One of the complaints surrounding University of Washington football is there are too many Montanas, Arkansas States, Kent States and Portland States on the schedule these days.
Those games don't draw major television consideration. They're often lopsided matchups that don't carry any suspense. Or, in the case of Montana, an upset to an FCS underdog can lead to the complete ruination of a season. And, with the high ticket prices, the fans deserve better.
Somebody's been listening.
On Wednesday, the UW announced that it has arranged to play Tennessee in a home-and-home series in 2029 and 2030.
An SEC school.
An opponent the Huskies have never faced before.
Big-time college football.
The Huskies and Vols will meet at 102,455-seat Neyland Stadium, one of the largest in the coutnry, in Knoxville on Sept. 1, 2029, and play again a year later at Husky Stadium on Sept. 7, 2030.
Adding to the festivities, the UW and Tennessee are two of just three FBS schools (Baylor is the other) that have stadiums bordering bodies of water that enable fans to arrive for games by boat.
"Any time two storied programs with unique game-day traditions can come together to agree to play in a series like this is a huge opportunity for the student-athletes that will be competing and the communities as a whole," Husky athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement.
This schedule upgrade comes with the Huskies set to play a home-and-home with Michigan State this coming season in Seattle and next year in East Lansing, Michigan; Ohio State doing the same by visiting Husky Stadium in 2024 and hosting in Columbus in 2025; and the makeup game in Seattle with Michigan now set for 2028, following its 2020 postponement.
With the Power 5 schools set to become even more of an elite entity in college football, with richer TV deals and a possible expanded playoff system, it just makes more sense for the UW to schedule big drawing-card teams.
The SEC is set to expand to 16 teams with the inclusion of Texas and Oklahoma and the Huskies have never played half of the member schools.
They've faced Alabama (0-5 series record), Auburn (0-1), Florida (1-0), LSU (0-3), Mississippi State (0-1) and Texas A&M (1-2), plus the Longhorns (1-3) and the Sooners (1-2).
Besides Tennessee, the UW has never played Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina or Vanderbilt on the football field.
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