Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Behind Enemy Lines: UA students reflect on divided college football loyalties


When it comes to team loyalty, the town of Tuscaloosa is dripping in crimson, and “Roll Tide” is a commonplace phrase all around town. The culture of college football is engrained into the society of Tuscaloosa, and the majority swings heavily toward the Alabama Crimson Tide. However, in addition to fans of our Alabama neighbors, the Auburn Tigers, there is a population of students that root for other teams from around the country.

Hudson Morris, a graduate student studying applied statistics, spoke about being an Ole Miss fan, while also receiving his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Tuscaloosa, as well as being a member of the Million Dollar Band. Morris’ football preference is shaped by a blend of his mother’s college preference and his father’s own college football career.

“I grew up cheering for Ole Miss my entire life,” Morris said. “While my mom’s side of the family mostly cheers for Alabama, my dad’s side of the family has no real preference. However, my dad attended Ole Miss and played football there for three years as an inside linebacker before medically withdrawing. Typically, we try to go to at least one game a year together, though that has changed since I’ve moved off to Tuscaloosa.”

Being a member of the Million Dollar Band while the Crimson Tide plays the Rebels annually has put a different spin on Morris’ preference of college team. While being a Crimson Tide and a Rebel fan, Morris has donned his band uniform and attended the last two meetings between the two teams.

“As a member of the Million Dollar Band, I knew I was an ambassador of the University and had to uphold what the University stands for,” Morris said. “My freshman year was fall of 2014 when Ole Miss won in Oxford for the first time in recent history. I did not go as a member of the band to that game and instead chose to cheer for Ole Miss openly. However, my sophomore year was a different story because the game was at home, and I was in a uniform. I chose not to cheer for either team and simply just enjoyed the game.”

Riley O’Neill, a freshman majoring in communicative disorders, has had more of a relief as a fan of both the Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles. The Tide and the Seminoles have only met a total of four times, however the season opener for the 2017 football season is Alabama versus Florida State.

“My fandom for FSU comes from being raised by my mom, an FSU alumnus and die-hard Seminole,” O’Neill said. “Since I have no problem saying I’m a Bama fan first and foremost, my fandom for FSU doesn’t affect my love for the Tide too much. I’m a UA fan first, and then I root for the ‘Noles once the Tide has secured its W for the Saturday.”

When asked about O’Neill’s reasoning for coming to The University of Alabama for school, she said that the University stuck out to her in a unique way.

“I would say initially, my decision to come to UA was mostly based on the difference in scholarships the two schools offered me,” O’Neill said. “UA is able to do more for its students, and that is definitely what you want out of your university. The decision was hard at first, but now that I’m here I have no doubts I made the right choice, and I still feel that way on the other six days of the week besides Game Day. The feeling and tradition you get at Alabama doesn’t really compare to anywhere else, and I’d say even my family of Seminoles can see that.”

Although being a little exposed as the fan of another team within the Crimson Tide fan base itself, at the end of the day, it is all about supporting the team you like and always have liked. Being behind the enemy lines isn’t so bad when you are also on the enemy’s side of the fight as well.

“Aside from head to head matchups I never pull against Alabama,” Morris said. “While my dad did play football for Ole Miss, I am an alumnus of a great university and I plan to support them to the fullest extent.”

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