|1997 Tennessee Volunteers football|
SEC Eastern Division champion
|1997 record||11–2 (7–1 SEC)|
|Offensive coordinator||David Cutcliffe|
|Defensive �coordinator||John Chavis|
|Home stadium||Neyland Stadium|
|1997 Southeastern Conference football standings|
|No. 7 Tennessee x$||7||–||1||11||–||2|
|No. 10 Georgia||6||–||2||10||–||2|
|No. 4 Florida||6||–||2||10||–||2|
|No. 11 Auburn xy||6||–||2||10||–||3|
|No. 13 LSU x||6||–||2||9||–||3|
|No. 22 Ole Miss||4||–||4||8||–||4|
|Championship: Tennessee 30, Auburn 29|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1997 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee during the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. Quarterback Peyton Manning had already completed his degree in three years, and had been projected to be the top overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, but returned to Tennessee for his senior year. The Volunteers opened the season with victories against Texas Tech and UCLA, but for the third time in his career, Manning fell to Florida, 33–20. The Vols won the rest of their regular season games, finishing 10–1, and advanced to the SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Down 20–7, Manning led the Vols to a 30–29 victory. Throwing for four touchdowns, he was named the game's MVP, but injured himself in the process. The #3 Vols were matched up with #2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Had Tennessee won and top-ranked Michigan lost to Washington State in the Rose Bowl, the Vols would have been expected to win the national championship. However, the Vols' defense could not stop Nebraska's rushing attack, giving up more than 400 yards on the ground in a 42–17 loss. As a senior, Manning won numerous awards. He was a consensus first-team All-American and won the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Johnny Unitas Award, and the Best College Football Player ESPY Award, among others. However, he did not win the Heisman Trophy, finishing runner-up to Charles Woodson, a CB from Michigan, and the only defensive player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
|August 30||7:45 p.m.||Texas Tech*||No. 5||ESPN||W 52–17||106,285|
|September 6||3:30 p.m.||at UCLA*||No. 3||ABC||W 30-24||62,619|
|September 20||3:30 p.m.||at No. 1 Florida||No. 4||CBS||L 20–33||85,714|
|October 4||3:30 p.m.||Ole Miss||No. 10||CBS||W 31–17||106,229|
|October 11||3:30 p.m.||No. 15 Georgia||No. 10||CBS||W 38–13||106,656|
|October 18||7:00 p.m.||at Alabama||No. 9||ESPN||W 38–21||83,091|
|November 1||12:30 p.m.||South Carolina||No. 8||JPS||W 22–7||106,301|
|November 8||4:00 p.m.||No. 25 Southern Miss*||No. 7||PPV||W 44–20||107,073|
|November 15||8:00 p.m.||at Arkansas||No. 5||ESPN2||W 30–22||53,235|
|November 22||12:30 p.m.||at Kentucky||No. 5||ESPN2||W 59–31||61,076|
|November 29||12:00 p.m.||Vanderbilt||No. 3||CBS||W 17–10||106,683|
|December 6||8:00 p.m.||vs. No. 11 Auburn||No. 3||ABC||W 30–29||74,896|
|January 2||8:00 p.m.||vs. No. 2 Nebraska*||No. 3||CBS||L 17–42||74,002|
|AP||5 (8)||5 (7)||3 (7)||4 (6)||4 (6)||9||9||9||9||8||8||8||5||5||3||3||3||7|
|Coaches Poll||5 (8)||5 (8)||3 (10)||4 (5)||4 (6)||10||10||10||9||8||8||7||5||5||3||3||3||8|
|1997 Tennessee Volunteers football team roster|
Awards and honors
- Peyton Manning, consensus first-team All-American
- Peyton Manning, Maxwell Award winner
- Peyton Manning, Davey O'Brien Award winner
- Peyton Manning, James E. Sullivan Award
- Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas Award winner
- Peyton Manning, Best College Football Player ESPY Award winner
- Peyton Manning, runner-up, Heisman Trophy
Team players drafted into the NFL
|Peyton Manning||Quarterback||1||1||Indianapolis Colts|
|Terry Fair||Cornerback||1||20||Detroit Lions|
|Marcus Nash||Wide receiver||1||30||Denver Broncos|
|Leonard Little||Defensive end||3||65||St. Louis Rams|
|Jonathan Brown||Defensive end||3||90||Green Bay Packers|
|Trey Teague||Center||7||200||Denver Broncos|
|Andy McCullough||Wide receiver||7||204||New Orleans Saints|
|Corey Gaines||Safety||7||231||Indianapolis Colts|
- "Neyland Stadium". utsports.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Nothing to Prove; Manning Made His Decision to Stay at Tennessee, and the Rest Is History". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. September 3, 1997.
- "Tenn. Jumps To No. 3 in Poll". The Washington Post. September 1, 1997.
- "UCLA Rallies in Second Half Against Tennessee, but Comes Up Short for Second Week in a Row, 30–24". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. September 7, 1997.
- Rhoden, William C. (September 21, 1997). "Manning's Nightmare Continues". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
- Sallee, Barrett (August 24, 2012). "Classic SEC Football: Tennessee Tops Auburn in the 1997 SEC Championship Game". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
- Fulmer, Phillip (1999). A Perfect Season. Rutledge Hill Press. p. 7. ISBN 1-55853-798-8.
Peyton had played with a lot of pain in the Orange Bowl because of an injury he had suffered in our SEC Championship victory against Auburn, and his mobility was limited throughout the game against Nebraska
- MacCambridge, Michael (2005). ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Books. p. 1401. ISBN 1-4013-3703-1.
- MacCambridge, Michael (2005). ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Books. p. 1462. ISBN 1-4013-3703-1.
- MacCambridge, Michael (2005). ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Books. p. 1402. ISBN 1-4013-3703-1.
- "The 2005 ESPY Awards – ESPY Awards past winners". ESPN. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
- "1997 Heisman Trophy". Heisman.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2008.
- 2011 Tennessee Football Record Book, p. 102.