What if Tennessee and Alabama didn't play each other every year?

Should UT and Bama play every year?

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— The Alabama-Tennessee football game will take place a month from today at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but what if next year's matchup at Neyland Stadium was scrapped?

What if the next college realignment tsunami involves Texas A&M and another university joining the Southeastern Conference's West Division, resulting in Auburn going to the East? Auburn president Jay Gogue said recently that his school would be willing to make that move if asked, but a rather glaring dilemma would develop quicker than a snap to the quarterback.

Would Tennessee remain Alabama's permanent opponent from the East, or would it become Auburn?

"From a guy who grew up in the SEC, it's a little disappointing to see all that's happening in college football," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Wednesday. "I think we're tampering with something that has made college football so special, and that's the fans, the traditions, the rivalries, and the ability to go to road games. With your fan base seeing the same teams every year, you develop a deep history that makes this game special, but nobody is really worried about what I think or what the other coaches think.

Continue reading at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 146

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

How could they possibly do that? While I do understand the in state rivalry with Auburn, the fact still remains that Tennessee has played BAMA more times than Auburn has. So we have a longer running tradition with BAMA. I dont want to see the traditon go away.

Maverickman writes:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Maverickman:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

Right now I think fans just want the VOLS respectable again. Heck, I would like to see Ga Tech back in the conference and that rivalry back.

VOLliven2it writes:

Tradition, traditions seem to be taking back seats to empowerment and money these days. In less than half a generation, if this occurs, people will not have much of a problem with it. But with all other changes, it will be the loss of some other traditional rivalry. We have to face it, the money issue, ie making more for the universities has been put at the center and the powers that be do not care if they tamper with a big part of what has made an institution great. How long will it take for the tampering to damage what has been a great institution(college football)for a long time?

ZacharyUTK writes:

Blasphemy!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Maverickman:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

I'm sure you are an expert at receiving butt whippings. Maybe you should move as well.

Upgrayedd writes:

Just an idea, but here it goes:

With 14 teams, the SEC stays at 7 teams per division. You are now required to play 6 divisional games. Does the conference up the total of conference games to 9, or stand fast with 8? Upping it to nine will keep games like Bama-UT and Auburn-Bama, but also makes it that much harder to produce an undefeated team, and eliminates SEC teams playing tough non-conference opponents.

Now, let's say the SEC goes to 16 teams. Instead of having two divisions, let's make it 4. Maybe split it up by North, South, East, and West. Now, you're only locked in on 3 divisional games. You can keep two historic matchups (i.e. we end up in the North with Kentucky, Vandy, and somebody like Ole Miss or Mizzouri, then lock in Bama and Georgia). That's only five locks, then you can rotate the other 3 or 4 games between teams in the other divisions.

I really don't like expansion at all, but it's happening whether I like it or not. Just seems to me that the only way to keep these rivalry games would be to push it to 16 teams. Then again, it could help push us back up. If there was a North and we were in it, we would dominate it. I don't think the Gator trolls would mind much, either, since according to them this series is no longer a rivalry.

hamneggs writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

How could they possibly do that? While I do understand the in state rivalry with Auburn, the fact still remains that Tennessee has played BAMA more times than Auburn has. So we have a longer running tradition with BAMA. I dont want to see the traditon go away.

With all the big changes happening in college football the TN/AL game is small potatoes.

MtJ_Orange writes:

Just add Texas A&M and Missouri to the west. Then invite West Virginia and Louisville to the SEC (east). I understand Louisville may not be a power football program but all four would offer excellent basketball teams. Geographically it would make sense too. Driving to Morgantown from Knoxville would not be that bad. If the SEC is going to expand, don't do it halfway. They might get left with crumbs if they are not aggressive. Tennessee still plays Alabama in October.

vut56#231073 writes:

As mentioned, it is all about the money. When the dust settles, it will be what it will be. Probably just flip a coin and skins will play shirts. Think about it: most coaches and administrators...even if (relatively) long timers, are not fifty-year employees nor have been around since "the good old days." Tradition is just a word, like "let's create more jobs," or "we must be fair to the middle class" is to polititions. Sad to say it, but we get by without leather helmets and "the horse"; we can get by without 'Bama.

dvols writes:

Then... they would not play every year.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to hamneggs:

With all the big changes happening in college football the TN/AL game is small potatoes.

I would agree with that right now. But the Pac 10 announced that they dont want Oklahoma, OK State or Texas now. So the big 12 is staying put. I say that we just bring BAMA into our conference, even though Auburn is further east (by a 2 hours drive). Who cares what Pitt and Uconn are doing. I am starting to think that accepting Texas A&M and Mizzou isnt that great for our conference anymore. I dont want to give up SEC tradition anymore than Texas wanted to quit playing Oklahoma. This would surely stink!

crimsonviper writes:

The Third Saturday in Oct. is what college football is all about.
I have been to both Neyland and BDS,and nothing compares.......Just leave it alone.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to MtJ_Orange:

Just add Texas A&M and Missouri to the west. Then invite West Virginia and Louisville to the SEC (east). I understand Louisville may not be a power football program but all four would offer excellent basketball teams. Geographically it would make sense too. Driving to Morgantown from Knoxville would not be that bad. If the SEC is going to expand, don't do it halfway. They might get left with crumbs if they are not aggressive. Tennessee still plays Alabama in October.

The problem with that is, the SEC doesnt want the legalities of inviting teams. They want to be approached by other conference teams. I would prefer that Auburn stays in the West also, just so we dont lose all of our tradition over the greed of the colleges.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to Upgrayedd:

Just an idea, but here it goes:

With 14 teams, the SEC stays at 7 teams per division. You are now required to play 6 divisional games. Does the conference up the total of conference games to 9, or stand fast with 8? Upping it to nine will keep games like Bama-UT and Auburn-Bama, but also makes it that much harder to produce an undefeated team, and eliminates SEC teams playing tough non-conference opponents.

Now, let's say the SEC goes to 16 teams. Instead of having two divisions, let's make it 4. Maybe split it up by North, South, East, and West. Now, you're only locked in on 3 divisional games. You can keep two historic matchups (i.e. we end up in the North with Kentucky, Vandy, and somebody like Ole Miss or Mizzouri, then lock in Bama and Georgia). That's only five locks, then you can rotate the other 3 or 4 games between teams in the other divisions.

I really don't like expansion at all, but it's happening whether I like it or not. Just seems to me that the only way to keep these rivalry games would be to push it to 16 teams. Then again, it could help push us back up. If there was a North and we were in it, we would dominate it. I don't think the Gator trolls would mind much, either, since according to them this series is no longer a rivalry.

I see one big hole in your plan. Only two teams play in the SEC title game. How do you choose which ones go in a 4 division break down with north, south, east and west? Two play off game before the SEC title game? It will never happen.

crutch1966 writes:

it's all about the money...

VOLinATL writes:

I think it only matters if you are over 40. Under 40, Florida has been the focus.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

The Third Saturday in Oct. is what college football is all about.
I have been to both Neyland and BDS,and nothing compares.......Just leave it alone.

Great post and if we could bring back Keith Jackson describing the scence of crimson and orange

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Maverickman:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

I am with you I am tired of losing to Alabama, LSU and Auburn and Florida

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to ZacharyUTK:

Blasphemy!

This +1. On the other hand, I've always took issue with the national publicity that other rivalries get. Oh St./Mich, Ok/Neb/, USC/UCLA, Tex/OU, while it seems as though UT/Bama always gets put on the backburner. This is one of the PREMIER top 2-3 rivalries in the nation, if not the best IMO. It's a shame that we are even talking about this. I've been a fan of both WVU and UT all of my life. I've watched WVU lose all of their rivals through the years do to $$$$. Penn St, Pitt, and Va. Tech all sold out. I WILL SAY, I can't see our new AD letting this happen without putting up a MAJOR fight. Having him could play a pivotal role in whether or not something like this would happen.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Add Louisville to the East and A&M to the West. Then nothing changes. Let Pitino get two shots a year at Kentucky. Making the drive to Morgantown is never fun or easy especially in November. Louisville has Charlie Strong and Pitino two former SEC coaches with very good resumes. At least Louisville is located on a Major North-South Interstate 65. Try driving from Tuscaloosa to Morgantown.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Add Louisville to the East and A&M to the West. Then nothing changes. Let Pitino get two shots a year at Kentucky. Making the drive to Morgantown is never fun or easy especially in November. Louisville has Charlie Strong and Pitino two former SEC coaches with very good resumes. At least Louisville is located on a Major North-South Interstate 65. Try driving from Tuscaloosa to Morgantown.

Try driving from Knoxville to College Station...

westknoxrepub writes:

Kentucky will veto Louisville, there are reports that's already happened. None of the Big 12 is coming, so odds are we're going to have to go back and consider West Virginia. A 14 team conference will just take away one non conference game, so it's not a huge deal. Again though, I don't get why people want to bring Georgia Tech back in. . .they're a sub par football and basketball team in a market that UGA probably has a dominant share in. Atlanta is an SEC town, that's why our Football Championship and the vast majority of our Basketball Tournaments are held there.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Kentucky will veto Louisville, there are reports that's already happened. None of the Big 12 is coming, so odds are we're going to have to go back and consider West Virginia. A 14 team conference will just take away one non conference game, so it's not a huge deal. Again though, I don't get why people want to bring Georgia Tech back in. . .they're a sub par football and basketball team in a market that UGA probably has a dominant share in. Atlanta is an SEC town, that's why our Football Championship and the vast majority of our Basketball Tournaments are held there.

We obviously didn't see eye to eye on the whole Bruce Pearl saga. But I'm with you 100% on this.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

This +1. On the other hand, I've always took issue with the national publicity that other rivalries get. Oh St./Mich, Ok/Neb/, USC/UCLA, Tex/OU, while it seems as though UT/Bama always gets put on the backburner. This is one of the PREMIER top 2-3 rivalries in the nation, if not the best IMO. It's a shame that we are even talking about this. I've been a fan of both WVU and UT all of my life. I've watched WVU lose all of their rivals through the years do to $$$$. Penn St, Pitt, and Va. Tech all sold out. I WILL SAY, I can't see our new AD letting this happen without putting up a MAJOR fight. Having him could play a pivotal role in whether or not something like this would happen.

Good post,RR...One sentence stands out to me. It's a shame that we are even talking about this...I can't believe it myself.

Pullingguard writes:

Wouldn't that be great, another opportunity for the Vols to schedule a patsie instead of playing to get beat by Alabama. Tradition means very little if you are on the losing end, just ask Ky and Vandy...

kingofthevols writes:

Works for me as long as Saban is at Bama.

DooleyWagon22 writes:

What about we leave all the conferences alone and we don't have all this mess?

carsonce writes:

in response to VOLinATL:

I think it only matters if you are over 40. Under 40, Florida has been the focus.

I'm 29, and the biggest game of the year for me is still the third saturday in October. The game against Florida is big because of the implications in the east, but they aren't any more of a "rival" to me than Georgia or South Carolina. We've played Alabama 92 times compared to Florida 41 times.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to VOLinATL:

I think it only matters if you are over 40. Under 40, Florida has been the focus.

The tradition and the rivalry BAMA/TENN is over 100 years old. The Florida rivalry has lost it's luster since Spurrier left. It is a big game to us, because it kicks off our SEC schedule. It used to be, whoever won the FLA/TENN game was in the drivers seat for the SEC East. Now, not so much.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to carsonce:

I'm 29, and the biggest game of the year for me is still the third saturday in October. The game against Florida is big because of the implications in the east, but they aren't any more of a "rival" to me than Georgia or South Carolina. We've played Alabama 92 times compared to Florida 41 times.

Dead on! Most of these folks dont know how deep rooted the hatred is, or used to be, between Tennessee and BAMA. If you are younger than 40, and dont think of this game as the biggest rivalry, it just shows that your folks probably didnt raise you watching Tenn or BAMA football. They use to despise one another so much, that one coach would turn in the other team for NCAA violations, just to get under the other teams skin.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Maverickman:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

why do you say We when referring to the Vols

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

I'm sure you are an expert at receiving butt whippings. Maybe you should move as well.

He didnt say butt whippings. He said butt whipings! Ewwwwwwwwwe.

voloffaith writes:

Sad to say a lot of today's generation have no feel for tradition. Fast food mentality is what do we have today? The only roots some of them care about are the ones on their heads. Bama has been it as long as my 58 yrs can remember. Rivalry is probably not politically correct also part of the problem Ya know it sounds violent not so "can't we all get along?" No I'm not advocating chaos and anarchy,but futbol isn't powder puff ball with tear away belts....Expansion is coming y'all. When and in what shape remains to be seen,but that train IS slowly pulling out of the station.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

Good post,RR...One sentence stands out to me. It's a shame that we are even talking about this...I can't believe it myself.

Thanks Crimson.

mahabrando writes:

I am sure it has been said on here... but obviously SEC teams beat the phooey out of eachother all year...yet still go on to win the championship and national the majority of the time.

Keep Bama in there... rotate Florida and Auburn out... haha.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to carsonce:

I'm 29, and the biggest game of the year for me is still the third saturday in October. The game against Florida is big because of the implications in the east, but they aren't any more of a "rival" to me than Georgia or South Carolina. We've played Alabama 92 times compared to Florida 41 times.

BINGO! Fla/UT doesn't even compare to UT/Bama. I'm even gonna go further and say UGA and Auburn IMO are bigger rivals than UF. I'm not basing this off of the last 20 years like most of the video game generation does. I'm basing it off of facts. Tennessee has fought EPIC battles with Bama, UGA, and Auburn dating back to the early 1900's. Actually, Auburn/UT has taken a back seat since the split divisions started. Bring Auburn to the east and make them play UT annually and see what happens. Talk about some FRICTION....

allvols4life writes:

in response to Maverickman:

One less butt whiping, Maybe We should think about moving to the Big East.

So, is this "Maverickman" good ole CSS/Brett Maverick? Is this simply another one of his multiple personalities? It appears to be to me. Maverickman is a Fulmerite and a Dooley hater, so my money is on the fact that he is one of the many personalities of this deranged individual.

delta_flash writes:

Maybe if we eliminated the likes of UT Martin, Montana, Buffalo, and MTSU from our schedules and they dropped North Texas, Kent State, and Georgia Southern from theirs, there would be a little more room for preserving tradition.

MilitaryBrat writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Kentucky will veto Louisville, there are reports that's already happened. None of the Big 12 is coming, so odds are we're going to have to go back and consider West Virginia. A 14 team conference will just take away one non conference game, so it's not a huge deal. Again though, I don't get why people want to bring Georgia Tech back in. . .they're a sub par football and basketball team in a market that UGA probably has a dominant share in. Atlanta is an SEC town, that's why our Football Championship and the vast majority of our Basketball Tournaments are held there.

Because Georgia Tech left the SEC, they will never be allowed to come back into the conference.

I agree Atlanta is a SEC town. I lived there for about 8 months. What surprised me the most was a saw more Auburn flags on houses than any other team.

westknoxrepub writes:

Going with 13 teams makes no sense, so we need a 14th team. Our options are more limited than they were previously becuase a)the ACC buyout is enormous b)the Big 12 is staying together for the time being (until Texas makes someone else mad) and c)Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky will veto Florida State, USF, UCF, Miami, FIU, FAU, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Louisville. That leaves West Virginia as the best option because after that you've got virtually nobody. Cincinnati is probably the next best option.

10cvolnga writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

I see one big hole in your plan. Only two teams play in the SEC title game. How do you choose which ones go in a 4 division break down with north, south, east and west? Two play off game before the SEC title game? It will never happen.

I agree with the extra playoff game scenario, however, if the other major conferences find themselves expanding to 16 (or more), they will be in the same dilemma. We may soon be seeing college football season ending mid-December instead of early December. This will be chaos for early bowl games, etc. Keep tradition in tact!!!

willblitz4bacon writes:

There is something special about ALABAMA vs TENNESSEE... this rivalry has pedigree

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

I sense this expansion money grab is going to backfire on college football.

Big time backfire.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

Expansion is all about TV viewers. $$$ and nothing else.

Unfortunately tradition, success, facilities, etc...do not matter. The SEC wants to expand the footprint....period.

Because of this, you can forget Louisville, GA Tech, Clemson, Florida State, etc....SEC is already in those states.

There is also about a 2% factor about academics. The SEC is conscious of its reputation (due to the constant sniping of Big 10, ACC and Pac 10 fans) and as such, will not be adding schools like Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia who rank lower academically than every current SEC institution.

I have long suspected NC State will end up in the SEC and I still believe it. They are like A&M, they play little brother to UNC and this gives them a chance to carve out their own niche and gain a truckload of $$$.

This expansion works like most things in life...follow the money.

Start thinking NC State, VA Tech, Maryland, Missouri as the most likely schools.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Going with 13 teams makes no sense, so we need a 14th team. Our options are more limited than they were previously becuase a)the ACC buyout is enormous b)the Big 12 is staying together for the time being (until Texas makes someone else mad) and c)Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky will veto Florida State, USF, UCF, Miami, FIU, FAU, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Louisville. That leaves West Virginia as the best option because after that you've got virtually nobody. Cincinnati is probably the next best option.

BINGO! People keep talking about all these teams who are not coming to the SEC. WVU WANTS to come. Clemson, GaTech, and Louisville bring what over West Virginia? What media market does Clemson bring. UGA has the Atlanta market. Louisville is a nice town, but people act like it's the Chicago market to simply justify their cause. Louisville nor Clemson bring what West Virginia bring from the overall competitive standpoint. I'm actually gonna say Louisville is constantly over-rated in basketball because of the Petino name. Bob Huggins has WVU rolling. As for the Clemson/USCjr. rivalry...Bring WVU to the east and watch what happens between them and UT. I could ONLY IMAGINE WVU and South Carolina fans in the same venue together, or UGA, or KY. From a cultural standpoint, passion, tradition, WVU just makes sense. To h#ll with your media markets. You gonna water down the conference for media markets. I laugh when I hear people talk about the lack of respect the SEC gets. Then the same people REFUSE to respect another good program outside the SEC. I'll bet Auburn, UGA, Miss St, and LSU have a ton of respect for WVU. Oh yeah, that LOADED Oklahoma team that got murdered by them...Ask Bob Stoops about West Virginia. It won't happen, and that's fine. But when you have Missou (LOL), Louisville, or clemson watering down your conference don't come crying.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to rbhobbs73#226545:

Expansion is all about TV viewers. $$$ and nothing else.

Unfortunately tradition, success, facilities, etc...do not matter. The SEC wants to expand the footprint....period.

Because of this, you can forget Louisville, GA Tech, Clemson, Florida State, etc....SEC is already in those states.

There is also about a 2% factor about academics. The SEC is conscious of its reputation (due to the constant sniping of Big 10, ACC and Pac 10 fans) and as such, will not be adding schools like Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia who rank lower academically than every current SEC institution.

I have long suspected NC State will end up in the SEC and I still believe it. They are like A&M, they play little brother to UNC and this gives them a chance to carve out their own niche and gain a truckload of $$$.

This expansion works like most things in life...follow the money.

Start thinking NC State, VA Tech, Maryland, Missouri as the most likely schools.

The ACC has a $20 million dollar buyout. . .I don't see any ACC team jumping ship.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to 10cvolnga:

I agree with the extra playoff game scenario, however, if the other major conferences find themselves expanding to 16 (or more), they will be in the same dilemma. We may soon be seeing college football season ending mid-December instead of early December. This will be chaos for early bowl games, etc. Keep tradition in tact!!!

I'm starting to agree with you. Leave everything alone. Let tradition stand.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to delta_flash:

Maybe if we eliminated the likes of UT Martin, Montana, Buffalo, and MTSU from our schedules and they dropped North Texas, Kent State, and Georgia Southern from theirs, there would be a little more room for preserving tradition.

If you are in a 16 team conference, you would have to cut out the cupcakes, other than the ones in your conference. You would be looking at 7 teams that you have to play in your half of the conference, plus 2 or 3 inter conference play. Thus, your season is only left for one patsy at the most.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to rbhobbs73#226545:

Expansion is all about TV viewers. $$$ and nothing else.

Unfortunately tradition, success, facilities, etc...do not matter. The SEC wants to expand the footprint....period.

Because of this, you can forget Louisville, GA Tech, Clemson, Florida State, etc....SEC is already in those states.

There is also about a 2% factor about academics. The SEC is conscious of its reputation (due to the constant sniping of Big 10, ACC and Pac 10 fans) and as such, will not be adding schools like Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia who rank lower academically than every current SEC institution.

I have long suspected NC State will end up in the SEC and I still believe it. They are like A&M, they play little brother to UNC and this gives them a chance to carve out their own niche and gain a truckload of $$$.

This expansion works like most things in life...follow the money.

Start thinking NC State, VA Tech, Maryland, Missouri as the most likely schools.

Maybe you could answer my question, you generally seem to think logically. So if it's about media markets, what does the Miss. teams, Ark, USCjr actually bring to the table? We've got New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Atlanta, a good share of Florida, Nashville basically Memphis too (the entire state of Tenn), the state of Alabama. So what do these slacker programs we already have bring? Basing it on Media markets does not give you the toughest conference. I'm not disagreeing with you, I think the powers that be are basing this on media power. But media power doesn't make you the best conference on the field. I want the most competitive programs we can get. So since we have teams in OBVIOUSLY weak media markets, why are they in the conference is my question? If we keep kicking everyones a## in the BCS and NC games, the rest should take care of itself. If another conference makes more money than you through a TV package...WHO CARES?

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