This is always the toughest game for me. My Tennessee heart and my Gator allegiances always conflict.
It was a typical Friday night before a big game. We had dinner at Leonardo’s 706, one of our favorite Gainesville restaurants.
I wore my orange and white earrings and of course my Big T button.
We dropped by The Swamp after dinner to catch up with Gator friends and to mix with the visiting Tennessee fans. As usual The Swamp was hopping.
Lucy catches up with daughter Hannah’s friends.
Kelly Ann met up with her KD girlfriends.
Met a few Tennessee fans among the Gators. This one is holding my tailgating business card with the Vol Navy painting.
Tennessee fans joining their Gator buddy.
This Tennessee fan traveled to Oregon the week before and then made the trip to Gainesville. Good Vol Fan.
Just love The Swamp on a Friday night.
Game Day Saturday! We always walk the Florida campus in the morning. Wanted to show Mike, our NC State nephew, the Florida football Saturday morning feeling. First stop the Bull Gator statue. Boo and Davy Jones, our Gator/Tennessee dogs, just love it when we stop here.
Mike was game to put his head in the Gator’s mouth. Such a good sport.
Gator got your Granny, “Chomp…Chomp Chomp”.
For all of you Polk Salad Annie fans.
On a hot morning the water felt great.
We took our usual route looking for great tailgaters.
Century Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks at the University of Florida.
My “Tailgating In The Swamp” painting includes Century Tower along with Lake Alice, oak trees and tailgating tents. Is that Mr. Two Bits under one of the tents?
I have seen this tailgator before, but this time they were set up at the base of Century Tower.
Tailgaters celebrate the ground breaking for the new Reitz Student Union.
Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun sports columnist, signed books on Saturday before the game. I can’t wait to read his book. He is one of my favorite sports writers.
Game Time and back to Pops’ Place for our tailgate.
Rob and Suzanne Hinkley brought the Barbecue. Rob is famous for his BBQ.
I brought one Tennessee corn hole board to even out our corn hole game. One Gator board, one Tennessee board.
Gator Ryan and Mike must have hit the Volunteer board.
Gloria and Aunt Vern waiting for the corn hole game.
Aunt Vern giving Gloria corn hole advice.
Tailgating with Walker and Britany, friends we don’t get to see very often.
Meeting and making new friends, Nicole and Marcus and their friends.
We had the best tailgating meal. Rob’s BBQ pulled pork was the best I have ever tasted! I served my Corn and Cucumber Salad (click on the link and Next for the recipe) along with Arugula and Feta Orzo Pasta Salad.
Rob, James and Ryan ready to go to the game.
Lucy and Joe, both Tennessee graduates ready to visit The Swamp, this time the Stadium.
Sisters, Tennessee fans and Gator Moms, hoping for a Vol Victory.
Pops’ Place is a short walk to the stadium.
Does anyone know this Bull Horn Guy?
The one right below the Florida on the tent? He has tormented me for years. He is always on the corner of University and 21st taunting the Tennessee fans as they pass on their way to the stadium. Remember my story about him in The Button Lady? Please click here if you have not read it.
I glimpsed him as we walked to the stadium and snapped this picture from across the street. Dave and James would not let me go back to talk to him.
We continued our trek to the stadium and met lots of Tennessee fans on the way.
Loved this fan’s orange and white plaid slacks. He is David Pass and played baseball for UT. My son James decided to be funny and Gator chomped behind us.
Blow up Al with our group.
We made it to our seats. I go to all the home Gator games. I wear my Tennessee T button and my Gator Mom button. Everyone around me knows this. My favorite people are Kathy and Tom. I have many pictures of them throughout the years.
They have been to every home and AWAY Gator game since 1984. Such great fans.
My niece, Kelly Hawkins works for Gator Vision and has a spot on the jumbo tron during pregame activities.
One of my favorite traditions at UF is Mr. Two Bits. George Edmondson, Jr. led the two bits cheer during the Florida Pre Game Show for 59 years. He always wore a yellow shirt with orange and blue striped tie and blue and white seersucker pants, usually with saddle oxfords. He also was known to wander to different sections throughout the game and get the two bit cheer going. He has retired and is dearly missed. He did make an appearance for old times sake at the Florida/ FSU game in 2011.
Al, the Gator mascot has led the Two Bits Cheer for the last few years. Beginning in 2013 the Florida Gators chose an honorary Two Bits leader. Errict Rhett led the cheer for the first game. Danny Wuerfful led it Saturday against Tennessee.
The Gators stormed the field.
I stayed until the very end of the game. Even though the Gators led, I noticed something different this year. Tennessee did not give up. They continued to stay focused. They even jumped up and down as a team when the Gator band played. I felt a new spirit on that field. I am excited about our future.
I love college football and all its traditions. This weekend should be very exciting with many great SEC match ups. LSU at Georgia. Alabama at Ole Miss. Texas A&M at Arkansas.
Watch for upcoming stories from my tailgating travels. I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.
Come celebrate with me. I’ll save you a seat at the table.