SEC Network host Paul Finebaum is a Tennessee alum, so he often has to comment on his alma mater.

These last few years, that’s been a sad task, as the Vols have struggled mightily at the end of the Butch Jones era and through Year 1 under Jeremy Pruitt.

Speaking with the Tennessee student newspaper, The Daily Beacon, Finebaum said he thinks the Vols can get back to national title contention under AD Phillip Fulmer:

“I think Tennessee can become a national championship contender again,” Finebaum said. “I believe in this university, I believe in (Director of Athletics Phillip) Fulmer. Georgia, Florida have nothing on Tennessee when it comes to tradition and infrastructure.

“The only thing that’s happened to Tennessee the last 10-15 years have been a series of terrible decisions.”

Finebaum continued his praise of Fulmer, saying he thinks Fulmer’s hire saved the program:

“Every time I comment on this, I believe even more that Phillip Fulmer saved this athletic department and especially the football program,” Finebaum said. “He understands what it takes, and he has been there and done it.

“Had Phillip not been hired, I think this would be unsalvageable.”

The Vols face a big year under Pruitt in 2019. After just missing out on a bowl game last year, the pressure to play in the postseason this fall will be stronger.