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Syracuse football will face Tennessee in 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

The battle to see whose orange is best will resume after a 24-year absence.

Tennessee Jamal Lewis... SetNumber: X56315 TK3 R6 F2

A great many Syracuse Orange football fans are still mad about Tee Martin and the 1998 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers by a score of 34-33. And they got even saltier about it after a 33-9 loss to the Vols in 2001. But we haven’t played since, aside from a social media battle for who gets to use the orange emoji.

Well now it appears that drought will end. According to an announcement from Syracuse on Thursday, the Orange and Volunteers will open the 2025 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

We’d mentioned Tennessee as a possible 2024 non-conference opponent in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game since Syracuse had yet to schedule a Power Five school that season (just Army and Ohio are set right now). And while we’ll take the paycheck here, it does provide two big non-conference tests for the Orange in 2025 now. Along with home dates vs. Army and UConn that year, SU also goes on the road to face Notre Dame. So hopefully we’ve turned a corner, or... that could be a tough fall.

As always, the goal here is to go 4-0 — or at least 3-1 — in non-conference play. With two P5 teams in both 2022 (Notre Dame and Purdue) and 2025 (Notre Dame and Tennessee), that task gets a lot harder, as does going bowling. A 2-2 record in non-conference play forces you to go 4-4 in the ACC. That’s not a problem for every program, but it has been for this one of late.

Still, despite the gripes about timing and all above, this is an interesting game with some history to it. Plus we get a nice payout for participating. Chances are a sizeable number of Syracuse fans will be at the game in 2025, even if they’re still thoroughly outnumbered by Tennessee supporters. We’ll probably lose, but fans will also have a good time in Atlanta, I’m sure.

And on the bright side, we now have 2022-2026 completely scheduled aside from two openings in 2024.


How do you feel about this one? Happy to see Tennessee again? Annoyed we’re stacking Power Five teams in non-conference play again? Share your own scheduling takes below.