The Sweep

SI.com's All-American Blog Team

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By Arash Markazi, SI.com

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Rose Bowl isn't typically known for its excessive tailgating but that wasn't going to stop Astin Little and 64 of his closest Tennessee brethren from transporting "The Hill" to the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Little, a 2003 Tennessee graduate, rented a red London double-decker bus for the day and picked up his friends from Barney's Beanery, a famous watering hole in West Hollywood around 10am for the 30-minute drive to Pasadena.

"Everyone wanted to sit up top," said Little, who works for Scholastic Children's Books in New York now but organizes a few road trips each year for his Tennessee friends. "We have a lot of people who came out here for the weekend who've never been out here or been on a double-decker."

While Rocky Top blasted from the bus' speakers, Little invited any Tennessee fan in sight to join his tailgate. "We're trying to show everyone how we tailgate in the SEC," said Little, scanning the parking lot across the street with a handful of powder blue and gold tents serving as the home team's tailgate. "I've seen nothing from UCLA so far but that's fine. They can watch and learn how it's really done."

Neylands Still In Tennessee Fold

PASADENA, Calif. -- The most famous name in Tennessee football history resides in Southern California, but he hasn't forgotten his roots.

Robert Neyland, the great grandson of legendary Tennessee coach General Robert Neyland, is a 23-year-old senior at UC Riverside but he was decked out in orange as he stood outside the Rose Bowl before UCLA played Tennessee.   

Neyland's father, Robert Reese Neyland, a minister at the Los Angeles International Church of Christ, was planning to meet his son at the Rose Bowl before the game when I met up with him.

Neyland helped organized a tailgate of about 75 before the game with friends and family, including my former classmate Adam Maya of the Orange County Register, who attends Neyland's church and introduced me to the coach's great-grandson. 

"I never really wanted to coach like my great grandfather but I did coach high school basketball for a year," said Neyland, who plans to follow in his father's footsteps as a pastor after originally attending Georgia Teach with the hopes of being an engineer. "I liked coaching more than I liked playing so I guess we have something in common."

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