Ranking Tennessee’s 2018 opponents from easiest to most difficult

Tennessee Football practice

The first football game is still around a month away, but it’s never too early to look through Tennessee’s 2018 schedule.

The following is a ranking of Tennessee’s games from easiest to most difficult. This list will help you figure out which days to head to Neyland Stadium and which days to head to Home Depot, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring… maybe Bed Bath & Beyond if you have enough time.

12) ETSU (September 8)

The best game that Randy Sanders ever called as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator was his first game as the Vols OC, the 1998 BCS title game. He was fired following the 2005 season. Sanders spent the next 12 seasons as an assistant coach at Kentucky and Florida State.

Now, he’s getting his first shot to be a head coach, only a couple of hours down the road at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

The Buccaneers re-started the football team three years ago, and have gone 11-22 in the FCS. This is a paycheck game for ETSU (keep the money in-state!), and a chance for the Vols to rest a bit after what could be a difficult season opener.

11) UTEP (September 15)

New head coach Dana Dimel has quite the rebuilding challenge at UTEP. The Miners were the worst teams in college football a year ago, finishing 0-12 and scoring only 141 points. But hey! That means there is room for improvement!

It’ll be a homecoming for Mike Canales, who served as the Vols quarterbacks coach in 2017 and is now the UTEP offensive coordinator!

Feel the excitement…

The Miners do bring back six of their top seven wide receivers, but the quarterbacks on the roster all have question marks. JUCO transfer Kai Locksley probably gets the start.

It’ll be a noon kickoff. Bring the kids and leave early when they ask for a third pack of Twizzlers.

10) Charlotte (November 3)

Leading into this game the Vols will have played Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina in a six week span. Charlotte will be a welcome opponent after that brutal stretch.

The 49ers went 1-11 last season, with their only win an overtime victory over UAB. This isn’t a good football team.

Back on November 29, 1995, Tennessee’s men’s basketball team led the 49ers (at the time known as UNC-Charlotte) by 26 points with 15 minutes remaining… and lost. It is to this day one of the biggest collapses in the history of college basketball. Yes folks, the Vols will finally get their revenge.

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