BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN - JULY 16: Megan Moroney performs on day 3 of the at 2023 Faster Horses Music Festival Michigan International Speedway on July 16, 2023 in Brooklyn, Michigan.
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'Tennessee Orange': The Story Behind Megan Moroney's College Football-Inspired Love Song

Megan Moroney sings from the standpoint of a lifelong Georgia Bulldogs fan.

A Mediabase and country airplay No. 1, "Tennessee Orange" fast-laned Megan Moroney from an act to watch to a verified star and earned her Breakthrough Video of the Year honors at the 2023 CMT Music Awards. More hardware could be on the way because it's among the 2023 CMA Awards nominees for Song of the Year.

The Moroney, Ben Williams, David Fanning and Paul Jenkins co-write still resonates with listeners beyond its memorable, radio-friendly chorus. That's because like Morgan Wallen's "Tennessee Fan," Conner Smith's "Orange and White" and other recent country tunes, it frames a fall love story around Southeastern Conference (SEC) college football rivalries.

Through a phone call to her mother, a born and raised fan of the Georgia Bulldogs admits to falling for a Tennessee Vol. Our narrator goes as far as to wear her love interest's spare orange and white ball cap, which might as well be a sin in the Peach State. It's very much a big reveal in Southern culture, all the way down to Moroney's insistence that red's still her color and "I still want the Dawgs to win."

"I'm a Georgia girl obviously, and there was a day that I found myself wearing a Tennessee shirt," Moroney told Songwriter Universe. "And being from the South, you know you don't put on another school's shirt or anything like that. So I jokingly had the shirt on, and I was like...My mom would kill me if she saw me wearing this Tennessee shirt. And so I thought of the hook, "In Georgia, they call it a sin, I'm wearing Tennessee Orange for him." And I knew if I felt consciously about feeling bad that I had a Tennessee shirt on, I could write a song about it. I thought it was a clever take on being from the South and the SEC rivalry. And I'm not great at writing love songs, but I thought it would be a good way to squeeze one in there."

Produced by Kristian Bush of Sugarland, the song was released in Dec. 2022— near the end of one of Tennessee's best seasons in recent memory and shortly before Georgia successfully defended its national championship.

Online sleuths tried connecting the song to Wallen — and Moroney to him, romantically. Wallen asking "Did we ever figure out who's shirt this is??" in a social media comment about the single artwork led to much of this speculation, and per Holler, Moroney later confirmed that the Vols gear belonged to the "Last Night" singer.

Another fan theory about Moroney and Wallen suggests that Wallen wrote "Tennessee Fan" as a response to "Tennessee Orange." There's a huge difference, though— Wallen's song is about the Tennessee and Alabama football rivalry.

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