Bristol Motor Speedway is known for hosting some close and intense action with hard hits to go with it. On September 10 of 2016 that will still be the case, but the action displayed on the playing field will be of a different variety.
After being talked about for years it has finally been constructed and confirmed. The Bristol Motor Speedway will host its first ever football matchup in 2016 when border rivals Virginia Tech and Tennessee clash on the gridiron.
With a capacity of up to 160,000 the “Battle at Bristol,” is already expecting to host the largest crowd in college football history.
At the moment the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich. is home to the largest crowd for a college football game with 115,109 witnessing their victory over Notre Dame earlier this year on Sept. 7, 2013. If Bristol fills up to capacity as the facility is expecting, the Battle of Bristol will shatter the current record by almost 45,000.
This announcement is huge for both the Tennessee and Virginia Tech’s football programs, but in more than just being a blockbuster football game. The opportunity to play in front of 160,000 fans will also be a unique recruiting pitch both programs to use to their advantage.
Unless it becomes an annual meeting, only the recruiting classes from 2013-2016 will have a chance to play in this ground breaking game if they so choose to attend either Tennessee or Virginia Tech for their collegiate careers.
However, the Volunteers need another major sell they can pitch to recruits like they need another hole in the head. As it stands now Tennessee is ranked No. 2 in recruiting for the 2014 class according to Rivals.com. They already have enlisted five-star running back Jalen Hurd, and 12 four-star commitments including the 11th best defensive end Derek Barnett, third best outside linebacker Dillon Bates, 10th best safety Todd Kelly Jr, and the 15th best cornerback D’Andre Payne.
First-year head coach Butch Jones has done an impressive job assembling his first full recruiting class, last year only having two months after being hired, to say the very least. After being tasked with the difficult job of rebuilding a once prominent program with national championship aspirations year in and year out Jones has risen to the challenge of reviving the Volunteers football program. The addition of pitching the opportunity to play in what will be a surreal atmosphere inside the self-proclaimed “Last Great Colliseum,” is only icing on the cake for the bounty hunter Jones has become in the recruiting field.