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Frolic in orange and blue

Ybor is awash with the hues, not for the Gators, but Outback Bowl's Vols and Nittany Lions.

By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS Times Staff Writer
Published January 1, 2007


TAMPA - Thousands lined Seventh Avenue in Ybor City on New Year's Eve. The Tennessee fans wore orange. The Penn State fans wore blue. And by the end of the TECO Energy Parade, everyone wore beads.

The parade was one of a series of Outback Bowl events leading up to the game at Raymond James Stadium today, when the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team plays the Penn State Nittany Lions.

But Debra Langston came from Knoxville, Tenn., just to see the halftime show.

It'll be her freshman daughter's first as a majorette in the band.

"Wherever that band goes, I go," said the mom with the video recorder. Grandma Sharon Coppinger was quick to whip out wallet-sized photos of Tara Whitson, 18, and her baton.

"Your goal is to be a UT majorette if you live in Knoxville," Coppinger said.

She and her husband, Ed, brought their own orange seats for the parade, but by the time it started, they were leaning over the railing like the rest of the fans.

A block down, another family had a special reason to be at the parade. Today would be Nolan McCready's last game as a free safety for the Nittany Lions, his mom, Joanne, said.

The McCready family, from Reading, Pa., has had season tickets since her husband, Jerry, graduated in 1977.

"When Nolan was little, he sat in our season seats, and he said, 'Mom, I'm going to be on the field someday,' " Joanne McCready said. "We cried the first time he ran out."

Mascots waved, marching bands played, cheerleaders tossed beads and floats sailed down the street.

All of this, and Tom and Molly Cross didn't even have to travel.

The college sweethearts, who met in Tennessee, live in Temple Terrace.

They wore matching orange Sunday night, as did their kids, 3-year-old Wyatt and 6-month-old Mason.

Wayne and Nell Skeen from Riverview wore orange pompoms on their heads and held them in their hands.

Wayne, a Tennessee alum who doesn't get to see his team often in Florida, relished the orange.

"It's great," Wayne Skeen said.

"Ybor City is home tonight."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at (813) 226-3354 or



Catch the Outback Bowl

The 21st Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium is sold out but will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN Radio and WDAE-AM 620. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.


[Last modified January 1, 2007, 06:55:15]

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