Victories over rivals Alabama, Georgia or Florida have been few and far between for Tennessee football throughout the past decade-plus.
The Vols have lost 13 straight to Alabama, eight of the last 10 against the Bulldogs, and 14 of the last 15 against the Gators. The 2016 season marked the last time Tennessee beat any of those three rivals, when the Vols defeated Georgia and Florida.
But the SEC set a favorable opportunity in front of the Vols this season by the way it devised Tennessee’s schedule.
On this edition of “The Volunteer State,” Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams of the News Sentinel examine the Vols’ schedule and why its makeup offers UT a better opportunity to upset a top rival.
For starters, the Vols will host Florida on Dec. 5. Although Adams suggests Tennessee might be better off playing that game in Cleveland, where it could be played in a snowstorm, playing in December in Knoxville still offers the possibility of playing in a game with temperatures in the 30s. The Gators aren’t accustomed to that.
Tennessee will play Alabama the week after the Crimson Tide tussles with Georgia, and the Vols will play Georgia the week after the Bulldogs face Auburn. Those preceding games could leave Alabama and Georgia battered for their matchup against the Vols.
Meanwhile, Tennessee is slated to play Kentucky ahead of Alabama and Missouri before Georgia – more manageable opponents in the lead-up game to the rivalries.
Adams and Toppmeyer also discuss what they see as the toughest stretch on Tennessee’s schedule.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake’s subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.