Officials from Tennessee and Virginia Tech signed the legal documents Monday, and it’s now set in stone: There will be a college football game played at a racetrack in 2016.
The “Battle at Bristol” — which already has its own Twitter feed — will be played on Sept. 10, 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway, which sits about two hours from both Knoxville and Blacksburg. The stadium is expected to have a capacity of 150,000 for the game, per a press release announcing the contest.
Of course, because it’s a racetrack, the sightlines aren’t exactly designed for football:
The schools are billing the game as “college football’s biggest ever,” and if the stadium is filled to capacity it would dwarf the modern attendance record of 115,109 set in September for Michigan-Notre Dame in Ann Arbor.
A college football game at Bristol Motor Speedway has been rumored for years, and it may not be the last one of its kind. Back in July, a report surfaced that the iconic Daytona Motor Speedway could host non-racing sporting events at the track, with a Florida-Florida State game specifically mentioned.
But for now, there’s just the Bristol game, which has its own hype video:
One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.
During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest. The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.
“We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.
“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.
Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.
Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.
On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.
Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.
Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.
On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”