Every year, Tennessee seems to play another major conference program in a non-conference game that would be really cool if the Volunteers didn't suck. But this year, there's a chance the sucking will be over, and we might actually get a really interesting non-conference game between Tennessee and Oklahoma that will mean more than anyone imagined.
Tennessee brought in a solid recruiting class in 2014, but Butch Jones' second team is still very young. The Volunteers have surprised in their two games so far, beating Utah State and its star quarterback Chuckie Keeton 38-7 before subsequently beating Arkansas State handily, 34-19.
Now, the Volunteers face a much stiffer test against an Oklahoma team that hasn't been tested so far, but has been as impressive in its easy wins as it was expected to be. The Sooners are a College Football Playoff contender, and they get this game at home. If Tennessee is for real, this is the game that will tell us, which means it might be the most interesting game of the weekend.
How to witness
TV: 8 pm ET, ABC
Online streaming: N/A
Rankings and records: Oklahoma is ranked fourth in the AP Poll and third in the Coaches Poll. Tennessee is unranked in both polls, but received 14 votes in the AP Poll, which would "rank" them 36th nationally.
Vegas: Oklahoma opened as a 21-point favorite and is now a 20.5-point favorite. The over/under is 56 points.
Weather forecast: Mostly sunny, with a high of 71 and a low of 56.
Two things at stake
This is Tennessee's chance to prove it's for real. The Volunteers have had a lot of hype in recruiting, and they've certainly gained some respect after their first two performances, but they have to prove they can go up against the country's best teams. If they can win this one or keep it close, then they can be discussed as a potential SEC East dark horse. If they're blown out, it will be written off as more of the same Tennessee.
Oklahoma is the Big 12's best hope to make the College Football Playoff, and while the Sooners have the talent and experience to do it, some are still skeptical that they will. They can't lose this game and still make it.
One big matchup
Oklahoma is stacked all over the field, but the defense might be the Sooners' best unit. They've held their opponents to a combined three points so far, and although the Tennessee offense has exceeded expectations, it will really need to fluster Oklahoma to be able to escape Norman with a win.
Tennessee will be missing second-leading receiver Von Pearson, meaning quarterback Justin Worley will be short-handed in this matchup. He'll have to have the best game of his career in order to get the win.