I almost don’t know where to start.  Well almost.

To my friends and readers with teams good enough to play in bowl games every year,  a bowl game in a-not-so important bowl may seem trivial and boring.

When a team accustomed to playing in bowl games every year, slips and doesn’t make it to a bowl since 2010, any bowl, any city on any day seems like a miracle.

To the Tennessee Vols fans, the TaxSlayer Bowl (previously known as The Gator Bowl) in Jacksonville, FL seemed like a National Championship game.

This Bleacher Report quote, by Reid Akins, dated December 9,  sums up the feelings of many Tennessee fans.  “In a surprise selection, the Tennessee Volunteers’ postseason fortunes went from an all-but-guaranteed blustery and cold bowl game somewhere in the mid-South to a berth in the TaxSlayer Bowl in balmy Jacksonville, Florida, against the Iowa Hawkeyes.”

What a great place to watch a bowl game.  I have been in this stadium many times for Jacksonville Jaguars games and numerable times for the Florida/Georgia game.

The Tennessee fans traveled from far and near to attend this game.

Joy McCabe, Steve Wilburn with Chris, Kellie, Heather, Sarah and Logan photo by Kathy Miller

They lined up for hours waiting to cheer on their players at The Vol Walk.

Jaguar Stadium for the Tennessee Vol Walk photo by Kathy Miller

The Jacksonville skyline from the stadium

fans wait for Tennessee Vol Walk with Jacksonville skyline in background photo by Kathy Miller

A young Tennessee fan snaps pictures of his team from a good vantage point, his dad’s shoulders.

Young Tennessee fan captures Vol Walk from his dad's shoulders photo by Kathy Miller

But I am getting ahead of myself.  The Iowa Hawkeyes arrived on Amelia Island, staying at the Omni Amelia Island Resort.

Omni at Amelia Island FL photo by Kathy Miller  An Iowa fan enjoys the beach.  Talk about balmy weather.

Iowa fan relaxes on beach at Amelia Island Omni photo by Kathy Miller

My friend, Sue, is from Iowa and her parents were Iowa season ticket holders for many years.  We decided to check on the Omni’s Beach Party for the Iowa players and family.

Beach Party setup for Iowa Hawkeyes players and family photo by Kathy Miller

I even wore an Iowa colored plaid shirt in their honor along with an Iowa Hawkeye button given to me by Sue’s mom, Barb.

Sue in her Iowa jacket and Kathy wears Iowa plaid photo by Kathy Miller

Beach party setup for Iowa players and family at Omni on Amelia Island photo by Kathy Miller

 I had fun meeting fans and players during their stay.

Iowa players take a break during TaxSlayer Bowl photo by Kathy Miller

With many Tennessee friends making the trip to Florida, we made our tailgating plans.

Make ahead prep began.  The first item on the list,

Tennessee Whiskey Slushies, a perfect Tennessee Toddy.

Tennessee Toddy Slushies using Jack Daniels, Tennessee whisky photo by Kathy Miller


  • 3 cups Tennessee Whiskey, preferably Jack Daniels
  • 1 12 (ounce) can orange juice concentrate
  • 1 12 (ounce) can lemonade concentrate
  • 4 cans water (use 12 ounce can)
  • 2 cups tea


  1. Mix all ingredients together and freeze (gallon freezer bags work well).
  2. Pack in cooler.
  3. Serve slushy.


Can use bourbon if you are a Kentucky fan!

By KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

I made Buckeye Candy for my previous post in honor of Ohio State making the Playoffs.

Buckeyes ready to be dipped in melted chocolate.

Buckeyes ready to be dipped in melted chocolate photo by Kathy Miller

Ohio State upset Alabama and guess what my friends were served for dessert at our tailgate?

Buckeye Candy photo by Kathy Miller

I also made Jill Barden’s Killer Dip which is similar to a tapenade.

Jill's Killer Dip photo by Kathy Miller

 Gameday!  Tennessee Vols/Iowa Hawkeyes.

I used an old, faded, but well loved Tennessee flag as a tablecloth.  (Ask my kids who ran down the street carrying this flag after Tennessee won the National Championship.)  It is old and faded.

A Tennessee Tailgate with Iowa Hawkeye dip photo by Kathy Miller

The Buckeye Candy is center stage, but check out the ORANGE cheese straws from my favorite Ole Miss fan, Lillian Carson.  Her cheese straws are special, very thin with lots of flavor.

Tennessee/Iowa tailgate with buckeye candy and Lillian's wonderful cheese straws photo by Kathy Miller

Sue and Steve Braddock, Iowa fans tailgated with us.

Sue and Steve Braddock Iowa Hawkeye fans photo by Kathy Miller

 Sue’s Hawkeye Dip.  Steve made the Hawkeye logo with black olives.  Those are 2 I’s.  Not goalposts!

Iowa Hawkeye dip by Sue and Steve Braddock photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1 can refried beans
  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 head lettuce, shredded
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (3 ounce) can black olives, chopped (or more if you are making an Iowa Hawkeye logo)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Chips


  1. Layer refried beans on a platter.
  2. In a separate bowl make guacamole; peel avocados and throw away the pits. Mash. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Layer guacamole over beans.
  4. In a separate bowl; combine sour cream, mayo and taco seasoning.
  5. Layer over guacamole.
  6. Layer in order; green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.
  7. Top with black olives in a design such as the Iowa Hawkeye logo.

By Sue Braddock via KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

 I served the Tennessee Slushies directly from the bags in an orange tub!

Tennessee Toddy!

Tennessee Toddy Slushie photo by Kathy Miller

Serving Tennessee Toddy Slushies photo by Kathy Miller

My Tennesse rolling cooler has traveled to many tailgates, including Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss, Duke,  and many Florida/Georgia games.

 We also used James’ Florida Gator cooler, made by a good friend.  “Rollin’ down a backwoods Tennessee byway…..A sweet soft southern thrill”.  Lyrics from one of my favorite songs, Dixieland Delight by Alabama.

Rollin down a backwood Tennessee byway with my Rolling Cooler photo by Kathy Miller

A Tennessee Tailgate with Tailgating With The Vol Navy prints and cards photo by Kathy Miller

I also made some Iowa Hawkeye cups for my buddies.

Go Hawkeyes photo by Kathy Miller

 Loved these Iowa fans!  Something going on with the glasses.

Iowa Hawkeyes on patrol photo by Kathy Miller

Need a little orange.

Kathy with some funky Iowa fans photo by Kathy Miller

My friend, Sue, was happy to find some fellow Iowa fans!

Sue joins her Hawkeye buddies photo by Kathy Miller

Kathy with Hawkeyes photo by Kathy Miller

My ADPI sorority sister, Joy McCabe, traveled from her “Pond House ” in Georgia with son, Chris, a senior at UT.  Joy’s tailgating segment on Knoxville’s WBIR is well known.  I have also featured her Catfish Fry on a previous post. (I am encouraging her to write a “Pond House” story). Joy and friends also orchestrated a wonderful Tennessee Tailgate in Knoxville for the Tennessee/Florida game.  Thank you Joy!

Joy and Chris McCabe photo by Kathy Miller

Chris with friends, Kellie, Heather, Sarah and Logan.

Chris, Kellie, Heather, Sarah and Logan tailgating before Taxslayer Bowl photo by Kathy Miller

 If you know me, you know I always have a story to tell.  Darcy (4th from the left)  is my story.  You remember I have triplet sister-in-laws (Aunt Vern is one of them).  Well Darcy is the 4th triplet.  I guess that makes them quadruplets.  Darcy and triplets grew up on Huntington, Long Island and have been friends for years.  When Darcy and John married, we found new friends and more girls.  John’s daughter Amanda decided to go to Tennesse (woohoo for me).  Her boyfriend Trevor also is a Tennessee student.  Stay with me on this one.  Darcy and John live in the Washington DC area and visit Amelia Island quite often.  They couldn’t believe Tennessee was playing in Jacksonville. When they joined our tailgate….Surprise!

Amanda, John and Darcy Lyberger enjoying Tennessee tailgate photo by Kathy Miller

Amanda’s sorority sisters, Zetas, were also at our tailgate.

The Zeta Tennessee girls photo by Kathy Miller

Small world. Kellie is the daughter of good friends, Steve and Cheryl Wilburn.  Kellie’s Christmas gift was a trip to Jacksonville….all the way from Houston.

Kathy with Steve Wilburn and Joy McCabe photo by Kathy Miller

Tennessee fans, Jim and Lori Dulaney, with sons Riley and Tyler, traveled from Raleigh, NC.

Tennessee buddies travel from Raleigh, NC for Taxslayer bowl game photo by Kathy Miller

Logan and fellow UT students

Logan and friends photo by Kathy Miller

Game time and the bands!

Pregame time UT band photo by Kathy Miller

Iowa takes the field.

Iowa takes the field photo by Kathy Miller

Tennessee answers led by Smokey the bluetick hound mascot.

Tennessee led by Smokey storm the field photo by Kathy Miller

Tennessee fan Joe Lawson celebrates.

Tennessee fan Joe Lawson celebrates photo by Kathy Miller

Joe and Shann.

Joe and Shann from Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Kathy Miller

Joe would high 5 us even when Iowa scored.

Thank you Sue and Steve for celebrating with us.  You are the best fans.  Even though Iowa fans, every time Rocky Top was played guess who was singing along!  Think we need to do a little clogging.

BTW (by the way) Steve from New Jersey can clog with the best of us!

Dave and Kathy Miller, Sue and Steve Braddock celebrate at TaxSlayer Bowl photo by Kathy Miller

My favorite part of the day…after a win or loss the players go to the band and sing along to the Tennessee Waltz…..and then of course Rocky Top.

Players sing with Tennessee Waltz rendition of Tennessee Waltz and Rocky Top photo by Kathy Miller

 Thank you for letting me go on about my bowl game.  I do appreciate college football, the fans, the traditions and the spirit!

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.


  • Lillian Carson says:

    Happy New Year!!!! So glad you shared more of the cheese straws with the Buckeye Fans!!!!
    Would love your recipe for the Buckeyes.
    Delta Magazine featured me and my cheese straws along with two others in this months magazine. Very exciting!!!

    Look forward to meeting you in 2015,
    Lillian Carson

    • Happy New Year to you too! The cheese straws were a hit. So happy to hear about your feature in Delta Magazine. You can find the recipe for the Buckeye Candy above in the Food Category/ Dessert.

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