Tennessee will play in the Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl this postseason, both the bowl and the Vols confirmed on Sunday afternoon.
The Vols (8-4, 4-4 SEC), who finished No. 21 in the final College Football Playoff ranking, will meet Big Ten foe Nebraska (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) in Nashville on Dec. 30 at 3:30 pm ET. This will mark the third consecutive bowl trip for Tennessee, and the third straight meeting against a Big Ten team after facing Iowa and Northwestern in the past two postseasons.
“Our entire program is excited about representing the University of Tennessee at the Music City Bowl,” Butch Jones said in a released statement. “This will be a great opportunity for our players to play in a NFL stadium against a very challenging opponent in Nebraska. We have a special group of seniors that have given their all for this program and I know they are excited about a final opportunity to play together.”
Tennessee last played in the Music City Bowl following the 2010 season – former coach Derek Dooley’s first year in Knoxville.
The Vols lost 30-27 in overtime to North Carolina that season. Tennessee has played in the city of Nashville three times in the past three seasons, twice at Vanderbilt stadium against the Commodores (2014, 2016) and once at Nissan Stadium – the home of the Music City Bowl – in the 2015 season opener against Bowling Green.
Tennessee’s trip to Nashville marks a significant postseason fall for the Vols, who lost n opportunity to make the Sugar Bowl with their 45-34 loss at Vanderbilt in the regular-season finale. That knocked UT back in the College Football Playoff rankings, and ultimately helped No. 14 Auburn earn a trip to New Orleans.
The Citrus Bowl – which could have selected any bowl-eligible SEC team not in the playoffs or in the New Year’s Six Bowls – passed on UT in favor of LSU.
That dropped Tennessee into the SEC’s pool of six games: the Belk, Music City, Liberty, Outback, TaxSlayer and Texas bowls. Recent trips to the TaxSlayer Bowl and the Outback Bowl made those unlikely destinations, putting Tennessee in position ultimately to end up in Nashville.
Per his contract, head coach Butch Jones will receive a $100,000 bonus for the Vols landing in the Music City Bowl.
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