Anyone else tired of every game being a “rivalry?” What do you consider our actual rivals?

There are some historic rivalries, but it seems like every game, especially in the SEC, is called a rivalry. Mostly by TV commentators. They always give the history of the teams meeting, the win/loss, and call it a rivalry. So who are actually Vols’ rivals?

Florida and Alabama, that’s it. To me, a rivalry has to have history and near-pure hatred by the two schools toward each other. Florida hates us, and we hate them, regardless of how good we’ve been lately. Same goes for Bama.
Every other “rivalry” we have are just games against teams that we are required to play every year.
Agree Florida and Alabama are the only two I hate with a burning passion. It would have been a joke to consider Vanderbilt or Kentucky as an actual rival 20 years ago.
Florida and Bama are the ones I grew up hating. However, lately I think Georgia is rising to that level.
So if I had to rank them in terms of seriousness of rivalry: Florida (I grew up in the 90s, so Florida takes it for me), Bama, then Georgia.
I also just fucking hate Ohio State, but that's not from any games played against Tennessee. Just fuck them.
Kentucky fans hate us
I don't always say I'd invade a state but when I do it's always Alabama .
Vanderbilt has history. Neyland was hired for the sole purpose of beating Vanderbilt. Even recently during the last decade it’s been a back and forth many times. And hatred? God it’s there. Try living in Nashville during the Dooley and Jones years. Most loudmouth little-brother-syndrome fans on earth. Or go back a bit further to 2005 and feel absolute rage as Jay Cutler slices us a new one.
Vandy is a rival. So is Alabama. Those are your top two.
Unpopular opinion: Florida doesn’t have deep enough history with us to count as a main rival.
I consider Bama, Florida and Vandy our rivals. Those are the teams I want to beat more than anyone each year.
Bama and Florida for the historical significance. Also, the amount of Bama fans in Tennessee is criminal so there’s a lot of shit talk. Vandy for the instate rivalry, which is a big deal if you’re a native and have family on the other side.
Does anyone actually know any Vanderbilt fans? I only know one and she went to school there.
Plus one to this. I fucking hate Vanderbilt. Not as much as Florida, but honestly a little more than Bama.
Tennessee's in a weird spot because our main rivals, don't consider us their main rivals. Alabama (Auburn), Florida (Florida St) and Georgia (also Auburn) are probably our biggest in football but they have larger rivalry games than Tennessee. On the flip side of that, Vanderbilt views us as their biggest rival, but we do not them.
In basketball, I think Kentucky is really our only true rivalry. You might could lump Florida in there, but that one doesn't have as much history to it and is living off the last 10-15 years.
*EDIT: I would also consider Memphis to be a rival in basketball (not so much football)*
Yeah, Bama has Auburn and now probably LSU above us, simply because we haven't been competitive with them in forever.
Florida has FSU and UGA above us right now.
UGA has UF, Auburn, and GT.
Kentucky has Louisville.
That really leaves us with Vandy, although the game will be quite meaningful this year regardless of how bad Vandy is, because IMO we'll need it to go bowling/upgrade to a warm weather bowl. Plus...they've won 5 out of the last 7, which is just ridiculous.
i don't think either UGA or UT consider our games a "rivalry." They're important games between two traditional East powers, but it isn't a "rivalry" in the sense like UT-Bama is
I disagree.
Bear always considered us their biggest rivals. Hence the damn cigar tradition.
Only teams I've hated are Florida, Alabama, and when it comes to basketball Kentucky.
YES! I think people downplay Kentucky, but outright hate them and their hand sitting fans in basketball.
UConn in WCBB
I just hate their fans. Could care less about their sports teams but I love beating them because i fucking hate their fans
Florida, Alabama, and Georgia are the top tier rivals. Kentucky and Vandy are rivals to a degree - but it feels more like conference bragging rights. If we beat any of the other three, we're talking about it until next season.
Nothing puts a frown on my face faster than that stupid Gator logo, the Alabama "A", or the phrase "them Dawgs"
Fuck Florida.
Never forget that stupid gator chomp and our players making fun of it and destroying them last year in basketball.
Here’s my take, based on history and the current state of the program: (this is for football)
Traditional and still very alive: Kentucky and Vandy
Traditional, would love to beat them more than anything but so one-sided it barely counts as a real “rivalry”: Alabama
Traditional but got killed by conference expansion: Auburn and Ole Miss
Tried to make it one after conference expansion but no one really cared: Arkansas
Traditional but got killed because they left the SEC and there wasn’t room on the schedule: Georgia Tech
Traditional for a while because we had to schedule someone for homecoming: Memphis State
New since the 90s but still lots of hate: Florida and Georgia
Enjoy beating them wouldn’t care if we never played again: South Carolina and Mizzou
This is the exact opinion that OP was complaining about lol
I would love to play VTech in a bowl game. Have a friend there now and I think both teams would play well against each other.
I'm only bothered when people suggest that certain games aren't rivalries anymore due to the results. If the result prevents it from being a rivalry then it wasn't a rivalry in the first place. I personally view Alabama, Kentucky, and Vandy as our rivals primarily because we've played them more than anyone else. I don't particularly hate Kentucky or Vandy. Vandy is more of a nuisance than anything, and I actually feel sorry for Kentucky. Still, playing a team 100+ times must mean something. One could consider Auburn, Florida, Georgia, or maybe Georgia Tech, but I think calling either a rival is a stretch.
The history between us and Florida really only goes back to 1992 when the SEC expanded and created divisions. We rarely played before that, and they've consistently owned us since. The game is meaningless to to most college football fans now. It honestly doesn't mean much to Florida fans unless they regularly interact with Tennessee fans. It only means something to us because we just can't beat them. It's hard to call that a rivalry despite my hatred for them, and if Florida is a rival then Georgia must also be a rival. We didn't play much before expansion, and the game was one of the most important in the conference from 2001 to 2007. They're basically the same except we're actually capable of beating Georgia from time to time.
That leaves Auburn and Georgia Tech. We rarely play now as a result of realignment, but we have more of a history with Auburn than either Florida or Georgia. Of course, we each hate Alabama far more than we could ever hate each other, so I have never thought of them as a rival. We played Georgia Tech every year from 1954 to 1987, but I don't know a single person who cares.
Well done smilez.
Tier 1: Alabama and Florida
Tier 2: UGA
Tier 3: Kentucky and Vandy
Tier 1: Kentucky
Tier 2: Memphis and Florida
Tier 3: Auburn
Oh I have tiers for this shit. I've tried to make this as inclusive as possible with regards to all sports:
I don't hate Mizzou, but I definitely hate Muschamp and South Carolina.
UT vs.....
Athletic Directors
Haslams. Should have listed those as #1.
Tier 1 rivals: Alabama & Florida
Tier 2 rivals: Georgia, South Carolina & Vanderbilt
Tier 3 rivals: Kentucky
I hate the entire SEC.
Florida and Alabama are our actual rivals. Kentucky and Vandy are our rivals too, but those games just don't mean as much, no matter how bad Kentucky and Vandy want them to. Georgia isn't our rival, just happens to be another pretty good team in the SEC who we play annually.
There is only one: Alabama
Here's the deal. If you are 90 years old or older you think Vandy is our rival. If you are 50 years old but less than 90 you think Bama is our rival. If you are 30 but less than 50 it's Florida. If you live in Chattanooga it's both Bama and Georgia.
There are tiers of rivalries, IMO.
Tier 1: Bama and Florida. I have sworn an oath of eternal enmity against these assholes.
Tier 2: Georgia, Kentucky, and Vandy Georgia is currently occupying our rightful place in the SEC and national hierarchy, IMO. I think Kirby is overrated as hell, and I hate their fans.
Kentucky and Vandy both hate our guts, and I like it. These rivalries extend across different sports and are more important in bball, but they still exist in football.
Tier 3: South Carolina and Auburn. Auburn would be higher, but we don't play them every year anymore. It used to be a big deal. South Carolina is just there because they are in the East.
I don't even think about Missouri other than game week. They'll never be a real SEC team to me.
UK (really just for bball but I hate the school in general because of the stolen checkerboard)
Will Muschamp
In that order. I don't think you can really argue for USC or Mizzou as rivals. They're just teams that happen to be in the east to me.
Big Time (Actual) Rivals : Florida and Alabama
Hated Rivals: Georgia
Little Brother Rivals that we only take seriously because we’ve only lost to them recently: Kentucky and Vanderbilt
Give us 10 more seasons of beating Vandy and Kentucky down consecutively and no one will consider that a rivalry anymore, at least not at UT
Our "official" / "traditional" rivals:
But, by all means, if you have hate in your heart for any other school...let it out.
To me, Florida and Bama. Bama historically, but Florida because beating them is more important conference-wise.
If we beat Florida or Georgia, yet lose to Bama it doesn’t matter because we SHOULD (ignore 2016) get to Atlanta and get a rematch.
Yet if we beat Bama, but lose to Florida or Georgia we have to hope for whichever of them leads the East to lose.
Fuck Alabama
Edit: We have a significant and historical rivalry with Alabama, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. Florida is not actually our rival.
It's Alabama number 1 first and foremost, always. Then Vandy, then fLorida barely. Vandy use to destroy people in college football and is the sole reason Neyland and Bear Bryant joined the conference. Florida has only been relevant for the last 30 years. Kentucky is up there, but mostly for basketball reasons.
Love your name and it suits you well! Did Florida even play football before 1991?
I just hate everyone. No rivals.
I think we have football rivals and basketball rivals.
In football I’d consider Alabama, Florida, and Candy our rivals.
In basketball I’d say it’s Florida, Kentucky, Memphis
Football = Florida and Alabama
Basketball = Kentucky
That's it for me.
We are champions in life, and everyone else who doesn't bleed orange is our rival. - Butch Jones probably
Really no matter how you think they rank, Bama take the cake for our biggest rival by far.
Florida. Bama. Kentucky. Fuck the rest.
Florida and Alabama are true rivalries. South Carolina personally only because of Spurrier and now Muschamp, I always want to kill them. Every other school is just one I want to beat simply because they aren’t Tennessee.
I think in state games (Vandy or Memphis) need some designation if not necessarily "rivalry." But Alabama and Florida are the big ones.
Most hated: Bama and Florida 2nd tier: UGA + UK(basketball) 3rd: Vanderbilt & Memphis
Take this knowing I'm a kid who's mostly been watching the Vols for the last 25 years, I would say my order of hate is Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Bama, Kentucky, Vandy. Bama might be our historic rival, Florida and Georgia our present, but SC and Kentucky hate us a lot more than anyone mentions, and personally nothing hurts me more than an L to either of those two teams. Vandy is well Vandy.
In order, I view our rivals as: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
I don’t give even half a shit about Georgia, USC, or Mizzou.
I feel like our only real rival is Vandy. Florida, Kentucky, Bama, etc all have a rival that they would name if you asked for their biggest rival.
Our only one that would name us is Vandy.
Bama, Florida, Georgia
Bama is far and away our most historic and the Florida rivalry has been really hot for a few decades. To me these two are non-negotiable. But I also really hate Georgia, and the couple of their fans that I work with really hate Tennessee, so I think there’s something brewing here. We also tend to really give UGA our best shot for some reason (it’s like the opposite of how we play Florida). Vandy is the only other team that’s close in my mind given the history and that they’re in state, but we’ve played every year since WW2 ended and they have won a whopping 12 times since then.
Alabama and Florida are the big rivalries, while Vandy and Kentucky are the lil brother rivalries.
I never had heard (doesnt mean it wasn't) UGA or USC considered a rivalry until they became an actual good team, probably mid 2010s. And still don't understand how USC ever got considered one.
The first two are obvious. Vandy is the in state rivalry. And I'm honestly not sure about KY, but I've always heard them called that and theres even the Beer Barrel trophy.
That's all that I consider a rivalry, and definitely agree that every week seemingly being rivalry week is tiresome.
Alabama, Florida, Vandy, and Kentucky in that order.
Alabama, Florida, Georgia. That’s it. It takes more than a decade of mediocrity to forget that we’re a historic powerhouse. Nobody else in the East is worthy for comparison.
I'll throw Georgia in with Florida and Bama for football but I'm surrounded by those barkers soo
If you go to the CFB Hall of Fame in Atlanta, they list Alabama, Kentucky and Vanderbilt as our only rivals.
For me: Florida, Alabama, Georgia are our main rivals. Kentucky and Vanderbilt are more geographic/historic rivals, especially with both of them just about 3 hours away.
It seems like different eras of vols fans consider different teams to be our primary rivals. Because of that, it's like every game is a rivalry game to some people. Personally, I consider Florida to be our #1 rival. The SEC itself also views bama vs tenn as a rivalry game because they're our locked cross-division game every year. Despite the success Alabama has had over the past 15 years, we've played them tougher than a lot of their sec west opponents have over that time frame too. My ranking:
5a. SCar
5b. Kentucky
Personally, I consider Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Alabama our rivals. It's ok to have more than a few. These games are always my favorite.
Also, since when is Memphis a rivalry? I guess it was fun when Calipari was there, and Penny sort of poked at it after last year’s game, but I constantly see people of Vol Twitter trying to dunk on them when they lose, even in football! Memphis football is fun as hell and I can’t understand why a Tennessee fan would feel any animosity toward that program.
Memphis had been a smaller rival for basketball back in the Don deVoe times I believe. It was revitalized when Bruce pearl was here and calipari was at Memphis. To me at least, this is a bigger rival than Vanderbilt in basketball. They generally have had better teams. I don't consider Memphis a football rival whatsoever.
Dude, screw Memphis in every way possible. They have 0 fan-base, only support their team when they win, they are known cheaters right now & in the past, and their campus might as well be a dumpster. I hate their shit and their poor excuse for an athletics program.