Team 121’s homecoming win is bringing back some hope to Rocky Top. But, businesses along the Cumberland strip want to know if it’s enough to turn things around.
Louie Al Baba has owned Oscar’s Restaurant along the Strip for 15 years. He said his business took a huge hit this year.
"I've never seen business as bad," Al Baba said.
Al Baba blames the Vols losing streak for keeping fans off the strip.
"They don't want to come to the game anymore, they're mad, they don't even want to order food," he said.
He is hopeful Saturday’s win against Southern Miss will turn things around.
"I guess everyone feels a little better now that we're winning or have a win," Mason Stephenson, a Vols fan, said.
But is the win enough to bring back business?
The Vols only have three games left in the 2017 season. The team needs to win at least two more to make it to a bowl game.
Fans like Stephenson aren't convinced just yet.
“It could be the start of a turning point, but I think we still need a few more wins,” he said.
Al Baba is convinced if the Vols can turn their season around businesses can as well.
"When Tennessee wins it makes people more generous somehow," Al Baba said. "They start tipping more for the drivers, the cooks and they want to party more."
He said what Team 121 needs is fans to come out and show support, whether they win or lose.
The Vols take on Mizzou next week on Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. For this coming Saturday, businesses along the Strip say they are counting on optimistic Vol fans to come out and watch the game.