University Of Tennessee Vs. Ole Miss At Neyland Stadium Sells Out

Neyland Stadium. Photo: Courtesy of the University of Tennessee Athletic Department.

The University of Tennessee Volunteers are set to take on No. 13 Ole Miss on Saturday (Oct. 16) in front of a sold out Neyland Stadium with over 100,000 fans. This game marks the program’s first sellout since its Georgia game in September of 2017.

Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White announced that Saturday’s contest will be a #CheckerNeyland game, showcasing Tennessee’s iconic checkerboard pattern through Neyland Stadium. The fan-driven initiative will be the fifth in program history and the first since 2017. Fans are encouraged to wear orange or white, depending on their seat location. To find out if your section is orange or white, click here.

The Saturday primetime showdown features the two fastest offenses in the Power Five. Ole Miss and Tennessee run 2.89 and 2.87 offensive plays per minute, respectively.

Head coach Josh Heupel‘s Volunteers (4-2, 2-1 SEC) are riding a two-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 107-44 during that stretch, including back-to-back 28-point first quarters for the first time in modern program history. Ole Miss (4-1, 1-1) enters the contest following a 52-51 shootout victory over then-No. 13 Arkansas last Saturday in Oxford.

The game will be aired on SEC Network and kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. CT. Gates to Neyland Stadium open at 5:30 p.m.

College Corner: OVC & Southland Conference, TSU Basketball, Lipscomb Hall Of Fame

OVC And Southland Conference Announce Football Scheduling Alliance

The Ohio Valley Conference has made a football scheduling partnership with the Southland Conference. This alliance comes after Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky University, Austin Peay and Belmont announced its departure from the OVC.

This collaboration will see institutions from each conference fill non-conference dates in the next two years with a focus toward competitive balance and reasonable travel.  In addition to providing quality Division I FCS non-conference matchups, the alliance will allow increased visibility, exposure and branding for each Conference.

“Our Presidents, Chancellors and Athletic Directors have enthusiastically supported this alliance,” says OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “We are delighted to work together to promote one another and provide a quality student-athlete experience. This partnership strengthens not only both football leagues, but the FCS overall with quality non-conference matchups. Given the changing Division I landscape, this demonstrates ways that conferences can collaborate to support one another.”

“We greatly anticipate the possibilities of a beneficial partnership with the Ohio Valley Conference,” says Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett. “The Southland presidents and athletic directors have found this to be an exciting competitive opportunity with their OVC peers, and we all look forward to some outstanding and meaningful FCS crossover games during the next two seasons. We all appreciate the strong level of interest and cooperation between our two leagues.”

More specific details, including game matchups in 2022 and 2023, will be announced at a later date.



Tennessee State Drops 2021-22 Basketball Schedule

Tennessee State University (TSU) has dropped its schedule for the 2021-22 season, which will feature 13 home games and big ticket matches against Nebraska, Lipscomb and Georgia State. TSU opens its 41st basketball season against Alabama A&M in Huntsville on Nov. 9; followed by a neutral-site contest in Atlanta against MEAC Champion Norfolk State on Nov 13.

Fans will have an opportunity to see the Tigers at the Gentry Center play hometown rivals in the home-opener against NAIA member Fisk University in the Battle of Jefferson Street on Nov. 16. TSU is 20-3 all-time against Fisk and is riding a 12-game winning streak over the Bulldogs after a 99-65 victory on Nov. 18, 2019.

OVC kicks-off at the end of December versus Tennessee Tech on the 30th. The Gentry Center on Saturdays in January will welcome games against Southern Missouri (Jan. 8), defending OVC Champion Morehead State (Jan. 15), and Austin Peay (Jan. 22). The Tigers will flip-flop games in February with three of four games on Thursday evenings against Belmont (Feb. 3), Murray State (Feb. 10), and SIU-Edwardsville (Feb. 17). Senior day is slated for Saturday, Feb. 19 vs. Eastern Illinois.



Lipscomb Athletics Announces 2021 Hall Of Fame Class

Lipscomb University Athletics has announced the addition of four inductees into the department’s Hall of Fame.

The 2021 honorees are Ann Mullins (volleyball/2005-07), Alex Kelly Samuels (volleyball/2007-10), Jake Pease House (volleyball/2007-10) and Andy Lane (meritorious service/1984-2020).

Mullins, Samuels and House were all ASUN Volleyball Champions and have been inducted in the ASUN Hall of Fame for their success at Lipscomb and in the conference.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13 at noon in the George Shinn Event Center on the Lipscomb Campus. Tickets are $25 per person and tables of eight may be reserved for $200.

Nissan Stadium Upgrades Security Screening Process

Nissan Stadium. Photo: By Danny Parker/Tennessee Titans

Nissan Stadium has been introducing many new initiatives and stadium additions this year in order to enhance the fan experience. Now the stadium has upgraded its security screening technology when entering the arena by partnering with Evolv Technology.

Evolv provides a secure and seamless screening experience, making it possible for venues of all kinds to keep visitors safe from concealed weapons, public health threats and intruders, according to the Evolv website. Fans will then scan their mobile tickets and enter the stadium.

The new process simplifies how fans enter the arena to encourage safety and efficiency.

Now fans will no longer need to remove metal items from their pockets or clear bags, like keys, wallets etc. With the new technology, fans will walk through the Evolv gates without stopping and holding up foot traffic.

Evolv’s touchless screening system for weapons detection and health-related threats is built on the Evolv Cortex AI software platform.

College Corner: Vandy Baseball, UTK Football And Neyland Stadium, Belmont’s Evan Bradds

Vanderbilt Baseball Drops Full 2022 Schedule

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt has released its 2022 baseball schedule and will play 55 games, 34 of which will be hosted at Hawkins Field, the complete 2022 schedule was unveiled Monday by head coach Tim Corbin who is entering his 20th season with the Commodores.

The Dores will start their season with a nine-game homestand, playing Oklahoma State (Feb. 18-20) then a weekend series against Army (Feb. 25-27), as well as midweek games against North Alabama (Feb. 22), Evansville (Feb. 23) and Central Arkansas (March 1). Vandy will take a long trip to Hawaii for its first road trip of the campaign, facing off with the Rainbow Warriors for a four-game road series.

Vanderbilt opens SEC play at home for the second year in a row, as the squad welcomes Missouri to Hawkins Field from March 18-20. The Commodores will also host league foes Tennessee (April 1-3), Florida (April 15-17), Texas A&M (April 29-May 1) and LSU (May 19-21).

The Commodores will face cross-town rivals Belmont (March 22) and Lipscomb (March 29) in neutral-site contests at First Tennessee Park.



UTK Updates Football Ticket Pricing, Additions To Neyland Stadium

Neyland Stadium. Photo: By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Athletics has finalized plans to implement a more simplified and modernized football ticket purchasing process beginning with the 2022 season.

Many season-ticket holders, beginning in the fall of 2022, will experience a price reduction. Access to season tickets will also be expanded to more of the Tennessee fanbase, as some areas within Neyland Stadium will not require an annual donation.

Along with the ticket changes, multiple new premium areas are scheduled for construction as outlined during this summer’s launch of the My All Campaign.’Sections impacted by new planned premium areas include the lower west (sections R-W, rows 1-22) and the upper north (sections YY7-YY9). Current season-ticket holders in these sections will have the right of first refusal for seats in this revamped space. There will be increases to the per-seat gift requirements coinciding with the enhanced amenities.

“From what I’ve heard thus far, I believe our fans are excited about the upgrades taking place at Neyland Stadium and the new areas we’re introducing next season,” says Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White. “With the lay of the land changing in several sections, it’s important to me that we communicate with our ticket holders throughout this process. They’ll have the rest of this season to assess which seating options work best for them.”

Fan experience upgrades include two new videoboards on the north and south ends of the stadium, a lower-west premium club, enhanced chairback seating in multiple lower-west sections and a party deck social gathering space on the stadium’s upper north end.


Former Belmont Basketball Star Evan Bradds Promoted Within Celtics Staff

Evan Bradds. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Former Belmont men’s basketball player Evan Bradds has been promoted to a player development coach role within the NBA’s Boston Celtics organization. Bradds is the Bruins NCAA Division I era career scoring leader.

Bradds graduated from Belmont in 2018 and joined the Celtics organization the same year. Bradds served as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws until he was called up to be a video assistant for the Celtics prior to Boston’s 2018 NBA playoffs run.

The Celtics are under the direction of first-year head coach Ime Udoka as Garrett Jackson, DJ Macleay and Steve Tchiengang were named to the team’s player enhancement staff with Bradds.

Kane Brown Surprises Fans With Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City

Kansas City Chief quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Kane Brown. Photo: Alex Alvga

2018 NFL MVP and Superbowl LIV champion Patrick Mahomes joined country recording artist Kane Brown for an on-stage surprise in Kansas City on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Patrick Mahomes and Kane Brown. Photo: Alex Alvga

The reigning AFC champion celebrated his 26th birthday by helping Brown, Restless Road and Chris Lane sing “Famous Friends” in front of thousands of fans at the T-Mobile Center.

Brown played football in high school and is an avid Georgia Bulldogs and Carolina Panthers fan. He was also a guest on ESPN’s College GameDay on Sept. 4.

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Nashville on Oct. 24 to face the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. The two teams have some history over the past few season as the Titans beat Kansas City in the 2017 AFC Wild Card game 22-21, making it the first playoff win for Tennessee in 14 years. The Titans played the Chiefs again in 2019 in the AFC Championship game but lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs 25-24.

Titans Promote Kicker Randy Bullock, Waive Michael Badgley

Photo: By Alison P. McNabb/Tennessee Titans

The Titans have promoted kicker Randy Bullock from the practice squad to the team’s active roster after waiving kicker Michael Badgley on Monday (Sept. 13). Badgely struggled to perform for Tennessee on Sunday (Sept. 12) missing a PAT and a 46-yard field goal attempt.

“Every time we go out there to kick I hope they do their job, no matter who it is,” said head coach Mike Vrabel in a press conference Wednesday (Sept. 15).

Bullock has kicked in 107 NFL games over nine seasons, since entering the league as an fifth-round selection in the 2012 Draft with the Houston Texans. He played four seasons (2012-15) for Houston and five seasons (2016-20) in Cincinnati, along with stops at the Jets, Giants and Steelers. Bullock has connected on 168 of 202 field goal attempts and 215 of 225 extra points during career. He earned All-America honors as a senior at Texas A&M.

The Titans dropped their season opener to the Arizona Cardinals 38-13 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. They head to Seattle next to face the Seahawks who defeated the Titans division rival Indianapolis Colts 28-16.

Kenny Chesney To Executive Produce ‘More Than A Voice’ On SEC Network

Kenny Chesney. Photo: Danny Clinch

Country recording artist Kenny Chesney is dipping his toes into the SEC original show SEC Storied as an executive producer for its “More Than a Voice” episode that spotlights iconic football play-by-play voices from around the SEC. “More Than a Voice” kicks off the the 11th season of SEC Storied which begins Sunday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

The show focuses on the SEC’s original rise to becoming a cultural institution in the south. In the early days of television, the announcers’ calls of the games became synonymous with the teams themselves, and those announcers also became part of the fabric of the conference. Among them are John Ward at Tennessee, Larry Munson at Georgia, John Forney and Eli Gold at Alabama, Mick Hubert at Florida, Jim Fyffe and Rod Bramblett at Auburn and many more

“It was important for me to be a part of this film, because John Ward was such a big part of my life growing up and loving sports in east Tennessee,” says Chesney. “With his voice and his words, he painted a picture of Tennessee football that captured my imagination and the imaginations of so many. Meeting him was one of the highlights of my life–and I’m thrilled to be a small part of this film that sheds light on his genius and so many of the other voices who have made the Southeastern Conference really special.”

The eight-time Entertainer of the Year’s passion for how people connect in the moment was forged as a youngster listening to Ward’s play-by-play of University of Tennessee football on WIVK. An athlete who often trained with various college and professional teams, Chesney holds the record for the most Billboard No. 1 country songs, has sold over 30 million albums and topped the all-genre Billboard 200 nine times.

This is Chesney’s fourth film in association with ESPN Films, following “Boys of Fall,” “The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story” and “The Believer” on legendary former SEC football coach and 1966 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint Adds Location At Nissan Stadium

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is adding a location at Nissan Stadium with a new outpost anchoring the North End Zone. The popular BBQ spot will serve fans at all Titans home games, as well as other major sports and entertainment events at Nissan Stadium, including Major League Soccer and concerts like The Rolling Stones, Kenny Chesney, and Elton John.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint will make its home in a stand-alone building next to Gate 2. The culinary lineup features Martin’s Bar-B-Que fan favorites like Smoked Wings, BBQ Nachos, and Martin’s Homemade BBQ Chips with Ranch Dip. The restaurant will smoke all its meat overnight on location at Nissan Stadium in a Titans x Martin’s co-branded rig parked in the middle of North End Zone; it takes up to 24-hours to smoke, and as a result Martin’s offerings are more limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“As a proud Titans season ticket holder since 1999–game one, season one through today–it’s incredibly surreal for me to open a Martin’s at Nissan Stadium,” says Pat Martin, founder of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. “For almost 15 years I’ve had the privilege of feeding the good people of Nashville, and this Titans partnership is the realization of a longtime dream. Seeing our smoker make its home right smack in the heart of the End Zone, serving the best fans in the NFL cheering on the greatest team in the NFL while enjoying our BBQ is a crazy wonderful moment for me and my entire Martin’s family. Go Titans!”

The 2021-2022 Titans football season coincides with the restaurant’s 15th anniversary, as the original Martin’s first opened its doors in Nolensville in October 2006. Today, there are seven Martin’s locations peppered across the greater Nashville area, as well as Louisville, Birmingham, and Charleston. The organization plans to open a new Martin’s in Hendersonville later this year.

“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint the past several years, and what makes this partnership even more special is Pat’s love for the Titans,” says Titans Sr. Vice President, Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer Gil Beverly. “The fact that they’ll be coming into Nissan Stadium overnight to smoke the barbecue is an example of Martin’s dedication to their craft and commitment to our fans, and we couldn’t be more excited to officially welcome them into our home this season.”

Martins is the third Nashville restaurant to find new homes at Nissan Stadium this year. Last month, hot chicken joint Party Fowl and Slim & Husky Pizza Beeria also announced they’d bring their food to Titan game days.