It's official - the Vols will go head-to-head against Virginia Tech at the Battle of Bristol on September 10, 2016.
(WBIR-Bristol) University of Tennesse head coach Butch Jones and Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer announced Monday morning that the Vols will play the Hokies at the Bristol Motor Speedway on September 10, 2016.
It is expected to be the biggest crowd in college football history -- with at least 150,000 fans filling the stands in Thunder Valley.
"To be part of football history is very important to both of our universities," Jones said during the press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway, dubbing the game "the Battle at Bristol."
Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver said plans for the "Battle at Bristol" have been discussed for 17 years with UT leaders including Doug Dickey and Mike Hamilton.
"I've been blessed to be a part of some very big football games, but (nothing compares to) this. It's a perfect match," said UT Athletic Director Dave Hart.
The two universities signed a contract during the press conference, sealing the deal.
Talks about having these two regional powerhouses meet have been floating around since the late 1990's. It's only been in the last few months that the game went from rumor to planning.
Coach Jones said he has had a similar vision recently for Bristol, after he was the grand marshal for the Food City 500 in Bristol in March.
"Notice the passion, the excitement that surrounded the race,"Coach Jones recalled. "As a football coach, I walked in and I wondered 'wow what if we had a football game here?'"
Logistics for turning BMS into a fully-functional football stadium will be tough, track general manager Jerry Caldwell said. However, he said planners are up for the challenge.
"None of it is set in stone," Caldwell said. "What's the best option, what we do with locker rooms exactly. We have 2-3 different options that we'll pull off and make happen."
This includes possibly elevating the circle inside the track up to three feet, so fans could see the game a little better. After all - 150,000 pairs of eyes will be in the grandstands for the matchup.
"It's a dream come true in this region," Caldwell added.
No word on who will be the home team for this game -- both schools are almost equally distant to the track. Knoxville is 125 miles to Bristol; Blacksburg is 111 miles.