Virginia Tech Hokies
The historic “Battle at Bristol” is only four years removed, but another Tennessee-Virginia Tech game makes a lot of sense considering how close the campuses are.
When the Vols and Hokies met at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016, it was the largest crowd to see a college football game ever at 156,900 fans. Both fan bases are big, and the two schools are closer than UT is to some SEC programs.
At just 236 miles apart, this is a “border war” game that should happen a lot more often. Tennessee and Virginia Tech have played only two other times in modern history outside of that 2016 game, and both were neutral sites. The first took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida for the Gator Bowl in 1994, and the second happened in the Georgia Dome for the Peach Bowl in 2009.
The series itself goes back to the late 19th century in 1896 at Wate Field in Knoxville. The Vols lead 6-3 in their nine meetings, and all but three of those meetings happened before the 1940s.
While the game in Bristol was a TV ratings success and a sellout, playing the game on campus would give this much more of a rivalry feel.