KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s schedule for 2017 presents plenty of challenges, but the most difficult games are more spread out than this season.
The Vols open next season on a Monday night (Sept. 4) against Georgia Tech in the Atlanta Falcons new stadium, and then a warm-up game with FCS Indiana (Sept. 9) will give Tennessee a chance to polish up before a Sept. 16 showdown at Florida.
Most notably, LSU returns to the Vols schedule for the first time since 2011, traveling to Knoxville for a Nov. 18 game.
Here’s a breakdown of the schedule:
Most intriguing matchup
Has to be the opener with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are an option team that chop blocks — a bigger, stronger faster version of Appalachian State’s offense, essentially. Tennessee will open the season with a new quarterback as well, but who?
The Third Saturday in October, Nov. 21, in Tuscaloosa, against Alabama. Need we say more?
Indiana State is an FCS school that lost to Minnesota 58-28. The Sycamores claim to fame remains a 75-64 basketball loss to Michigan State in a national championship game featuring Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird — 37 years ago!
Let’s define “stretch” as three or more consecutive games in a row. This is where the schedule provides some relief, in terms of competitive games being more broken up than this year (Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama).
So the toughest stretch in 2017 would be: Georgia (home, Sept. 30), South Carolina (home, Oct. 14) and at Alabama (away, Oct. 21).
Kentucky football is really struggling. That makes the easiest stretch: Oct. 28 at Kentucky, Nov. 4 home against Southern Miss and No. 11 at Missouri.