The Ten Dumbest Fan Bases in America: #10 The University of Tennessee

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Today Outkick the Coverage begins our countdown of the ten dumbest fan bases in America. I’ve been writing online and doing sports talk radio for nine years. During that time I’ve written about every fan base in America. Contrary to what you’ve been told, all fan bases are not equally dumb. 

Some fan bases are uniquely dumb. 

These are their stories. 

When Rocky Top, the insanely popular song your fan base cheers with hearty vibrancy, pays ode to the implied murder of a federal agent intent on stopping you from producing illegal moonshine, you’re pretty crazy. 

Tennessee fans occupy a unique and fertile crescent of idiocy — the central region of the Bermuda Triangle of fan idiocy, where IQ points go to die, Kentucky to Tennessee to Alabama,  is connected by  I-65 — namely they’re like Alabama or Kentucky fans who have suddenly gotten rich in the past twenty years and found distractions to limit their idiocy. That is, while Alabama and Kentucky fans have embarked upon a continued descent into crazy, Tennessee’s collective idiocy has declined. In the past fifteen years the Volunteer state has spawned many additional teams for people to root for and the crazy Vol fan has been diluted by the rise of the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Predators, and the Memphis Grizzlies.

As a general rule, the more teams you have to root for in a given state, the less crazy fans become. The rationale is fairly straightforward, in Alabama you have to be Harvey Updyke crazy in order to stand out. In New York, how crazy does the average Brooklyn Nets fan have to be to stand out as the crazy Nets fan? He just has to have season tickets. 

Combine the sudden upswing in pro sports competition with the odd geography of Tennessee. The state’s really three distinct regions, Memphis and west Tennessee, where the Vols aren’t that popular in the grand scheme of things, Nashville and middle Tennessee, where the Vols are the most popular college team, but there is ample competition for fan affection, and Knoxville and east Tennessee, where the craziest Vol fans live in the hills, drink moonshine from their own stills, and FedExed feces to Chris Fowler when Peyton Manning lost the Heisman. 

Fowler’s feces came with a note — “Phuck you!,” it said. 

This really happened. 

That’s mountain damn crazy, and that’s why Tennessee is our tenth dumbest fan base in the country.  

But let’s dive in a bit more. 

When I was growing up Tennessee football was the entire show, the end all, be all of big time sports. But that’s changed. Now the Vols have competition. In the past thirty years the state of Tennessee has added two million people, increasing the state’s population by nearly 50%. Many of these new residents brought their own fandoms, this was not a natural population growth of Vol fans who can still recall the 1968 Alabama-Tennessee game. Along the way Nashville — with nearly a third of state’s population in its metro area — has become one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

All of this is great for the state, but it also helps dilute the crazy. 

Craziness thrives in provincial states that see little migration. The less cross-pollination, the dumber fan bases can become. If people are constantly moving into your state from other places then you end up with hundreds of different fan bases and that kills your potency. Migration stops the crazy from percolating, the particular witches brew of insanity doesn’t fester and explode into the popular consciousness. So Tennessee fans are dumb, but they’re becomingly increasingly less so. Primarily because they’re so easily distracted by other teams. 

If the Titans ever start winning again, the Vols could lose Nashville forever. (Fortunately for the Vols, the Titans are never going to start winning again). 

Usually college kids are the smart ones, but at Tennessee an entire fraternity was buttchugging. 

Leading to this press conference, which, to be fair, is worthy of UT being in the top five all by itself. 

By the way, I’m a Tennessee fan and I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent. But if you’re a fan of an SEC school and at some point you haven’t looked around your stadium and thought, “Holy s–, there are a lot of really dumb mother—— here,” you are completely lying to yourself. 

So what’s the dumbest sterotypical UT fan like in his habitat:

He’s now 47 years old, still rocking his goatee and 1998 back-to-back SEC championship t-shirt.  He has been wearing “husky” jeans since 1974 and he lives in a holler in a doublewide that he inherited from his mom when she died of a rattlesnake bite in 1996. He remembers that his mother died in 1996 because it was the same year that Tennessee lost to Memphis on that ridiculous kick return touchdown when that Memphis player’s arm hit the ground and it was totally NOT FAIR.

He has four Peyton Manning jerseys — Colts, Broncos, and two Vols — hanging in his closet and  he wore the “classy” Peyton Manning orange jersey to his twenty year high school reunion. There were eighteen other men in the same jersey at his reunion. Before he attended his high school reunion, he called to make sure that dropouts who later took the GED were eligible to attend.

He played one year of JV football, but, miraculously, every situation that occurs in Vol football for the past thirty years bears a complete and total similarity to the 1980 Soddy Daisy JV season. He is prone to starting all conversations about Vol football strategy by saying, “Well, what we did at Soddy Daisy was…” 

He takes a yearly vacation to Panama City Beach, where he stays at the Econo Lodge with his on and off girlfriend named Tiffany. Tiffany works in a strip club, but she is a waitress, not a stripper. This is a HUGELY IMPORTANT distinction. She has four kids of three different mixed races — one of them might be Travis Henry’s but she’s not sure because it might have just been an Applebee’s bartender pretending to be Travis Henry — and she is also a huge Vol fan. They go to three games a year, where they proceed to get drunk in the upper deck and talk about how awesome 1998 was. Both are secretly ashamed that in 2009 they role-played sex acts where he pretended to be Lane Kiffin — he even wore the coaches polo! — and she pretended to seduce him while playing the role of Urban Meyer’s wife.

Neither has talked about this since January of 2010.  

Before he takes his yearly trip to Panama City he dials up his Internet, hops on the message board and writes this subject, “Going to GAYtor land. Plan to piss everywhere. LOL.”

He calls Vandy, “Candy,” and believes, “That homo Clay Travis is soooooo gay and married to James Franklin!”

He has sent one Tweet in his life and it was addressed to me and read as follows, “Hey gayboy #” 

Of late everytime he makes a profound statement, “ESPN can go straight to hell for that bastard Charles Woodson!” He will append it with “VFL.” VFL stands for Vol for Life.

Using VFL is a universal sign that you could not actually be admitted to Tennessee.

He gets fever blisters during football season and always says, “It’s not herpes damnit, I’m just stressed,” when Tiffany won’t kiss him or wipe away his tears after Nick Saban sodomizes the Vols.

Tiffany gave him herpes.

So she never corrects him.

Go Vols!


The Ten Dumbest Fan Bases in America:

9. The Dallas Cowboys

8. West Virginia

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.