Butch Jones is done at Tennessee.
I don’t know when it will happen. Maybe Saturday’s 41-0 shutout loss to Georgia — UT’s worst to UGA since 1981 — will be the last game Jones coaches at Tennessee, or maybe he’ll be allowed to finish the season. Hell, maybe Tennessee will decide Butch’s buyout is cost prohibitive to making a move at this point (according to Darren Rovell, it would cost Tennessee $9.2 million to fire Butch on Sunday), and he returns to Rocky Top in 2018.
I don’t know when it will happen.
All I do know is that while I was watching the Vols get embarrassed with their worst home loss since 1905 (a 45-0 thrashing by Vanderbilt), I saw a dead man coaching. I think Jones has known it for a while as well because that’s the only reason I can think of that would have led to his strange rant about “fake news” last week.
It was a performance so weird that even ESPN College GameDay’s Rece Davis, one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet hosting one of the fairest college football shows you’ll ever find on television, took some time out of his morning to make fun of it.
When College GameDay is piling on, you know you’re in trouble.
But this is where Butch Jones is right now. His reputation, if you’re even looking for it, can be found at the bottom of the same trash can his team dunks a football in after causing a turnover.
As for his team, after Saturday’s loss to Georgia, it’s not in much of a better position. Sure, the Vols are 3-2, but they’re 0-2 in SEC play, hanging out at the bottom of the division with the likes of Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Saturday’s loss drops Jones’ record at Tennessee to 33-23 overall and 14-20 in the SEC.
Against Tennessee’s rivals (Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and Alabama) Jones is now 5-13. Two of those wins have been against Vanderbilt. He’s 3-11 against the other three, and it looks like he’s going to be 3-12 soon enough after the Vols face the Tide.
Those aren’t the results Tennessee is paying Jones $4.1 million a year to achieve.
But it’s the reason why the Vols will soon be paying nearly $10 million to make Jones go away. The only question at this point is what date the administration needs to write on his final check.