Tennessee To Open 2015 Season In Nashville
by Christopher Smith
Feb 07, 2014 10:30 AM EST
Now that Vanderbilt has become a legitimate threat in the state of Tennessee, the Vols plan to open the 2015 season with a game at LP Field in Nashville. Athletic director Dave Hart acknowledged in a team-released statement Thursday that trying to gain recruiting leverage was at least a factor in the decision to play a game in Vanderbilt's town. Tennessee will face UAB in its first game in 2015 at the stadium that houses the Tennessee Titans. The stadium seats more than 30,000 fewer bodies than Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., but perhaps the program can afford the reduced attendance revenue with a potential attendance record the next year. (The Vols will play Virginia Tech in Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016.) UT's schedule adjustments also have included suspending a home-and-home with UConn previously scheduled for '15 and '16. “It is exciting to have this come to fruition, and we look forward to opening our season in front of a great crowd in Nashville,” Hart said. Tennessee just wrapped a touted recruiting class this week and most feel the program is trending up with coach Butch Jones, but if the Vols were to become SEC East — and by proxy, national — contenders by 2015, the game against the Blazers may actually hurt them a half-notch. The UAB program is in disarray and won just two games last season, then watched its coach leave for a coordinator position under Bobby Petrino at Louisville. The newly-formed College Football Playoff committee has made it clear they will consider strength of schedule as a primary factor.