KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee fanbase has showed a great deal of resolve and resiliency, jumping back on board in full force with the hiring of new coach Jeremy Pruitt.
The Vols’ fans have taken their share of criticism from national media after they derailed the hiring of controversial Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
But there are others, such as the “FanSided” website that have recognized the passion on Rocky Top, from the football program to the men’s and women’s basketball programs and even the Lady Vols thriving softball program.
The so-called “Fandom 250” ranked the top fanbases of sports and the entertainment industry recently and Tennessee came in at:
• No. 5 among SEC teams
• No. 185 overall among all sports teams and entertainers
The fansided site concluded that: “These fans don’t just put on orange sweatshirts in the winter and then never touch their UT garb until the next season rolls around. No, they bleed orange 365 days a year.”
Ohio State was rated to have the top college fanbase, with Alabama No. 2, Notre Dame No. 3, North Carolina No. 4 and Oklahoma No. 5.
Alabama, Kentucky (No. 6), Florida (No. 15) and LSU (No. 17) are the SEC fanbases ranked ahead of Tennessee.
As for the overall rating perspective, the Vols’ fans at No. 185:
• Tennessee fans are two spots ahead of the Atlanta Falcons fans
• Vols fans are one spot ahead of fans of actor Ryan Gosling
• Vols fans are one spot behind fans of model Chrissy Teigen, who has 20 million social media followers
• Tennessee fans are two spots behind Kansas City Royals fans
• Tennessee fans are four spots behind Chicago Bears fans