Looking at how well each team knows the conference's newest members
|Tennessee History vs. New SEC Teams|
|First Meeting||Last Meeting||Record vs.|
To an extent, there's going to be a good number of these features that are going to note how little experience this or that current SEC team has with the new members joining the conference in 2012. But Tennessee is one of those teams that really hasn't met either Missouri or Texas A&M all that frequently.
In fact, Tennessee's total of two combined games against Missouri and Texas A&M is tied with South Carolina for the lowest total in the conference. And the Vols have never faced Missouri at all; both games were against Texas A&M. (To make things even odder, South Carolina's opponent in both of those games was Missouri. But more about that, and my efforts to forget Brad Smith, later.)
The lack of games against Missouri is especially puzzling, considering that Tennessee has played the flagship university of every other state that borders the Volunteer State -- even nonconference opponents like North Carolina and Virginia -- and even a number of non-flagships -- like Louisville and N.C. State. And that border is supposed to be factor in making Tennessee one of the most logical rivals in the SEC for Missouri.
As for the games between Tennessee and Texas A&M ... perhaps it's best that they don't play that often. The early returns are not encouraging. Many of you will likely remember the 2005 Cotton Bowl, an uncompetitive 38-7 blowout that included 474 yards of total offense for the Vols and five turnovers by the Aggies. (Fun fact: It took almost 55 minutes for Texas A&M to score in that one.)
But let's go back even further, to the 1957 Gator Bowl. When we say that a football game today sets offense back half a century, this is what we mean. Neither team gained more than 200 yards in the game -- Tennessee had 191, while Texas A&M "amassed" 169 yards. The teams combined to complete seven passes on 14 attempts. The MVP or MOP -- accounts differ on which it was -- was Bobby Gordon, who gained 60 yards rushing -- on 32 attempts. Together, Tennessee and A&M attempted 94 running plays and averaged 2.9 yards a carry.
Tennessee won 3-0, as if that matters, on a 17-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. By that point, Tennessee coach Bowden Wyatt has presumably given up on actually scoring a touchdown.
The coach on the other sideline had already gotten some largely unsuccessful chances to beat Tennessee at another school -- and he would soon get even more opportunities to take down the hated Vols. His name was Bear Bryant.