Ahead of a highly anticipated matchup in Athens, between the No. 12 Missouri Tigers and the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs, I got the chance to interview some of the Mizzou fans I encountered prior to the game, and ask them some questions about their thoughts on the environment and who will win the game.
Among the people I interviewed, was a man by the name of Leon Brooks, also known as Ty’Ron Hopper’s uncle, and he had some great things to say about the Tigers and the environment in Athens.
Q: What were your expectations for the crowd here in Athens and has the environment met or exceeded them?
A: “It’s a big crowd man, it’s a crowd for sure, I will say that, but the Tigers are ready.”
Q: How did you guys get down here?
A: “We all drove down here from Shelby, North Carolina. It was a great drive.”
Q: As far as this Missouri team is concerned, do you think they are for real?
A: “Oh yeah, they are for real. They had an opportunity last year to [beat this team], and they are going to show everyone this time.”
Q: Specifically, who do you think is going to show out for the Tigers this afternoon?
A: “I think Wease could have a big game, but watch out for Luther and Cook, they can both play.”
Q: Lastly, can we get a score prediction?
A: “31-17 Missouri, Go Tigers.”
I also got to interview a few University of Missouri students, who took the opportunity to drive all the way down from Columbia to Athens. John Sanders is a sophomore studying Journalism.
Q: How did you get down here?
A: “I had a lovely 10 hour drive down with my friends.”
Q: How was the drive, did you enjoy it?
A: “I loved it, we had some great stops, my favorite was definitely Bucees. I had never been and so that was an experience, I also got stopped by so many Georgia fans down there so that was a time.”
Q: How were those Georgia fans? Did they meet your expectations?
A: “Well, they weren’t favorable to the Tigers I will say that. I can’t exactly repeat what they said out loud but they definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of passion.”
Q: As for this Missouri team? Are they for real?
A: “I have to tell you, this team is for real. They are going to come down here in Athens and show the world what they can do.”
Q: Score Prediction and Team MVP?
A: “I am going to go with Missouri 31, Georgia 28. I am going to say the MVP this game is going to be Theo Wease.”
Live from Athens, it was an expected and warranted sea of red. It was a challenge even finding some Missouri fans for the questions segment of this piece, and you could count the black and gold in the stands.
As far as the tailgate scene, it was alive and well with hundreds of tailgates spread all across Athens, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. Tailgates in the parking garages, tailgates on the street, tailgates next to “No Tailgating” signs.
Pre-game it was loud, and the seats began to fill. Boos rained down on the Tigers as they entered the stadium, and it became apparent that it was going to be an uphill climb for Missouri as far as the crowd was concerned.
Travon Walker of the Jacksonville Jaguars was introduced as the celebrity guest pre-game, and was met with a loud roar from the Bulldog fans.
During the game, the Bulldog crowd got to as high as 112 decibels when the Tigers had the ball, creating an absolutely deafening environment for Brady Cook to operate in.
As the course of the game went on, the Tiger section got louder and louder, with some audible M-I-Z chants coming from their section.
The result may not have been the result the Tigers were looking for, but it was undoubtedly in front of a special gameday environment in Athens.