It’s Battle at Bristol time in Tennessee!

It’s game week for Tennessee and Virginia Tech at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The Tennessee Volunteers and Virginia Tech Hokies play each other for the first time since 2009, and for the ninth time ever. The Vols hold a 5-3 all-time series edge.

Now they play each other in the middle of Blacksburg and Knoxville.

What all do Vols fans need to take in preparation of the most attended college football game in history? The answer: Plenty of checkerboard pattern. The checkerboard pattern is synonymous with Tennessee football, and of course, is relevant to the speedway venue as well.

History of the checkerboard pattern

Fans love the Tennessee checkerboard pattern that gets painted in the end zones at Neyland Stadium, and recently, the 100,000-plus fans inside the stadium have been captured in a checkerboard pattern. But where does the pattern come from?

From The Odyssey:

Atop of Ayers Hall you can find a subtle checkerboard design. With a clear view of Ayers from the football field, it was General Neyland (head coach from 1926-1952) who began the checkerboard craze. When the Volunteers were on offense and facing in the direction of Ayers, General Neyland would say things to his players like, “Don’t stop until time runs out or until you reach the checkerboard and once you get there…get there again” as well as, “Charge the checkerboard!” These words were used as motivation for his players to keep pushing to make it to the other side of the field for a touchdown.

The checkerboard end zones were later introduced when Doug Dickey became head coach in 1964.

Three checkerboard items for your tailgate

Since the checkerboard pattern is perfect for the Battle at Bristol, let’s look at a few items to spruce up your tailgate.

Cornhole Set


Victory Tailgate Tennessee White & Orange Checkerboard Tournament Cornhole Set.

Everyone loves cornhole to kill time, enjoy and compete against each other before walking into the game.

For $169.99, normally $299.99, you can play cornhole on an orange and white set that’s regulation-size 2×4-foot playing surface with a cabinet-grade birch plywood framed with 2x4s and duck cloth bags — 6 inches square, 16 oz. corn fill.

Orange & white Rice Krispie Treats
Having orange and white snacks make game day even better. Rice Krispie treats are even better.

After 2 greased 8×8 pans, 3 tablespoons butter (separated into two 1 1/2 tbsp portions), 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows (separated into 2 equal portions), 6 cups of Rice Krispies Cereal (separated into two 3 cup portions), yellow and red food coloring (yes, it makes orange and white), your game day treat is on its way.

Just remember to place in a saucepan over low heat, melt 1 1/2 tbsp butter. Then, add 5 oz (about 20) marshmallows. Stir continuously until melted. Add 10 drops yellow food coloring and 3-5 drops of red. Stir until the marshmallow mixture is a nice even orange color. Add 3 cups of Rice Krispies. Stir until combined. Spread into one of the greased 8×8 dishes. Press out to an even thickness.

Repeat the process using remaining ingredients. This time omit the food coloring.

Class up your tailgate scene with a nice tablecloth. C’mon, let’s not be savages, huh?

Add to the festive feel of the tailgate with an orange and white checkerboard linen. Check your local fabric vendors, or order one online at a place like this.