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Hokies to face-off with Vols at Bristol

By DAVID GRAVELY

SWT Sports Editor

For a long time fans of both schools have begged for it, and now it looks like it’s finally going to become a reality.

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While the official announcement is still to be released, plans for a game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tennessee Volunteers football teams are being made, with the location being the Bristol Motor Speedway.  The event would be considered a home game for the Volunteers, and would take place in 2016.

Officials in charge of the Bristol Motor Speedway have talked openly for years about wanting to host the game, and Bruton Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports, INC. owns the Bristol Motor Speedway, offered to donate $20 million to each school to play the game in 2005, but the idea lost steam and was put on the shelf.

The two team did end up meeting in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome, with the Hokies dominating coach Lane Kiffen and the Volunteers in a 37-14 win.

The only other time that the Hokies and Volunteers have played during the Frank Beamer era was in 1994, when freshman quarterback Peyton Manning burned the Hokie secondary in a 45-23 Outback Bowl win.

The first game in the series between the two teams came in 1896.  The last regular season meeting between the two teams was in 1937.  Tennessee holds a five game to three game advantage in the series.

Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver, in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, commented on the game after the Bristol Motor Speedway Commission announced plans for a news conference Monday at the track for what it called a major announcement.

“I can just tell you I’m going to be in Bristol on Monday from about 11 to 1,” said Weaver.  “I think it has the chance to be a really nice event.”

He also said the Head Coach Frank Beamer would be there as well.

The track is located between the two campuses on I-81, 110 miles from Knoxville and 125 miles from Blacksburg.

This would be the second football game played at the famous track.  The Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles played an exhibition game there in 1961.

Bristol, an area reportedly split between Hokie and Volunteer fans, will be as close to a neutral site as can possibly be reached for the contest, but it also provides a chance to set a new record.  The track can hold close to 160,000 fans.  The current record, set last month at Michigan Stadium for the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game, is 115,109 fans.

The official announcement is expected to be made on Monday, Oct. 14, with VT and Tennessee officials present at the track.