Tennessee on the tube

Fans unwilling to pay $4 per gallon for gas to attend Tennessee football games this fall may get to see most of the action from the comfort of their living rooms.

The SEC office announced today that Raycom Sports will televise the Vols' Sept. 13 home opener against UAB, with kickoff set for 12:30. At one time that game appeared likely to be relegated to pay-per-view. One factor that may have helped land the game on TV is the fact the Blazers gave the Vols a real battle before losing 17-10 when the teams last met in 2005. That game also had a 12:30 kickoff and was televised by Jefferson Pilot.

As announced previously, ESPN has bought broadcast rights to Tennessee's Sept. 1 opener at UCLA, with kickoff set for 5 p.m. Pacific, 8 Eastern Time.

Now that Game 2 with UAB is locked in to Raycom, it appears that all of the Vols' September outings will be televised. Game 3 vs. Florida, scheduled Sept. 20, is likely to wind up on CBS, the network that has televised the last 12 Vol-Gator showdowns.

Game 4, Sept. 27 at Auburn, should be one of the most attractive matchups nationwide that weekend. The Vol-Tiger shootout almost certainly will find its way onto television.

Game 5, Oct. 4 vs. Northern Illinois, appears a prime candidate for pay-per-view.

Game 6, Oct. 11 at Georgia, is a good bet to be shown nationally, since many preseason publications rate the Dawgs a top-five team.

Game 7, Oct. 18 vs. Mississippi State, is a strong possibility to wind up as another 12:30 kickoff on Raycom.

Game 8, Oct. 25 vs. Alabama, should be at least a regional telecast on ESPN, especially if Nick Saban's Tide is as improved as some analysts are projecting.

Game 9, Nov. 1 at South Carolina, is always an attractive feature to the TV networks because of the Phil Fulmer vs. Steve Spurrier angle.

Game 10, Nov. 8 against Wyoming, is another likely pay-per-view option.

Game 11, Nov. 22 at Vanderbilt, could qualify for a Raycom berth since the Commodores gave the Vols fits in a 25-24 loss last November in Knoxville.

Game 12, No. 29 vs. Kentucky, also could find its way onto regional TV, since the Big Blue has qualified for bowl bids two years in succession.

Tennessee is hoping Game 13 will be Dec. 6 in the Georgia Dome. That's the site of the SEC Championship Game, which has a 4 p.m. kickoff on CBS.

Thirteen of the 14 games Tennessee played in 2007-08 showed up either on a network or on a pay-per-view telecast. The lone exception was Game 9 vs. Louisiana Lafayette. It was the first Vol contest played void of TV cameras since UT hosted Memphis on Nov. 12, 1994.

Between the Memphis game of '94 and the Louisiana-Lafayette game of '07, Tennessee played 161 consecutive games that were televised in one form or another.

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