Tennessee Football: 8 Non-Conference Opponents Vols Want on Future Schedules
Each year we sit in front of TVs and tune into as many games that we have time to consume. It's actually kind of exciting because each season we bear witness to new teams that show up like no other season before. Those teams and a handful of others each season collect wins that showcase their talent as players, coaches and their programs as a whole. As fans we want these teams to face our beloved program, to match honor and skill and basically see who can knock who off the hill.
I warmed up the survey machine again and hit up 100 Tennessee fans to see which eight programs they would like to see their Vols to lock horns with. Shall we.... non-conference?
Coming in at No.8 are the Missouri Tigers.
Since taking over in 2001 Gary Pinkel's Tigers have progressively gotten better. The first four seasons for Pinkel were pretty rough, and many thought that his third losing season in four years would be the end of Mizzou football for the old Toledo herald.
But, good things come to Tigers who wait. Since 2005 the Tigers have enjoyed respectable success including consecutive winning seasons and a 55-24 record since 2005, and a stunning win early in their 10-3 season last year against No. 1 Oklahoma. It was so loud and rowdy at that game, it was rumored that engineers were brought in the next day to inspect the Faurot Field Stadium's structural integrity.
TCU Horned Frogs
Coming it at No.7 is the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.
In 2000 with one one game left, Gary Patterson took over the football reins at TCU for Dennis Franchione, and since that time he has led the Horned Frogs to a respectable record of 98-28. Last season the Horned Frogs went undefeated and beat No. 5 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
The Mountain West Conference team is well loved in its community and recently started a $105 million renovation to Amon Carter Stadium to host an ever-growing fanbase.
Coming in at No. 6 are the Brigham Young University Cougars.
Since 2005 Bronco Mendenhall has turned the Cougars into a familiar face: competitors. The truth of the matter is that the Cougars have always enjoyed success as their storied program has defeated and suffered losses to many of the most prestigious program in the NCAA. During the remainder of BYU's tenure in the Mountain West Conference, they strapped two division titles to Mendenhall's belt.
Now BYU has jumped ship to ride along the Independent Conference with Notre Dame. Many claim that this move will enable BYU to navigate their way into a better position to make a run towards the BCS National Championship. Only time will tell.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Coming in at No. 5 are the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Tommy Tuberville will be starting his second season in 2011 as the Raiders' head coach. Last season the former Auburn head coach helped the Raiders finish with an 8-5 season and a bowl win in the Ticket City Bowl.
By now everybody knows Mike Leach's story and what he did for the Texas Tech program, but what remains is whether or not they can escape the controversial discipline issues that ultimately helped Leach get himself fired. Regardless, the Red Raiders have a storied tradition that keeps them in the limelight of competition. They were so good, in fact, that Derek Dooley hired their former strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie for one season before he was lured away to the University of Texas.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Coming in at the No. 4 spot are the Georgia tech Yellow Jackets.
In his third year for the Rambling Wreck, head coach Paul Johnson has led the Jackets to a 26-13 record.
The Yellowjackets have a deep history in Southern football dating back to more than an hundred years ago. Vol fans love their enemies especially when they're coated in Southern culture, and Tech is a fine example. Seated in the heart of Atlanta, they have enjoyed a successful tenure for as long as any other Southern team.
What makes them so desirable to Vol fans is being able to boast a win over UGA fans when they could face an in-state loss to a rivalry that dates back for the Dawgs to 1892.
Coming in at No. 3 are the Florida State University Seminoles.
I know this isn't the football team, but who would you rather look at, honestly?
Anywho, Jimbo Fisher has propped himself against his first season with a 10-4 record taking over for the historic coaching legend Bobby Bowden. You can ask yourself why FSU matter right now, or why is that that Vol fans have two top ACC teams in near the top of their list for non-conference games.
I think the answer is plain. Vol fans want Dooley to win against big name teams early and often.
If you have read this far, you know FSU stats and records; if you don't, check out http://floridastate.rivals.com/.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Coming in at No. 2 are the West Virginia Mountaineers.
I have to admit this was a bit of a surprise, when you factor in the school's history and record. Don't get me wrong, I think this Rich Rodriguez's biggest mistake. Had he stayed with the Mountaineers, he could have in all honesty tacked on at least one national championship, but he left it all to sweep up after Lloyd Carr.
But, hand grenades and horseshoes are all close winners as grandpa used to say. Rodriguez's successor, Bill Stewart, was a fine tactical commander. But he was pressured to resign earlier this month, and now the Mountaineers will break in new head coach Dana Holgorsen this season. Is this a step in the right direction? If it is, it will still be measured against Rich Rod's success, but is that fair?
Regardless I'm still shocked this team came in at this spot despite geographic location and cultural similarities.
Boise State Broncos
Coming in at No. 1 are the Boise State Broncos.
Who are we kidding? It's where Derek Dooley hired away his defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox. They are the team in the western hemisphere that everybody wants to beat including TCU, Utah, Oregon and USC.
In his fifth year as head coach, Chris Petersen has led Boise to an impressive record of 61-5 and the school has won nine conference championships since 2000. For a team that's locked into 1-A, you can't dispute their claim to superiority. I would be remiss if I did not say these guys have to be one of the most worthy opponents in the NCAA today.
I should also say this, that (expletive) blue turf at Lyle Smith field is the most distracting and ugliest thing I have ever seen college football. Do you think they know that?