Only two college football stadiums nationwide had the foresight to locate next to navigable waterways, and this includes the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium. Since 1962, hundreds of boats known as the Volunteers’ Navy raft up on the Tennessee River for game days and have become part of the SEC (Southeastern Conference) college football spectacle and lore. A bit further south on the Gulf Coast, this intersection of football and boating also plays out in unique ways during the winter months.
While most of the country has put away their boats into dry storage or under covers to protect from snow and ice, the Gulf Coast continues to head out on the water and tailgate as college football and the NFL near their championship games. For 79 years, the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl has incorporated a collegiate and PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) sailing regatta into their events. In December, officials from the BCS and the Sugar Bowl head out onto the warm waters of Lake Pontchartrain to assist the local Race Committee as the sailing programs from participating college football teams compete against the local Tulane, Loyola, LSU, and UNO teams.