Fun Facts: the history of the Vols, Bristol, and racing

People think this is the Vols first time playing in Bristol, but that's not the case.

Some people might think Saturday will be the first time the Vols play in Bristol, Tennessee. That's not the case.

The Vols' history in Bristol goes back to the Victorian Era, when Grover Cleveland was in his first term as US president, and the sport that would later be known as volleyball was invented.

Turn the calendars back a few years (okay, more than a few) to November 28th, 1895, when the Tennessee Volunteers football team traveled to Bristol to play Saint Alban's Boys School. The Vols suffered a crushing shutout loss, 38-0.

The Vols would avenge their loss at Bristol two days later, when they played the Tennessee Medical Unit in Knoxville and beat them 40-0.

None of the games in the 1895 season officially counted. The University of Tennessee didn't recognize the Vols teams in 1894 and 1895 as "official" school athletic teams - due in part to the struggles of the football team in the years prior. These two seasons are known as "The Lost Years" because they don't show up in official NCAA stats or record books.

Almost a year later, in 1896, Virginia Tech would visit Knoxville for the first time. The Vols won 6-4.

The Vols would never get revenge on Saint Alban's. The teams never played again, and the Roanoke, Virginia-based school closed in 1916.

Saint Alban's became a mental hospital, Saint Alban's Sanitorium. You can still tour it today.

Another funny thing happened the same day the Vols played Saint Alban's. Thursday, November 28, 1895 also marked the first ever motor-car race in America. J. Frank Duryea won the race, a 54-mile loop through Chicago. Duryea completed the race in 10 hours and 23 minutes, traveling at an average speed of 5.25 miles per hour.

As for Virginia Tech, the Hokies last played the Vols in 2009. They beat Tennessee, 37-14 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The last time the two teams met in the regular season was 1937, under then-Major Robert Neyland. Tennessee won that 1937 game, and leads the series all time, 5-3.






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