Reports: Tennessee to face Northwestern in Outback Bowl on New Year's Day
The Vols will be playing on New Year’s Day for the first time in eight years.
Several reports suggest Tennessee (8-4) will square off with Northwestern (10-2) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. It’s the first time the Vols will be playing on the first day of the year since defeating Big Ten opponent Wisconsin 21-17 on Jan. 1, 2008.
This marks Tennessee’s second straight season after missing out on the postseason in each of the previous three seasons.
That was the school’s longest absence since a four-year stretch from 1975-78. That stretch came in the last two years of Bill Battle’s tenure and the first two years of Johnny Majors’ tenure as UT coaches.
Tennessee is currently riding a five-game winning streak, the kind of run that the Vols haven’t enjoyed since 2007.
Meanwhile, Northwestern picked up a season-opening 16-6 victory over eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford along with a 13-7 win at Wisconsin. The Wildcats’ only two losses came in back-to-back beatdown at the hands of Michigan (38-0) and Iowa (40-10).
Tennessee has played Northwestern once before, and that was also on New Year’s Day, but it was in the Citrus Bowl in the 1996-97 season. The Vols won that matchup 48-28.
Northwestern vs. Tennessee in Outback Bowl, source told @ESPN
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 6, 2015
Have every reason to believe it's UT to the Outback Bowl, but UT spokesman said it doesn't expect to be able to confirm until 5:30 p.m.
— Dustin Dopirak (@TennesseeBeat) December 6, 2015