SB Nation today takes a look at three maps attempting to show fan concentration in college football. The first two are older from Common Census and the New York Times, plus a new one from Reddit this weekend:
It shows what you'd expect from Vol fans: dominance in East Tennessee bleeding just over state lines into Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, with a rising Tide and a few Dawgs advancing in the south central part of the Volunteer State.
It's more interesting in West Tennessee, where the Vols appear to do better in Shelby County and the more immediate Memphis area than the local Tigers, who have more of a presence in the surrounding counties. You'll also find random pockets of Vol activity in places like South Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois.
The unusual length of our parallelogram means we have a diverse group of enemies. I think it's safe to say Alabama is at the top of all our lists. And of course, we've got the Gators, but that's a rivalry built on things that happened 20 years ago and the frustrations of the last 10. Very few Tennessee fans deal with a significant number of Gators on a regular basis.
I think this is an interesting component in the question of which fanbase/team you dislike most after the Crimson Tide. Do you live Southeast Tennessee? It's probably Georgia. Further north up I-75, you're likely to be really invested in the Tennessee/Kentucky basketball rivalry. In Memphis you've got the Tigers and even some spillover with a pair of teams we don't play anymore (which, really, make that three teams we don't play anymore, what up Memphis). My parents are from Memphis and my grandparents still hold a special place in their hearts for the Ole Miss rivalry (played annually until 1992); the Arkansas rivalry picked up every year from there until 2003.
Tennessee fans also get to deal with a number of ACC fanbases on the eastern side of things, relationships that will escalate thanks to the Battle at Bristol and a home-and-home basketball series with the Tar Heels in the near future. The rich diversity of our state allows for a plethora of enemies, which can be a curse when you're losing but could also be a nice little blessing if things go right this fall.
Do you find your second-biggest enemy after Alabama is related to where you live?