Conner Smith Is Loving the Divided Response to ‘I Hate Alabama’
Conner Smith's new song "I Hate Alabama" is dividing college football in exact way you'd expect it would, and the country newcomer is loving it. Yes, he really does hate University of Alabama's football team — what proud University of Tennessee fan wouldn't? — but he's hopeful fans of the Crimson Tide recognize the compliment within his chorus.
Ben Hayslip and Matt Jenkins helped Smith write the lyrics to "I Hate Alabama." The song is hides a broken heart story, but understandably, all most people will hear is this guy's dislike of Nick Saban's football team. It's been 15 years since the Volunteers won the yearly matchup — that's over 5,000 days, as Sports Illustrated pointed out in June 2020.
"At the end of the day, you either love or hate this song, but it makes you feel something, and that’s what matters," Smith says, admitting that, yes, he sees all of the comments on Twitter.
"I hate Alabama / I hate Crimson Red / And I hate how they yell Roll Tide / When I got a Braves hat on my head," he sings to begin the chorus. The song caught fire after Texas A&M beat Alabama earlier this month.
The rest of his chorus explains the real motivation for hating the football team.
"But I hate Alabama / 'Cause that's where I lost you," he sings, adding poignancy to what was otherwise a delightful or vindictive gridiron sentiment, depending on your allegiance.
"It’s funny... a lot of 'Bama fans being like, 'You hate us cause you ain’t us,'" Smith shares. "I’m like, absolutely. That’s exactly what the song is. It’s literally a compliment to Alabama, which is the beauty of it."
Smith was born and raised near Nashville. Now 21 years old, he was only six the last time UT won. Overall, Alabama has been really good (six national championships) since, and Tennessee really mediocre (eight head coaches, counting interims). The winning streak coincides with Saban's arrival at the school — prior to 2006, the school's records were close to even against one another.
Country fans may recall another broken heart song that involves the UT/Alabama rivalry: Tucker Beathard has been singing "20/10 TN" for several years, but officially released it in 2020 on his King album. In his song, the Volunteers win, but he doesn't.