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5 Non-Conference Games the Vols Should Play Again

Clemson Tigers

Photo via USA Today

The distance between Knoxville and Clemson, South Carolina isn’t all that far — less than 200 miles from the foothills of the Smokies to the foothills of the Blue Ridge, in fact.

The Vols and Tigers have played 19 times, with Tennessee holding an 11-6-2 edge in a series that dates back to 1902. Still, the two teams haven’t played in a regular season game since 1976. Their last meeting was in the 2004 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, a game Clemson won 27-14.

A lot has changed since that bowl game, as the Tigers have distanced themselves to become college football royalty while the Vols have tried to get back in that small circle for more than a decade.

The name brands and proximity of the campuses would make this an intriguing match-up that would almost have an SEC game feel.

While the two programs couldn’t be considered rivals, they’ve battled each other plenty on the recruiting trail, with the Tigers poaching All-American receivers Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers out of the Vols’ own backyard in recent recruiting classes. Tennessee and Clemson have gone head-to-head with other highly-rated prospects over the last few years, and the Tigers have built a bit of an inroad to the state of Tennessee.

In the most famous game in this series in 1974, Condredge Holloway led Tennessee in come-from-behind fashion to a thrilling 29-28 victory that ended in a walk-off two-point conversion.

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