First, let's keep things in perspective here. The overall series record is Florida 26, Tennessee 19. Meaning that up until the game in 2008, the Vols led the all-time series--including winning 13 of the first 15 and the first ten games in a row.

Florida fan: Hey, that's ancient history!

Vols fan: So what? A win is a win.

True, if Florida fans can count wins from 11 years ago, why can't Vols fans count wins from 100 years ago? Still, from a younger person's point of view, it may appear that the Gators have never lost to the Volunteers.

Believe me, when I say that for a proud Tennessee fan base, it feels like they have never won one versus Florida.

This losing streak started in 2005 when #6 ranked Florida beat #5 ranked Tennessee 16-7. Georgia won the SEC East that year, followed by South Carolina, then Florida, who finished 9-3. Interestingly, in spite of lofty expectations and early rankings the Volunteers finished that year 5-6. It was the first losing season Fulmer experienced as the head coach of Tennessee. In retrospect, this was clearly the beginning of the end for Phil Fulmer as head Football coach of the Volunteers.

NCAA College Football - Florida Gators Champs two of three years

2006 saw the Gators win again on their way to a 13-1 season and the first of two national titles under Urban Meyer. In 2007 Tennessee overcame their early season loss to the Gators to win their last SEC East title under Fulmer. The Vols played eventual national champion LSU tough in the SEC championship game but lost, to finish the year at 10-4.

In 2008, the Gators won their second national title in three years. The Volunteers finished with their second losing season in the same period, leading to the firing of Phil Fulmer after 17 seasons. Fulmer won the SEC East five times, the SEC championship twice and one national title.

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NFL

Lane Kiffin chooses Southern Cal over UT

In 2009, new head coach Lane Kiffin's team lost to the Gators in route to a 7-6 season in his only year at Tennessee. Suddenly, in the middle of recruiting season he jumped at the opportunity to coach Southern Cal. As a result, UT was left looking for a head coach.

Next up, was Derek Dooley, son of legendary Bulldogs coach Vince Dooley. Dooley tried for three seasons as Vols head coach to end the Florida streak. Unfortunately, he just wasn't good enough as head coach and his teams failed.

Butch Jones jumps at offer to coach Volunteers

Since 2013, Tennessee has been coached by Butch Jones. Before the Vols, he had two short, but highly successful stints with Central Michigan and Cincinnati. For the first two years, he was busy trying to repair the damage done by Dooley--and win games--to gain fans confidence.

Last season, the Vols had the game in hand. They then did what many a good young team does from time to time, they choked--and got beat--by a less talented but more confident team.

So far, Jones head coaching stints have only gone three years per school.

Tennessee is the first team Jones has coached into the fourth season. But if you throw out the "coach speak" he uses in his press conferences and interviews, there is a quiet confidence in Jones' demeanor that impresses some--including me.

It is my opinion Coach Jones is a man who learns from his mistakes. He knows where not only his players but he and his coaching staff can do better next time out. He recognizes mistakes, then makes the necessary corrections.

While there is no guarantee this year will bring an end to the 600 pound Florida gorilla riding the backs of Vols fans, there is the reason for hope.

Fans are right to believe this coaching staff gives Tennessee their best chance of winning the SEC East since the Vols staff of the late 1990's.

If nothing else, look at it this way. Young Florida fans have come to believe beating Tennessee is a birthright. About a century ago, the same can be said of young Vols fans about Florida. Hey, what goes around comes around...Sometimes later than sooner!

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