Tailgating in the South is not just something to do on Saturdays in the fall. For many fans of the SEC, tailgating is an art that takes hard work just to get it right.
Southern Living has narrowed the search for the best tailgates of the South down to 20 schools, including UT.
"Tailgating at Tennessee has to be one of the best experiences on a game day Saturday," Sean Franklin, senior in journalism and electronic media, said. "It's perfect preparation for a great time at the game. Especially after the offseason, it gets you in the mood for getting back into the football mindset."
Even though UT has been nominated, fans will be the final factor in deciding which school will earn the top spot.
Fans are encouraged to vote for their school beginning August 15. Each person may vote once a day via southernliving.com/tailgate up until October 1.
Southern Living will crown the winner of "The South's Best Tailgate" at a home game by November 10.
Southern Living chose the roster of universities vying to win "The South's Best Tailgate" based on several different categories including Most Spirited, Traditionalists, Powerhouses, and Style Setters.
Tennessee has only been nominated under the Powerhouses category, which consists of Southern schools with a history of winning on and off the field.
"I wish we had been featured under more categories than just the Powerhouses," Bo Johnson, junior in finance, said. "I could see us being in traditionalists for all the pre-game activities that go on like Vol Village or the Pride of the Southland marching into Neyland. I think the Powerhouse label lends itself more to the reputation of the program, not to the tailgating."
Although UT is only nominated for the Powerhouse section, tailgating in Knoxville could fit into many of the different categories.
Pre-game rituals are rampant around Rocky Top on any given Saturday. From the Vol Walk to the Vol Navy, there are a multitude of things to take in.
Fans will even get the experience of seeing time-honored traditions during the game as the players and coaches run out through a power T made by the Southland Marching Band.
"When my friends come up for the weekend, I love showing them all we do," Franklin said. "I know other schools have great traditions too, but ours are easily the best. Sometimes it's hard to fit it all in."
Although it wasn't mentioned in the Style Setters section, Tennessee easily would have fit into the category. Where else in the country do students and coaches wear orange pants to every game?
Students all agree that UT should not be overlooked as a top tailgating school not only in the South but in the nation as a whole.
"I believe there are only a couple other schools in the country that have anything like the Vol Navy," Johnson said. "The atmosphere is unlike any other I have been in. It's almost like a party atmosphere. I'm getting excited just thinking about August 31."