Tennessee football has never played these FBS teams

Tennessee has been playing football for 119 seasons and is 851-396-50 overall. However, in those 1,297 games, the Volunteers have never played these 29 FBS teams.
Tennessee football game at Neyland Stadium
Tennessee football game at Neyland Stadium / Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

The University of Tennessee has been playing college football since 1902 when as an independent team, the Volunteers went 6-2 under head coach H.E. Fisher. On the Vols' inaugural eight-game schedule were King, Maryville, Nashville, and Sewanee, along with Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. 

Tennessee then joined the Southern Conference in 1921, moved to the SEC in 1933, and played in and won its first bowl game in 1938, beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to finish 11-0 in Bob Neyland’s 12th season. 

In 1951, Neyland and the Vols finally got their first National Championship, finishing 10-1 with a Sugar Bowl loss to Maryland. Somehow, it took until 1998 for Tennessee to claim another national title, that time beating Florida State to finish off a 13-0 season Phil Fulmer’s first and only undefeated campaign. 

Tennessee still hasn’t gotten back to the mountaintop, but Josh Heupel has knocked on the door of the College Football Playoff. The expanded playoff coming in 2024 will be a chance for the program to get back into championship contention and potentially check off more of the FBS teams that Tennessee has never played. 

The bigger force driving Tennessee to play more of the 29 teams from the FBS level that have never been on its schedule, is conference realignment. College football is constantly reshuffling the deck and that could continue to reshuffle the list of Tennessee’s future opponents. 

American Athletic Conference

  • USF Bulls
  • Navy Midshipmen
  • FAU Owls


  • Stanford Cardinal

Big 12

  • Arizona Wildcat
  • Arizona State Sun Devils
  • UCF Knights

Big Ten

  • Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Washington Huskies


  • Liberty Flames
  • New Mexico State Aggies
  • Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  • Sam Houston State Bearkats
  • FIU Panthers


  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • Kent State Golden Flashes
  • Miami (Ohio) RedHawks
  • Toledo Rockets
  • Western Michigan Broncos

Mountain West

  • Boise State Broncos
  • Nevada Wolf Pack
  • San Jose St. Spartans

Sun Belt

  • Georgia Southern Eagles
  • James Madison Dukes
  • Old Dominion Monarchs
  • South Alabama Jaguars
  • Texas State Bobcats

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