ATLANTA - There's business for Tennessee to attend to.
But the Vols aren't exactly ruling out any pleasure in the process.
They've earned the right to celebrate some after capping a turnaround under coach Lane Kiffin with a Chick-fil-A Bowl bid and a return to the postseason, and UT will have plenty of chances to do so this week after reporting to Atlanta on Friday night. The trick is balancing the various off-field activities along with five practices, though the Vols don't appear to be having any troubles setting priorities with No. 11 Virginia Tech looming on New Year's Eve (TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m.).
"It's all been about hard work and pulling together under coach Kiffin and really believing in each other," defensive tackle Wes Brown said. "We had a year last year where we were sitting at home for Christmas, and it was terrible to be honest with you. None of us wanted that again.
"We all went to work and made a promise to each other that wasn't going to happen again. We were going to go somewhere, we're going to end up somewhere and have a good time in January or December."
How well January treats the Vols (7-5) depends on how they close out December, and the Hokies (9-3) won't make it easy.
And like with any bowl, UT will also have any number of events away from the practice field that can make preparation a bit different than a normal game week. After working out for the first time in Atlanta today at Decatur High School, the Vols have a welcome party at Dave & Buster's.
Later in the week they'll visit the Georgia Aquarium and a hospital. They also have banquets, a trip planned to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and a handful of media events.
But given the way Kiffin is approaching his first bowl with UT, in the end all eyes will be on Virginia Tech.
"I view this as a BCS bowl when you look at it from the excitement and energy around the game, where we get to play at, the stadium that we get to play at," Kiffin said. "Then most importantly, who we play. We love every part of it.
"I think in this case, both teams are extremely excited. I don't know what they are, I know what we are -- we're extremely excited to be in this game. This is a huge game for us to be in, in our first year to be in a big-time bowl like this against a BCS opponent that's been to back-to-back Orange Bowls and 17 straight bowls, we're very excited. I think that can play a lot into it."
That energy carried over into intense, physical practices leading up to Christmas break, and the Vols actually needed an extra day off Tuesday to help recover from them.
For the most part though, UT will be healthy and rested as it hits the homestretch for the last game of Kiffin's debut season. And really, most of the heavy lifting is already done - which should make squeezing in some fun a little easier for everybody.
"I thought that we got a lot done (last week)," Kiffin said. "Early on in preparation we really got a chance to work with our young guys and develop them, I thought it was very good - especially with a new coach (Kippy Brown) on our staff as well.
"My philosophy is you should have everything done from a coaching standpoint before you go down there, and then once you're down there you just repeat it."
And maybe soak up the atmosphere a bit before getting down to business.
Merry Christmas: Luke Stocker called it the best Christmas ever, and it wasn't because the UT tight end was reporting to Atlanta for a bowl game.
According to his Twitter page, the junior proposed to his girlfriend Daine Karst in the morning and got an acceptance before arriving in Atlanta.
"Merry Christmas (to) all, and I must say this is the best Christmas ever," Stocker wrote. "I just got engaged around 1:30 this morning."
Now he and the rest of the Vols can start turning their attention to the next holiday.