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The End of an Era: UT Schedules a 1-AA/FCS Football Team

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In 2010, for the first time in 27 years, Tennessee will play a football game against a program from the lower division:  the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks.  (The previous 1-AA opponent was The Citadel in 1983.)  For those keeping score:

  • This is the first 1-AA team since roughly ten years prior to Fulmer's ascension to head coach.
  • Tennessee is the last SEC team to play a 1-AA team since the league expanded to 12 teams.
  • Reasons cited for the move were (a) tougher scheduling of gimme 1-A teams (a/k/a rising prices of 1-A cupcakes) and (b) a desire to keep the money in-state.
  • If you're prone to snark over this move, keep in mind the very next opponent that Tennessee plays - Oregon.  Then immediately after the Oregon game, Florida comes to town.

Thus dies one more bullet point in the bragging rights of one of the very few power teams to schedule a real nonconference schedule.  Keeping in mind that UT also plays Florida, Georgia and Alabama every year, with most years featuring at least one more perennial giant from the West, it's hard to defy the logic given in this move.

UT-Martin will come at a cheaper price, as 1-AA teams have lower operating expenses.  Keeping the money in-house (well, within the University system) makes a lot of sense during the economic crunch.

{sigh} It's a record I hate to see fall, but I'm going to enjoy hearing Georgia fans try to take a swipe at it.

(h/t GVX)