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Kickoff times, TV designations released for Tennessee’s first three games

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’ve got three months and some change before Tennessee hits the field at the newly renovated Neyland Stadium for year two under Josh Heupel. Quarterback Hendon Hooker returns, along with stud No. 1 receiver Cedrick Tillman, creating a level of expectation that we haven’t seen in a few years on Rocky Top.

Though it’s not even officially summer just yet, we now know the kickoff times and television designations for Tennessee’s first three games — all non-conference matchups.

Sept 1: Ball State at Neyland Stadium –7 p.m., SEC Network

For the second season in a row, Tennessee will open on a Thursday night against an opponent from the MAC. This will likely get more eyeballs on the game, showing off a new-look Neyland and letting the world see a little more of Heupel’s offense.

Sept. 10: at Pittsburgh (Heinz Field) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC

Here’s the early season big one for Tennessee. It’ll be a true non-conference road game for the Volunteers, facing Pittsburgh without Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison. The Panthers are going to have to find their offensive footing quickly, as Tennessee looks for some payback from last year’s loss.

Sept. 17: Akron at Neyland Stadium – 7 p.m. on SEC Network+/ESPN+

Tennessee returns home for another tune-up game before taking on their SEC schedule. Akron went just 2-10 last season, forcing a change at the top. Joe Moorhead takes over, and gets to travel to Michigan State and Tennessee in weeks two and three. You’ll need your ESPN+ subscription to watch this one.

Remainder of Tennessee’s 2022 schedule

Sept. 24: Florida

Oct. 8: at LSU

Oct. 15: Alabama

Oct. 22: Tennessee-Martin

Oct. 29: Kentucky

Nov. 5: at Georgia

Nov. 12: Missouri

Nov. 19: at South Carolina

Nov. 26: at Vanderbilt