4. Charlotte is closer to Knoxville than Morgantown.
Tennessee football filled the Mercedes-Benz Stadium last year in Atlanta despite playing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in their season-opener. Vols fans travel well even in a down year like last year, when Butch Jones was coming off a disappointing 2016 campaign and looked to rebuild…only to collapse.
Anyway, this year, Vols fans head into opening day with a new jolt of energy behind first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt. That excitement alone has them more ready for opening day than in the past. And on top of that, for this neutral site game, they have an even bigger advantage.
Knoxville is almost the same distance to Charlotte as it is to Atlanta. Both are within four hours. It’s also almost as close to both cities, pretty much, as it is to Nashville, which is why UT is right in the thick of the growth of the New South. Anyway, Morgantown is significantly further away.
WVU is right at six hours away from Charlotte. So the location alone gives Tennessee football fans an advantage. As a result, you have to think the stadium in Charlotte will have more Vols fans there. Sure, the tickets are split evenly among the schools. But on the open market, it’s got to be much more likely for Vols fans to snag those tickets.
As a result, UT should have a bit of home field advantage against West Virginia. And don’t think that wouldn’t be a huge deal. With Dana Holgorsen’s air raid offense, the Vols crowd could cause a lot of distractions. So while this is reaching, it’s definitely a factor.