FedEx decides to back out of a $205 million stadium naming contract, shocking the Vols.

One of the best college football programs in the Southeastern Conference—if not all of college football—resides at the University of Tennessee. Under head coach Josh Heupel, Tennessee created a thrilling and energetic brand of football in his debut season. On the offensive end of the ball, the Volunteers broke eight single-season school records and were among the top 10 teams in the country in team tackles for loss. With an average play rate of 2.99 per minute and the seventh-best scoring offense in the FBS with 39.3 points per game, the 2021 Vols organized the “fastest” offense in the country.


Tennessee returns eight starters on offense, including four offensive linemen. Defensively, the squad returns seven starters from an attacking unit that ranked second in the SEC and seventh in the FBS for tackles for a loss.

The Tennessee Volunteers have had some of the greatest football players of all time suit up for them, including defensive end Reggie White from 1980 to 1983 and quarterback Peyton Manning from 1994 to 1997 to most recent Derek Barnett, Cordarrelle Patterson and Alvin Kamara. The Vols play in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, which opened as Shields-Watkins Field in 1921 and has a current capacity of 101,915.

Tennessee Volunteers Football History

The University of Tennessee first fielded a varsity football team in 1891 and became a charter member of the Southeastern Conference in 1932. Robert Neyland was a major architect both literally and figuratively in the Volunteers’ success in the 20th century and beyond. A brigadier general during World War II, Neyland coached Tennessee from 1926 to 1934, from 1936 to 1940 and from 1946 to 1952, leading the Vols to four national championships, five SEC championships and two Southern Conference championships. Neyland is not only the namesake of Tennessee’s stadium; his input in renovating the field’s infrastructure has been the basis for every major phase of renovation since the 1960s.

Johnny Majors was a star at halfback for Tennessee in the ’50s, and after leading Pitt to a national championship in 1976, returned to Knoxville as a coach from 1977 to 1992. Phillip Fulmer then went on to lead the Volunteers to a BCS National Championship in 1998, as quarterback Tee Martin and wide receiver Peerless Price helped defeat Florida State 23-16 in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl to cap off an undefeated season. While the Tennessee-Alabama game is not always played on the “Third Saturday of October,” the name is synonymous with one of the most storied rivalries in the SEC. Tennessee also has historic rivalries against the University of Kentucky, University of Florida and in-state Southeastern Conference member Vanderbilt.

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