When previewing the season, many people had this game circled. On the road. At Tennessee. They said this is the game that is going to decide the Hogs' season. Two teams that could be 4-0 and looking to make their mark on the college football landscape. Neither team is where they were expected to be, but I think that's all the more reason to get fed up and ready to roll in Knoxville.
1) 1998. Yeah, we know what happened, no need to get into it. Just know that Hog fans of a certain age developed an intense hatred for the Vols that day and that it never really went away.
Tennessee owes their 1998 championship to Arkansas. Many believe that without that momentum killer, Arkansas would've gone on to win our own national championship in 1998 (few mention that Arkansas would have had to have beaten Tennessee a second time in the SEC Championship Game that year, but still).
While I hate that Tennessee won a national championship, we might've been stuck with Nutt for even longer had he had an actual championship ring. Still... I would rather have him still coaching my team and a National Championship in the last 25 years than our current state. Not that I'm calling for him to come back or for Bielema to begone. Geez... Playing Tennessee just dregs up too much stuff. I hate Tennessee.
2) Rocky Top (obviously). It's not even their fight song. Seriously, most Tennessee fans don't even know this. Tennessee plays this song more times than crazy people call Paul Finebaum. Listen, I'll play a GOOD song on loop as much as the next guy.... if you want to hear some Earth Wind and Fire, I'm your guy, but Rocky Top isn't even a good song. It's horrible. Even Tennessee fans get tired of it.
3) Preseason Hype. I've mentioned it before, but this may be the most hyped game between a 1-3 team and a 2-2 team ever. Pundits across the nation were all over this game before the season started, and it looks like it might actually be a good game. I try not to buy in to preseason hype, but I may have been fished in this season, and I was ready for this game. Remembering all of the hype that this game was getting, makes me furious.
4) Checkered Out. Tennessee has a complicated ritual to get hyped for a big game. Complete with website to help fans find their color when they Checker Neyland.
Last season, #VolNation showed the world why Tennessee has the most electric game-day atmosphere in football. In 2014, the doubters said Vol fans couldn’t do it, but that doubt was erased when fans checkered Neyland Stadium in convincing fashion. In only 11 days, the 100% fan-led initiative was "executed to perfection."
I don't think I've ever heard a color scheme get so much hype. It's only wearing a color....and I see some people wearing Orange in the white sections. It's not that impressive. We've done stripe-outs and it's really not that big of a deal. Get over yourself.
5) Nearly Quasi-Rivals (from Doc). For the first 10 years Arkansas was in the SEC, the Hogs and Vols played each year. Back then, each team had two permanent opponents from the opposite division instead of one, as they have since 2003. Arkansas and Tennessee had some great games between 1992 and 2002. Obviously, 1998 and the 1999 redemption game standout, but there was the 6-OT game in 2002 and the Hogs' upset of #4 UT in 1992. Peyton Manning never lost to Arkansas in his four seasons, but the Hogs came closest in 1997 when the Vols escaped War Memorial with an 8-point victory.
Tennessee was also the opening game for the newly renovated DWRRS in 2001, and promptly won 13-3. Not cool.
It became something of a cool rivalry, and unfortunately, the SEC took the annual game away from Arkansas after 2002. I've always really hated that. It's one of the least-discussed shaftings Arkansas has taken from the SEC since entering the conference.
This will be only the fourth time the two schools have faced each other since 2002.
6) Clay Travis is a fan and that guy sucks.
Reasons to like Tennessee
1) Butch Jones Game Management. If anyone was going to take attention away from Bret Bielema's late game meltdown against Texas A&M, it's Butch Jones and his failure to capitalize on leads in games against Oklahoma and Florida. Thanks Butch!