The Vols are only a couple games into 2016, but the team released its 2017 schedule in conjunction with a special episode of SEC Now on the SEC Network on Tuesday evening.
We’ve known the opponents for awhile, but this is the first look at the order and date of the matchups. Here’s what it looks like:
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) September 14, 2016
A lot can change over the course of a year, but at first glance, this appears to be a more balanced schedule than what the Vols face in 2016, with potentially huge matchups against Florida, Georgia, Alabama and LSU all separated by at least two weeks.
While the Vols have a few more spaces to breath earlier in the schedule in 2017 (and five of their first six games either at a neutral site or at home), November should be tougher than usual with a normally-stingy LSU team coming to Knoxville on Nov. 18, and a tricky out-of-conference matchup against a Southern Miss team that has already knocked off Kentucky this year after winning nine games and appearing in the Conference USA Championship Game in 2015. UT is taking on Southern Miss for the first time since 2007.
The Vols, as expected, open the season on Monday, Sept. 4 in Atlanta against a Georgia Tech team that won just three games in 2015, but is off to a 2-0 start this year. That will be one of the first games ever played in the currently under-construction Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will be home to the Atlanta Falcons. It’ll be the first matchup between the Vols and Yellow Jackets since 1987. It’s also the third time in four years that UT has started the season with a non-Saturday game.
Tennessee will play UMass and FCS-level Indiana State for the first time in history. The Vols take on SEC West foe LSU for the first time since 2011.