Battle for the Beer Barrel

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Battle of the Barrel
Sport Football
First meeting October 21, 1893
Kentucky 56, Tennessee 0
Latest meeting October 28, 2017
Kentucky 29, Tennessee 26
Next meeting November 10, 2018
at Knoxville, TN
Trophy Beer Barrel (1925–1999)
Statistics
Meetings total 112
All-time series Tennessee 79–25–9
Largest victory Kentucky, 56–0 (1893)
Longest win streak Tennessee, 26 (1985–2010)
Current win streak Kentucky, 1 (2017–present)

The Battle for the Beer Barrel is an American college football rivalry between the Kentucky Wildcats and Tennessee Volunteers. Both border rivals have faced off on the gridiron since 1893, making it one of the oldest rivalries in major college football. It was close in the early years, with Kentucky holding a series lead after the first 22 match-ups. But since the early 1930s, Tennessee has dominated the cross-border rivalry.

Tennessee fans and Kentucky fans in the stands for the 2010 game.

Both schools were charter members of the Southeastern Conference when it was established in 1932. Since that season, Tennessee has a 53–14–3 record against Kentucky, including a streak of 26 straight victories from 1985 to 2010, which is one of the longest such streaks in NCAA history. The Wildcats did not win any games against the Volunteers during the 1940s, 1990s, or 2000s. The only decade of the SEC era in which UK posted a winning record against Tennessee was the 1950s, when they went 6–3–1. The series was not without disappointment even during that period for Kentucky fans, however, as the Vols dealt Bear Bryant's 1950 Wildcat squad their only defeat during their school-best 11–1 season.

The Barrel[edit]

History of the trophy[edit]

The Kentucky–Tennessee game once involved a trophy: a wooden beer barrel painted half blue and half orange which was awarded to the winner of the game every year from 1925 to 1997. The Barrel was introduced in 1925 by a group of former Kentucky students who wanted to create a material sign of their school's supremacy in the rivalry. It was rolled onto the field that year with the words "Ice Water" painted on it to avoid any outcries over an alcohol drum symbolizing a college rivalry during the Prohibition era.

While the trophy was ceremonially awarded to the game's winner each year, it took some unauthorized trips over the years. Tennessee lost to Kentucky in 1953, but several orange-clad students "keg-napped" the barrel and kept it hidden in Knoxville until UK students retaliated by "dog-napping" Smokey. The barrel theft set in motion a series of additional pranks over the next few years between students of the two schools, but the barrel was not involved.

Vanderbilt University students stole the keg from Kentucky in 1960 to rally support from cross-state UT students in an upcoming basketball game against Kentucky. The Commodores lost the game and returned the trophy months later.

End of the Barrel era[edit]

A fatal alcohol-related car crash involving two UK football players a week before the 1998 contest prompted the end of the barrel exchange. Kentucky athletic director C. M. Newton expressed the idea that the ongoing use of an alcohol container as a trophy would be inappropriate under the circumstances. The ceremony was cancelled for the 1998 game, and the two schools mutually agreed to permanently discontinue the tradition before the 1999 game.[1][2]

The actual barrel was in UT's possession when the schools ended the exchange, but its current whereabouts have not been made public. It has not been displayed since 1997, and it was not transferred to Kentucky when the Wildcats broke the Volunteers' long series winning streak in 2011.[3]

Game results[edit]

Kentucky victories Tennessee victories Tie games
No. Date Location Winner Score
1 October 21, 1893 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 56–0
2 November 4, 1899 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 12–0
3 November 23, 1901 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 5–0
4 November 10, 1906 Lexington, KY Kentucky 21–0
5 November 9, 1907 Knoxville, TN Tie 0–0
6 October 17, 1908 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 7–0
7 October 16, 1909 Lexington, KY Kentucky 17–0
8 November 5, 1910 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 10–0
9 November 30, 1911 Lexington, KY Kentucky 12–0
10 November 16, 1912 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 13–6
11 November 27, 1913 Lexington, KY Tennessee 13–7
12 November 26, 1914 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 23–6
13 November 25, 1915 Lexington, KY Kentucky 6–0
14 November 30, 1916 Knoxville, TN Tie 0–0
15 November 27, 1919 Lexington, KY Kentucky 13–0
16 November 25, 1920 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 14–7
17 November 24, 1921 Lexington, KY Tie 0–0
18 November 30, 1922 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 14–7
19 November 29, 1923 Lexington, KY Tennessee 18–0
20 November 27, 1924 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 27–6
21 November 26, 1925 Lexington, KY Kentucky 23–20
22 November 25, 1926 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 6–0
23 November 24, 1927 Lexington, KY Tennessee 20–0
24 November 29, 1928 Knoxville, TN Tie 0–0
25 November 28, 1929 Lexington, KY Tie 6–6
26 November 27, 1930 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 8–0
27 November 26, 1931 Lexington, KY Tie 6–6
28 November 24, 1932 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 26–0
29 November 30, 1933 Lexington, KY Tennessee 27–0
30 November 29, 1934 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 19–0
31 November 28, 1935 Lexington, KY Kentucky 27–0
32 November 26, 1936 Knoxville, TN #17 Tennessee 7–6
33 November 25, 1937 Lexington, KY Tennessee 13–0
34 November 24, 1938 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 46–0
35 November 30, 1939 Lexington, KY #4 Tennessee 19–0
36 November 23, 1940 Knoxville, TN #6 Tennessee 33–0
37 November 22, 1941 Lexington, KY Tennessee 20–7
38 November 21, 1942 Knoxville, TN #11 Tennessee 26–0
39 September 30, 1944 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 26–13
40 November 25, 1944 Lexington, KY #15 Tennessee 21–7
41 November 24, 1945 Lexington, KY #14 Tennessee 14–0
42 November 23, 1946 Knoxville, TN #7 Tennessee 7–0
43 November 22, 1947 Lexington, KY Tennessee 13–7
44 November 20, 1948 Knoxville, TN Tie 0–0
45 November 19, 1949 Lexington, KY Tennessee 6–0
46 November 25, 1950 Knoxville, TN #9 Tennessee 7–0
47 November 24, 1951 Lexington, KY #1 Tennessee 28–0
48 November 22, 1952 Knoxville, TN Tie 14–14
49 November 21, 1953 Lexington, KY #13 Kentucky 27–21
50 November 20, 1954 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 14–13
51 November 19, 1955 Lexington, KY Kentucky 23–0
52 November 24, 1956 Knoxville, TN #2 Tennessee 20–7
53 November 23, 1957 Lexington, KY Kentucky 20–6
54 November 22, 1958 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 6–2
55 November 21, 1959 Lexington, KY Kentucky 20–0
56 November 19, 1960 Knoxville, TN Tie 10–10
57 November 25, 1961 Lexington, KY Tennessee 26–16
No. Date Location Winner Score
58 November 24, 1962 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 12–10
59 November 23, 1963 Lexington, KY Tennessee 19–0
60 November 21, 1964 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 12–7
61 November 20, 1965 Lexington, KY Tennessee 19–3
62 November 19, 1966 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 28–19
63 November 25, 1967 Lexington, KY #2 Tennessee 17–7
64 November 23, 1968 Knoxville, TN #8 Tennessee 24–7
65 November 22, 1969 Lexington, KY #9 Tennessee 31–26
66 November 21, 1970 Knoxville, TN #8 Tennessee 45–0
67 November 20, 1971 Lexington, KY #11 Tennessee 21–7
68 November 25, 1972 Knoxville, TN #12 Tennessee 17–7
69 November 24, 1973 Lexington, KY Tennessee 16–14
70 November 23, 1974 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 24–7
71 November 22, 1975 Lexington, KY Tennessee 17–13
72 November 20, 1976 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 7–0
73 November 19, 1977 Lexington, KY #7 Kentucky 21–17
74 November 25, 1978 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 29–14
75 November 24, 1979 Lexington, KY Tennessee 20–17
76 November 22, 1980 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 45–14
77 November 21, 1981 Lexington, KY Kentucky 21–10
78 November 20, 1982 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 28–7
79 November 19, 1983 Lexington, KY Tennessee 10–0
80 November 24, 1984 Knoxville, TN Kentucky 17–12
81 November 23, 1985 Lexington, KY Tennessee 42–0
82 November 22, 1986 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 28–9
83 November 21, 1987 Lexington, KY #15 Tennessee 24–22
84 November 19,1988 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 28–24
85 November 25, 1989 Lexington, KY #8 Tennessee 31–10
86 November 24, 1990 Knoxville, TN #14 Tennessee 42–28
87 November 23, 1991 Lexington, KY #10 Tennessee 16–7
88 November 21, 1992 Knoxville, TN #20 Tennessee 34–13
89 November 20, 1993 Lexington, KY #7 Tennessee 48–0
90 November 19, 1994 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 52–0
91 November 18, 1995 Lexington, KY #4 Tennessee 34–31
92 November 23, 1996 Knoxville, TN #9 Tennessee 56–10
93 November 22, 1997 Lexington, KY #5 Tennessee 59–31
94 November 21, 1998 Knoxville, TN #1 Tennessee 59–21
95 November 20, 1999 Lexington, KY #7 Tennessee 56–21
96 November 18, 2000 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 59–20
97 November 17, 2001 Lexington, KY #6 Tennessee 38–35
98 November 30, 2002 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 24–0
99 November 29, 2003 Lexington, KY #7 Tennessee 20–7
100 November 27, 2004 Knoxville, TN #15 Tennessee 37–31
101 November 26, 2005 Lexington, KY Tennessee 27–8
102 November 25, 2006 Knoxville, TN #19 Tennessee 17–12
103 November 24, 2007 Lexington, KY #19 Tennessee 52–504OT
104 November 29, 2008 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 28–10
105 November 28, 2009 Lexington, KY Tennessee 30–24OT
106 November 27, 2010 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 24–14
107 November 26, 2011 Lexington, KY Kentucky 10–7
108 November 24, 2012 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 37–17
109 November 30, 2013 Lexington, KY Tennessee 27–14
110 November 15, 2014 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 50–16
111 October 31, 2015 Lexington, KY Tennessee 52–21
112 November 12, 2016 Knoxville, TN Tennessee 49–36
113 October 28, 2017 Lexington, KY Kentucky 29–26
Series: Tennessee leads 79–25–9

Notable games[edit]

  • 1950: The Vols handed #3 Kentucky, coached by Bear Bryant, its only loss 7–0. Tennessee went on and defeated #2 Texas in the Cotton Bowl Classic 20–14 en route to an 11–1 record, and Kentucky defeated Oklahoma 13–7 in Sugar Bowl to win the National championship .
Tennessee vs Kentucky 2007
  • 2007: Tennessee came to Lexington looking to clinch the SEC East and a trip to Atlanta after a strong victory over Georgia and Florida stumbling midway through the season. Kentucky cane in with one of its strongest teams in years behind star QB Andre Woodson and a huge upset over then-ranked #1 LSU now looking to end the 22-game losing streak to the Volunteers. The game becomes a fierce, nail-biting, overtime thriller as Woodson fights to end Kentucky's misery against Tennessee. In the second overtime Tennessee fails to score giving Kentucky a chance to finally end the streak, but the ensuing field goal is blocked. With the score at 44–44 an unsportsmanlike penalty on UT RB Arian Foster would force Tennessee to start the fourth overtime from the UK 40-yard line, but it would be rendered moot as QB Erik Ainge hits WR Quintin Hancock with a touchdown strike on the first play. Tennessee would make the two-point conversion. On Kentucky's ensuing possession RB Derrick Locke scores from three yards out to bring Kentucky within a two-point conversion to keep the game alive. Woodson would keep the ball himself on the try, but would be stopped from behind short of the goal line. After the game, Tennessee and Georgia finished their seasons with identical 6–2 records to lead the SEC East, but the Vols would move on to the SEC title game by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. Tennessee would then lose the following week to the eventual two-loss national champion LSU.[4]
  • 2008: Phillip Fulmer's final game as Tennessee's head coach. Fulmer finishes his career off with his final victory over the Wildcats, 28–10, leaving Kentucky winless against Fulmer.[5]
  • 2009: Tennessee and Kentucky go to overtime once again after another nail-biting game ends tied at 24–24 in regulation. Kentucky relied on star receiver Randall Cobb for most of the game, however Cobb was ineffective on the Wildcats' first possession in overtime only taking one wildcat formation snap. After a three-and-out the ensuing field goal misses wide left. On the Vols' ensuing possession, RB Montario Hardesty breaks off a 20-yard run for the game-winning touchdown in Lane Kiffin's lone victory against the Wildcats.[6]
  • 2011: After losing 26 straight games to Tennessee the Wildcats finally notch a 10–7 victory against the Volunteers behind the play of wide receiver Matt Roark who was forced to play under center as both quarterbacks, Maxwell Smith and Morgan Newton, were out with injuries. Volunteer fans cite this loss as one of the most embarrassing in school history especially under the guidance of then head coach Derek Dooley.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Low, Chris (November 25, 2008). "Alabama looks to break six-game losing streak in Iron Bowl". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ Smithey, Jesse (December 17, 2005). "Smithey: UT, Kentucky unlikely to roll out barrel". Knoxville News Sentinel. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Tennessee holds off UK in quadruple-OT thriller". Retrieved November 24, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Vols best Kentucky to send Fulmer out a winner". Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Hardesty's 3 TDs lead Tennessee past Kentucky". Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Kentucky ends 26-game skid vs. Tennessee, which will miss bowl". Retrieved November 14, 2016.