The Sewanee Tigers were pioneers in American intercollegiate athletics and possessed the South's preeminent football program in the 1890s. Their 1899 football team had perhaps the best season in college football history, winning all 12 of their games, 11 by shutout, and outscoring their opponents 322-10. Five of those wins, all shutouts, came in a six day period while on a 2,500-mile (4,000 km) trip by train. Ten of their twelve opponents, including all five of their road trip victims, remain major college football powers to this day.
Sewanee was a charter member of the Southeastern Conference upon its formation in 1932, but by this time its athletic program had declined precipitously and Sewanee never won a football game in the eight years it was an SEC member. Sewanee withdrew from the SEC in 1940 and subsequently deemphasized varsity athletics.