ATLANTA - They serve as motivation – bringing the noise at each football game – home and away. And Saturday, fans flocked to Philips Arena for a chance to see their favorite student athletes and coaches from Georgia and Alabama.
"There's a little team from Athens in town and we're going to win the national title! Go Dawgs!" bellowed Lance Gwaltney, dressed in red from head to toe.
Throngs of fans entered the facility as the doors opened at 8 a.m. The atmosphere, electric with anticipation.
"I'm real pumped. I've been waiting 15 years – since I was born – or this to happen," said Jacob Harmon, transferring his weight back and forth from foot to foot, waiting to get through the security gates.
"I can't wait to see Nick Chubb and Sony Michel," he added.
Expectations were soaring for Dawg Nation.
"So, so excited. We can't wait. We definitely know we're going to win," Nissa Kara said happily. She was still deciding where the family would watch the game Monday. "Either Atlanta or Athens," she explained.
We found one Alabama family who is slated to see kick-off from Mercedes Benz Stadium:
"Roll Tide!" yelled retired Army Mathew Hutcheson, invited to the much-anticipated event by the Wounded Warrior Project. For him, Media Day is a preview.
"It doesn't get much better than this," he said, beaming.
Whatever team wins, their fan foundation will be credited with helping carry them to a national title.