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East Tennessee Gator fans gearing up for big game | Community Spirit

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East Tennessee Gator fans gearing up for big game
East Tennessee Gator fans gearing up for big game

It's clear that Tennessee fans are ready for the big game this weekend, but so are Gator fans, especially those living in East Tennessee.

"(It's) a lot of fun because everybody wants to argue, and everybody wants to fight, and I always get to have the last word 'cause we win 90 percent of the time," said Eric Oakes, a Gator fan who delivers mail in the Farragut area.

Most days, he says he wears a Florida shirt and baseball cap. And he's always sporting his Gator tattoo.

He gets a lot of grief from his customers, but he walks away with plenty of stories, too. He had a memorable encounter with former coach Johnny Majors.

"(He said,) 'I'm tired of my mailman coming through here wearing Florida Gators stuff all the time,'" Oakes said. "Gave me a signed hat, it was awesome.

The letter carrier also delivered a package to former basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

"(He said,) what are they doing sending a Florida Gator fan to my house to deliver my mail,'" Oakes said. "'Get out of here,' and I didn't know how to take that, and he started dying laughing 'cause he shocked me, you know. I felt a little fear from him 'cause I'm telling you, that guy's intense, and I mean, he really put on a good show."

But Oakes certainly won't be alone when it comes to cheering on the Gators this weekend.

TJ Weston and his family will be rooting for Florida - most of his family, that is. Weston's daughter is the lone Tennessee fan. Even the dog is named Tebow.

"I have to hear it the week of the game, then after the game's over, then I have to hear the same chant - wait till next year," Weston said of being a Gator fan in Big Orange Country. "When you win, you don't have to gloat. People expect you to, and I think it bothers them more when you don't say anything."

Weston has a man cave decked out in Gator gear, including pictures, jerseys and even a Kegerator.

"Tennessee has had a couple good games, and their confidence is sky-high right now," he said.

But Weston is confident about Florida topping Tennessee. He's predicting a 28-17 win.

"Oh, yeah...always...when we play Tennessee," he said.

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