There are only 38 days standing between us and another season of Tennessee football. The Vols will kick off the 2017 campaign at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta versus former SEC foe Georgia Tech. In honor of it being 38 days until “It’s football time in Tennessee,” I’d like to take a look at perhaps the best team in Tennessee’s long, illustrious gridiron history: the 1938 Volunteers.
They are regarded by many as one of the greatest teams in college football history. General Neyland’s 1938 Tennessee squad dominated the SEC on their way to a National Championship, the first of four under Neyland, and six in program history.
Just how dominating were these ‘38 Neyland boys? Tennessee’s defense held opponents to a total of 16 points for the entire season. Opponents were completely shutout in 8 of 11 games, with 5 consecutive shutouts to finish the season. It would be 17 games and 71 quarters later before a team would score on Tennessee, an NCAA record that still stands today, and may never be broken.
Tennessee, at 10-0 and ranked 2nd in the country, faced off against 4th ranked and undefeated Oklahoma in the 1939 Orange Bowl in Miami. Oklahoma had a similarly impressive resume, pitching 8 shutouts in 10 games during the regular season. However, it was the Vols who would continue their dominating play, their staple all season, topping the Sooners 17-0. Tennessee went on to receive 24 first place votes, claiming their first national title in school history.