The Tennessee Volunteers, for a second straight year, will once again begin the football season on a Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, Tennessee announced that its season-opening game against Ball State will be held on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Vols will begin the season under the lights of Neyland Stadium.
The season-opener against Ball State was previously set to be held on Saturday, Sept. 3.
According to the press release from Tennessee Athletics, “this September also marks the 50th anniversary of the first night game in Neyland Stadium. A then-record crowd of 71,647 watched quarterback Condredge Holloway and the seventh-ranked Volunteers top sixth-ranked Penn State, 28-21, on Sept. 16, 1972.”
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This is the same decision that the Vols made last year when they moved up their season kickoff to a Thursday start time as well. This move is extremely beneficial to Tennessee for a number of reasons.
For starters, it gives Tennessee the chance to play on national television (SEC Network) on a day in which few other teams will be playing. By having the game on Thursday, Tennessee will have far fewer events to compete with the eyes of sports viewers around the country. With Tennessee hardly matched on Thursday night, the viewability should be far greater.
If the game was held on that original scheduled Saturday, Tennessee would have a considerable amount of competition when tracking down viewers.
College football’s opening Saturday slate includes Georgia vs Oregon, Memphis at Mississippi State, Notre Dame at Ohio State, Utah at Florida, and much more.
In addition to the advantage it gives the Vols on the television, it’s also a supreme setup for Tennessee’s week two matchup – Pittsburgh.
With Tennessee now moving the opening game up two days, it gives the Vols two extra days to prepare for Pittsburgh, a team that will very likely be ranked in the Top 15/Top 10 come the start of the season. The Vols will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers on Sept. 10.