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Pigskins and Felt

bsu crowdPushing all the chips for college football

College football season is heating up, with a multitude of hungry and determined teams vying for gridiron supremacy. Much like the general football-loving populace, even the country’s finest poker players are excited to cheer for their respective teams. Whether they’re supporting their alma mater’s football squad, or simply rooting for a personal favorite, poker players will surely be following the college football season very closely.

Jeff Gross
Professional poker player Jeff Gross, who recently competed in the Partypoker Premier League VII tournament, will be rooting for two teams – the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Michigan Wolverines – for slightly different reasons. Gross actually attended and played on the soccer team of the University of South Carolina (USC) for four years. And although he still does have a strong tie to USC, he remains a hardcore fan of the Michigan Wolverines, mainly because he grew up in Ann Arbor. Interestingly enough, the 26-year-old Gross is very close and was even a former roommate of 14-time Olympic gold medal winner (and fellow University of Michigan athlete) Michael Phelps.

Phil Collins
Another USC alumnus is Phil “USCPhildo” Collins, who finished fifth in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event, taking home $2,269,599 in the process. The hometown allegiance to the South Carolina Gamecocks extends to his wife, brother and sister-in-law, as they are all proud graduates and staunch supporters of USC.

Shannon Shorr
Traveling poker savant, former high school baseball player and notorious planner Shannon Shorr is a University of Alabama alumnus who is obviously a big fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. At just 28 years old, Shorr is widely regarded as a member of the “old guard” of poker, mainly due to his prolific success in live tournaments abroad – most of which occurred before he even reached his 21st birthday. Although his hectic globetrotting schedule leaves him with little time for anything else, Shorr has been to the three most recent BCS National Championships; incidentally, the Alabama Crimson Tide won all three of those games.

Eric Crain
Mostly remembered and well-known for his appearances on episodes of the Trump Taj Mahal’s U.S. Poker Championship, the gregarious Eric Crain was a huge fan of the X-Men during his childhood years. His favorite character was Wolverine, and of course, the University of Michigan’s mascot is the Wolverines. That seemingly childlike connection persists to this day, as Crain remains a devoted fan of the Michigan Wolverines.

Clearly, there is a strong contingent of college football fans among the ranks of professional poker players. As the college football season rolls on, every team will strive to defy the odds and lay it all on the line for their respective universities.


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