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Best Vol Team Semifinals: 1985 vs 1997

The SugarVols meet Peyton's senior season...

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The power of the '85 Vols was on display in the last round, facing the more talented 1990 squad and winning easily with 69% of the vote. For those 35 and up - and we're not exactly sure what percentage of our readers are in that demographic, but we're about to find out - the '85 Vols are usually just behind (or even on par with depending on who you ask - there are some who will take the Miami Sugar Bowl over the '98 Florida, Arkansas, or Florida State games) with the '98 squad in terms of adoration. The '85 Vols are a team you remember forever.

The '97 Vols are a team that tends to be more forgotten than it should simply because of what happened the very next year, but thanks to their senior quarterback they've remained a fixture as well. They upset this tournament's #2 seed, the 1967 split National Champions, with 52% of the vote in the quarterfinals. So now we get to see if the '85 Vols can upend another team that is clearly more talented than they are - because the '97 team, on pure talent, is arguably the best in school history. Peyton, Jamal, Leonard, and Al. All on the same team. The fact that they lost to Florida (without Jamal) by 13 is astounding. We all know what happened against Nebraska, a necessary loss for the program going forward in hindsight, and that may take away from their accomplishments as well. But this team is a beast, and in the Space Jam scenario - if you had to pick one Vol team with the fate of the planet on the line - the '97 Vols are at least in the conversation, if not winning it. That's how they got this far...but will it be enough to take down the mythical '85 Vols?


QB: Tony Robinson, Daryl Dickey

RB: Keith Davis, William Howard, Jeff Powell

WR: Tim McGee, Eric Swanson

OL: David Douglas, Harry Galbreath, Todd Kirk, John Bruhin, Bruce Wilkerson

DL: Robby Scott, Richard Brown, Mark Hovanic

LB: Bryan Kimbro, Dale Jones, Kelly Ziegler, Darrin Miller

DB: Tommy Sims, Terry Brown, Charles Davis, Chris White


QB: Peyton Manning

RB: Jamal Lewis, Shawn Bryson

WR: Marcus Nash, Peerless Price, Andy McCullough

OL: Chad Clifton, Spencer Riley, Trey Teague, Mercedes Hamilton, Cosey Coleman

DL: Jonathan Brown, Bill Duff, Ron Green, Corey Terry

LB: Al Wilson, Leonard Little, Raynoch Thompson

DB: Dwayne Goodrich, Terry Fair, Cory Gaines, Tori Noel