Tennessee Stat Book
Given a choice, Tennessee would have likely swapped its game against highly-ranked Arkansas for a shorter drive to Mississippi State in a heartbeat last season.
In theory, that's exactly what the Vols will do in 2012, according to its revised schedule, which was released today by the SEC.
The Vols won't have to worry about a rematch with the Razorbacks, who, after routing the Vols, 49-7, in November, were originally scheduled to play at Neyland Stadium next year. Instead, that spot was filled with the SEC's newest member, Missouri, which will begin its annual series with UT in Knoxville on Nov. 10.
The Vols' originally scheduled road trip to take on the Bulldogs remained in place. UT, after a bye week, will gun for its first October win against an SEC foe since 2009 when it travels to Starkville on Oct. 13. The Bulldogs will join Alabama (Oct. 20) as UT's only two SEC West foes on the schedule.
Considering the lengthy delay, hand-wringing by SEC athletic directors and added complexity because of the addition of two new teams, the release of UT's new schedule was relatively anti-climactic. The Vols' four non-conference games remained in tact and unmoved, they will continue to face their annual rivals around the same time of year that they always do and the SEC's other new team, Texas A&M, is nowhere to be found.
Thanks to consecutive road games with Georgia and Mississippi State and an open date sandwiched in between the two, the Vols will go four weeks without a game at Neyland Stadium from Sept. 22 (Akron) to Oct. 20 (Alabama). That quirk is compensated by the presence of just one road game (at Vanderbilt, Nov. 17) in the entire month of November.
Eight of UT's 12 opponents next season won at least six games in 2011. Of the five SEC teams UT won't face in 2012 -- LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and Ole Miss -- all but one (Ole Miss) qualified for a postseason bowl.
Sept. 1 - NC State (Atlanta)
Sept. 8 - Georgia State
Sept. 15 - Florida
Sept. 22 - Akron
Sept. 29 - at Georgia
Oct. 6 - Open
Oct. 13 - at Mississippi State
Oct. 20 - Alabama
Oct. 27 - at South Carolina
Nov. 3 - Troy
Nov. 10 - Missouri
Nov. 17 - at Vanderbilt
Nov. 24 - Kentucky