It’s never a bad time to be from the area of the Mid-South, but these are some special times. The area is growing, and becoming more diverse and cosmopolitan. Our influence on the nation by exporting our culture is growing, and the area is becoming one of the more desirable places to live in the country. And to add the cherry on top, our sports teams are doing us proud.
Marc Torrence is a native of Franklin, TN and a graduate of Centennial High School. Currently enrolled at the University of Alabama, he’s studying journalism as a Sophomore. He’s already getting his practice in covering the Crimson Tide for BamaOnline.com, and Crimson White. And if that isn’t enough, he’s a contributing writer for SBNation’s Nashville Predators affiliate, OnTheForecheck.com.
(Totally jealous… this guy gets to get in the mix with the Tide AND the Preds? I barely have enough time to make breakfast.)
A blooming writer and a rockstar on social media, Marc has a following among both fanbases, and has seen quite his share of stories develop in such a short time. As said before, it’s a good time to be in this area.
Lucky for us, he was nice enough to answer some questions.
Sport Seasons- You’re a native of the Middle Tennessee area. What made you decide to attend Alabama? Did you encounter any push back from your friends up here?
Marc Torrence- I never really had any SEC loyalties growing up. Sure, I attended the occasional UT game, but I was never too enamored with the orange and white. I grew up a Tar Heel fan, but that was mostly for basketball; I’ve always loved the SEC though. No other conference can compete with it in athletics.
I absolutely love it in Tuscaloosa and wouldn’t trade that decision for anything.
SS- We grew up in a time where our area of Nashville evolved from a town with no pro sports to a town with two successful franchises right as we were in middle school. Did that sway you in your choice of major?
MT- It definitely did. I’ve been going to Titans and Preds games since the teams came to town – literally. I was at the Titans and Preds inaugural games in their respective seasons and still have the tickets to prove it. Because I’ve been around sports my whole life, it really gave me that passion to be around the game of football, hockey and everything else.
SS- Who are your most prominent influences in your writing?
MT- Oh wow, that’s a tough one. I think the key to being a good writer is to be yourself and find your own voice, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do in my short journalistic career. But there’s a ton of great people in the Alabama and Predators press corps who have been awesome to talk to and learn from.
SS- Alabama has received a ton of media attention from national and regional sources, as well as higher interest from fans and opponents alike, what’s the most out of the ordinary you’ve seen around Tuscaloosa this football season?
MT- Probably the craziest thing was the night Oklahoma State lost and put Alabama back in the national championship game hunt. Down on the strip that night, people were just cheering and high-fiving; a couple of people rolled down their windows and just shouted, “Go Iowa State!”; and every bar was playing “Cyclone” on repeat. It was just crazy. Alabama wasn’t even playing that night, and Tuscaloosa was crazier than it was after any home game that season.
SS- You are involved with the basketball coverage down there, and the basketball program is back on the rise under Anthony Grant. Now that the football team has NEARLY finished its season, what’s the interest level this year as opposed to the past few years?
MT- It’s been pretty big. The hype machine really started when five-star prospect Trevor Lacey committed to the Tide this summer. Even during football season, people were talking about basketball and how they were excited for the start of the season. The Georgetown game drew a sellout, and the student section was full 45 minutes before tipoff. Even though Alabama lost on a last-second shot, it was a great atmosphere.
SS- For those who have yet to go down to Tuscaloosa for a game, what advice would you give them?
MT- I would definitely recommend that any college football fan put Bryant-Denny Stadium on his or her bucket list of stadiums to make it out to. It’s not the manically-insane atmosphere you get in a place like Death Valley or The Swamp just because many of the fans are older alumni, but when you walk in, you can just feel the rich tradition and history that no other football program can match.
SS- (On the Predators) It’s a younger team this year, but there’s some real potential with the rookies and call-ups from Milwaukee. Who is a player that the casual fan should watch in the coming months to make an impact?
MT- The young defensemen are certainly the ones to look out for. I loved what I saw from Ryan Ellis in his NHL debut, especially playing on the first power play unit. Roman Josi is another great puck-moving defenseman who has looked fantastic in his short time up in Nashville. And of course Craig Smith has shown his uncanny ability to make plays and shoot the puck this year.
SS- Given that you are in the Birmingham metro area for much of the year, what is the exposure of the Predators this year compared to last?
MT- It’s tough to tell. Because the Thrashers left and moved up north if anybody’s a hockey fan down in Alabama, and they’re choosing based on proximity, they’re a Preds fan. Having said that, nobody really pays attention to the NHL, especially during football season.On campus though, the NHL is pretty well-represented across the board. Walking across campus, you definitely see a few pieces of NHL apparel, but most of that is people who came out of state to go to school at Alabama and are supporting their home teams.
SS- Lastly, what jerseys do you own?
MT- I actually got my first Predators jersey for Christmas this year. It’s a gold Shea Weber jersey.