Fans and businesses in Knoxville gear up for UT-Bama game

Fans and businesses in Knoxville gear up for UT-Bama game

Many UT fans started tailgating early Saturday morning. Many UT fans started tailgating early Saturday morning.

6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The football game between Tennessee and Alabama is here in Knoxville this year, and having the game at home is big for fans, and local businesses, as thousands of people flock to the city for the match-up.

Many UT fans started tailgating early Saturday morning, soaking in the excitement of one of the biggest rivalries in college football.

"We are gonna beat Alabama today. You gotta believe no matter what the circumstances are. If there was ever a need for fan support, it's now," said UT fan Langston Shelton.

Excitement is high ahead of the SEC face off, and fan support was evident all around UT's campus hours before kickoff.

"People started showing up around 8 o'clock this morning, setting up the tailgate and everybody's yelling go Vols. The Bama fans are coming through and giving the little looks and everybody's like this is the game of the year, here it comes," said UT fan Jim Houston.

Houston and his family have the same tailgating spot near campus reserved for the whole season, and he says, in a word, this game is huge.

"The Alabama Tennessee game is probably the biggest game of the entire season and definitely one of the biggest rivalries," said Houston.

When Rocky Top hosts Roll Tide, you can't find a better tailgate than in Knoxville.

"Getting out here and intermingling with the other fans and stuff, it's just a fantastic day out here," said Houston.

As for the game itself, fans are praying the Volunteers come out with a win, against number one ranked Alabama.

"This is gonna be a battle. It's gonna be a tough one. This is the game for Tennessee. We could lose every other game but if you beat Bama, it's a great year," said Houston.

They think the outcome will be felt by players and fans for a while.

"It would be an incredible confidence builder for the future," said Shelton.

It's not just fans who are excited about the legendary game, which always falls on the third Saturday in October.

Businesses near campus tell us they're excited about it too because it gives them an increase in sales.

University Liquor and Wine says a home game brings in the big bucks.

"It'll definitely be a boost. We enjoyed a Friday night that was above average and surely today will be above average," said Helen Morton, owner of University Liquor and Wine.

They've brought in special products just for this game, most of which were gone by early Saturday morning, as Vol fans gear up for some football action.

"We have already sold probably 70% of what we brought in just last night," said Morton.

The last time Tennessee beat Alabama was back in 2006, here in Knoxville.

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