Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The game's been dubbed the Battle at Bristol, and it'll almost surely set the record for the largest crowd to ever watch an American football game. Organizers are expecting 150,000 to fill the racetrack, and they're bracing for them by ordering roughly five beers per every legal drinker who will show up at the game. It's a spectacle on a scale never seen in this sport before.
The Vols, despite a near disaster in their Week 1 game against Appalachian State, are favored to win. It's the first FBS game at Virginia Tech for new head coach Justin Fuente, who couldn't be walking into a more unique Power 5 debut. Fuente is quiet, and the Hokies' transition from Frank Beamer to Fuente was smooth. But nothing's going to be quiet or smooth about this football game on top of this racetrack. This will be a really, really big show.
The two defenses here are strong, so there might not be a lot of points. But there will definitely be fun, because, to repeat: this is a football game being played in front of 150,000 on a racetrack.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC. The broadcasters are Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Tennessee opened as a 9-point favorite, and the line's been growing.
Three big things to know
1. Tennessee needs a bit of a rebound. The Vols are 1-0, but Sun Belt foe Appalachian State almost beat them last Thursday. They're facing giant expectations, but they started unevenly. A win against a quality opponent would go a long way toward setting Butch Jones' team on the course charted for it before the season started.
2. Jalen Hurd's on a roll. The Vols running back has gone over 100 yards in four straight games. He's a weapon, and he's capable of doing damage against just about anyone. Virginia Tech's run defense has been just okay for the past few seasons, and the Hokies shutting down Liberty's ground game last week (2.6 yards per carry) doesn't mean much. In Hurd, they've got a tough one on their hands.
3. A Fuente win could be a jumpstart. The Hokies aren't expected to set the world on fire this year. Fuente has some time to get them into top shape, if he needs it. But a win against a ranked SEC team in his "real" VT debut would be a hell of a momentum booster. To whatever extent Fuente needs to rebuild at Virginia Tech – and maybe it's not so great – a win at Bristol would accelerate things.