The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1938 season. Head coachRobert Neyland fielded his third team at Tennessee after returning from active duty in the United States Army. The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers won the school’s first national championship and are regarded as one of the greatest teams in SECand NCAA history.
In 1938, The Vols went 10–0 in the regular season and then shut out fellow unbeaten Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 17–0, snapping the Sooners’ 14-game win streak and beginning a long winning streak for Neyland. Tennessee was selected by a majority of polls and selectors as the national champions with 24 crowning the Vols. Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brienand his undefeated TCU Horned Frogs were second with 14.
The 1938 Volunteers were the first of three consecutive Tennessee squads that had undefeated regular seasons. Tennessee won three consecutive conference titles before Neyland left for military service in World War II in 1941. Tennessee also began a historic streak in 1938. By shutting out their last four regular season opponents, the Vols began a streak of 17 consecutive regular season shutouts and 71 consecutive shutout quarters, still NCAA records. Athlon Sports has named the 1938 UT team as the third best college football team of all time.
The Vols featured three All American performers. Bob Suffridge was an All American at guard, while Bowden Wyatt earned his spot on the team as an end. George Cafego carried the ball as a tailback.