Staff shares favorite college teams
College football has had a slow rollout, but action is starting to really pick up now. The ACC and Big 12 kicked off their season last Saturday and the SEC will get cranked up Saturday, Sept. 26 barring any COVID-19 related setbacks.
With people starting to spend their Saturdays focused on football, the Warren County Sports Authority staff wanted to plant some flags in the ground (and probably start some arguments about SEC supremacy). Shockingly, Jeffery Simmons has allowed fans of teams other than the University of Tennessee to contribute to the site. He swears it is just a minor oversight on the application process.
All jokes aside, here are the teams our staff will be watching this fall. Make sure to leave us a comment on who you will be locked in watching this fall!
Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Volunteers
Each time I tell somebody I can't remember how old I was when I went to Neyland Stadium for the first time, my mom will remind me. She tells people how I was a UT fan before I was even born because she was walking around Rocky Top pregnant.
I've always been with the Big Orange.
I really don't know the first game I went to when I was a kid (my dad will tell the story of me meeting Hulk Hogan at the 1992 Hall of Fame bowl in Tampa), but I do remember the first game that got me hooked. It was the 1995 UT-Georgia game.
Peyton Manning was a sophomore and blossoming into the era-defining quarterback. Manning was tossing TDs, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band was blaring and I was a 9-year-old kid loving every second.
I can still remember Jeff Hall's game-winning field goal sailing through the air. I was sitting in the endzone and it split the uprights right in front of me, sending fireworks soaring into the sky.
I was there in 1998 to see the Vols beat Florida 20-17 in overtime - "No sir-ree. No sir-ree!"
I went to school in Knoxville and graduated in 2008, sadly seeing the fall of Phillip Fulmer's career along the way. I've traveled coast-to-coast to see the Vols, from the Swamp in Florida to Autzen Stadium in Oregon.
I've seen the highs and the lows, and I always bleed orange.
Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to me.
Trevor Evans, Georgia Bulldogs
When I tell people around here I’m a Dawgs fan (and yes that’s how you spell it) they usually laugh and make a joke about the Hail Mary in Athens against UT from a few years back (Editor’s note: The Dobbs Nail Boot!) I didn’t watch much college ball until I was in fourth grade, but when I started it was the Dawgs from then on.
My first time going to Sanford Stadium was 2016 – 93K Day. It was coach Kirby Smart’s spring practice game where probably closer to 100,000 were packed in there to see the highly touted freshman QB Jacob Eason.
My first real game in Athens was the following season when Appalachian State came to town for the season opener. I will never forget it because for one I was fresh off a surgery and probably wasn’t supposed to stand very long. That went out the window quickly when the game started. Another reason I will never forget it is midway through the first quarter Eason went down with an injury. In stepped freshman Jake Fromm, who ended up leading us to an SEC championship and the National Championship game (As for what happened in that game, we won’t talk about it).
I've been to a couple games since then and planned to see a couple this season but you know ‘Rona had other plans. Regardless of me being in Tennessee or Georgia, I will always be “Damn Good Dawg” at heart.
Ansley Mullican, LSU Tigers
As a young child there were a few things I really loved: Football, the color purple, and Tigers. When I became an LSU fan about 17 years ago, it was because I liked their colors and their mascot.
Over the years, my love for the Tigers has blossomed into something so strong I can’t even explain it. When you ask people if they know Ansley Mullican, most of the time they say “Yeah she’s that girl that is obsessed with LSU.”
Well, they aren’t wrong. I have traveled near and far over the years to watch this team play. I’ve seen them play in Jerry’s World, Baton Rouge, Nashville, Fayetteville, New Orleans, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Knoxville, Atlanta and more. In 2011, I was in Tuscaloosa when the “Game of the Century” was played. LSU won that game 9-6 in overtime and the atmosphere was incredible.
This past year was my favorite year yet. I watched LSU play five times in person during an incredible National Championship season. Being at the SEC Championship, the Peach Bowl, and the CFP National Championship with the people I love most are memories that I will never forget!
Cody Robinson, Duke Blue Devils
Like most kids in Tennessee, I grew up loving the Tennessee Volunteers - they were truly bigger than life for me. I have fond vivid memories of watching Tee Martin, Casey Clausen and Eric Ainge leading the Vols on historic runs in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
As I began my recruitment process and started exploring different schools my love for the Big Orange started to fade. After committing to Duke, my fandom shifted solely to the Blue Devils. As you can imagine after seven years of blood, sweat, and tears helping build the Duke football program - I still follow the program closely and still feel a stake every Saturday in the fall.
Geoff Griffin, Tennessee
Growing up there wasn't a strong connection or loyalty to any particular sports team in my family. Back in those days, when we walked UPHILL to and from school and had to actually walk across the room to change channels on a TV with (OMG!) five channels, you just didn't get to see one particular team every week, except for the Dallas Cowboys on Sundays.
Besides those inconveniences, my dad definitely preferred a few hours on the lake fishing or watching Bill Dance or Roland Martin fish on TV to watching team sports on TV. That changed during my college years at TTU.
Under the influence of several friends from East Tennessee and because of a co-op job that sent me to Oak Ridge, a love for UT blossomed - a love that was definitely fueled by all of the sports successes for UT during the 1990's and early 2000's. For me though there was a peak and now a steady decline in that love.
Maybe it's my dad's DNA, maybe it's mellowing with age, maybe it's the futility of Vol football and Lady Vol basketball in the past few years or a combination of all three, but I'm nowhere near as passionate about the Vols as I used to be. I still care about how they do but investing several hours into a Vol game doesn't appeal to me the way it used to. I'd much rather roam the sidelines at Nunley or the Dalt with my camera than watch the Vols on TV or in Knoxville.
Anyway, Go Big Orange, but don't expect any ticket money or athletic fund donations from me.
Ty Martin, Tennessee
I grew up wearing orange and white. Ever since I was small, I can remember my family watching the Vols game every Saturday. It was a staple in my childhood.
I have always loved Tennessee but the older I got, the more I fell in love with the tradition. Nothing will ever beat the checkerboard endzones, Smokey, or yelling Rocky Top - the greatest song ever composed - at Neyland. It hasn’t been easy, especially with the Dooleys and Kiffins, but I can’t imagine rooting for anyone else.