Extreme college football fandom can get ugly, but more often is something to celebrate

Georgia fans in D.C. put their lawn mower to good use. (Special)

Georgia fans in D.C. put their lawn mower to good use. (Special)

We’ve seen the ugly side of extreme fandom recently with jury selection under way in the trial of Harvey Updyke, the Bama fan accused of poisoning the trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, and the photo circulating online of a particularly graphic “roadkill” version of UGA’s mascot apparently served up as the tasteless groom’s cake at the wedding of a couple of fans of some other school.

Football rivalries sometimes even result in violence, as has happened with fans fatally shooting each other over the outcome of Clemson-South Carolina and Alabama-LSU games.

But college football’s superfans are more likely to be hosting elaborate and expensive tailgate feasts before a game or hitting the road for weeks at a time in a Winnebago festooned in school colors to catch all their team’s games, home and away, wracking up years of perfect attendance.

Many other fans emblazon their cars or trucks with elaborate portraits of their team mascot. There’s even a company in Macon that will sell you a coffin sporting your team logo!

Others show their dedication to their team in more unorthodox, eye-opening ways. And like the anti-UGA cake, there’s something about weddings that seems to bring out the extreme fan. My wife works with a guy from South Carolina who told her about a Clemson fan’s wedding where the groomsmen wore white suits … with orange vests. And my son attended a wedding at a very upscale home in Columbus where the décor showed the owner’s devotion to the Auburn Tigers. The hallway to his son’s bedroom featured tiger-striped carpet and a tiger on the wall. And the totally Auburn-decorated bedroom itself had Trooper Taylor’s autograph on the wall. Literally. It wasn’t just something hanging on the wall that the AU assistant had autographed. Taylor literally had signed the wall of the kid’s bedroom! Now, that’s a fan with pull.

Mike Woods (left) is a mainstay at UGA athletic events. (AJC File)

Mike Woods (left) is a mainstay at UGA athletic events. (AJC File)

And then there are those superfans like my old Athens High classmate Mike “Big Dawg” Woods, who make themselves a walking billboard for their favorite school. The network TV cameras always find Mike’s bald head painted with the Georgia bulldog, but he’s not alone. It seems every team has one of them, from Washington’s Captain Husky to Ohio State’s Buck-I-Guy to Alabama’s Nathan Davis, whose entire body is decorated with Crimson Tide tattoos, including a mural featuring Bear Bryant that covers his entire back.

Some superfans show great creativity in displaying their fandom. It’s one thing to paint the Georgia “G” on your lawn a la Sanford Stadium, but when my son roomed in D.C. with Rusty and Ross, a couple of other recent UGA grads, they did something a bit more difficult, meticulously mowing the Georgia “G” into the backyard grass. Rusty also has a table featuring a mosaic of the Georgia “G” design made out of the caps of many bottles of beer consumed while cheering on the Dawgs.

The Georgia logo on this table is made up of beer caps. (Special)

The Georgia logo on this table is made up of beer caps. (Special)

And you’ve got to tip your official college logo cap to Tom Pounds, the Washington State fan who has made sure a Cougars flag is waved in the background on ESPN’s “College GameDay” every week since 2003, mailing the flag to a network of volunteer operatives across the country.

That’s dedication.

Do you know any fans of the Bulldogs or any other team that have gone to unusual or colorful extremes? Share their story in the comments below.

Or if you’ve got a photo showing their extreme fandom, send it to me, along with some details, at junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

And don’t forget, if there’s something else you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or you have a question for the Junkyard Blawg, email that as well.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

164 comments Add your comment

Harvey Updyke

June 20th, 2012
10:45 am

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
10:51 am

“Extreme college football fandom can get ugly”

You are correct about that Bill. As far as unis go, I think it is a toss up between the Power Ranger outfits that UGA wore vs. Boise last year and the all black Grambling look-alikes they wore vs. UF in Jax.

Steve Williams

June 20th, 2012
10:54 am

When you trash a kid for wanting to attend Clemson, or Alabama, or Vanderbilt, becuase you wanted him to play for “your” school, you’re an idiot and you need a source of self-esteem that doesn’t involve college football.
Also that Grantham is a classy one. He yells obscene remarks at opposing players on national tv and at opposing coaches that are trying to teach his players some class. If he was at any school outside the SEC he’d be mocked and fired.
Stay Classy Athens, lol.

evil empire

June 20th, 2012
11:09 am

geat posts by steve and st simons….

Tiger Woods

June 20th, 2012
11:14 am

Whatever, Steve.

Pilfer Dawg

June 20th, 2012
11:24 am

Steve- Don’t worry brother. I’ll pray for you. No really I will

jsmooth

June 20th, 2012
11:27 am

Steve,
did you not see the classy remarks from the Vandy coach as well or did you miss that? Football is a passionate sport and obviously, by your remarks, you do not watch a lot of football at any level. I agree, it was an embarrasing event, however, both coaches learned a lesson, now move on.

Columbia Dawg

June 20th, 2012
11:27 am

Steve, staying classy like the Vandy coach who makes jokes about seeing a coach’s wife before hiring him or trashing 17 year old for switching their commit’s. If James Franklin is classy, I want no part of being classy!

It takes one to know one

June 20th, 2012
11:29 am

Steve your just as big an idiot as those you decry and you and
have your words in print to prove it

Columbus Dawg

June 20th, 2012
11:32 am

If I were a fanatic of The University of Florida Football program, I would be more concerned with the UGA mole that was hired to further deteriorate, I mean, coach my football team than what uniforms that said school may sport for regulation play. Just sayin’.

The Line

June 20th, 2012
11:42 am

I know guys that paint up for every home game. they are known as The Line. every home game they get in line for the game an hour before the gates open and paint up once inside. they are the guys with the red afros!!

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
12:14 pm

Comparing Updike’s damaging of property with a groom’s cake? Grow up, Bill, and get your (presumably red) panties out of their wad.

beanster

June 20th, 2012
12:24 pm

For once, I agree with George Stein. It’s a cake. A groom’s cake at that. If it were a bee getting smashed by a fly swatter as a UGA groom’s cake, I’d find it very humorous.

Now killing trees that are sacred to a school’s tradition or putting one’s privates on an opposing team’s fan’s face while they are passed out — that’s just pure trash.

Buckeye Dawg

June 20th, 2012
12:27 pm

I think it’s cool when the dawgs change up their uniforms. The uniform has nothing to do with wins or losses. Its the players and how they play that day. And if it pumps up the fans and the players, Great. I think that’s why Oregon always changes. Even if they are a little extreme for my taste sometimes. It’ s about the FUN in college football. And I like the black sometimes

Gtech

June 20th, 2012
12:31 pm

The roadkill cake tasted as good as it looked. Red velvet, btw. Also, the bride is a UGA graduate and fan. The groom has degrees from both GT and UGA, although it’s obvious where his loyalties lie.

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

See? It’s not so bad, beanster!

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
12:40 pm

Bill, I will take you up on your photo request and send you a picture of my neighbors UGA flag here on the island that has been flying upsidedown ever since (as he so aptly stated it) Vince got shown the door and then kicked to the curb. He told me that the only way he would ever display it the way it should be is when UGA wins another NC, but he also said that he is not holding his breath waiting for that to come around again with the gang that is currently in charge in Athens. I told him it had only been a little over thirty years so maybe he should be a little more patient, but he is afraid he will not live long enough to see it happen. Poor guy.

Big Mikey

June 20th, 2012
12:41 pm

Bill, first, don’t forget Super Dawg and his white long underwear and red cape at every home game.
Then there’s my Dad, Lou Scharff, UGA class of 1955. He has been a season ticket holder since he graduated. He started taking me to games when I was 5. He has been to well over 95 % of all games – home, away, and bowl games – since he graduated. I don’t think he has ever missed more than two games in any given year. His office at the Charlie Norwood VA here in Augusta is a shrine to all things UGA and Dawgs. He was a cheerleader for two years, and at 79 years old and even with a bad back, he still (as he has every year since the first Cheers reunion) should be out on the field running with the Dawgs as they come out during the pre-game at Homecoming.

Cdpridg

June 20th, 2012
12:46 pm

Fake… quit telling people to grow up. Pot meet kettle is the tech fan

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
12:48 pm

Well, it is just about time for Nancy to grace us with her presence today. Everyone please try and be supportive of her when she arrives so she won’t be so cranky. She has been having a rough time as of late. Poor darlin’

ty webb

June 20th, 2012
12:49 pm

and how about the zeal with which tech fans refuse to even attend their own home games…talk about dedication.

beanster

June 20th, 2012
12:57 pm

SSI — What time is bingo tonight? You gonna roll the old ladies again for the change they didn’t drop in the offering basket on Sunday?

gdawg

June 20th, 2012
12:58 pm

Steve, I am not sure that James Franklin has been really known as “classy” either. He has been in th news a little more than Grantham. Let go of your anger. Get some therapy.

gdawg

June 20th, 2012
1:00 pm

SSI, Dedication is advertising in the Atlanta paper pleading for the Gator fans that escaped the armpit know as Gainesville to please come home and buy a ticket to another Gator win over some directional school. PLEASE COME HOME GAYTERS!!!!
LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
1:00 pm

and how about the zeal with which tech fans refuse to even attend their own home games…talk about dedication.

I don’t think I have ever heard a Tech fan completely refuse to go to a game. Most have other priorities prevent them from going to every game. Basically its two different fan bases. One fan base has a life outside of football and the other doesn’t.

gdawg

June 20th, 2012
1:04 pm

GTBob, I would have a life outside of college football if I were a Tech Fan, we care about you. That is a good idea!

UGA Insider

June 20th, 2012
1:22 pm

Columbus Dawg,

You are right about our mole. I was with that person the night Steve Spurrier lit him up for 55 points while he was a db at UGA. Chris Doering is still running wide open.

However, that night the mole said he hated the orange and blue with a passion and hoped Gainesville would fall into a pit. That type of hatred does not go away.

UF- 5-7 this season… nice

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
1:26 pm

Fake… quit telling people to grow up. Pot meet kettle is the tech fan

This doesn’t even make sense, Cdpridg. I do have to chuckle at the fact that you apparently don’t want to grow up.

old dog

June 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

UGA fans gotta be among the best tail-gaters in the country. College football does get crazy. I remember when we played Alabama in ‘76 ….the tracks were full THURSDAY afternoon. For those too young to remember, the railroad tracks were a hot-spot to sit for the games prior to the end of the stadium being closed in. Those were some “sho-nuff” fans! When the bus pulled up and our guys got out to go into the stadium, the tracks cheered louder than imaginable! It really pumped the team up!

Sam

June 20th, 2012
1:35 pm

I really think the Washington State flag guy is pretty cool and impressive.

DawginLex

June 20th, 2012
1:35 pm

Elvira aka SIMPLE STUPID IGNORANT GATOR

Why do you post here?
Is it because this is the only blog on the AJC that still accepts your IP address?
Is it because you have been banned from numerous Gator sites because you are an embarrassment to your own fanbase?

Do you still have the gator carved into the side of your mullet cut?
Did they do that for you at the Supercuts at Gainesville Mall 2 fer 1 mullet cut special?
Did your boyfriend get it done too?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Especially why you are so in love with UGA that you spend time daily on the UGA blog yet profess to be a gator?

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
1:36 pm

UGA fans gotta be among the best tail-gaters in the country.

Read this link and tell me how great you think they are:
http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/uga-tailgaters-warned-to-140564.html

madmonq

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

If the morons involved want to keep it in the mom’s basement of the stadium, fine. When they bring their locally grown, locally important-only brand of cargo cult out onto the street,celebrating/commiserating the win/loss of the current favorite felon / future used car salesman/cranial injury victim, plugging the bars and streets like a month long constipation of stupid but spills on the street like so much literal and figurative vomit, then I might have a problem with it.

BUZZKILL

June 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

Is GTBob really talking about tech fans having a life outside of football? You have posted on every football related blog I have ever read…

Vinings Dawg

June 20th, 2012
2:03 pm

I’ve never bothered counting but it seems like theres a pretty close anti to pro ratio of comments on every BK blog. I always enjoy the banter and complete lack of maturity (unfortunately being a common share), but good lord… Let’s talk football and look forward to the season. Thta’s what these are for. If we fall into their b*tching stories and slams on the program we get lost in the crap that doesn’t matter one bit. We’ll speak with wins this season. That’s the way I like to do it.

Cdpridg

June 20th, 2012
2:06 pm

I chuckle at the fact you responded. It is truely a great attribute to be able to self identify. Sad are the tech fans…lol

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

I was the only person who told anyone to grow up, Cdpridg. Most UGA fans are fine, intelligent folks. You aren’t one them, Cdpridg.

Bama=home of the T-bag special

June 20th, 2012
2:18 pm

Wait did a Gator actually make fun of a UGA uniform? Newsflash slimy even the Power Ranger get up as bad as they were ,still beat hell out of those uniforms the gators wear.

@GTBob

June 20th, 2012
2:18 pm

Corrected your statement for accuracy:

“I don’t think I have ever heard a Tech fan completely refuse to go to a game. Most have other priorities prevent them from going to every game, such as Dungeon and Dragons and posting on every UGA blog. Basically its two different fan bases. The Georgia fan base has a life outside of their parents basement and the other doesn’t.”

Ghost

June 20th, 2012
2:23 pm

Ghost

June 20th, 2012
2:27 pm

The real gator uniform a are uglier. especially the ones with the one orange sleeve.

JJ

June 20th, 2012
2:33 pm

The groom is a graduate from Tech with an engineering degree and graduate from UGA pharmacy school with a doctorate. It was all in good fun-lighten up people. Haven’t you ever seen Steel Magnolia’s? The face that UGA fans want to bring up PETA makes it even more funny and probably why he did it.

Old Dawg

June 20th, 2012
2:37 pm

My winner of biggest fan goes to friend in Savannah whose bathroom is red and black, with plastic dawg poop all around the toilet (with a UGA seat). He always drives red and black car, the horn plays glory, glory and always wear red anywhere he goes.

That’s dedication!

Old Dawg

June 20th, 2012
2:39 pm

BTW, what’s up with Florida advertising on the UGA page for ticket sales?

That move makes Tech’s marketing plan look rational.

Joey Hanie

June 20th, 2012
2:43 pm

I have a memorabilia room dedicated to the Dawgs! Sent Bill pics earlier.White carpet, Red at the top of the walls seperated by white chair molding and silver at the bottom. Black furniture! Covered in jerseys, helmets, footballs, ect

Dawg Haus

June 20th, 2012
3:00 pm

I think it’s cool to be a superfan so long as you respect the right of other teams’ fans to do the same.

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
3:03 pm

Most have other priorities prevent them from going to every game, such as Dungeon and Dragons and posting on every UGA blog.

Don’t forget planning terrorist attacks, not talking to women, and getting robbed every 5 minutes. If you are going to use the same stereotypes as always you might as well get them all in there. Personally, I do all of these things.

truedawg

June 20th, 2012
3:10 pm

Trash talking is part of the fun, so is cakes, banners flags, painting faces..etc. When you strat destroying property, injuring persons and verbal assalts on children, I draw a thick line. I married a girl from Florida, her whole family are die hard gaytor fans. Her brother is married to a girl from Bama, and also a die hard fan. I enjoy watching the game in Jax every year with my inlaws. We even made the trip a few times to Jax to see it in person. We joke and trash talk and have fun! I have seen Gator fans start fights, and Dawg fans start fights. But I have to say I’ve seen more started by Gaytor fans. My wife and brother inlaw agree about the class of the UF fan base verus UGA fan base..UGA fans have more class, and a game in Athens is much more pleasant. We all need to stop and realize words and signs and cakes are fun..but fighting people and killing trees..is just plain dumb. Cheer for your team! your Coach! your School! Get lost in the momment of the Game..try to forget that your school will never be as classy or play in a city as nice as the DAWGS!!! GATA!!!

Cdpridg

June 20th, 2012
3:10 pm

Speaking of fanship George I have a question for you sir. Would you say youare more of a tech fan or simply just a UGA hater. Tech fans are a very interesting group. I would appreciate a quick response.

WDE

June 20th, 2012
3:13 pm

GTBob don’t forget Dragon Con and momma’s basement..two of my favorites.