are scheduled to play a home game against North Carolina Central for Duke’s homecoming game. Although, if Duke plays in the early afternoon and Tennessee gets to play at night, you never know.
In 1998, Tennessee got their promising season off on the right track thanks in large part to snapping a losing streak to SEC rival Florida, upsetting the No. 2 Gators 20-17 in overtime in Neyland Stadium. Tennessee completed their 13-0 march to the national championship by dispatching of No. 7 Georgia (22-3) on the road and No. 10 Arkansas (28-24) before beating No. 23 Mississippi State in the SEC Championship Game (and yes, Tennessee also beat Alabama, 35-18, but the Tide were not quite on the same level they are today). A clean 12-0 record and an SEC championship to their name sent Tennessee to the inaugural BCS National Championship Game to face No. 2 Florida State, and the Vols defeated the Seminoles 23-16 in the Fiesta Bowl while also limiting Peter Warrick to just one catch for seven yards.
College football’s award season is coming quickly with semifinalists and finalists for various awards coming in the next few weeks. Among the awards is the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in college football. Today, the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation released its list of nominees for this year’s award. All 56 of them, which is sure to keep more SIDs busy this time of year.
No school has more than one assistant nominated for the award and previous winners of the award from the past five seasons are not eligible. Clemson’s Brent Venables won the award last year, for example, so he is not eligible this season. This list of nominees will be trimmed to 15 semifinalists later this season, and that list will be cut down to five finalists for the award.
The Broyles Award was first awarded in 2010 to Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is currently the head coach of the Tigers. In total, five Broyles Award winners have gone on to be a head coach, with four of those currently holding head coaching positions. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi (2013, Michigan State defensive coordinator), Texas head coach Tom Herman (2014, Ohio State offensive coordinator), and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley (2015, Oklahoma offensive coordinator) currently hold head coaching jobs. Bob Diaco, who won the award in 2012 while at Notre Dame, went on to be named the head coach at UConn and currently is an assistant with Nebraska.
2017 Broyles Award Nominees
- Alabama – Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Arizona – Rod Smith, Co–Offensive Coordinator
- Arizona State – Phil Bennett, Defensive Coordinator
- Arkansas State – Brian Early, Defensive Line Coach
- Auburn – Kevin Steele, Defensive Coordinator
- Boise State – Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Bowling Green State – Matt Brock, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- California – Beau Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
- Central Florida – Troy Walters, Offensive Coordinator
- Clemson – Tony Elliot, Co–Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs
- Eastern Michigan – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- FAU – Chris Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator
- FIU – Brent Guy, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Fresno State – Orlondo Steinauer, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia – Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia State – Nate Fuqua, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
- Iowa State – Jon Heacock, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
- Kansas State – Sean Snyder, Special Teams Coordinator
- LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
- Memphis – Joe Lorig, Special Teams Coordinator; – Outside Linebackers
- Miami – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
- Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Michigan State – Harlon Barnett, Co–Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
- Mississippi State – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Missouri – Josh Heupel, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- NC State – Dwayne Ledford, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator
- North Texas – Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator
- Northwestern – Mike Hankwitz, Defensive Coordinator
- Notre Dame – Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator
- Ohio State – Larry Johnson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach
- Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Oklahoma State – Mike Yurcich, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
- Ole Miss – Derrick Nix, Running Backs Coach
- Oregon – Jim Leavitt, Defensive Coordinator
- Penn State – Brent Pry, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- San José State – Bojay Filimoeatu, Linebackers Coach
- SMU – Joe Craddock, Offensive Coordinator
- South Carolina – Coleman Hutzler, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- Southern Miss – Tony Pecoraro, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
- Stanford – Mike Bloomgren, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Syracuse – Brian Ward, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- TCU – Chad Glasgow, Defensive Coordinator
- Temple – Jim Panagos, Defensive Line
- Texas – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Toledo – Brian Wright, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
- Troy – Vic Koenning, Defensive Coordinator
- U.S. Military Academy – Brent Davis, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- USC – Tee Martin, Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach
- Utah State – Mark Tommerdahl, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
- Virginia Tech – Bud Foster, Defensive Coordinator
- Wake Forest – Warren Ruggiero, Offensive Coordinator
- Washington – Pete Kwiatkowski, Defensive Coordinator
- Washington State – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator / Secondary
- West Virginia – Tony Gibson, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Western Kentucky – Clayton White, Defensive Coordinator
- Wisconsin – Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator