Tennessee Headed To Outback Bowl
Dec. 6, 2015
Knoxville, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee football team is headed to the 30th annual Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida as the Vols accepted an invitation to play the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The game will kickoff at 12 Noon ET and air on ESPN2 live from Raymond James Stadium.
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to be selected to play in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day," said Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart. "I hope our fans are energized and as excited about this announcement as our team is. We have the most loyal fan base in the country and there's no doubt we will have plenty of Tennessee orange in Tampa. The Outback Bowl has a long, storied history of exciting games and Jim McVay and the Tampa Bay Bowl Association do a great job hosting the event each year.
"Butch Jones has our football program moving in the right direction, and playing in back-to-back New Year's bowl games in Florida is further verification of the progress that is being made. This team has shown steady improvement throughout the season and we are looking forward to the challenge of playing another team ranked in the Top 15 in Northwestern."
The Vols are making their 51st all-time bowl appearance, tying for third all-time in college football history. Butch Jones has led the Vols to consecutive bowl appearances following last season's 45-28 dominating victory over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2, 2015.
"We are very excited and looking forward to representing the University of Tennessee, the state of Tennessee and all of Vol Nation in the 30th Annual Outback Bowl," said head coach Butch Jones. "This will be a great opportunity and challenge for our football program as we will be facing the 12th-ranked football team in the country in Northwestern."
Tennessee rides a five-game winning streak into the bowl after posting an 8-4 regular-season record. The win streak and the regular-season win totals are the most since the 2007 season when the Vols also appeared in the Outback Bowl. Tennessee heads into the bowl ranked #23 in the College Football Playoff poll.
The Vols and Wildcats have played once before with Tennessee posting a 48-28 win in the 1997 Florida Citrus Bowl led by Peyton Manning's 408 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
This is the Vols' fourth all-time appearance in the Outback Bowl (previously known as the Hall of Fame Bowl). The Vols are 2-1 all-time in those games, winning their last appearance in the bowl, 21-17, over Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2008. Tennessee also beat Boston College in the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl, 38-23. The Vols lost the 2007 bowl to Penn State, 20-10.
In playing on New Year's Day, Tennessee is playing in its 33rd January Bowl game and second in a row.