Tennessee’s 2021 football schedule unveiled

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    (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics)

    Josh Heupel was introduced as Tennessee’s 27th head football coach on Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after his press conference concluded, the SEC unveiled the complete 2021 football schedule. Following a 10-game conference-only schedule in 2020 because of COVID-19, the SEC is moving back to its traditional eight-game conference schedule in 2021 to go along with four non-conference games.

    Here’s a look at the schedule Heupel’s first-year Tennessee squad will face:

    Week 1: vs. Bowling Green (9/4)

    Week 2: vs. Pittsburgh (9/11)

    Week 3: vs. Tennessee Tech (9/18)

    Week 4: @ Florida (9/25)

    Week 5: @ Missouri (10/2)

    Week 6: vs. South Carolina (10/9)

    Week 7: vs. Ole Miss (10/16)

    Week 8: @ Alabama (10/23)

    Week 9: BYE WEEK (10/30)

    Week 10: @ Kentucky (11/6)

    Week 11: vs. Georgia (11/13)

    Week 12: vs. South Alabama (11/20)

    Week 13: vs. Vanderbilt (11/27)

    Here’s a couple of quick thoughts on what stands out from Tennessee’s 2021 schedule:

    • Former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin will return to Knoxville for the first time as a head coach on Oct. 16 when he and his Ole Miss Rebels come to town.
    • The annual rivalry game with Alabama will be played on the Fourth Saturday in October for the second year in a row, instead of the Third Saturday in October.
    • Tennessee Tech will be UT’s fourth and final non-conference game. Prior to today, we only knew about South Alabama, Bowling Green and Pittsburgh.
    • Pittsburgh is obviously Tennessee’s toughest non-conference game, but at least its not some of the non-conference games it has had to deal with in the past. The Panthers went 6-5 this past season and 5-5 in the ACC. Tennessee will travel to Pittsburgh in 2022 for the final game of a home-and-home series.
    • Tennessee’s bye week will come during Week 9. The Vols will have played eight games prior to the bye week as the trip to Tuscaloosa will be the last game before the off week. Tennessee will then travel to Kentucky following the bye.
    • Tennessee’s season-opener against Bowling Green is 219 days away.
    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also the host of the RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.