By: Alex Harmon
Junior Staff Writer
The All Vol Call in Show
Rivalries: during this time of the year, we see these words get tossed around all throughout college football. They can bring out the best and worst of emotions in people. Some of them have started just over the last few seasons and some have roots that run deeper than you could ever imagine. For me, as well as other fanatics across this great nation, there are rivalries that stand out and are pinpointed on the calendar each season. The Iron Bowl, Red River Shootout, Egg Bowl, and Bedlam just to name a few have brought us some of the best live action football that money can buy. As for the Tennessee Volunteers, one of those games is making its way over the horizon this coming Saturday known as the “Battle of the Barrel.”
The barrel, also known as the Beer Barrel, made its appearance in 1925 when a group of Kentucky students rolled it out onto the field to celebrate a 23-20 victory over Tennessee. Little did they know that almost a 100 years later, it would blossom into one of the biggest rivalry games on the schedule for both teams. It was used as a trophy and taken back to the respective school and kept as a token of victory until the next time the two foes met. Throughout the history of the barrel, Kentucky was only able to take home the trophy piece a total of 14 times as the Tennessee Volunteers remained in control of the barrel for a majority of the time. That is until the 1998 season, when unfortunately, two Kentucky football players passed in an alcohol related car accident. Before the 1999 season, both schools made an agreement to put the barrel away for good considering the tragedy that had taken place.
Since that 1998 season, Kentucky has only been able to pull out a win over Tennessee a total of three times in 2011, 2017, and 2020. Some of those rivalry games have been closer than others, but that doesn’t stop the fans from pouring on the banter for social media. If you don’t believe this game carries any weight to the fans and players, just hop onto whatever social media app you have during the week leading up to the game and see if that doesn’t tell a different story. Fans from both sides take their best shot at each other in hopes of their trash talk holding up during the 60 minutes of intense battle on the field.
This rivalry has seen some of the best players to ever play college football along with some nail-biting wins and blowout losses on both sides. Although the Beer Barrel is no longer presented to the winning team, that does not take away the tradition of mutual hatred that Kentucky and Tennessee have for each other on the field regardless of what the series record shows and 2023 will be no different as Tennessee travels to Lexington, KY for yet another chapter in the Battle of the Barrel rivalry.