What to watch: The SEC Network’s Tennessee Takeover (2024)

Revisit the best year in the history of Tennessee Athletics during the annual 24-hour SEC Network Takeover on Friday.

Patrick Brown

It’s takeover time on the SEC Network this month, and Tennessee’s turn is coming up on Friday starting at midnight. As the league’s network does annually every summer, each school gets a full 24 hours to pick and choose a customized set of programming highlighting some of its best games and most memorable moments from the most recent athletic year – and the Vols and Lady Vols are coming off the best one in their history. Tennessee finished a best-ever third in the final Directors Cup standings and took home a third straight SEC All-Sports Title, and the SEC Network Takeover will allow fans a chance to relive those successes, from the baseball national championship to the Citrus Bowl and men’s basketball SEC title.

It was such a good year for Tennessee that there’s just one produced show on this year’s SEC Network Takeover. The football victories against South Carolina and Iowa are among the headline replays alongside the remarkable men’s basketball clash with Auburn and the SEC title-clinching victory at South Carolina. There’s only way to culminate the day-long Vol-fest, and that’s with a replay of the win against Texas A&M in the College World Series decider in Omaha from a little more than a week ago.

Here’s the full schedule and a closer look at the games featured on the SEC Network’s Tennessee Takeover on Friday.

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Midnight: South Carolina at Tennessee (Football)

It was a night game at Neyland Stadium, the Vols donned their Dark Mode alternate uniforms and revenge was in the air when the Gameco*cks rolled into Knoxville. South Carolina ended Tennessee’s College Football Playoff hopes with an upset win in 2022, and the Vols got their SEC East rivals back in a 41-20 win. The victory featured an early touchdown run by Jaylen Wright, the game-changing pick-six by cornerback Kamal Hadden and a dominant defensive performance from James Pearce Jr. that had South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler venting about Super Bowls afterward.

2:30 a.m.: Tennessee at Florida (Volleyball)

The Lady Vols reached the Sweet 16 in volleyball for the first time since 2005 before losing a five-set heartbreaker to eventual national champion Texas. A month earlier in November, Tennessee was winning a five-setter in a top-20 matchup against Florida. The Lady Vols hadn’t won in Gainesville since 2011 and trailed two sets to one before winning a fourth set that was tied at 22 and the fifth set that was 11-all before two Tennessee kills swung the deciding frame. Jenaisya Moore starred with 23 kills and 16 digs for the Lady Vols and came up clutch with six skills in the fifth set.

4:30 a.m.: Tennessee vs. LSU (SEC Baseball Tournament)

The Diamond Vols won everything there was to win in 2024, sweeping the SEC regular-season and tournament titles before their triumph in Omaha. Tennessee ripped off nine straight series wins in league play after a 1-2 opening weekend at Alabama and swept South Carolina on the final weekend of the regular season to clinch a share of the SEC title with Kentucky, who the Vols beat in Lexington earlier in the season. The Vols were the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament in Hoover, but dropped their opening game against Vanderbilt before beating , Mississippi State and Vanderbilt to get back to the final.

Tennessee swept the defending national champions during the regular season and continued to avenge last season’s two College World Series losses to the Tigers with this 8-4 win to grab its fifth SEC tournament title and second in the past three seasons. Billy Amick launched a three-run bomb in the third to put the Vols ahead and they added on with Hunter Ensley plating an insurance run in the seventh. The Vols needed it, too, after LSU scored two in the ninth inning to close within 4-3, but Aaron Combs offered up a bit of foreshadowing with two game-ending strikeouts to strand the tying run at second base.

7:30 a.m.: Auburn at Tennessee (Men’s basketball)

The Dalton Knecht Game. Tennessee’s superstar transfer went nuclear in this matchup with Auburn and former Vols coach Bruce Pearl, scoring 25 of his 39 points in the final 12 minutes of a 92-84 win. The 11th-ranked Tigers led the fourth-ranked Vols 63-55 in front of a record crowd of 22,547 at Thompson-Boling Arena. Knecht’s run saw him knock down a trio of contested long-range 3s, sink a couple of mid-range jumpers and drive down the lane for an emphatic two-handed dunk and a finesse finger-roll finish. Pure brilliance from the eventual SEC Player of the Year and first-round pick of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.

9:30 a.m.: SEC Inside: Tennessee Football

This behind-the-scenes look at the Vols was aired after the 49-13 season-opening win against Virginia in Nashville.

10 a.m.: Georgia at Tennessee (Softball)

Softball regularly gets a couple of slots on these Takeovers, such is the program Tennessee has built under (Ralph and) Karen Weekly. This midseason victory for the sixth-ranked Lady Vols against the third-ranked Lady Bulldogs clinched a vital series victory en route to a second straight SEC regular-season championship. After a split of the first two games of the series in Knoxville in April, Tennessee produced some late heroics in this pitcher’s duel for a 3-1 win. Sophia Nugent delivered the dramatic three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to provide the offense while Karlyn Pickens struck out eight in five innings and Payton Gottshall retired Georgia in order in the sixth and seventh innings.

Noon: Tennessee vs. Iowa in the Citrus Bowl (Football)

The Vols officially are 1-0 in 2024 thanks to this shutout win against the Hawkeyes in Orlando on New Year’s Day. We’re sorry you have to watch Iowa attempt to play offense again, but at least you get to see freshman phenom quarterback Nico Iamaleava make his first start – and turn in an MVP performance with four total touchdowns – and James Pearce Jr. make two game-changing plays in the second half. Tennessee clinched a 9-4 season and a top-20 finish while flashing plenty of promise for the future in this bowl win.

3 p.m.: Tennessee at Kentucky (Volleyball)

Kentucky is an SEC volleyball powerhouse having won seven straight outright or shared conference titles dating back to 2017. The Wildcats lost just one SEC match in 2023, and it was this one in September. Tennessee swept this early-season match for its first win against Kentucky since 2016 and first in Lexington since 2010. The Lady Vols grabbed a tight first-set win before 25-18 triumphs in the second and third sets secured a famous win.

“I am just really proud of our team,” Tennessee head coach Eve Rackham Watt said afterward. “I don't think I adequately expressed how proud I was when we spoke in the locker room. I am just so happy for this group to be able to play as well as we did and with Kentucky being such a good team. We did it on their court. We didn't play perfect, but we were close. … It was a big team win for us."

5 p.m.: Tennessee at South Carolina (Men’s basketball)

The defining week of the regular season for the Elite Eight-bound Vols saw them beat Auburn at home and win at Alabama and South Carolina to clinch the SEC regular-season championship, the program’s 11th overall, first since 2018 and first outright crown since 2008. Tennessee avenged a loss to upstart South Carolina earlier in the season by winning 66-59 in Columbia. Dalton Knecht scored 26 points for the fourth-ranked Vols against the 17th-ranked Gameco*cks, who made repeated runs throughout the second half to threaten a comeback that would have sent the SEC race to the regular season’s final day. Zakai Zeigler and veterans Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James all made key free throws down the stretch to seal the title.

7 p.m.: Kentucky at Tennessee (Softball)

After sweeping the SEC regular-season and tournament titles in 2023, Tennessee clinched a second consecutive conference crown with this 8-3 win against Kentucky in May. It was the third SEC regular-season championship for the Lady Vols, who won all eight of their conference series in 2024. Kentucky scored the first three runs of this game before Tennessee stormed back, the big blow coming on a three-run home run from Kiki Milloy in the fourth that sent the Lady Vols on their way to the clincher. The Lady Vols won the league by two games with a 19-5 record, earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament (where they lost in the Super Regional round) and finished 44-12 on the season.

9 p.m.: Tennessee vs. Texas A&M in the College World Series (Baseball)

Chances are you’ve re-watched this game a few (dozen) times since it happened on June 24. Tennessee won its first-ever baseball national championship and first team natty since 2009 by beating SEC rival 6-5 in the winner-take-all third game of the College World Series Finals. The Vols pulled off a thrilling ninth-inning comeback against Florida State in their Omaha opener, then beat North Carolina and Florida State again to move into the best-of-three finale. After the Aggies won the first game, the Vols won the next two.

Relive the clutch home runs by Christian Moore and Dylan Dreiling, the Houdini slide by Hunter Ensley and the pitching brilliance of starter Zander Sechrist and relievers Kirby Connell and Aaron Combs to preserve the lead as Tony Vitello guided the Vols to the top of college baseball.

What to watch: The SEC Network’s Tennessee Takeover (2024)
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