Have ticket, will travel: Auburn, FSU fans come from all corners - Tucson News Now

Have ticket, will travel: Auburn, FSU fans come from all corners

Tim and Christina Richardson take in the sun the day before watching Auburn play in the BCS National Championship. (Source: George Jones/Raycom News Network) Tim and Christina Richardson take in the sun the day before watching Auburn play in the BCS National Championship. (Source: George Jones/Raycom News Network)
Paul Isgar has quite a reputation as an avid supporter of Florida State. (Source: George Jones/Raycom News Network) Paul Isgar has quite a reputation as an avid supporter of Florida State. (Source: George Jones/Raycom News Network)
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    (Source: Auburn Athletics File Photo)(Source: Auburn Athletics File Photo)

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    Bryce Brown returned from a shoulder injury to score 18 points and make four 3-pointers in leading No. 10 Auburn to a 76-66 victory over Kentucky on Wednesday night.

    Bryce Brown returned from a shoulder injury to score 18 points and make four 3-pointers in leading No. 10 Auburn to a 76-66 victory over Kentucky on Wednesday night.

(RNN) - Flight 2085 from Charlotte to Los Angeles was full of Florida State fans, and Nick Calabro was probably the only one wearing business casual instead of garnet and gold.

His manner of speaking is easygoing, yet direct and impactful enough to cut through the roar of jet engines outside the window.

That's a good quality for a corporate accountant who often has to coach clients through tax crises.

"My job is basically to keep people out of jail," Calabro joked. "I was coming out here anyway on business; so I said, 'Hey, I'll squeeze in a trip to the game. Why not?'"

Calabro is one of the many people who cut some time out of their regular lives to make a trip to Southern California.

Auburn and Florida State definitely have their differences in playing styles and their paths to get to this game, but they have at least one thing in common - passionate fans.

And they'll come from just about anywhere to see their team take home the crystal ball.

Massachusetts - There's hardly a trace of a Boston accent when Calabro talks. He has been in Florida since 1998, married a Florida State grad and has been a fan ever since. He's fascinated by the fervor surrounding college football in the South, and pauses for a split second when reminded that he's now part of it.

"It's definitely different down here, but it's such a great town," Calabro said. "College football is so much more different than the NFL because of the way people care about the team."

Alabama - If you've ever eaten a peach, there's a fairly good chance Colby Jones' family grew it. They own Durbin Farms in Chilton County, a small place with a big reputation for growing the fruit. But peaches are out of season, so they had plenty of time to come west and cheer on the Tigers.

Connecticut - Auburn fans in Connecticut? Yep, it's true, and they're not bandwagoners. Ward and Lisa Swift have roots in Alabama. Their family of five was walking the pier on Harbor Island as seagulls swooped in and out, a long way from their home in New Canaan - both in distance and temperature.

Florida - Lots of people would tell you they are the biggest Florida State fans you will ever meet, but Orlando financial adviser Paul Isgar is probably telling you the truth when he says it. The FSU alumnus is on a first-name basis with media from his hometown, who followed him around for a story.

"They've taken my picture many times," Isgar said. "This will be my seventh game this year."

Canada - It was a long way to California for John Groothuizen. He is a native of Ontario, moved to Alabama as a child and now resides in Flagstaff, AZ. All that plus a fight to earn his citizenship that ended less than a year ago, and he still has not lost his passion as an Auburn fan.

Georgia - Paul and Shelley Marshall live in Atlanta, and you could see their FSU garnet and gold gear from a mile away.

Tennessee - Randy and Kelly Day accompanied the Marshalls to California. When asked about a prediction for the game, Randy Day matter-of-factly said the Seminoles would win by double digits.

"They'll probably win by 12," Day said. "If Auburn can run on us, it's going to be tough to beat them."

California - Palm trees and sunny weather are nothing new for Tim and Christina Richardson, who live in Valencia Park and cheer for Auburn. As they walked along Park Avenue on affluent Balboa Island, they still roamed at a modest pace and took in the sights like any other tourists.

Louisiana - Nancy Sanders is the embodiment of a Southern lady. She is stylish, walks like a cloud is moving beneath her feet and has a way of firmly keeping you in check without making you feel the least bit offended.

She's a Florida State fan from "N'awlins," but she earned her master's degree at Auburn and her Ph.D. at Alabama. She admitted to being a tad miffed - not her words, but remember, she is a lady - when Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl. This weekend, however, there is no conflict of interest.

"Oh no, it's all Florida State," Sanders said.

Arkansas - Angie Stevens suddenly disappeared while the rest of her family was watching the last quarter of the Big Ten Championship Game. They were unaware that she was stretching every resource she had to get a family of four Auburn fans from Searcy to Los Angeles.

"She was scheming a way to get us to the game," said Jackie Stevens, her husband. "I told her she can't ever leave me. I'd never be able to go anywhere."

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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    MSU led 36-25 at intermission and went on to win it 76-55 to remain perfect and win the SEC regular season title for the first time in program history.  "It just doesn't get any better than that, y'all," Vic Schaefer said following Sunday night's win over Texas A&M. "It's very, very special. To win a Southeastern Conference Championship, it takes something very special from each of them, and I'm really proud of them." Copyright 2018 M...
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