Mike Strange: Enjoy Austin Peay and South Alabama, you paid for it

Mike Strange
Tennessee linebacker Jacques Smith misses an opportunity for a sack against Georgia State quarterback Ben McLane at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee linebacker Jacques Smith misses an opportunity for a sack against Georgia State quarterback Ben McLane at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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In a little more than a month, Butch Jones will open his Tennessee football coaching era against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky.

In 1977, Johnny Majors opened his UT coaching era against California and Boston College.

Then after he played Auburn, Majors got Oregon State and Georgia Tech.

Why dig up ancient history?

To point out how scheduling has evolved — and to ponder what direction it might go now that change for college football appears to be just around the corner.

During the recent spate of media days, the rhetoric from the various commissioners suggests the five remaining power conferences are close to breaking off into their own division.

In 2014, the SEC, ACC, Pac 12, Big Ten and Big 12 will account for 64 teams, about half of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The big boys want to play by their own rules when it comes to revenue and budgets. Alabama coach Nick Saban is telling anyone who’ll listen that maybe the Power Five — P5 for short — ought to exclusively schedule each other.

In other words, Saban is saying, no more Austin Peay, Western Kentucky or South Alabama. No more Memphis. No more Middle Tennessee State.

Season-ticket buyers ought to stand up and applaud. The cost of attending games has escalated, but the quality of the product hasn’t.

Well, maybe some think beating UT Martin 50-0 or Georgia State 51-13 is a quality product. I don’t. Saban doesn’t, either.

Depending on whether teams play nine or eight conference games in 2013, they had three or four non-conference games to schedule.

Of the 64 P5 teams, a mere 13 are playing at least two other P5 non-conference opponents. That’s counting independents Notre Dame and BYU as power opponents.

Tennessee is running with the pack in offering its fans one P5 game. They just have to fly three time zones to Oregon to see it.

Eleven schools aren’t playing a single P5 opponent out of conference. That includes Texas A&M, a preseason top-10 pick.

The last time the Vols scheduled two P5 opponents in the same season was all the way back in 2003.

In 17 of 19 years from 1970 to 1988, the Vols scheduled at least three teams that are now in P5 conferences.

In seven of those years, they played four.

Three other times, the Vols played five — five! — games against current P5 schools.

In 1987, UT took on Iowa, California, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Louisville. The Vols went 4-1 against them and finished 10-2-1.

Ah, there were only six SEC games in those days. There are eight now and it might go to nine in a couple of years.

Therein lies the favorite argument for hauling Buffalo to town. Hey, we’re battered like a piñata after eight SEC games. The kids need a break.

Often, the win-loss ratio needs a break, too. Otherwise you don’t qualify for the BuyThisThing.com Bowl.

The Sun Belts of the world, meanwhile, are hoping they don’t get shunned by the P5 power play. Western Carolina needs a payday from South Carolina, even if it’s going to cost 55-3.

Southern Miss coach Todd Monken likened it to “prostituting ourselves,” at Conference USA’s media day.

And the authorities will look the other way. I doubt Saban’s plan will ever fly. Even though the big guys are calling the shots, the majority are happy to pay the little guys to get a “W” done.

But I have to think a UT season-ticket buyer would prefer a schedule that included a marquee game like Oregon backed with meaningful competition instead of cupcakes.

That’s not to say Troy or Northern Illinois won’t make things interesting here and there. Western Kentucky might make things plenty interesting on Sept. 7.

Still, here’s a vote for renewing the old series with Georgia Tech. Would the Sunsphere explode if the Vols played Big Ten teams in the regular season?

In the meantime, enjoy Austin Peay and South Alabama. You paid enough for it.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 99

sameolvolalum writes:

34 days 'til FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!

RatherBeDrivingaTitleist writes:

I hate to break this to you Strange, but if you think any coach is going to ask his AD to schedule 12 teams that have a chance to beat him, you have lost your mind.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

So then I guess the bottom of each conference will finally not win any games? No conference will ever have to prove why they're considered a top conference or top teams.

I get it somewhat but every year you have your upsets. Every year I guess it's a fluke.

No matter what I still can't afford tickets so I guess it doesn't matter to me.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

The schedule is what it is..GBO!!

rusty_shackleford writes:

Lets see, go watch UT v Peay and spend a hundo or two or stay home and watch two ranked teams (UGA v Clemson), plus Bama v Va Tech and LSU v TCU. Our non conference schedule stinks out loud!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

Lets see, go watch UT v Peay and spend a hundo or two or stay home and watch two ranked teams (UGA v Clemson), plus Bama v Va Tech and LSU v TCU. Our non conference schedule stinks out loud!

Yep! Especially when Peay beats us. Or was that basketball. Anyhow it's sometimes fun to sit in the stands and watch UT slaughter somebody any body. It's happened before with even "big" name schools. I remember the first UT game I attended we slaughtered Ga. Tech. It doesn't really matter who the teams are for the first few games. Play down and win and work on game plans and getting some guys field experience. It's a great time especially the Tailgating and BBQ!

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Yep! Especially when Peay beats us. Or was that basketball. Anyhow it's sometimes fun to sit in the stands and watch UT slaughter somebody any body. It's happened before with even "big" name schools. I remember the first UT game I attended we slaughtered Ga. Tech. It doesn't really matter who the teams are for the first few games. Play down and win and work on game plans and getting some guys field experience. It's a great time especially the Tailgating and BBQ!

From "beat everybody" to "beat anybody" is 10 years. Ugh! I was there during the late Battle and early Major years (stinkers) to the glory days (stayed in Vegas and drove to Phoenix for the NC) and back down again. Can't wait to watch Butch bring back the good ol' days!

ivyvol writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

Lets see, go watch UT v Peay and spend a hundo or two or stay home and watch two ranked teams (UGA v Clemson), plus Bama v Va Tech and LSU v TCU. Our non conference schedule stinks out loud!

Got that right.

tovolny writes:

Well Strange has part of it right, but I believe he might be barking up the wrong tree when it comes to a 12 or 13 game season. The first game of the year used to be around mid-September. We used to play Auburn that first game and we knew what kind of football team we had. But with a 12 to 13 game schedule a few easy marks is expected. It allows teams to have what is really the same as a practice game;and, it allows weaker teams to build up their enthusiasm and put enough money in their program to survive. When we play Western Kentucky, Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, UT Martin, etc.etc., we are pumping up the state economy. So, from a financial situation, the in-state or near state games are good; however, this can serve to create some resentment from fans as they are naturally rooting for their hometown teams.

I think the NCAA should limit conferences to 12 teams. This 14 and the talk of 16 team conferences will sectionalize the fan base. 8 big boy conferences could be possible which would allow for a reasonable playoff structure. I THINK NOTRE DAME and other declared independents should be made to play in a different conference each year. This could rile up support all the place. Imagine Notre Dame in the SEC for one year, then the ACC, then Big ten. They could still be independent except for six conference must play games. This would automatically fix the playoff malady of independent teams.

Anybody got a match? I'll work for food and a bottle of Thunderbird.

chattabluetick writes:

Bama will be feasting on the likes of Georgia State and Chattanooga. All teams have these kind of games. So what

arkyvol writes:

in response to RatherBeDrivingaTitleist:

I hate to break this to you Strange, but if you think any coach is going to ask his AD to schedule 12 teams that have a chance to beat him, you have lost your mind.

fair enough. but if the powers that be at the U.T.A.D. think i'd pay Alabama or Georgia type prices to see Austin Peay or South Alabama, they've lost their minds.

northfan writes:

Lets see Bama's great non-SEC schedule. Virginia Tech-in ATL, Colorado State, Chat. and Ga State-I'll swap with them. We would have more fans in ATL. than in Oregon.

kyvol98 writes:

Scheduling only P5 games means the demise of football programs elsewhere. It is these sacrificial paydays that keep their programs running. Now, if you want to talk about breaking away from the NCAA and starting a new organization, I am all ears and would back that 100%.

MetroplexMojo writes:

Is there a SEC team (not required by the state) that has traditionally scheduled a tougher non conference schedule than UT?

chattabluetick writes:

in response to northfan:

Lets see Bama's great non-SEC schedule. Virginia Tech-in ATL, Colorado State, Chat. and Ga State-I'll swap with them. We would have more fans in ATL. than in Oregon.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Tennessee for many years was one of the few teams to always play the really good non-conference schedule. As tough as all conference games are now plus playing 8 of them and soon probably 9 its just not worth it if other teams in league don't follow suit. GBO

RatherBeDrivingaTitleist writes:

in response to arkyvol:

fair enough. but if the powers that be at the U.T.A.D. think i'd pay Alabama or Georgia type prices to see Austin Peay or South Alabama, they've lost their minds.

If you are a die hard like me, you buy season tickets and realize some games aren't competitive but you love it anyway.

volposter writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

Lets see, go watch UT v Peay and spend a hundo or two or stay home and watch two ranked teams (UGA v Clemson), plus Bama v Va Tech and LSU v TCU. Our non conference schedule stinks out loud!

+1

Actually a lot more than that if you have to drive a good distance and stay over.

mikethehistorystudent writes:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. College football is as popular or more popular than it has ever been. Don't go messing with a product that people love.

govols26 writes:

Well Austin Peay may not be a Bama or Georgia but its still Tennessee and its still a Saturday night in Neyland. I would love to see them schedule some better games but I still love my Vols and will be there in 5 weeks! At least we (should) will get the Butch Jones era started with a win!

stevefrommemphis writes:

I'll be giving away to various friends four season tickets to the first three home games. Pre-October, I will see Vandy v Ole Miss in Nashville and Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech and maybe Georgia Tech v North Carolina in Atlanta. If UT is going to schedule teams from the Sunbelt & OVC, I'll listen on the radio while I attend quality games at other schools - or I'll stay home and watch 3 good games on television instead of one meaningless game at Neyland Stadium. My first game at Knoxville is October 5 when Georgia comes to town.

scvol12 writes:

I for one would like to see better non conference games and have tired of paying to see the Austin Peays of the world. The fan experience has diminished in many ways at Neyland. Parking, not knowing times of games week to week, weak home schedules (especially this year), night games in November to appease TV, etc. It is no wonder attendance is down. I used to purchase 4 tickets per year but have dropped to two. If the fan experience continues to drop I may sit in front of my HD TV next year and let my two tickets go. I love my Vols but there are limits.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

The schedule is what it is..GBO!!

I remember a few seasons back chicken-yellow paid to get out of a game with North Carolina.

The reason given is "the game is too tough".

So they played mighty Buffalo

That is when I knew that Tennessee was a truly pathetic national embarrassment for the program

DarthVol writes:

The solution of course is to have 6 confernces with 11 teams. Each conference plays ONLY conference teams during the season ending with a conference championship game. The conference champions play each other in a 4 game "bowl" playoff system that includes possibly the sun belt and conference usa champions (insert your highest ranked non p5 schools here). It will take away a lot of the fun games we love to see in college football but solves some of the problems within the system currently. But you dont get to have everything.
Personally, i like it flawed and controversial.

DC82_Vol writes:

So, play teams that can beat you every week while other teams can play an easy schedule and make the playoffs. HMMMM, seems smart to me. Besides, you're not always at the top of the heap. As we Vol fans can attest to.

cheetah-vol writes:

There are a lot of reasons some of these non-conference games are scheduled. Helps out a smaller school get some exposure, and Mike mentions one by giving the starters some rest so the backups will get some game time experience. Supposedly, these games will cut down on the risk of injury, but, heck, Chuck Webb's career ended on a fluke play against Pacific.

It seems to me that if the overall objective is to get butts in seats, then they need to lower the ticket prices for some these games. Even some of the season ticket holders will give their tickets to friends and co-workers. And, I kinda doubt the scalpers outside the stadium collect more than face value unless the ticket guaranteed you could run through the T and stand on the sidelines.

underthehill writes:

in response to govols26:

Well Austin Peay may not be a Bama or Georgia but its still Tennessee and its still a Saturday night in Neyland. I would love to see them schedule some better games but I still love my Vols and will be there in 5 weeks! At least we (should) will get the Butch Jones era started with a win!

TImes have changed for me..there may have been a time I would go just because it was UT and I didn't care who they were playing..no more..UT being all about money is a huge part of my feeling this way..ain't gonna pay parking prices, coke and popcorn prices, ain't gonna try to sit in the stupid size seats..last time I talked with a friend who often offers free tickets..I told him don't bother unless he wanted to give me gas money, money for concessions, and his parking pass..he hasn't offered any tickets since..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to underthehill:

TImes have changed for me..there may have been a time I would go just because it was UT and I didn't care who they were playing..no more..UT being all about money is a huge part of my feeling this way..ain't gonna pay parking prices, coke and popcorn prices, ain't gonna try to sit in the stupid size seats..last time I talked with a friend who often offers free tickets..I told him don't bother unless he wanted to give me gas money, money for concessions, and his parking pass..he hasn't offered any tickets since..

I'm kind of on the fence about this issue. Back in my Pike days it was mandatory to party like the end of the world no matter the opponent. Now days, traveling with my wife and children I cherry pick games for value, and wanting to see UT win at the end of the day. Needless to say we haven't made the Bama game away or home since 2009.

gohawks1 writes:

Ol' Mikey has lost his marbles. Fans want a W in the win-loss column and a bowl game invite. They get testy when that doesn't happen. Don't take my word for it... just ask Dooley.

volbike writes:

The seat size is a real issue. Our family had tickets for 40 years on a row cut by the gate and sat right next to it. In 40 years the average size of the other eight attendees on our half row mushroomed about 4 belt notches so that every time you stood up you sat down quickly to reclaim your 18 inches but still got squeezed. We really did not enjoy sitting cheek to cheek and wrestling for our tiny space. Then the people in front of us started paying for those chairbacks which ground into our knees. Since the current occupants from their size must be buying 20% more concessions than they did 40 years ago maybe they could make the seats 20 inches?? I know that is impractical but only one person mentioned the seating size as an issue and no one mentioned the fact that at least 25% of the seat have poor views. The lines are not long at my concession stand or facilities. The parking is free. I can change the channel during the incessant commercials and ridiculously long play reviews. We go to one game a year and meet with fraternity brothers for a big BBQ tailgate and then afterwards most everyone goes back to homes of friends and watches on the tube I mean screen. Times have changed we can't go back and we just have to adjust.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

I remember a few seasons back chicken-yellow paid to get out of a game with North Carolina.

The reason given is "the game is too tough".

So they played mighty Buffalo

That is when I knew that Tennessee was a truly pathetic national embarrassment for the program

Why do you care?? You've admitted you're not a UT or SEC fan so why bother?

laraccoon writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Why do you care?? You've admitted you're not a UT or SEC fan so why bother?

he is a U T fan still bitter over Fulmer getting fired who has several different screen names , crying out for attention like a little girl who was probably never man enough to buckle up a chinstrap himself !

govols26 writes:

in response to underthehill:

TImes have changed for me..there may have been a time I would go just because it was UT and I didn't care who they were playing..no more..UT being all about money is a huge part of my feeling this way..ain't gonna pay parking prices, coke and popcorn prices, ain't gonna try to sit in the stupid size seats..last time I talked with a friend who often offers free tickets..I told him don't bother unless he wanted to give me gas money, money for concessions, and his parking pass..he hasn't offered any tickets since..

Yea I get that and I can't blame you for that. Those 3 game tickets deals UT was doing was a great deal and the seats were pretty good too but for me that means getting a hotel and paying $120 in gas every time so the money definitely adds up. But when I can afford to go I go regardless of the opponent. Its fun just getting to experience game day even if I can't do it nearly as much as I'd like to.

volhome writes:

Actually I like the games against what may be called 'lesser' opponents. If UT was wise they would price those games much lower (say 20%) and remind everyone everywhere that seeing games at Neyland Stadium is something special.

For the naysayers about the seat size and comfort, I'm all for removing the bleachers and putting in decent chairs with backs and arms. We may lose some numbers, but folks would be willing to pay a bit more for the comfort. Sadly, we had to move out of state (yuck, FL again) following the job last year, and had to give up our season tickets of sixteen years. Whether the teams were good, bad, or in between, we miss seeing our Vols live. Be glad to go when you can.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to laraccoon:

he is a U T fan still bitter over Fulmer getting fired who has several different screen names , crying out for attention like a little girl who was probably never man enough to buckle up a chinstrap himself !

For the life of me i can't understand the infatuation with a coach..Yes, he was great for a time, but Tuberville, Spurrier, Saban, Meyer, Miles and even Richt had figured his scheme out and were beating him on a regular basis. I was a huge supporter of Johnny Majors, but when he left i got over it..Why, because i'm a UT man first, always will be.

arkyvol writes:

in response to govols26:

Well Austin Peay may not be a Bama or Georgia but its still Tennessee and its still a Saturday night in Neyland. I would love to see them schedule some better games but I still love my Vols and will be there in 5 weeks! At least we (should) will get the Butch Jones era started with a win!

economic realities and cable t.v. being what they are, I suspect you're gonna have a lot of room to spread out in neyland.

GOJO writes:

in response to laraccoon:

he is a U T fan still bitter over Fulmer getting fired who has several different screen names , crying out for attention like a little girl who was probably never man enough to buckle up a chinstrap himself !

I see your point. Things have been sooooo much better post Fulmer - - all those conference titles, national championships etc.
Yes, I still have season tickets despite the fact my own bottom is greater than 18 inches. I don't get to go much any more due to health concerns. Since I am a four-hour drive away I have trouble giving away some tickets.
I saw The General pace the sidelines, so I am not a Johnny come lately.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RatherBeDrivingaTitleist:

I hate to break this to you Strange, but if you think any coach is going to ask his AD to schedule 12 teams that have a chance to beat him, you have lost your mind.

Isn't that pretty much what Saban was saying? He may have a unique perspective, and he knows it's probably unlikely, but as stated, the quote shows he's willing to entertain the notion. It is about the only way I see that the big programs can do what they want to make money and spend money as they please. It IS hard to justify all the costs involved in attending games to watch glorified scrimmages. As long as everybody else, for the excellent reason you stated, continues to schedule a plurality of creampuffs out of conference, the Vols have no special obligation to lead the way, though fans clearly don't like the way things are set up now.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mikethehistorystudent:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. College football is as popular or more popular than it has ever been. Don't go messing with a product that people love.

Well, yes and no. No-shows by ticket holders trouble nearly every sports franchise at every level. TV ratings for non-marquee games are low. TV money isn't equally distributed. Costs of attendance are soaring. Fans are demanding a better return on that ever-escalating investment.

JSmith525 writes:

It will eventually come down to the 5 super conferences breaking away from the NCAA. The writing has been on the wall for a few years. And it's the NCAA's fault. They make tons of money off of the BCS conferences. Yet, they fail to show consistency in their decisions when it comes to recruiting violations and other investigations of programs not following the rules. Most of their rules are outdated and they seem to not care about getting those type rules off the books. Without the Super 5 conferences the NCAA would be nothing. Maybe they should wake the h3ll up before their cash cow leaves town. 5 super conferences with 16 teams each will be the norm in a few short years. That will equate to 80 teams, more than half of the division 1 programs. it will happen. JMO.

tel61460 writes:

The answer is obvious and I really can't believe the complacency of the commenters. Guess folks love seeing Neyland half full with people who are cousins and friends of the actual ticket holders. imagine the difference in attendance and excitment if Austin Peay, Western Kentucky and South Alabama were FSU, Oklahoma and USC! Stadium would be packed and the anticipation for each game would be HUGE; not to mention the fact that each game would be on national TV! I say play real competition and fill the stadium, get better, get more national attention and make more money!

JSmith525 writes:

As far as your article Mr. Strange. Sure why not? Why not schedule 4 div 1 non conference games each season. Just as soon as the other SEC teams do the same. It will happen as soon as the 5 super conferences tell the NCAA to take a hike. And it would be awesome for College Football fans. But it's not going to happen until there is a requirement to do so. Based on your article you already know that and you already know why!

tel61460 writes:

One other thing: look at the University of Miami's schedule when they emerged on the national seen and won multiple championships. They took on all comers and it didn't seem to hurt them; in fact, the quality of the opposition just made them better.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

For the life of me i can't understand the infatuation with a coach..Yes, he was great for a time, but Tuberville, Spurrier, Saban, Meyer, Miles and even Richt had figured his scheme out and were beating him on a regular basis. I was a huge supporter of Johnny Majors, but when he left i got over it..Why, because i'm a UT man first, always will be.

Look up the records junior, Fulmer always schedule great non-conference games, and he was a great recruiter and Coach. I am not surprised a bitter Johnny Majors fan would support firing Fulmer. Truth be told Fulmer was probably responsible for recruiting most of the players J-M had.

RockyMtnVol writes:

Another pointless article by Mike. First, this is 2013 Mike, the teams of the 70s and 80s no longer exist. The SEC is rated the #1 conference every year......every year. Scheduling Power Houses between Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina etc...talk about player safety...you're basically asking UT to jepordize the chance to have a winning season to play heavy hitters......sorry, your logic sucks.

romevol writes:

in response to RockyMtnVol:

Another pointless article by Mike. First, this is 2013 Mike, the teams of the 70s and 80s no longer exist. The SEC is rated the #1 conference every year......every year. Scheduling Power Houses between Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina etc...talk about player safety...you're basically asking UT to jepordize the chance to have a winning season to play heavy hitters......sorry, your logic sucks.

+1

JSmith525 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Look up the records junior, Fulmer always schedule great non-conference games, and he was a great recruiter and Coach. I am not surprised a bitter Johnny Majors fan would support firing Fulmer. Truth be told Fulmer was probably responsible for recruiting most of the players J-M had.

"Fulmer always scheduled GREAT non-conference games" Sure he did "Junior" NOT, he scheduled the cream puffs just like all other programs did. He had his 1 and sometimes 2 BIG games a year and the rest were cream puffs. Well except maybe Wyoming in 08 which he lost which led to his being removed. Just saying!

A little history for you since you like to spout off without really knowing the facts of which you spout off about.

1999-2000: Wyoming, Memphis & Notre Dame
2000-2001: Southern Miss, La. Monroe & Memphis
2001-2002: Syracuse, Notre Dame & Memphis
2002-2003: Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Rutgers & Miami
2003-2004: Fresno State, Marshall, Duke & Miami
2004-2005: UNLV, La. Tech, Notre Dame
2005-2006: UAB, Notre Dame * Memphis
2006-2007: Cal, Air Force, Marshall & Memphis
2007-2008: Cal, Southern Miss, LA-Lafayette & Arkansas State
2008-2009: UCLA, UAB, Northern Illinois & Wyoming

It's not very hard to become educated on "FACTS" these days. Some should get that education before making themselves look ignorant of the "Facts" by posting common BS. Just Saying!

jjk writes:

I would like to think that ticket prices could be lower for the "cupcake" games. If the game is an obvious beatdown of a win, why not just charge non-season ticket holders $20 per game, or two for the price of one? I don't think the university would lose much if the stadium was packed.

govols26 writes:

in response to arkyvol:

economic realities and cable t.v. being what they are, I suspect you're gonna have a lot of room to spread out in neyland.

Unfortunately you're probably right. I'd rather pay to see this one live than pay to see it on PPV though. Just my opinion but I can't blame anyone for disagreeing.

govols26 writes:

in response to volhome:

Actually I like the games against what may be called 'lesser' opponents. If UT was wise they would price those games much lower (say 20%) and remind everyone everywhere that seeing games at Neyland Stadium is something special.

For the naysayers about the seat size and comfort, I'm all for removing the bleachers and putting in decent chairs with backs and arms. We may lose some numbers, but folks would be willing to pay a bit more for the comfort. Sadly, we had to move out of state (yuck, FL again) following the job last year, and had to give up our season tickets of sixteen years. Whether the teams were good, bad, or in between, we miss seeing our Vols live. Be glad to go when you can.

Couldn't agree with you more. Something I've noticed too is that hotels in Knoxville are way more expensive on weekends for SEC games than for non conference games so for those of us like you and I that have to stay overnight to see a game that is an added bonus- even if the opponent isn't the most compelling.

SevenT writes:

in response to JSmith525:

"Fulmer always scheduled GREAT non-conference games" Sure he did "Junior" NOT, he scheduled the cream puffs just like all other programs did. He had his 1 and sometimes 2 BIG games a year and the rest were cream puffs. Well except maybe Wyoming in 08 which he lost which led to his being removed. Just saying!

A little history for you since you like to spout off without really knowing the facts of which you spout off about.

1999-2000: Wyoming, Memphis & Notre Dame
2000-2001: Southern Miss, La. Monroe & Memphis
2001-2002: Syracuse, Notre Dame & Memphis
2002-2003: Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Rutgers & Miami
2003-2004: Fresno State, Marshall, Duke & Miami
2004-2005: UNLV, La. Tech, Notre Dame
2005-2006: UAB, Notre Dame * Memphis
2006-2007: Cal, Air Force, Marshall & Memphis
2007-2008: Cal, Southern Miss, LA-Lafayette & Arkansas State
2008-2009: UCLA, UAB, Northern Illinois & Wyoming

It's not very hard to become educated on "FACTS" these days. Some should get that education before making themselves look ignorant of the "Facts" by posting common BS. Just Saying!

I believe every single one of those schools are FBS schools......Tennessee now schedules FCS teams regularly to get a bye win and hopefully be bowl eligible. Nice try

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