The annual SEC East rivalry game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Florida Gators is typically the 3:30 SEC Game of the Week on CBS when the two teams meet. Last year, the game was played at night under the lights of Neyland Stadium. This season, the annual rivalry won’t be in its usual 3:30 time slot again, but this time it’s the opposite of last year’s kick-off.
The SEC announced on Monday that this year’s match-up between the Vols and Gators on September 21st will kick off at noon Eastern in Gainesville, Florida and will be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2, or the SEC Network. It marks the second time over the last six seasons that Tennessee and Florida have kicked off at noon. The last time the two teams had a noon kick-off was in 2014 in Knoxville. Florida won that game 10-9 in front of the first-ever Checker Neyland crowd in Knoxville.
The TV network designation will be determined after the completion of the SEC slate of games this upcoming Saturday, September 14th.
Other noon kick-offs around the SEC in Week 4 are LSU at Vanderbilt, Southern Miss at Alabama, and California at Ole Miss. The Auburn-Texas A&M game takes the 3:30 slot at CBS with Kentucky at Mississippi State and South Carolina at Missouri both getting 4:00 kick-offs. Notre Dame at Georgia will be played at 8:00 Eastern on CBS as well.
The Gators and Vols have gotten off to polar opposite starts to their respective 2019 seasons. Tennessee is 0-2 for the first time since 1988 after suffering home losses to Georgia State and BYU (2OT) to start the year. Florida, meanwhile, is 2-0 with wins over Miami and UT-Martin.
Tennessee will take on UT-Chattanooga this upcoming weekend ahead of their match-up with the Gators the following week. Florida will travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky for a 7:00 PM Eastern kick-off.
Last year, Tennessee was routed by Florida in front of a home crowd in Neyland Stadium, 47-21. The Gators forced six Vol turnovers and led 33-3 at one point in the third quarter. Starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was taken out of the game briefly in the second quarter after sustaining a huge hit, and he was knocked out of the game for good in the third quarter after taking another brutal blow by a Florida defender.
Florida has won two-straight games against Tennessee after the Vols’ 38-28 victory in 2016, and the Gators have won 13 of the last 14 match-ups between the two teams. Tennessee hasn’t won against Florida in Gainesville since 2003.