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AUG. 31

GEORGIA STATE

3:30, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: ESPU/106.5 FM

Series history: It will be the second meeting for the Vols against the Panthers, who were founded as a program in 2010. It hasn't been a good decade for Georgia State against teams from the state of Tennessee, as the program is 1-5 all-time, with it's only win coming over UT-Martin. Included in that are losses against NAIA Lambuth and Football Championship Subdivision programs UTC and Tennessee State. The Vols defeated the Panthers 51-13 in the teams' lone meeting in 2012, rolling up 558 yards of total offense in the win.

 

SEPT. 7

BYU

7, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: ESPN/106.5 FM

Series history: It's the first-ever matchup between the two programs in a two-game series, with the Vols making the return trip in 2023. The Cougars claimed wins over Arizona and Wisconsin last season, with the latter breaking a 41-game non-conference home win streak the Badgers held at the time. It's not as difficult a challenge for an early season non-conference game as say, West Virginia in 2018 or Oklahoma — the Vols' big away game in 2020 — but that doesn't make it a cakewalk, as the Cougars only missed out on a bowl once this decade and averaged 9.3 wins from 2006-16.

 

SEPT. 14

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA

Noon, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: SEC Network/106.5 FM

Series history: The Vols are 38-2-2 all-time against the FCS Mocs, having won nine straight in the series. UTC (62-45) has a better record than the Vols (55-57) this decade, but that's not to suggest this should be viewed as anything more than a paycheck game. The best Mocs' team this decade (10-4 in 2014) lost 45-10 to a seven-win Tennessee team in the last meeting, with Justin Worley throwing three touchdown passes in the game and running for two more.

 

SEPT. 21

FLORIDA

TBA, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: 2003 seems like a long time ago. That was the last time the Vols went into Gainesville and defeated the Gators, although five of the last seven meetings at Florida have been decided by 10 points or less. The last two were decided by a potential game-winning field goal missed by Tennessee as time expired (2015) and a 63-yard Hail Mary pass completion from Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland that was the difference in a 26-20 win in 2017. Florida leads the overall series 28-20, with a 14-5 edge in Gainesville.

 

OCT. 5

GEORGIA

TBA, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: Georgia is 7-2 this decade against the Vols, but the series is tied 23-23-2 overall. The last meeting in Knoxville wasn't a pretty one, as the Bulldogs — perhaps remembering the Hail Mary pass from Josh Dobbs to Jauan Jennings that had defeated them in 2016 — limited Tennessee to 142 yards of total offense in a 41-0 loss. The loss served as one of the many nails in former coach Butch Jones' coffin.

 

OCT. 12

MISSISSIPPI STATE

TBA, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: Considered one of the pivotal games of the season, the Bulldogs come to Knoxville for the first time since 2008. The Vols have won four straight at home and had won six straight in the series until Mississippi State won a 41-31 shootout in Starkville in 2012. Tennessee leads the overall series 28-16-1, including a 13-7 edge in Knoxville, but the Vols' bowl eligibility could be contingent on how they fare in this game.

 

OCT. 19

ALABAMA

TBA, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: Believe it or not, Tennessee once controlled this series, winning seven straight, nine out of 10 and 10 of 12 from 1995-2006. Those days seem long gone, as the Crimson Tide have won 12 straight since the arrival of Nick Saban in 2007. Only two of those games have been decided by single digits, with Terrance Cody blocking a Daniel Lincoln game-winning field goal attempt in 2008 in a 12-10 Alabama victory and a 19-14 loss in 2015, a game the Vols led with 5:49 remaining. The good news from that game? Tennessee did go on to win its final six games of that season, including a dominating bowl victory over Northwestern.

 

OCT. 26

SOUTH CAROLINA

TBA, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: The Vols hold a commanding 25-10-2 lead in the series, including a 16-3 mark in Knoxville. Typically the two teams play close games, with the last seven being decided by six points or less. Last year Tennessee led 21-9 early in the third quarter, only to see the Gamecocks score 18 of the final 21 points in a 27-24 win. The Vols had the ball late in that game before turning the ball over on downs with 1:08 remaining. USC quarterback Jake Bentley is back for seemingly his ninth season and is 3-0 against the Vols in his career.

 

NOV. 2

ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM

TBA, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: For the fourth time in five seasons, the Vols face a team from Conference USA. The Vols have won four straight in the series against the Blazers, although it took double overtime for them to defeat UAB in the last meeting, a 32-29 win in 2010 — former coach Derek Dooley's first season as Tennessee head coach. The Blazers didn't have a team in 2015 and 2016 after briefly disbanding the program. Since returning in 2017, UAB has won 19 games, including an 11-win 2018 campaign that ended in the Conference USA championship and the program's first-ever bowl victory, a 37-13 win over Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl.

 

NOV. 9

KENTUCKY

TBA, Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: The final highlight of the Vols' 2018 season was a 24-7 victory over the 11th-ranked Wildcats, with Darrell Taylor racking up four sacks in the win and the Vols putting up 412 yards of total offense, a season high against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. Tennessee has largely controlled the series, with an 80-25-9 edge. The Vols had a 26-game win streak from 1985-2010 and hold a 7-2 lead this decade, but with Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops at the helm, gone are the days when this game would be looked at as a guaranteed win.

 

NOV. 23

MISSOURI

TBA, Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: Since joining the Southeastern Conference in 2012, the Tigers have controlled the series. They're 3-1 against the Vols in Knoxville. They're 2-1 in Columbia. The last two games haven't even been close, with Missouri claiming consecutive 50-17 wins over Tennessee. Drew Lock is gone as the Tigers' quarterback, but Clemson graduate transfer Kelly Bryant — who guided the Atlantic Coast Conference team to the 2018 national title game, where they lost to Alabama — has stepped right in.

 

NOV. 30

VANDERBILT

TBA, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

TV/Radio: TBA/106.5 FM

Series history: Tennessee hasn't lost a decade against the Commodores since the 1920s when Vanderbilt was 6-2-1 against the Vols, but a Tennessee loss would mean it was 4-6 this decade against the in-state rivals. Tennessee has lost three straight in the series with an average margin of victory of 21.3 points, but still holds a 75-32-5 advantage overall. The Commodores lost quarterback Kyle Shurmur — a thorn in Tennessee's side the past few seasons — but they still have some quality skill players in running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn and tight end Jared Pinkney.

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