Tennessee vs. Missouri: 10 things every fan should know about the rivalry
Tennessee vs. Missouri is not one of the more illustrious, storied rivalries across the SEC. The Vols and Tigers have only recently become SEC East enemies when the Tigers moved from the Big 12 in 2012, but the competitiveness is still there.
They are, however, 2 teams that have taken entirely different paths since the Tigers joined in on the SEC fun. Missouri has gone downhill, while Tennessee has seen a rollercoaster of success, failure and whatever you can find in-between.
The Vols and Tigers face off in Week 11 in Knoxville for yet another installment of the budding rivalry. As a prep, here are 10 things every fan should know about the Tennessee vs. Mizzou rivalry.
1. Not yet a dozen
There have been less than a dozen games played between the University of Tennessee and the University of Missouri.
Yes, the Vols and Tigers have played just 10 times since Mizzou moved from the Big 12, with the first matchup being in 2012. A matchup has not been missed each year since then, of course.
How do you call that a rivalry, you say? Well…
2. Knotted at 5, yet still favoring the Tigers … for now
It hasn’t exactly featured the closest games, but Tennessee vs. Missouri’s all-time record is knotted at 5-5. For the most part, Tennessee and Missouri have not met each other with similar records during a single season. One team is almost always considerably better each time they face off.
It seems like that will be the case in 2022 as well. The Vols will be a top 5 team when the Tigers make the trip to Knoxville.
Mizzou has owned or tied the series record since 2012. Can the Vols take over for the first time soon?
3. A long history of nothing
Surprisingly, there is no recorded instance of Missouri and Tennessee playing before 2012. No bowl game matchups, no non-conference schedulings – nothing.
Tennessee began playing football in 1891. Missouri’s football program dates back to 1890. Around 132 years, and these programs have met 10 times.
4. Strong introduction in 2012
2012 was a lot of fun and easily the best matchup to date between the 2 SEC East foes.
For starters, it was the closest. Mizzou won a barnburner in quadruple OT, 51-48 to score its last win on a 5-7 season. Tennessee would also finish that year 5-7.
A quarterback battle between James Franklin and Tyler Bray saw a combined 8 passing touchdowns with a combined 630 yards through the air. Cordarrelle Patterson even got in on the passing action, completing a 28-yard pass.
Eventually, a game-winning Andrew Baggett field goal silenced the Neyland Stadium crowd.
5. A rivalry of streaks
Missouri won their next 2 after defeating Tennessee in Round 1, starting 3-0 over the Vols in the first 3 years. The Vols then punched back, winning in 2015 and 2016 before dropping 2 more to the Tigers in 2017 and 2018.
Tennessee has since won 3 straight, looking to make it 4 on Nov. 12.
6. Both teams have a losing record at home
This is a weird one. Both Mizzou and Tennessee have struggled at home in this rivalry. Like the overall record, the home record for both schools is 2-3.
So don’t place ALL your money on Tennessee next weekend…
7. There has never been a ranked matchup between the 2 teams
Tennessee and Missouri have been ranked a combined 3 times when playing against the other, but it has never happened at the same time.
The highest ranking, until Week 11 this year, was Missouri in 2013. The Tigers took care of business against the hapless Vols for a 31-3 victory.
Tennessee has been ranked just once in the rivalry: No. 21 in 2020.
8. Josh Heupel had a hand in both programs recently
Josh Heupel has revolutionized Tennessee football across the past few seasons, especially when it came to developing Hendon Hooker. But he had a hand in developing some strong quarterbacks at Missouri as well.
Heupel had a hand in making Drew Lock one of the top talents in the conference from 2016-2017. At other stops, Heupel has developed Landry Jones, Sam Bradford, Dillon Gabriel and others.
The former Tigers OC and current Vols coach knows what he’s doing when it comes to mentoring quarterbacks.
9. The largest margin of victory is only kind of surprising
Tennessee owns the largest margin of victory in the rivalry, beating the Tigers by 38 last season, 62-24.
Missouri owned the largest margin before that, beating Tennessee by 33 in 2017 and 2018. Tennessee leads the all-time point differential, +5.
10. A strange fascination with 50 burgers
Five of the 10 matchups between the 2 teams have featured a team scoring at least 50 points. Tennessee owns the highest total points between the 2 teams, scoring 63 in 2016. The Vols also scored 62 in 2021.
Mizzou’s largest point total is 51 in 2012.