It’s tough to be a Florida Gators fan living in East Tennessee. Just ask this Oneida, Tenn. resident.
The home’s owner lives in the heart of Oneida, which is in the heart of Big Orange Country. Located on the Cumberland Plateau north of Knoxville — an hour’s drive up I-75 from Neyland Stadium — Oneida’s loyalties are strongly Tennessee. So much so that the local high school football team wears orange-and-white jerseys that are identical to the Vols’. So much so that the nearest store to this Gator fan’s residence is named the Big Orange Country Store.
The woman is such a big fan of Florida that she goes to great lengths to decorate her home in orange and blue each football season to show off her loyalties.
But her neighbors are having none of it.
On the eve of No. 23 Tennessee’s highly-anticipated showdown with No. 24 Florida in Gainesville, her friends and neighbors undertook a massive redecorating project, turning her Florida showcase into a lawn that any Tennessee fan would be proud of.
The ring-leader of the redecorating project, Monica Bee, explained that it’s an annual tradition: friends and neighbors gather to paint their Florida friend’s lawn orange and white. But, she added, this year might be their best job thus far.
So are they still friends? Actually, they are. Unlike the game on the field, this rivalry is a friendly one.
“She doesn’t care,” Bee said. “She loves it. It makes her day.”
Tennessee and Florida will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.