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Former Olympians and Tennessee track and field standouts Aries Merritt and DeeDee Trotter took part in Team USA.com's College Football Pick'em on Friday, sharing their favorite football memories from their time on Rocky Top and even predicting Saturday's final tally. 

Merritt, a 2007 graduate of UT, is the current world record holder in the 110m hurdles -- an event in which he won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. While at Tennessee, he finished undefeated in every hurdles event in 2006 and went on to claim the 110m hurdles title at the NCAA Championships. 

Meanwhile, Trotter is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 4x400m relay (2004 and 2008) and won a bronze in the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics -- her first individual Olympic medal. She was the 2004 Outdoor NCAA 400m Champion after finishing runner-up in the same event in 2003. 

Happy Birthday - Sept. 26

Join us in wishing Heather Kiger of Tennessee swimming and diving a very Happy Birthday! 
Heather Kiger
Kiger earned SEC academic honors both in 2013 and 2014. As a sophomore, Kiger competed in all five of Tennessee's fall collegiate meets, focusing on freestyle and butterfly. 

Inside The T - Friday's Look Ahead

The weekend is here and it's a busy one for Tennessee, so here's what to watch for:

Tennessee Soccer opens home SEC play at Regal Soccer Stadium tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. Admission is free. You can watch the game live on SEC Network + RIGHT HERE.

UT hosts Mississippi State back at Regal Soccer Stadium at 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday. Admission will be free once again and you can once again catch the game live on SEC Network +.

Tennessee Volleyball heads to Arkansas for its SEC opener at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. SEC Network + will have that contest as well, check it out RIGHT HERE.

The Lady Vols then move to Missouri for a 12:00 p.m. ET start on Sunday afternoon that will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Tennessee Football travels to Georgia for a Noon ET kickoff on Saturday on ESPN. Here are the links you need: FOOTBALL CENTRAL - WATCH LIVE - LISTEN LIVE - GAMETRACKER

This Day In #Vols History (Sept. 26)

On this day, Sept. 26 in 1953 Smokey was chosen at halftime of Mississippi State game by student body to become the Vols' mascot.

The Pep Club held a contest to select a coonhound, a native breed of the state, as the school's live mascot. Announcements of the contest in local newspapers read, "This can't be an ordinary hound. He must be a 'Houn' Dog' in the best sense of the word."

The late Rev. Bill Brooks entered his prize-winning blue tick coon hound, "Brooks' Blue Smokey," in the contest. At halftime of the Mississippi State game that season, the dogs were lined up on the old cheerleaders' ramp at Shields-Watkins Field. Each dog was introduced over the loudspeaker and the student body cheered for their favorite, with "Blue Smokey" being the last hound introduced. When his name was called, he barked. The students cheered and Smokey threw his head back and barked again. This kept going until the stadium was in an uproar and UT had found its mascot.

 September 26 (9-3-2)
1914 W, 89-0 CARSON-NEWMAN
1931 W, 33-0 MARYVILLE
1936 W, 13-0 Chattanooga
1942 T, 0-0 South Carolina
1959 W, 3-0 No. 3 AUBURN
1964 L, 0-3 No. 8 Auburn (N) @ Birmingham, Ala.
1970 L, 23-36 Auburn (N) @ Birmingham, Ala.
1981 W, 10-7 AUBURN
1987 T, 20-20 No. 3 AUBURN
1992 W, 40-0 CINCINNATI
1998 W, 42-7 HOUSTON
2005 W, 30-27 No. 4 Louisiana State (OT)
2009 W, 34-23 OHIO

In 2005, the Vols posted their last win over a top-5 team with a 30-27 victory over No. 4 LSU in overtime. Gerald Riggs Jr.'s 1-yard rush in overtime proved to be difference. Check out the highlights:

Friday's Tennessee Football Briefing (9/26/14)

The Vols depart for Athens on Friday afternoon as they take on the #12/13 Georgia on Saturday at 12 Noon on ESPN. Check out the latest from UTSports.com: 

Here's a look at coverage from the media: 
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Playing Georgia extra special for Vols' Johnson
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Two UT assistants return to Georgia
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Freshmen coming up big
- Knoxville News Sentinel: The Matchups: Tennessee at Georgia
- Tennessee Journalist: Tennessee vs Georgia preview

News on Georgia includes: 
- Anderson Independent Mail: 'Road work' key to SEC success
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: Gurley eager for another crack at Vols
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Georgia defenders see 'great opportunity'
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Freshmen fabulous for Georgia Bulldogs

Poole Re-Signed By Carolina Panthers

Former Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole has returned to the Carolina Panthers, as he signed with the team on Thursday. He will join the team's practice squad. Poole previously spent time with Carolina, but never appeared in a game. He was in training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was one of the team's fine cuts prior to the regular season.

"You never know how the business works. There's a lot of backs ready and available, but I'm thankful they called me," Poole told the media today. "I was excited about it, hoping they'd reach out. Glad they did, and got it going."

The Panthers are struggling with injury issues in the backfield and Poole was a perfection for head coach Ron Rivera.

"We went back and looked at his tape from when he was with us, looked at his tape this preseason when he was Pittsburgh, and sat down and talked to him," Rivera said. "Coaches feel very comfortable about his retention."

Poole ran for 1,883 yards in his career at Tennessee, playing in 49 games from 2008-11. He scored 16 touchdowns in his career including five as a senior in 2011. He gained 693 yards this past season while catching 21 balls for 164 yards. He gained 100 rushing yards on three occasions this past season with a season-best 107 vs. Vanderbilt (11/19) in addition to 101 vs. Buffalo (10/1) and 100 vs. Cincinnati.

Poole was a 2011 preseason member of the Doak Walker and Maxwell Watch Lists in addition to being a candidate for the Lowe's Senior Class Award.

As a junior, Poole named AP All-SEC Honorable Mention accolades starting all 13 games and gaining 1,034 yards on 204 carries. He scored 11 touchdowns and gained 100 yards on six occasions to tie for the lead in the SEC. His 1,000-yard season was the 16th in UT history and his total of 1,034 ranks 14th on the single-season list. Poole gained a career-high 162 rushing yards against Oregon (9/11/10).

Bawcombe Coming Off Big Weekend for UT

True freshman outside hitter Kelsey Bawcombe will make her first foray into SEC play this weekend riding a strong outing over four matches at the DISH Lady Vol Classic. The California native totaled 35 kills, 31 digs, and 10 total blocks on her way to earning the honor, helping Tennessee to a 2-2 record. In the Lady Vols' gritty 3-2 win over Mercer, Bawcombe recorded her first career double-double behind a career-best 17 kills and 15 digs. She has started each of the last three matches for Tennessee. Patrick Maccoon of The Daily Beacon documents the freshman's rising role as conference play approaches. 

Thursday's Tennessee Football Briefing (9/25/14)

The Vols head to Athens on Friday looking for their first win at Georgia since 2006. Get the latest on Wednesday's practice on UTSports.com: 

Here's a look at coverage from the media on the Vols: 
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: UT Vols must reverse turnover trend in road games
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Is another OT in the Vols' future?
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Butch Jones talks Treyvon Paulk, Georgia
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Notes: Saulsberry ready to return
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols' defense gearing up for Gurley

News on the Bulldogs includes: 
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: Georgia DBs brace for Big Orange receiving corps
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: Bulldogs' CB Shattle Fenteng to undergo surgery
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: Tennessee's going to upset somebody - but not UGA
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Freshmen fabulous for Georgia Bulldogs
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Georgia Bulldogs having fun with the run
- Savannah Morning News: Fenteng likely done for season

Inside The T - Thursday's Look Ahead

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones will make his usual weekly appearance on 3HL with Brent Dougherty and Blaine Bishop on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone this afternoon. You can listen on 104.5 in Nashville or online RIGHT HERE.

Happy Birthday - Sept. 25

Join us in wishing a very Happy Birthday to current Tennessee track and field athlete Erin Champion. 
Erin Champion
Champion competes in the pole vault, both indoor and outdoor. She scored at the 2013 Indoor SEC Championships, placing sixth in the event with a personal best 4.12m.

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