Tennessee Football Changes Opponent, Location Of 2023 Season Opener

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    Tennessee football will no longer open its 2023 football season in Provo, Utah against BYU but against Virginia in Nashville, the university announced Monday.

    The originally scheduled matchup at BYU was the return trip of the scheduled home-and-home matchup between the programs. The Cougars won the inaugural matchup in Knoxville in 2019.

    “Pivoting to play a marquee non-conference opponent in Nashville made sense for multiple reasons,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White said in a statement. “This is a more accessible game for our fanbase. I expect that we will have a much larger contingent of fans in Nashville than would have been able to travel to Utah. Our fans also have heard me talk about the importance of finding new revenue to grow our operating budget, and playing Virginia at Nissan Stadium is an opportunity for a net-positive revenue game. I appreciate Virginia AD Carla Williams and the Nashville Sports Council for working with us to make this attractive matchup happen.”

    The schedule change could be due in part to BYU’s move from an Independent football power to the Big 12. While the official date that the move will be made is unclear, recent speculation indicates the Big 12 expansion could come before the 2023 season.

    Virginia enters the 2022 football season in the midst of a major change in its football program. Former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot is entering his first season as head coach after the Cavaliers’ posted a 36-38 record in Bronco Mendenhall’s six seasons as head coach.

    The matchup is the first time Tennessee and Virginia has faced off since the Vols knocked off the Cavaliers, 23-22, in the 1991 Sugar Bowl. Tennessee holds a 3-1 all time lead in the series.

    With the 2023 opener change, Tennessee’s future non conference opponents include: Virginia (2023), vs. Oklahoma (2024), Syracuse (2025 in Atlanta), at Nebraska (2026), vs. Nebraska (2027), West Virginia (2028 in Charlotte), vs. Washington (2029) and at Washington (2030).

    Tennessee’s 2023 season opener is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2 at Nissan Stadium.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.