Don’t look now but the Volunteers and the Gators could play the 12:00 pm game on SEC network. This would be new for the Tennessee football program and their fans.
Let’s take a trip to the past. Let’s say around 10-14 years ago; we are having a cup of joe chatting about SEC football. If you had told me in 2018 that the Tennessee football program would be in shambles, I would have called you crazy. Maybe shambles isn’t even the right word for the state of the program.
Tennessee hasn’t won ten games in a season since 2007. Before that, you have to travel to the 2004 season to see ten wins. Furthermore, since the 2005 season, the Vols have seven losing seasons.
Back to our conversation from ten years ago. If you would have told me that Mississippi State vs. Kentucky would get 3:30 pm time slot over Tennessee vs. Florida, I would have taken you to a mental institution. Mississippi State vs. Kentucky, really?
Looking back on our conversation, I suppose you’re a wizard because, at the current moment, Mississippi State and Kentucky are both better football teams than the Vols and Gators. In fact, that game could be one of the best games in the SEC on September 22. Mississippi State vs. Kentucky!
The Bulldogs are coming off a dominating performance over Kansas State on the road. Their defense under former Vols defensive coordinator, Bob Stoop, looks like one of the best defenses in the SEC. Kentucky, on the other hand, is coming off a huge upset win against the Florida Gators.
I’m not suggesting it was an upset because Florida was that much better of a team. In fact, I predicted the Gators would finish sixth in the SEC East only in front of Vanderbilt.
It was an upset because it was the first time in my 28 years of life I witnessed the Wildcats beat the Gators in football. It has been 31 years to be exact.
Other SEC games that day include Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia at Missouri, and South Carolina at Vanderbilt.
At best, Tennessee vs. Florida is the fourth best SEC game that week. So, it is safe to say that it will not be a 3:30 pm kickoff, which will be a massive change from what Vol nation has seen in the past.
In the past ten years, the Vols vs. Gators have played in the 3:30 pm time slot eight times. In that same ten year span, the rivalry game has only been played at 12:00 pm once. And, that was in 2014 when the Vols already had two losses by the time the game against the Gators rolled around.
Don’t take this post as a Vols bashing; it just shows how far both programs have fallen. However, Tennessee and Florida hired two coaches that should bring both programs back to the glory days. The rivalry game should be a steady 3:30 pm kickoff for years to come. But, as for this season, get ready to start tailgating in the am.