Tennessee's football schedule for 2009 has been released, sort of. Right now it looks like this:
2009 Tennessee Football
|Sept. 19||@ Florida|
|Oct. 24||@ Alabama|
|Oct. 31|| South Carolina
|Nov. 14|| @ Ole Miss
|Nov. 28||@ Kentucky|
Notice there are only 11 games, totally not taking advantage of the NCAA's generous beat-the-crap-out-of-a-complete-nobody 12th game allowance. To be sure, Tennessee will find a 12th opponent for 2009, but there's some interesting parameters they've got to work with.
There are open dates at the beginning (before UCLA) and in the middle (before Bama), so you can bet that the 12th game will fill the opening weekend slot. It will probably be a home game, too, but UT's already got seven home games slated, leaving the possibility of a road trip open. Then again, road games are usually against other BCS-conference teams, and the Vols have UCLA and Florida back-to-back already.
So my question for you is this: Were you Mike Hamilton, which open date would you fill, and what team would you play? There's two ways to answer this, either the fantasy game you've always wanted to see UT schedule, or a realistic answer of a team Tennessee is really likely to schedule.
In a fantasy world, my answer would be to play Texas, Ohio State, or Michigan; just because I like seeing UT take on national powers and it'd be fun to play those guys. But I realize that a Texas-UCLA-Florida run to open a season would be scheduling suicide. So a more realistic scenario is playing a Sun Belt team like the Troy Trojans of Troy (We're from Troy). What do you think?