Despite what you may think, this is not a scheduled story set to run every offseason.

While it may seem like the Tennessee football program is cursed in some regards, you can’t argue that the Volunteers have been collectively bitten by the injury bug unlike any other program in recent college football history. While some fans may argue this is a subjective metric, Phil Steele agrees that Tennessee was the most affected program in college football in terms of starts lost due to injury and suspension during the 2017 season.

In his 2018 college football preview magazine, one of the stats Steele includes every year is starts lost due to injury and/or suspension.

According to Steele, over the previous 11 seasons, there have been 160 teams that have lost 34 or more starts due to injury/suspension and had nine or fewer wins for the season. Of those 160 teams, 90 have improved their win total (56.3%) the following season while 19 have had the same record (11.9%) the following season.

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Tennessee led the nation in this category in 2017 with 58 starts lost due to injury or suspension. Florida ranked third in the nation and second among Power 5 programs with 49 starts lost. South Carolina ranked eighth overall on his list with 42 starts lost while Kentucky ranked 15th in the nation with 37 lost starts.

It has been noted that Tennessee will spend $1.2 million this year alone on paying the salary of head strength coach Craig Fitzgerald and renovating the weight room to his exact specifications. That money will be well spent if Tennessee’s first-year strength coach can end the tradition of Volunteers going down left and right due to injury this season.