By the Way

Music legend Charlie Daniels talks Alabama-Tennessee game before Biloxi show

Country legend Charlie Daniels is an avid Tennessee Vols fan. He will perform at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi on Friday.
Country legend Charlie Daniels is an avid Tennessee Vols fan. He will perform at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi on Friday. Courtesy

I always look forward to when Charlie Daniels comes to the Coast.

I’ve interviewed him enough over the years to have developed a rapport with him. It’s especially fun to talk to him during the fall when SEC football is in full swing.

Although Daniels will attempt to be diplomatic toward the SEC as a whole, it’s no secret he loves the “Big Orange” of the University of Tennessee. He knows that I’m a diehard fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

And once again, the third Saturday in October is upon us. The Charlie Daniels Band will get cranking at 8 p.m. Friday at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi. It’s sure to be a heck of a show.

But Saturday, it’s all about college football, particularly the Alabama-Tennessee game.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide (6-0) head to Knoxville to meet the ninth-ranked Vols (5-1).

This weekend is so important in college football that I scheduled my wedding around it.

“You know where my heart is and I know where yours is — SEC football is the greatest game in the world and nothing compares to it — there’s no other league, no other fans, the SEC is the best,” Daniels said.

And guess what? Everyone wants to beat Alabama.

“Every game that Alabama plays is a grudge match these days,” Daniels said. “It used to just be that Auburn was the big rivalry, and I’m sure it still is, but as much success as you’ve had, everyone wants to beat you guys, but you know I’m going to be pulling for my Vols.”

With Tennessee turning on the heat late in the second half of recent games, Daniels said he thinks the contest will be close.

“Tennessee played them a good game last year, so let’s see if they can made a better game out of it this year,” he said. “We need to finally win one over you guys — I think Lincoln was president the last time we beat Alabama — we’re about due for a win here.”

I politely reminded my friend of the Alabama years between the departure of Gene Stallings and the hiring of Nick Saban, and he didn’t want to hear any of that. However, he did praise Vols coach Butch Jones.

“I commend Butch Jones for what he’s done at UT and I think he’s pushed all of the right buttons and he’s done all of the right things,” Daniels said. “Our program got pretty far run down by your offensive coordinator (and former Vols coach Lane Kiffin) — that’s the obligatory thing we have to say in Tennessee.”