New Look Season
While this schedule is not the same one that was debuted last fall, the 2020 Volunteer Football schedule features many intriguing conference matchups.
On July 30, the SEC made the decision to alter the 2020 football schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They announced that the season would move to a 10-game, conference-only format with games starting on Sept. 26.
For UT, that meant the season opener at Oklahoma scheduled for Sept. 12, as well as the three other non-conference games scheduled for this fall, would be cancelled.
With this schedule change, each team in the SEC would be adding two more cross-divisional opponents to the slate, to pair with the eight foes that were already on the schedule.
The SEC announced the additional opponents on Aug. 7.
“We made every effort to create a schedule that is as competitive as possible and builds on the existing eight Conference games that had already been scheduled for 2020,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
The Vols knew who they were going to play but would not know when until Aug. 17.
This new schedule for UT is as follows:
Sept. 26 @ South Carolina Gamecocks
Oct. 3 Missouri Tigers
Oct. 10 @ Georgia Bulldogs
Oct. 17 Kentucky Wildcats
Oct. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide
Oct. 31 OPEN
Nov. 7 @ Arkansas Razorbacks
Nov. 14 Texas A&M Aggies
Nov. 21 @ Auburn Tigers
Nov. 28 @ Vanderbilt Commodores
Dec. 5 Florida Gators
Dec. 12 OPEN
Dec. 19 SEC Championship Game (Atlanta, Ga.)
Opener at South Carolina
The Vols will be starting out the season against a Gamecocks team looking to improve upon their 4-8 (3-5 SEC) record from last season.
They will be looking to do so after returning 11 starters: four on offense and seven on defense.
One of those returning players is QB Ryan Hilinski. Hilinski played in 11 games for South Carolina last season. In those 11 appearances, Hilinski threw for 2,357 yards, completing 58.1 percent of his passes, while throwing 11 touchdowns to five interceptions.
The Gamecocks are only returning one primary receiving target for Hilinski in Shi Smith. Smith caught 43 passes for 489 yards and two touchdowns last year. The U of SC defensive unit is returning seven starters from a squad that finished 10th in the conference in points allowed per game, and 11th in yards per game.
In the year 2020, expect the unexpected, especially this football season.
Edited by Christian Knox and Ryan Silvia
Featured image by Ben Gleason