Tennessee’s 2017 football schedule is beginning to materialize more and more, and though it’s still a few years off, it looks like the Vols might have an easier non-conference slate then what has been the norm in recent years.
The Vols confirmed a Nov. 4, 2017 home matchup against UMass on Wednesday afternoon, giving them non-conference games against The Minutemen, Southern Mississippi (Sept. 2) and Indiana State (Sept. 23), according to what FBSSchedules.com calls UT’s “tentative” 2017 schedule. UMass recently bumped up to the FBS level in 2011, while Indiana State remains at the FCS level.
Tennessee will pay UMass $1,000,000 for the trip and will consign them 3,000 tickets – 650 of which will be complimentary – according to a document provided by UT. The buyout for both sides is set at $750,000.
Barring unforeseen conference shifting, the Vols will play every other team in the East as usual, with cross-divisional games against Alabama and LSU on the schedule as well for 2017.
That, tentatively, leaves one non-conference game left to be scheduled for the 2017 season if everything else goes as planned. The Vols have neutral-site games scheduled for 2015 (UAB in Nashville), 2016 (Virginia Tech in Bristol) and 2018 (West Virginia in Charlotte) and are “engaged in various discussions with other cities about playing additional neutral site games,” according to a recent press release from the University. It wouldn’t be surprising for them to find another one in 2017 – perhaps in a city such as Atlanta – though no confirmation has been given for that yet. The Vols could reportedly square off with Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff of that season in Atlanta.
The Vols have been engaged in a standoff with the city of Knoxville over the Amusement Tax – an additional tax levied only on ticket sales at UT home football and basketball games – that eats into UT’s profits for true home games. That, in addition to Butch Jones’ desire to play in key recruiting areas, have driven UT to seek out neutral site games that replace one home game per season.
In case you missed it, Houston recently looked at Tennessee’s 2015 and 2016 opponents, which were recently finalized.