Tennessee Football: Top 9 Reasons America Loves to Hate the Volunteers
Why does America love to hate the Tennessee Vols? It is the same kind of dislike reserved for a few other teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the L.A. Lakers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Now we add the Vols. They own a proud tradition of SEC football that has been ongoing for over a century. How did this great team that regularly has over 100,000 fans attend their home games get to this point?
Is it that America is beginning to realize that this team never stays down long? Is that old UT confidence starting to show up in the staff and players this year? Is this a team that is starting to remember that it knows how to win? Starting to realize that winning is an attitude that begets more winning.
More winning, like a 35-7 romp over No. 2 Miami in the Sugar Bowl, Like shelling a No.1 Auburn team 38-20, when it was double-digit underdogs. Like 18.5-point underdogs knocking No. 2 Florida out of a chance to go to a national championship game in The Swamp by a narrow 34-32 margin. There are others too, but you get the idea.
Here are nine of the other top reasons why the rest of America loves to hate the Volunteers:
Honorable Mention: Great Football Weather and Lots of Pretty Girls
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Knoxville is located in the Tennessee River Valley, very near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Though there are lots of mountains nearby, Knoxville is only a few hundred feet above sea level. So, the climate is nice and warm.
And, so are the pretty girls who attend UT.
Part of America hates it that the Vols get to play in a nice climate, while in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, etc., it gets very cold, even snowy during football season.
Another part of America hates it that the Vols are not playing in scorching 90-plus degree heat and humidity like in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, etc.
Too bad for the rest of America. Oh yeah, the Kiffins got nice weather in LA. That crowd hates it that the traffic is three hours for every 50 miles you want to go in any direction!
No. 9: Smokey
Smokey is a blue tick coon hound. According to The American Kennel Club, they are bred to be hunters. As a result, they require a lot of constant activity. They are always sniffing and following their nose attempting to track down a meal.
Additionally, they are an extremely intelligent dog breed. As they sniff and hunt, they howl at new things they find, especially animals and people. The howls are loud and can go on continuously. This howl is the way they communicate, and it can be confusing to fans of other teams, who expect to hear a bark.
To those who don't understand, it may seem the dog is being mean or aggressive, but it can really be a loving and devoted pet.
As demonstrated in the video, it is also a very discriminating dog. If it comes into contact with other, lesser intelligent breeds, say a bulldog from Georgia, the coon hound will often howl. This is not intended to be taken as an aggressive posture. Rather, it is normally just warning his master that the area may be inhabited by less intelligent people, also accompanied by their dogs.
Maybe America hates UT because they have such a smart, healthy and loyal dog as its mascot, while other mascot dogs are short and squatty, no legs all body.
Perhaps this intelligent, healthy and loyal dog is intimidating to other fans? And that is the reason they love to hate the Tennessee Vols.
Good dog, extra biscuits!
No. 8: Derek Dooley’s Orange Pants
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They kind of scare me too. I guess they are considered stylish. Not just anyone can get away with wearing those pants. Fortunately, Tennessee’s other primary color is white, and the two work pretty well together.
I have heard that he pays over $400 per pair for those pants. I honestly don’t get that one, though. Let’s face it, if the fit is not exactly, 100 percent on the money, who is going to notice? I mean, just look! I could not tell you if his butt crack was showing as far as the fit goes. Those pants are so loud, you don't notice details. Another thing, he will never get away if the crowd comes after him.
Just say next time they play LSU in Knoxville, his field-goal block team lines up with too many guys on the field? Suppose they somehow let LSU get another game-winning play because of it. The man will have to pull off his pants as he runs toward the locker! He would just be too easily spotted.
No way I would I wear those things if I’m on the hot seat! Perhaps that is why America loves to hate UT, because its coach is so brave!
No. 7: Peyton Manning
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Perhaps the reason America loves to hate Tennessee Football is because UT once had the guy who will one day be considered the best quarterback to ever play the game. Still today, I'm sure Peyton (I can call him that because I met him in Knoxville once and he even said, "Hey, call me Peyton." Also, UT sent me a picture of him). Anyway, Peyton probably helps them recruit good quarterbacks to this day.
I'll bet he called Tyler Bray and said he would send him an autographed picture if he would go to UT. Unless that is against the rules. If that is against the rules, then I'm sure Peyton did not do it, I think.
He was a great college player. He didn't win a national championship at UT, but he did win a SEC Championship. He came back his senior year to try and win a championship.
Not only is this guy a great football player, he is also a great person. Salt of the earth and all. I hope he wins one or two more at Denver before he retires.
Also, one day this guy is going to be a heck of a football coach. He is a student of the game. Maybe that is why America loves to hate the Vols, because they will win a national championship with Peyton Manning coaching them one day.
No. 6: National Awards and Records
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UT football has a long and proud history. The recognized NCAA team and individual awards are in the hundreds and way too numerous to be listed here. However, I do want to list just a few that are amongst the most difficult to have attained (this information supplied by NCAA Stats and UTSports.com).
UT has six collegiate football national championships that have been widely recognized: 1938, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1967 and 1998
Additionally, it has another eight collegiate national titles that were awarded through various entities that it does not recognize: 1914, 1927, 1928, 1931, 1939, 1956, 1985 and 1989.
They own 16 SEC Conference Championships (second to Alabama).
They have six SEC Eastern Division Championships.
They are ranked No. 3 in all-time bowl games played (49).
They are ranked No. 5 in all-time bowl wins (25).
Tennessee's all time record is 794-349-52 (ninth most all-time wins).
They are the last major college team to play a whole year's schedule without having a point scored against their defense (1939): 10 wins, zero losses, zero points given up.
Neyland stadium is No. 2 in all-time home team wins (426). Ga Tech No. 1 at 432 wins. (Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium has been open and counting wins for eight years longer than Neyland.)
They are only one of two teams to have never lost eight games in a year (Ohio State).
Maybe jealousy is a reason for America to love to hate Tennessee football. Its long and successful history may be a reason that some folks don't like them. Some folks just do not want any one else to be successful, you know.
No. 5: John Ward
Give......Him.......SIX..... TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE!
Maybe it was the fact that the play had often been over for three to five seconds before John Ward ended his call that upsets some non Vols fans over the years. Yes, it is true that Ward wasn't exactly on the second as the player scored or the ball sailed through... or not.
But Ward would be the first to tell you, he was a radio play-by-play guy. On radio, you didn't have to be right on the second, but you needed to be correct. Always correct and always with the utmost professionalism.
Even with the slight difference in time, many still turned down the volume on the TV and turned up the radio to "watch" John Ward bring "Football time in Tennessee" to life on those many beautiful fall days and nights in East Tennessee or wherever the Vols traveled.
I've heard many a play-by-play person and I've heard many a good one. But, I never, ever heard anyone who could do it better. You always took your own advice and just called the game, not become a part of the game.
UT football had the very best play-by-play team that worked college football for 35 years. Perhaps that fact upset some in America and made them love to hate the Vols. If so, it's certainly their loss.
No. 4: the Vol Navy
What a way to tailgate to a college football game! No wonder the rest of America loves to hate Volunteer football. Take a look at these boats!
Also, just imagine what a great time the trip up or down river, the cooking, the party atmosphere, the pretty first mates, open bars, etc. All of this is conveniently set up right beside Calhoun's on The River, within 500 feet of the stadium entrance.
And yes, some of these boats will set up shop and stay in the same dock for two or three weeks in a row.
I have to say if I had one of the larger boats there with the hot tubs, booze, ladies and flat screens, it could be difficult to do my hollerin' duty over at the stadium.
If I were a fan of most any other team, this would make me love to hate Tennessee football.
No. 3: Neyland Stadium
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A staggering 102,455 is seating capacity for Neyland. However, it has had over 110,000 in it a couple of times and regularly gets up to around 105,000.
It is currently the third-largest capacity stadium in college football. During a war year with Michigan, the capacity was increased to near 110,000, just so UT could have the biggest crowds on record that year. By the following season, Michigan had raised their capacity to about 115,000 in order to regain first place.
Neyland can be a daunting place for a team to play. It's huge, it's old and the crowd looks like they are zooming up right over your head. Also, when the fans are into it, that place is LOUD.
Even by SEC standards it is huge and loud.
I'm sure that Neyland creates extra home-field advantage when the crowd is into it. So, this place is definitely not appreciated by opponents who have to play in it.
Maybe having one of the loudest and most imposing home stadiums in football history is why America loves to hate UT football.
No. 2: Orange Fans
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They are everywhere! They are covered in orange on every part of their body! They have orange tops, orange pants, orange hair and Tennessee orange tats. If you ask the right ones, they will show you their orange boobs (yes, both males and females).
They ride orange Harleys (I got one), they drive orange trucks and cars, they have orange boats, orange hats, orange seat covers, orange coolers and orange energy shots.
They paint their kids' faces orange, dress them in pretty orange dresses (just the girls) and have them say in their cute little two-year-old voices Go Vols!
It is a continuous sea of orange the whole time you are in or even around Knoxville on game day. On any day, anywhere in Tennessee, you will likely see several people wearing orange. UT people love their Vols and they especially love their orange....anything!
Perhaps it's this maddening sea of orange that is responsible for America loving to hate the Tennessee Vols.
No. 1: "ROCKY TOP!"
That is it! The No. 1 reason the rest of America loves to hate the Tennessee Volunteers! They know the Vols are coming back strong this year and they are bringing howling UT fans, singing "Rocky Top" with them.
That means about 80 different versions of "Rocky Top" before, during and after every UT game at home or away.
The wonderful thing for Vol fans is knowing that properly carrying a tune is very low on the priority list when you join in with 25,000 to 100,000 people singing "Rocky Top!"
So get ready America—we're back. And we're bringing our full-voiced version of "Rocky Top," over and over and over and over to a football game near you soon!
If that thought doesn't make you love to hate the Tennessee Vols, you are not an American. OR, you are a Vol!