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

WDE

June 20th, 2012
3:15 pm

Cdpridg, George is a Tech fan and a pretty decent and rational guy I’ve found over the years.

Dawg Haus

June 20th, 2012
3:16 pm

Interesting question, Cdpridg. A buddy of mine is a Tech alum and always complains about how it seems like a good percentage of their fan base hates Georgia more than they like Tech. I don’t care for Florida, but I couldn’t care less if they win or lose outside of JAX.

Cdpridg

June 20th, 2012
3:25 pm

Dawg Haus….I think we are on to something. Take this group of tech “fans” on this blog today. Rarely do you see these guys on a positive tech blog. A positive tech blog……WDE…I appreciate yourthoughtful opinion of George

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
3:29 pm

Rarely do you see these guys on a positive tech blog.

I would visit the Tech blogs more but my presence tends to ruin a blog, so I usually stay away.

Dawg Haus

June 20th, 2012
3:45 pm

Definitely, Cdpridg. I’ve had numerous relevant and interesting conversations on these blogs with fans of teams like Bama and Florida but it seems like most (and I emphasize most) of the Tech guys just come on here to talk trash and not football. A shame, if you ask me. I know a lot of decent Tech fans.

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
3:48 pm

A shame, if you ask me. I know a lot of decent Tech fans.

Are you really going to pretend like UGA fans don’t do the same thing?

old dog

June 20th, 2012
3:50 pm

@GTBob,
It is a prerequisite to in fact have a minimal attendence at a game before tailgating, etc. can become a topic. Seeing as how you are a Tech fan, and you get to tailgate with BOTH fans before a game in the parking lot, even after reading your link I feel as though you are out of your league. In short, you have no qualifications to discuss fans….you come from a program that lacks ‘em!

Dawg Haus

June 20th, 2012
3:53 pm

Not at all, GTBob. I know some moron Georgia fans, as well. I doubt there’s a school in the world without idiot fans that make the school look bad.

DawginLex

June 20th, 2012
3:54 pm

I have made peace with several Tech fans and am actually welcome on Ken’s blog

GTBob-It is impossible to reason with a hate filled, garbage spewing moron who bashes UGA at every turn and believes Richt is a liar and a cheat.

That’s why you are not welcome on your own team’s blog.

SAD

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
3:59 pm

That’s why you are not welcome on your own team’s blog.

I actually get along with the normal people on the Tech blogs. I just stay away because I attract trash like you to the blog if I post over there. I am trying to be considerate of my fellow Tech fans.

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
4:04 pm

In short, you have no qualifications to discuss fans….you come from a program that lacks ‘em!

If to be a good fan I have to harm my school the way that your tailgaters do then I really am not interested. Thanks though.

Nooga Dawg

June 20th, 2012
4:10 pm

GTBob, do us all a favor and stay away from UGA blogs as well.

The mom

June 20th, 2012
4:11 pm

Grooms cakes do not hurt anyone, they can make you fat though. Is that the thing you are comparing to vandalism? Who reads th is liberal piece of crap paper any ways!!!!! Fondants and red velvet cannot be compared to a jury trial. You guys are so dumb

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
4:12 pm

GTBob -

I don’t know what to tell you about Nancy’s behavior today. I have read the posts since she signed on today and I do not see where anyone said anything ugly towards her. She must just be going through a rough patch in her life at the moment. Maybe she will be better tomorrow. We can only hope so. It certainly isn’t very becoming.

Eustis

June 20th, 2012
4:14 pm

It’d be nice if the “fans” would refrain from using the “F” word in mixed company (young /old, M/F).

We might have had a flask, but the vast majority were at least mannerly. Those that weren’t were asked to be nice or gone.

old dog

June 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

@GTBob,
You digress…..nobody knows what would happen at Tech in the same circumstances….. they have never been under circumstances (lots of fans at a game) that would present any kind of problem at all! Y’all couldn’t fill a stadium if a winning lottery ticket was taped to every seat. (Unless you are playing us, of course!)

must read

June 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

zgoldatl

June 20th, 2012
4:25 pm

Can’t compare a wedding cake to the Toomers Tree incident. Come on Bill

Joey

June 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Bill. Bill. BILL!

Your are about to lose your UGA fans! You’re gonna keep on letting jerks like SSIgator, GTBob, and others come on these blogs and post nothing but IDIOCY – absolutely nothing to do with football – until you have no UGA fans left on here.

They post nothing but insults and I (and a few others) are sick of it.

It’s your blog so do what you will, but I’m telling you, when I scan a new post by you, and I see those posters commenting, I ain’t writing a thing. And I usually put quite a few posts in your comments.

It’s up to you.

Go Dawgs!

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

GTBob -

From the article three years ago:

“It takes 200 to 300 people on Sunday morning to pick up and bag up all the trash, throw it on a truck and haul it out to the landfill. A typical day game produces 35 to 40 tons of trash. A night SEC game like this we have 70 or more tons.”

I guess you didn’t know that UGA solved that problem. Now they have all of the pre-game tailgating and parking at the Athens-CC landfill. Then they bus all of the fans back and forth to the stadium. Killed two birds with one stone; they didn’t have to move the trash and it kept the drunks from driving to the game.

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

The two aren’t mutually exclusive, Cdpridg. Of course I hate UGA (the football team, not the people), and I love Tech. Neither means I can’t analyze their respective teams rationally.

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

Y’all couldn’t fill a stadium if a winning lottery ticket was taped to every seat. (Unless you are playing us, of course!)

We sold out one game last year and it wasn’t the UGA game. From what I have heard, most GT fans would rather stay home then be around your fan base.

you morons

June 20th, 2012
4:33 pm

Awww, what’s wrong? Did the little junkyard blawger not like the Uga cake?

Sensitive much?

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
4:34 pm

I guess you didn’t know that UGA solved that problem. Now they have all of the pre-game tailgating and parking at the Athens-CC landfill.

This is good thinking. Some of the people in Athens are smarter then I give them credit for.

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

I’d say if Michael Bourn isn’t on the team, there needs to be an investigation, CraZy.

That’s probably fair, Brava.

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
4:35 pm

Sorry, that was the Braves blog.

Ole Big Dawg

June 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

Yes we all understand that the grooms choice of cake is disgusting and distateful. I wonder what the folks that did not know the groom that welll, what did they think.

evil empire

June 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

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

you are kidding, right??…sanford and son tail-gating is mid-tier, just like the uga athletic program….go tail-gate in baton rouge, oxford, knoxville, tuscaloosa, or now college station….tail-gating at sanford and son is like going to a redneck birthday party at a landfil…

old dog

June 20th, 2012
4:52 pm

evil,
Been to several (not all, but several) of those places, and we can hang with the best. Good natured bantering is fine, but trying to beat us down to deflect from your own sparse, pathetic fan base is the last act of a desperate man. (Actually, it could be the first act of Henry VIII……) A teckie talking about tailgating is like Madonna talking about celibacy……..neither would have a clue!

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
4:56 pm

GTBob -

In fact, it has become so popular that Athens-CC even posted a YouTube video of it in 2011:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9tSiuIgJrg

And to think that all of that trash in the video was just after the Auburn game.

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
4:59 pm

I went to the Tech-UGA game in 2010, and the UGA fans were great. The only other places that were even comparable were FSU in 2009 and Clemson several times.

GTBob

June 20th, 2012
5:05 pm

A teckie talking about tailgating is like Madonna talking about celibacy……..neither would have a clue!

I just took all of the trash out of my house and dumped it onto my lawn. Am I qualified to be a UGA fan now?

SSIgator

June 20th, 2012
5:12 pm

GTBob -

Only if you also set your couch on fire.

Sussex Club

June 20th, 2012
5:13 pm

14-0

for a change, Celebrate.

Girls of UGA

June 20th, 2012
5:15 pm

flying a Georgia Tech flag right now

pj

June 20th, 2012
5:15 pm

Washington State guy – that’s impressive. In my 27 years of going to sec games, I’d say lsu and bama fans are the most passionate, tennessee and south carolina fans are the most obnoxious and ole miss and uga have the best tailgating experiences. And florida has the best mullets and jean shorts. Go dawgs!

Boobie Bowden

June 20th, 2012
5:49 pm

Went to one UGA gaem. Got turned off by students (and maybe some alum) urinating off the walkway on fans below. will never go back.

old dog

June 20th, 2012
5:51 pm

@GTBob,
Nope….you gotta have a team with a fan-base…then you can be qualified! Until then, dog-out other folks since you have no experience yourself!

DawginLex

June 20th, 2012
5:52 pm

Watch out Joey. SIMPLE STUPID IGNORANT GATOR will call you a girl’s name and tell you to go change your tampon

evil empire

June 20th, 2012
6:33 pm

old dawg, i’ve been to all those places (and uga)…guess we’ll agree to disagree…and i ain’t a techie…uga’s tailgating exerience is in my opinion not a special experience at all…kinda like the school as a whole…second rate…and joey, quit your cryin boy…

Beast from the East

June 20th, 2012
6:48 pm

Why did UGA fans in DC cut a Packers logo into their backyard?

Terry T.

June 20th, 2012
6:56 pm

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.

It’s not just the SEC. 99% of the schools in this country would have fired the punk’s azz on the spot. Instead, UGA gives him a big raise for his shameful actions.

evil empire

June 20th, 2012
6:58 pm

georgia had to copy green bay’s helmet emblem…what a tradition…always a follower, never a leader…

KJ

June 20th, 2012
7:05 pm

Hilarious that SSIGator, evil empire and GTBob jumped right on this blog, as if on cue. The epitome of fandom gone ugly.

evil empire

June 20th, 2012
7:08 pm

just adding some realism to the uga fantasy forum….

same stuff different day

June 20th, 2012
7:25 pm

worst

blog

ever

same stuff different day

June 20th, 2012
7:34 pm

no offense, Bill.

Its not the articles, its the comments. If the ajc would require people to set up an account to be able to post the conversation sure would be a lot better.

same stuff different day

June 20th, 2012
7:36 pm

no evil empire, you add nothing to the forum. you are worthless. congrats.

Bill King

June 20th, 2012
7:36 pm

Joey:
Just read the Blawg itself and skip the comments.

macrotech

June 20th, 2012
7:52 pm

Nice article….I’ll ALWAYS respect ‘Fanatics’ for their team. I grow weary of all the ‘trash’ talking sometimes, but find myself lured into the banter by UGA fans from time to time. LOVE the guy that has his teams flag flying in the background each week….MAD props to him! EVERY school has their irritating fans that embarrass the more reasonable fans. In the end…you have yours and we have ours. Even though we’ve been on the short end of the series for a LONG time…it DOES add to the atmosphere when it comes to game time. GOTTA love college football…best time of the year…EVEN for us Tech fans!

On a side note: What’s the latest with Baylie (Not sure of the spelling)? Been praying for her since you blogged about her and her father’s (Cuz) experience between the hedges.