KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Hundreds of people showed up to Circle Park this morning to cheer on the Vols during ESPN's College Gameday broadcast.
Gates opened to the stage area around 7:00 a.m., but many showed up much earlier excited and ready to go.
A staple of the Gameday show is signs, and there was no shortage in today's crowd.
One said "Chomp Gator Bait," and another said "Fear the Orange Pants." Everyone says having Gameday in town adds to the excitement of the day.
"Oh it's really exciting. I mean, just the Florida game in itself would be exciting, but then you know, with Gameday here, everyone gets pumped up even a little bit more. So there's some major hype going on, so we're pumped!" said Vols fan James Newsom.
Gameday's host Lee Corso is known for putting on the headgear of the team he thinks will win, and he didn't disappoint. He picked Tennessee, and quickly put on a coonskin cap just like he has before, and Smokey even joined him on the desk.
Kirk Herbstreit had a Gator head on because he picked the Gators.
Country superstar and Vol fan Kenny Chesney joined in the fun on the desk to close out the broadcast. Chesney predicted the Vols would win.
Tailgaters were up early too, and the UT vs. Florida rivalry kept things interesting. Richard Mumpower caught a 550 pound alligator Labor Day weekend, and grilled it for his friends.
"The only good gator is the kind we're gonna eat!" said Mumpower.
We even caught up with former Vols wide receiver Craig Faulkner out tailgating.
"Oh we're gonna win, I feel good about it and I think our program is coming back. These guys look good and they're exciting to watch and I think we're gonna pull it off today," said Faulkner.
From tailgates, to the Vol Navy, down to the strip - everyone was excited, including businesses, which make big bucks as the fans pour in. The Tin Roof was packed all day.
"I've never seen the strip this lively - great time!" said Brian Welch, a Vols fan.