Tennessee’s 2016 schedule includes a trip to one of NASCAR’s most popular racetracks and a first-ever trip to one of the most storied venues in college football.
Fans have plenty of reasons to be excited about Tennessee’s 2016 football schedule, which the SEC released Thursday. The Vols will play Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10 and take their first trip to College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M on Oct. 8.
Oh, and there’s also the Florida, Georgia and Alabama games. With Tennessee on the rise, the Vols face an exciting challenge.
Here are the dates you need to know:
Best Matchup: Sept. 10 vs. Virginia Tech (Bristol Motor Speedway)
It may not have SEC flair and the teams may not be ranked, but it’s Thunder Valley. Fans have long clamored for this matchup to take place at Bristol Motor Speedway. It has been talked about for nearly 20 years. Now, it’s going to happen. With 160,000 seats available, the game should easily break the all-time attendance record for an NCAA football game. Michigan holds that record with 114, 804. It won’t last much longer.
Toughest matchup: Oct. 15 vs Alabama
Playing Alabama is never easy. Playing them after six consecutive games is even more challenging. Alabama figures to be the highest ranked team on Tennessee’s schedule. Moreover, Tennessee has a nine-game losing streak to the Tide that will put more pressure on the Vols. In the last nine games, ‘Bama has either dominated or seemed as if it had destiny on its side.
Toughest stretch: Sept. 3 to Oct. 15
Seven consecutive games without a bye week is always tough. Tennessee’s opponents make it even tougher. The Vols play Virginia Tech, Florida, at Georgia, at Texas A&M and Alabama during that stretch. Tennessee coach Butch Jones would never admit it but he’d surely be happy with a 6-1 run through that stretch. 5-2 would still be respectable.
Biggest trap game: Nov. 12 vs. Kentucky
The Vols should be flying high after a big win over Tennessee Tech, and Kentucky will be waiting. The Wildcats continue to improve under coach Mark Stoops. Once the pushovers in the Commonwealth, the Wildcats will be looking for an upset.