Kelly, Cincy on 2011 UT slate

Brian Kelly may be coaching in Neyland Stadium, after all.

Kelly, who was a leading candidate for the Tennessee head coaching vacancy that ultimately went to Lane Kiffin last December, is head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats, who have agreed contractually to visit Neyland Stadium and face the Vols on Sept. 10, 2011.

Tennessee originally was scheduled to face Southern Mississippi on that date but the Golden Eagles requested a change. They now will visit Knoxville on Sept. 2, 2017.

Although Southern Miss is a solid program, Cincinnati represents an upgrade for Tennessee's 2011 schedule. The Bearcats have become a top-notch program under Kelly's guidance.

"We're very pleased with how things turned out," Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said in a news release, "and excited about welcoming coach Brian Kelly and the Bearcats to Knoxville for that game."

Tennessee leads the all-time series 4-1, including a 40-0 romp in 1992, the last time the two teams met.

Cincinnati has experienced unprecedented success under Kelly, going 22-6 since he took the reins. The 2008 Bearcats notched a school-record 11 wins, their first-ever Big East title and their first-ever BCS bowl bid. They finished the regular season with a best-ever No. 12 national ranking and, despite losing 20-7 to Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, posted their first-ever post-season ranking (17th).

Kelly left Central Michigan in December of 2006 to become Cincy's head coach. By guiding a 27-24 International Bowl defeat of Western Michigan - a team he beat during the regular season at Central Michigan - he became the first NCAA coach ever to beat the same team twice in a season while guiding two different programs.

Kelly was Big East Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. His no-huddle attack ranked 24th nationally in passing offense and 27th in passing efficiency last fall, even though the Bearcats had to play five quarterbacks during the course of the season. A stickler for special teams, Kelly fielded a squad last fall that led the NCAA in net punting (41.5 yards) and ranked among the national leaders in kickoff return average (24.2 yards).

Although he did not find his way onto Tennessee's football staff, Kelly seems glad to be on Tennessee's football schedule.

"Our philosophy is to play the best possible out-of-conference schedule," Kelly said in the news release. "The University of Tennessee's football tradition and geographic location make it a great match-up for us."

Tennessee's future non-conference foes also include North Carolina State (in Atlanta) and vs. North Carolina in 2012, at Oregon and vs. South Alabama in 2013, at Oklahoma in 2014, vs. Oklahoma and at Connecticut in 2015, at Nebraska and vs. Connecticut in 2016, vs. Nebraska in 2017 and at Ohio State in 2018 and vs. Ohio State in 2019.

Here are UT's completed schedules for 2009, 2010 and 2011:

2009 SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 vs. Western Kentucky

Sept. 12 vs. UCLA

Sept. 19 at Florida*

Sept. 26 vs. Ohio

Oct. 3 vs. Auburn*

Oct. 10 vs. Georgia*

Oct. 24 at Alabama*

Oct. 31 vs. South Carolina*

Nov. 7 vs. Memphis (HC)

Nov. 14 at Mississippi*

Nov. 21 vs. Vanderbilt*

Nov. 28 at Kentucky*

Dec. 5 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta

2010 SCHEDULE

Sept. 4 vs. UT Martin

Sept. 11 vs. Oregon

Sept. 18 vs. Florida*

Sept. 25 vs. UAB

Oct. 2 at LSU*

Oct. 9 at Georgia*

Oct. 23 vs. Alabama*

Oct. 30 at South Carolina*

Nov. 6 at Memphis

Nov. 13 vs. Mississippi* (HC)

Nov. 20 at Vanderbilt*

Nov. 27 Kentucky

Dec. 4 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta

2011 SCHEDULE

Sept. 3 vs. North Texas

Sept. 10 vs. Cincinnati

Sept. 17 at Florida*

Sept. 24 at North Carolina

Oct. 8 vs. Georgia*

Oct. 15 vs. LSU*

Oct. 22 at Alabama*

Oct. 29 vs. South Carolina*

Nov. 5. vs. Middle Tennessee

Nov. 12 at Arkansas*

Nov. 19 vs. Vanderbilt*

Nov. 26 at Kentucky*

Dec. 3 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta

*-SEC Opponent

HC-Homecoming


Inside Tennessee Top Stories