Tennessee and Auburn fans start tailgating bright and early

Bring out the grill because it's tailgate time in East Tennessee. That means F.K. Whited of Ormond Beach, Florida is cooking.

"We do brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, we do some St. Louis ribs, wings, we smoke our wings then flash fry them," he said.

The UT fans gathered in an RV parking area are committed to the Vols. It's in Preston Eldred's blood.

"My dad played for UT back in 1938. He was on a team that went undefeated. They won the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1939 17 to nothing," the Johnson City resident explained.

Melanie Townsend drives 5 hours from Paris, Tennessee for every home game.

"Cheer our team on. They need our support," she said.

Preston Eldred said, "My tailgating is with F.K. and so consequently we have ribs and poppers and all sorts of chicken, I mean, and he's a phenomenal cook so it's just a lot of fun."

The early tailgating Tennessee fans were all about the food but the Auburn fans in another RV parking lot, well, they started the morning with some drinks.

Paul Taylor from Jasper, Alabama added something extra to his orange juice. "Well, it's got some vodka in it. Yeah, this is about the third one. We had breakfast. Ya'll just missed breakfast," he said.

The fans on either side have some stuff in common. Colorful apparel in their team colors, license plates, and dogs: a Tennessee dog named Poochy and an Auburn dog named Carly.

Fans on both sides enjoy hitting the road to come to a game.

"Just the fun and the crowds and the comradery with friends that's the most important thing," Preston Eldred said.

Mac Walker from Destin, Florida said of his Auburn pals, "Good friends. We always hang together. There's probably six or eight motor homes of us in here right now."

Vols fan Melanie Townsend said, "We love it. We love the ball games, we love the friends, we love the tailgating, just the whole thing."

So who is going to win tomorrow's game?

"Well, I wish I knew. Then I could get my money back I lost on Oregon last night," Paul Taylor said.

Melanie Townsend said, "I want to say we'll win. Hopefully we'll just make a game of it and hopefully we'll win."

Auburn fan Mac Walker said, "We just want to win."

Tennessee fan F.K. Whited has a detailed vision for the game. "Here's how it's going to go. We're going to start the running game with Rajion Neal. He'll carry the ball four times for five yards then Marlin Lane will come in game and then we'll blow them out after that," he said.

The tail gate veterans are not talking trash Friday morning. In fact, they seem to have a mutual respect for the opponents.

Preston Eldred said of the Auburn supporters, "Pretty nice folks. They're really loud in their stadium and I'm sure they'll be loud there tomorrow."


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