Change of plans — Tennessee will now open the 2023 season with a game against Virginia in Nashville at Nissan Stadium. The game will replace a road matchup at BYU, which should have been the other end of a home and home with the Cougars.
Tennessee last opened the season in Nashville back in 2015 against Bowling Green. They also opened the 2002 season with a win against Wyoming at Nissan Stadium.
Virginia and Tennessee haven’t played since the 1991 Sugar Bowl.
“Pivoting to play a marquee non-conference opponent in Nashville made sense for multiple reasons,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “This is a more accessible game for our fanbase. I expect that we will have a much larger contingent of fans in Nashville than would have been able to travel to Utah. Our fans also have heard me talk about the importance of finding new revenue to grow our operating budget, and playing Virginia at Nissan Stadium is an opportunity for a net-positive revenue game. I appreciate Virginia AD Carla Williams and the Nashville Sports Council for working with us to make this attractive matchup happen.”
Tennessee will serve as the home team for the matchup.
Starting in 2023, BYU will be a member of the Big 12. They already had two SEC non-conference matchups scheduled before Big 12 play began, so the move makes sense for them as well. Per Volquest, a portion of the ticket sales will go to BYU as Tennessee “buys” its way out of the game. They’ll add a similar type of opponent in Virginia, which will be entering year one under Tony Elliott this season.
Austin Peay, UConn and UTSA round out the 2023 non-conference slate for the Volunteers.