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.

Leonardo's 706 Restaurant in Gainesville Florida Tennessee fans photo by Kathy Miller

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.

The Swamp Ginesville Florida with Family and frineds photo by Kathy Miller

Lucy catches up with daughter Hannah’s friends.

Lucy with Hannah's friends photo by Kathy Miller

Kelly Ann met up with her KD girlfriends.

The Swamp with Kelly's KD friends photo by Kathy Miller

Met a few Tennessee fans among the Gators.  This one is holding my tailgating business card with the Vol Navy painting.

Kathy & Tennessee Vol fan at The Swamp photo by Kathy Miller

“Tailgating With The Vol Navy”

Tailgating With The Vol Navy painting by Kathy Miller

 Tennessee fans joining their Gator buddy.

Tennessee fans with their Gator buddy at The Swamp on Friday night photo by Kathy Miller

This Tennessee fan traveled to Oregon the week before and then made the trip to Gainesville.  Good Vol Fan.

UT fan at Swamp with Kathy photo by Kathy Miller

Just love The Swamp on a Friday night.

The Swamp on a Friday Night with lights photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Bull Gator outside stadium photo by Kathy Miller

Mike was game to put his head in the Gator’s mouth.  Such a good sport.

Mike with his head in the Gator's mouth photo by Kathy Miller

Gator got your Granny, “Chomp…Chomp Chomp”.

Chomp, Chomp, Chomp photo by Kathy Miller

For all of you Polk Salad Annie fans.

On a hot morning the water felt great.

Davy and Dave and the water spout photo by Kathy Miller

We took our usual route looking for great tailgaters.

Century Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks at the University of Florida.

Century Tower University of Florida photo by Kathy Miller

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?

Tailgating In The Swamp painting by Kathy Miller

I have seen this tailgator before, but this time they were set up at the base of Century Tower.

Gaotr Tailgating at base of Century Tower photo by Kathy Miller

Tailgaters celebrate the ground breaking for the new Reitz Student Union.

Ground breaking for the new Reitz 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.

Pat Dooley's new book photo by Kathy Miller

Game Time and back to Pops’ Place for our tailgate.

Rob and Suzanne Hinkley brought the Barbecue.  Rob is famous for his BBQ.

Rob and Susan Hinkley photo by Kathy Miller

I brought one Tennessee corn hole board to even out our corn hole game.  One Gator board, one Tennessee board.

Tennessee corn hole board photo by Kathy Miller

Gator Ryan and Mike must have hit the Volunteer board.

Mike and Gator Ryan corn hole experts photo by Kathy Miller

Gloria and Aunt Vern waiting for the corn hole game.

Gloria and Clara photo by Kathy Miller

Aunt Vern giving Gloria corn hole advice.

Aunt Vern giving corn hole instructions to Gloria and Mike photo by Kathy Miller

Tailgating with Walker and Britany, friends we don’t get to see very often.

Walker and Britany with Kathy at Pops' Place photo by Kathy Miller

Meeting and making new friends, Nicole and Marcus and their friends.

Nicole and Marcus at Pops' Place tailgating before Tennessee Florida game photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Rob, James and Ryan ready for the game photo by Kathy Miller

Lucy and Joe, both Tennessee graduates ready to visit The Swamp, this time the Stadium.

Lucy, Joe and Kathy ready to go to the Swamp photo by Kathy Miller

Sisters, Tennessee fans and Gator Moms, hoping for a Vol Victory.

Tennessee Lucy and Kathy photo by Kathy Miller

Pops’ Place is a short walk to the stadium.

Does anyone know this Bull Horn Guy?

BullHorn Guy at Florida Tennessee game photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Kathy with visiting Tennessee fans photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Kathy & David Pass, Tennessee baseball player photo by Kathy Miller

Blow up Al with our group.

Blow up Al with the Gator group plus Tennessee mom photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Kathy & Tom Gator fans since 1984 photo by Kathy Miller

They have been to every home and AWAY Gator game since 1984.  Such great fans.

One of my favorite Gators, Kathy photo by Kathy Miller

Beautiful Kathy.

My niece, Kelly Hawkins works for Gator Vision and has a spot on the jumbo tron during pregame activities.

Kelly Hawkins on the Big Screen Gator game photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Mr. Two Bits, George Edmondson photo by Kathy Miller

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.

Danny Wuerfful and Two Bits Fours Bits Cheer photo by Kathy Miller

The Gators stormed the field.

Gators storm the field

Tennessee answers.

Tennessee answers photo by Kathy Miller

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.



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