Early schedule snapshot: Tennessee

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Breaking down the Vols' path in 2009:


Sept. 5: Western Kentucky
Sept. 12: UCLA
Sept. 26: Ohio
Nov. 7: Memphis

My take: This year, UCLA has to come east instead of Tennessee going west, which makes the Vols' nonconference schedule significantly more manageable in 2009. All four games are at home, too. Even though the Bruins will certainly be no pushover, the Vols at least get to play two games before they go to Florida for their SEC opener. And given Tennessee's unsettled quarterback situation, it could take multiple games to get everything straightened out. The Memphis game is always one of those contests that looms as a potential pothole, because Tennessee gets no mileage out of playing the in-state Tigers. Plus, the game is sandwiched between tough SEC dates with South Carolina and Ole Miss.


Sept. 19: at Florida
Oct. 3: Auburn
Oct. 10: Georgia
Oct. 24: at Alabama
Oct. 31: South Carolina
Nov. 14: at Ole Miss
Nov. 21: Vanderbilt
Nov. 28: at Kentucky

My take: Anybody think there's a chance Florida might try an onsides kick or two when Tennessee comes to town? We won't have to wait long to see Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer go at it on the field. It's the SEC opener for both teams. The Vols lost by 39 points the last time they visited the Swamp, and Tim Tebow was still in the game throwing the ball midway through the fourth quarter. There's also the daunting stretch of Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The good news is that only Alabama is on the road. The Vols also get a week off before playing the Crimson Tide, who will be playing their eighth straight game in as many weeks. A November trip to Ole Miss replaces a home date with Mississippi State, meaning Tennessee has to make trips to the three teams being mentioned most prominently (Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss) in the 2009 SEC race.