Oklahoma will get an unexpected bye week before taking on Tennessee in Norman on September 12th.
The Sooners announced via Twitter on Saturday afternoon that their season opener versus Missouri State will be moved up a week to August 29th instead of its originally-scheduled date of September 5th.
BOOMER! The 2020 season opener has been moved to Aug. 29, one week earlier than originally scheduled.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) July 25, 2020
The move frees up a week before Oklahoma plays host to the Vols for an important early season non-conference showdown. The decision to reschedule the game comes as Power Five conferences continue to discuss the status of the 2020 college football season as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. So far, both the SEC and Big 12 have not moved to have a conference-only schedule for the upcoming season, but the Big Ten and Pac-12 are moving forward with conference-only schedules.
According to Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione, the decision to move up the season opener and give the Sooners a bye week after their first two games is due to the current pandemic. Oklahoma also has a bye week following their match-up with Tennessee. Those two bye weeks early in the season could prove valuable for testing purposes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of right now, Tennessee’s season opener against Charlotte in Neyland Stadium is still scheduled for September 5th. None of the Vols’ non-conference match-ups have been canceled or rescheduled at this time.
Oklahoma and Tennessee last faced off in 2015 in Knoxville with the Sooners coming from behind to beat the Vols 31-24 in two overtimes at Neyland Stadium.
The September 12th meeting will be the first between the two programs in Norman since 2014. Oklahoma won that match-up 34-10.
The Vols-Sooners game will be one of two marquee SEC-Big 12 games on September 12th, as Texas is scheduled to play LSU in Baton Rouge that same Saturday.