By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The eyes of the nation, or at least those watching on NBC, will be able to catch the Tennessee State Tigers on the road as they open the 2023 season at the University of Notre Dame. It’s the first visit to South Bend for the Tigers and the Irish’s inaugural contest against an HBCU. While Notre Dame will be  heavily favored, it’s an opportunity for the Tigers to get some exposure and also prepare for the regular season and  Big South- Ohio Valley Conference race. That game will be on September 2 at 2:30 p.m.  The Tigers are on the road again September  9, this time facing Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Their first home game will be September 15 against Gardner-Webb in a 5 p.m. contest. The Tigers get a bye week, then complete the season’s first month on the road against UT-Martin, usually one of the Big South-OVC’s better teams.

They are back on the road to begin the month of October, this time against Kennesaw State in a 2 p.m. game on the 7th. Then comes a three game home stretch that extends through the month. It starts with Norfolk State October 14 at 5 p.m. Then come back-to-back 2 p.m. games against Lincoln CA and Lindenwood, one of the Big South – OVC’s newer teams. 

November opens with a road game against Charleston South at 3 p,m on the 4th. Then they head to Eastern Illinois on November 11 at noon. The Tigers complete the season at home Nov. 18 against another traditional Big South – Ohio Valley Conference and in-state rival Tennessee Tech at 2 p.m.

Preseason expectations are not very high for the Tigers as former Titans’ great Eddie George begins his third year as head coach. They were picked to finish fifth in the inaugural Big South -OVC poll, the first year of the  joint conference operating agreement that features 10 total teams. The Tigers are coming off last season’s disappointing 4-7 record, though they were 2-3 in the OVC. Six of the Tigers’ games are OVC-Big South matchups: Gardner-Webb, UT Martin, Lindenwood, Charleston Southern, Eastern Illinois and Tennessee Tech.

Six Tigers are on the Preseason watch list for possible conference honors. They are Draylen Ellis, Terrell Allen, James Green, K’Vaughan Poe, Josh Green and Bryce Phillips. The Tigers also have a new radio partner. They signed a three-year deal with WNSR-560 AM, 95.9FM, 107.9 FM and that covers all football and men’s basketball games. Under the new agreement, there will also be in-depth pregame and postgame analysis and shows, exclusive interviews with players and coaches, and behind -the-scenes content. This deal will provide far more extensive coverage of TSU sports . 

Greg Pogue, the “Voice of the Tigers” will handle play-by-play for both football and men’s basketball. Former Titans wide receiver Chris Sanders will provide analysis on football, and longtime Tigers broadcaster Albert Dawson returns on men’s basketball.