"They are a big challenge for us," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "If you look at the history of the school and what they've done in a short period of time, it's quite amazing."
The Blazers only began playing football in 1991, spending five years on the Division III level before moving to Division I-A in 1996. They were charter members of Conference USA and began league play in 1999.
"They beat LSU in 2000 at LSU," Fulmer said. "And two years ago, a Georgia team that beat us barely beat UAB; I think it was 16-13."
The Blazers return 16 starters from a year ago.
"They've got a lot of good players," Fulmer said. "It's a scary team."
Tennessee, meanwhile, enters Saturday ranked No. 3 in the country in both major polls. Oddly enough, the Vols are looking for the first win in school history on the third day of next month.
In three previous Sept. 3 playing dates, the Vols lost 13-3 to Pittsburgh to open the 1983 season, fell 28-17 at Georgia to begin 1988 and dropped a 25-23 decision at UCLA at the start of the 1994 campaign.
Tennessee practiced for two hours Tuesday, splitting time between Haslam Field and the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center because of inclement weather.