- Advertisement -

Tennessee should only benefit as Texas and Oklahoma join Vols in SEC

- Advertisement -

It’s official. Texas and Oklahoma are officially a part of the SEC. Tennessee fans should rejoice.

Let’s think about the many ties that the Vols have with Texas. First, why Tennessee “Volunteers”? The name comes from Tennesseeans’ efforts to fend off the Mexican Army in Texas’ 1836 War for Mexico. The states of Texas and Tennessee have always had a strong bond. Then, there’s the, “Who is the real UT?’’ question that seems to rile up both fan bases. Then, there’s Oklahoma.

Tennessee will play the Sooners in September and that surely can’t be a scheduling coincidence. There is an obvious storyline around the game that should be, well, quite salacious. After all, Tennessee coach Josh Heupel was a superstar quarterback for Oklahoma, winning a national championship and finishing second for the Heisman Trophy. 

Heupel, however, probably isn’t real fond of the current Oklahoma administration after they fired him following the 2014 season. Heupel has had a decade to stew on that. Think he’s excited about the trip to Norman?

Other than Texas A&M, who was a member in the Big 12 for years with Texas and Oklahoma, there isn’t a program that should benefit anymore from the drama that will accompany the Vols in their annual rotation with the Longhorns and Sooners. Moreover, there’s more than football at stake. Here comes some more drama.

- Advertisement -
SUBSCRIBE: “The Dave Hooker Show”

Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes was fired by Texas following the 2014-15 season. That was fine for the Vols, who quickly snapped him up. Think Barnes is looking forward to hosting the Longhorns or heading to Austin to face his former employer? No question.

The increased exposure in Texas should only help the Vols recruit the Longhorn state in every sport. Tennessee hasn’t had great success with high school football prospects from Texas, but there are just too many good players in Texas to view that as a trend as opposed to just an odd coincidence.

Tennessee might not beat Texas for a highly coveted prospect, but there are plenty of solid prospects to go around. Texas entering the SEC could be the final piece to help the Vols successfully recruit top prospects nearby Austin.

Adding two big-name teams like Oklahoma and Texas come with more storylines than a collection of Dr. Seuss books. However, the Vols should be able to take advantage of most of those recruiting ties better than most. They need to get that rolling.

Tennessee doesn’t have a player on its team that signed with the Vols out of a Texas high school, other than offensive lineman Max Anderson. The Vols have three transfers from the area: receiver Chris Brazzell II from Midland, Texas, offensive lineman Andrej Karic from Southlake, Texas, and defensive back Jermod McCoy from Whitehouse, Texas.

The Vols need to have more success recruiting Texas and the midwest with the Longhorns and Sooners providing a remote showcase for Heupel’s offense. Chances are the Vols will be just fine. There’s just something about a high-flying offense and an attacking defense that tends to reel in top prospects.

Adding Texas and Oklahoma sure did seem strange when it was announced in 2021. They didn’t seem like SEC teams at all. However, for some reason, they seem to fit the mold a bit better than before. It’s hard for the Big Ten so say as much.

While the SEC is adding two teams that are geographic and cultural fits, the Big Ten will be adding Southern California, UCLA, Oregon and Washington. Yipee.

There isn’t a single school in the previous Big Ten that would look at any of those schools as rivals or even teams with competing storylines half as good as the two teams entering the SEC. While Oklahoma and Texas enter the SEC feeling like they fit in, the Big Ten still seems to be trying to fit four round pegs in a square hole – perhaps all at the same time.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has been criticized for leaving money on the table in a television deal with Disney that seems to fall well short of the Big Ten’s television deal. However, the product on the field should be better in the SEC than the Big Ten. Why? There’s congruency between schools, meaning the current SEC programs know each other and, in many case, don’t like each other. I doubt there’s a brewing rivalry between Wisconsin and Washington.

UT versus UT. Heupel versus Oklahoma. Yeah, the Vols will gladly take that. After all, Tennessee has put in all the work to be spotlight ready. Now, it’s time to step on stage.

- Advertisement -

Latest YouTube Videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -