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Friday, September 2, 2011

Vanderbilt Commodores

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
VANDERBILT COMMODORES, The Official Homecoming School of the SEC
Based in Nashville to prove even college-educated people can enjoy country music. Johnny Cash wore black because the Commodores saddened him so.
            The Commodores are the only team named after Lionel Ritchie’s backup band and a robber baron.
Cornelius Vanderbilt. A multi-millionaire too cheap to buy a comb.
Vanderbilt is to the Southeastern Conference what that skinny white kid sitting on the end of the bench is to Auburn basketball, there to raise the grade point average.
Vandy is the crème rising to the top of the SEC’s steaming pile of academia.  It’s also there to provide a handy punching bag to the rest of the conference, raising both GPA and morale.
A good thing about Vanderbilt athletes are they are the only players who can treat their own injuries.
The Commodores used to field a pretty good team at the beginning of the 1900s, but then again so did the Kaiser.  That time period was when students went to college to actually study and earn a degree to get a real job, not to play football for money.  Before the advent of agents.  Before Cam Newton’s father was even born.
But nowadays Vandy has such disdain for football and athletics in general they got rid of their athletic department.  The team is made up of fitness nuts rounded up around campus on game day.  They are told they are going to star in a reality show about college football.
Despite this impediment to success they do manage to pull off the odd upset here and there.  This is usually chalked up to pharmaceuticals placed in the opposing teams’ water buckets by the Vandy medical students.
They began play in 1890 with a 40-0 thrashing of city rival University of Nashville.  It was the first football game played in Tennessee, so suck it Vols.
In 1896 they met again and the game was interrupted a few times by both players and fans fighting on the field.  It got so bad the game was halted by the referees who first called the game a draw.  Much later the Commodores were given the victory.
The Nashville American newspaper had this to say about the melees:
“If a moment’s thought had been given to the deplorable results which must inevitably flow it would have never occurred, but the cool heads in the minority and were liberally punched when they attempted to advise a suspension of hostilities.”
            In other words, the peacemakers had their heads handed to them.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Vanderbilt and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

Clemson Tigers

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
CLEMSON TIGERS
            Clemson.  Where the ‘n’ stands for knowledge.
            This school is basically Auburn with a lake, hence the better hygiene.   There used to be a bar in Snellville, Georgia where you could find a poster of a cow standing in a muddy field.  About 10 feet behind the bovine was a man in a bathing suit standing on a pair of water skis.  He was attached by ropes to the cow.  Underneath the photo was the caption “Ski Clemson.” 
            Cow-tipping here is not just a fraternity haze, it’s a major.
Clemson revolutionized the funding of athletics in the 1930s with an organization called ‘IPTAY’.
            It stands for “I Pay Ten AYear,” meaning members pay at least ten dollars annually to fund scholarships and buildings.  Ten bucks a year may not seem much but around Clemson it’s the difference between a new screen door for the back porch or having those damn skeeters eat us alive this summer.
            They raised $1600 in the first year in the heart of the Great Depression.  Some people couldn’t even come up with the ten bucks so they sent barter items such as turnip greens, milk, and sweet potatoes to feed the players.  Over 200 million has been raised since.  That’s a lot of green, turnip or otherwise.  This new way of accounting and raising money was copied by the Mafia.
Clemson Memorial Stadium is situated in a hollow so it has become known as Death Valley.  The location of a cemetery on top of the hill overlooking the edifice may also be a clue to its nomenclature.  That last word, nomenclature, like any other four-syllable word has never before been uttered in or about Clemson.  The coach at Presbyterian coined the phrase Death Valley because his team always got killed there, but it really became popular when legendary coach Frank Howard started using it.
Keeping with the cemetery theme they have a ‘graveyard’ set up near their practice field.  On it they put actual marble gravestones marking wins over ranked teams on the road.  It’s been lean times for the Grim Scorekeeper lately.  They haven’t ‘buried’ a team there since 2006.
            Tradition includes the touching of Howard’s Rock, which surprisingly does not break any of South Carolina’s tough sodomy laws.  So I’ve heard.
            The geophysical lump is named after former coach Howard who received the rock from a friend who had picked it up in Death Valley, California.  He thought it would be fitting to have the rock come to an eastern Death Valley.  Howard was so touched by this gesture he used it as a doorstop for many years in his office.  One day he was cleaning and tossed the rock to the head of IPTAY and requested it either be thrown over a fence or in a ditch.  Instead, the man super-glued it to a pedestal and placed it at the top of the east end zone hill entering the stadium.  Such are what epiphanies are made of at Clemson.  This was in 1966.  One found oneself with a lot of time on one’s hands back then and there.  And extra glue and pedestals.  Still do.
            The players touched and rubbed it, the rock I mean, on the way down to the field, which led Howard to use it as a motivational tool.  He told players “Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off of my rock.”  They now run by and ‘rub their rock’ before every home game, making this the largest euphemism in college sports.
            Actually, the players’ locker room is on the other side of the stadium.  They come out, board busses, get carted to the other side of the stadium where they’re let out to run to touch the rock.  A quick check finds no Transportation Planning major at the school, but you can get a bachelor of science degree in Turfgrass.  Look it up.
1899 Clemson football team and Confederate re-enactors.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Clemson and all the SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

Florida State Seminoles

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
            FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES, or, WIDE RIGHT U.
            Based in Tallahassee, which is Seminole for “What have you done for me lately?”
This school had the second-winningest coach in the history of Division-I college football in Bobby Bowden.  He put FSU on the football map by playing anyone anywhere anytime and winning.
            But when they decided it was time for him to leave they escorted him to the door faster than Lee Corso can say “Not so fast my friend.”
They acted like Bowden was a radioactive Darrell Mudra.
            Before Bobby arrived in 1976 the college was known for two things:  Being a former girl’s school and Burt Reynolds playing there.  Mainly because he heard there were girls there.  Ironically, Burt the Seminole would later make a movie in which he starred as the main character ‘Gator’.
            Bowden won two national titles in 1993 and ’99 and was a calm and collected kicker away from two or three others.  They have 15 conference titles.
            For 14 straight seasons he led them to a Top Five finish.  At least he was able to go out a winner by beating his former team the Mountaineers in the 2010 Gator Bowl.  He won 302 games for the Seminoles. Bobby spawned two other head coaches, sons Tommy and Terry, who coached at Clemburn and Aubson respectively. 
            Jimbo Fisher is the coach now.  He was the coach-in-pushing behind Bowden.
            The program began in 1947.  For the second time.  They played football from 1902 to ’04 as Florida State College before forgetting about it for 43 years while they were an all-girls school where they cared only for cheerleading, like Kentucky.
            And before that they were West Florida Seminary in 1899 and played with each other.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.
1899 West Florida Seminary Team. The most feared team in FSU history.
            In 1902 school president Al Murphree wanted the boys to stop playing with themselves and formed the Florida State College Eleven so they could play with other boys from other schools.  Wait, that doesn’t sound right either.
            Latin professor W.W. Hughes became the first coach.  His favorite phrase which he uttered repeatedly to the team was “Ithay osethay owersshay oysbay.”  The boys felt this must be sage advice that the coach deemed so important that he said it over and over again in Latin.
            It wasn’t until decades later at a reunion of the team that someone figured out it was just Pig Latin for “Hit those showers boys.”
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Florida State and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

South Carolina Gamecocks

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS, or USC East
Based in Columbia, Suicide Capital of Central South Carolina.
            A gamecock is a fighting cock.  A badass rooster if you will.  College football’s most phallic mascot this side of a Toledo Rocket.
            Cockfighting is a sport found in Caribbean islands, third world backwaters, or Oklahoma, but I repeat myself.  USC East is the only major college team to use the moniker ‘Fighting Gamecocks.’  Everyone else has moved out of the Middles Ages.  They first started using the name around 1900, about the time they finally surrendered Fort Sumter to the Union Navy.
            Other nicknames considered were: the Harassing Hens, the Charging Chickens, the Dynastic Drumsticks, the Battling Bantams, the Rampaging Roasters, and the Pugilistic-Minded Poultry.
            General Sumter himself, the famous fighter for the American side during the Revolutionary War, was known as the Fighting Gamecock.  How proud his mother must have been.
            As explained on the school’s official website, a cockfight ends when one of the cocks dies, an unpleasant thought altogether.
            Cocky is the name of their giant red, yellow, and black mascot, which looks like something Walt Disney threw up or Jim Henson aborted.  Try and imagine Big Bird mating with Ronald McDonald.  The costume has become a stepping stone to fame as two former wearers moved on to higher callings as Sir Purr in Carolina and Billy the Marlin in Miami.  This represents the highest a South Carolina grad has ever climbed on the corporate ladder.
            Fans chant “Go Cocks!”  Insert your own joke here.  Only Austin Peay’s “Go Peay!” comes close to this holler.  They proudly exclaim “I’m a Cock!”  It is a declaration never challenged.
            Cocky can be accused of being cocky since he’s won three national mascot championships in 1986, ’94 and 2004, the closest the football team will ever get to holding a title.
            Cocky is carrying on a family tradition.  In 1980 he took the place of his father, known as Big Spur.  Big Spur was retired and they held a banquet in which he was the guest of honor.  And the main course.
            Be sure to catch Cocky’s entrance at every home game when he pops out of his Magic Fryer, I mean Box.
            Their live mascot, no offense Cocky, is Sir Big Spur.  He has also been called Cockadoodle Lou.  It is no coincidence that Sir Big Spur has never come within paw distance of LSU”s Mike the Tiger.
            They began play in 1892 and were originally known as the College Boys.  It took them until their third season to actually win a game, four seasons before they got a coach in Dixie Whaley, and five years before anyone in South Carolina knew what the world ‘college’ meant.
            The College Boys did manage to win the first game against arch-rival Clem and his son, 12-6 in 1896.  It’s now known as the Palmetto Bowl, named after the huge, disgusting bug constantly underfoot that is the official animal of the state of South Carolina.  Clemson has dominated this rivalry and therefore has the most bugs.
The annual game with Clemson is usually a one-sided affair.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about South Carolina and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

Alabama Crimson Tide

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
            Based in Tuscaloosa, Gateway to Hades.
This part of the book is brought to you by Spike 80DF Tebuthiuron, the Official Pesticide of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Tuscaloosa is a town made famous by two men:  Bear Bryant and Groucho Marx.
            Alabama has the distinction of being the only college and state named after a country/western band.
            Their nickname is The Crimson Tide.  If they weren’t so good most of the time this would be the worst nickname since Flounder.  Before you start to make fun of this moniker, take a look at what they were called before they came up with that nugget of joy.
            At first the team was simply called the Varsity, but Georgia Tech fans kept asking them for chili dogs, so they changed to the Crimson White after the school colors, but even Alabama fans found that too simple so sportswriters came up with The Thin Red Line.  Not exactly the stuff cheers are made of. 
In 1907 during a rainy game against highly-favored Auburn in Birmingham, Bama played them to a 6-6 tie.  Hugh Roberts was the sports editor for the Birmingham Age-Herald and described the team as a “crimson tide” in the red mud.  The worst story on how a team got a nickname EVER.
So how does a team named the Crimson Tide end up with an elephant as a mascot?  Amazingly it has nothing to do with Groucho.  No, that would be INTERESTING.
Actually, this story has some interesting bits.  In 1930 the Tide, under Coach Wallace Wade, won the national title by shutting out Washington State in the Rose Bowl.  During the season they played Mississippi and the game was reported on by Atlanta Journal sportswriter Everett Strupper.  He wrote that the smaller Rebels line held their ground against the bigger Bama players, but after the first quarter a rumbling was heard and the ground started to shake and the varsity Alabama line came running out to play and they were even larger.  A fan hollered “Hold your horses, the elephants are coming!” Strupper described them as “Red Elephants” because of their red jerseys.  That’s funny.  I could have sworn there was something interesting in there somewhere.
Their Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer Cheer is used once the Tide has put the game away and was once banned by the school because of its taunting lyrics and use of the word hell, but the students voted to bring it back.  The Rammer-Jammer was a student newspaper and the Yellowhammer the state bird.  Some say the cadence for the cheer was lifted from the Hotty Toddy cheer from Ole Miss and the drum major still moves his arm in a big O to signal the band to start the cheer.  If this is true then Bama needs to write the Rebels a check for their mascot and their main cheer.
            The mascot is an elephant named Big Al and the fight song is ‘Yea Alabama.’  They do not have an actual live elephant.  Usually Miss Alabama fills the role.
            Paul W. “Bear” Bryant is the most famous coach/god associated with the school.  He matriculated there before leaving to coach other teams.  But when the school contacted him in 1957 to return home, he did.  When asked why, he replied “Mama called.”  She told him to bring some Golden Flake tater chips and some Coke-Cola.
The 1953 season ended with another SEC title, but it’s most remembered for what happened in the Cotton Bowl against Rice.
            The Owls’ Dicky Moegle broke free on what looked like a 95-yard run down the sidelines for a sure touchdown.  But just after he crossed the 50 yard line, Alabama player Tommy Lewis, who had been standing on the sidelines and not even in the game, suddenly rushed out and tackled Moegle in front of a stunned crowd in Dallas.
            The Rice coach ran all the way across the field to yell at Bama coach Red Drew “What did yo boy think he was doin’?!”  All Lewis could think of to say was “Coach, I’m  just too full of Bama.”  The referees gave the touchdown to Moegle and the Owls went on to win, but Lewis and Moegle got a trip to the Ed Sullivan show.  Moegle later complained that Lewis was made to be the hero in the whole affair and he himself was made to feel like a heel.
Finally, an example of Alabama cheating caught on film.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Alabama and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

Arkansas Razorbacks

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1
 
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
            Based in Fayetteville.  Gateway to Dogpatch.
Fayetteville is located in the Ozark Mountains in the extreme northwest corner of the state.  Legendary Georgia announcer Larry Munson used to bemoan the long trip there saying it took two weeks by plane, train and horse buggy.
The razorback is the ugliest mascot this side of Stanford’s buck-toothed tree.  It’s a giant, ferocious, red pig with tusks.  Arkansas is the only fan base that enjoys wearing swine on their heads.  More on this pervasive pig later.
            They may have the best chant/yell in college football.  Since the 1920s every time Arkansas kicks off the entire crowd screams “Wooo, Pig, Sooie!”  It’s known as the Hog Call and it’s enough to make you swear off ham.  The fans are very good at it and they should be since for half of them it’s their vocation the rest of the week.
            The entire call is a finely-tuned and coordinated act between vocal cord and body.  You slowly raise your arms from the knees to above the head during the Woo part, no less than 8 seconds for each Woo.  Also, the fingers must wiggle and the Woo should build in volume and pitch as the arms rise.
            When the Woo is finished, the arms are quickly brought down with fists clenched as if performing a chin-up as you yell “Pig!”
            Then, in a move only Generalissimo Francisco Franco could love, the right arm is extended up and out away from the body as you scream “Sooie!”
            And if the team wins, you do all of this three times then yell “Razorbacks!” whilst pumping your right arm like a prisoner watching the Playboy channel.
            But if the team loses you must do these chants and genuflections backwards while at the same time bowing to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library and Cathouse in Little Rock.
Their colors are cardinal and white, the same as bacon.
            Razorbacks are known for their bad temper and worse hygiene.  And the pig is no prize either.  Introduced into America in the 1500s by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, they took to their new freedom like, well, pigs to slop.  I believe Slop is located between Forrest City and Stuttgart.
Arkansas has a live mascot named Tusk, but he is not a real razorback since they were hunted to death locally for their meat, the ivory in their tusks, and the dilithium crystals in their hooves.  Tusk is a Russian boar, not to be confused with Vlad Putin, who is merely a Russian bore.  Razorbacks are mainly found today in the Australian Outback feasting on dingoes and bloomin’ onions.
            Not all of Tusk’s predecessors had sterling careers as mascot.  The following paragraph is a direct quotation from Arkansasrazorbacks.com:
“Big Red III escaped from an exhibit near Eureka Springs in the summer of 1977 and ravaged the countryside before being gunned down by an irate farmer.  Another live mascot, Ragnar, was a wild hog captured in south Arkansas by Leola farmer Bill  Robinson.  Before Ragnar’s spree was done, the mighty animal had killed a coyote, a 450-pound domestic pig and seven rattlesnakes.  Ragnar died in 1978 of unknown causes.”
            Unknown causes?!  Do you think Ragnar’s untimely passing might have had something to do with indigestion brought on by an over-indulgence of rattlensnake?
This is a Rubens painting of Saint Tebow taming a razorback.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Ole Miss and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1

Ole Miss Rebels

This is an excerpt from the book 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis, available now on Amazon.com's Kindle for just 99 cents at:  amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1 
 
OLE MISS REBELS
            Based in Oxford, where Miss Americas are redshirted.
This is the university the bluebloods of Mississippi attend.  Those are the folks who can afford the white paint to color the half-buried tires in their front yards.
            Oxford is also the home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner.  If you visit his home, Rowan Oak, you can still see the whiskey bottle he was drinking when he died.  Every time the Rebels won a national title he would drink from it and when he passed in 1962 his family planned on finishing the bottle.  In 1982 they amended their pact to settle for a conference title.  It’s still sitting in the kitchen. Waiting.
            After getting rid of their Colonel Reb mascot it took years to find another one.  They even thought about Admiral Akbar, a fictional character in the ‘Star Wars’ movies who led the Rebel Alliance and was famous for his line “It’s a trap!”  But George Lucas said the Admiral was in a galaxy far, far away fighting the Empire.  Finally in October of 2010 they chose Rebel Black Bear.  To the unwise, this would seem strange, but Mississippi is actually home to two subspecies of bears and one of those runs a successful line of Thai restaurants.  ‘The Bear’ is also a famous short story by native son Faulkner.  The Teddy Bear doll was inspired by a black bear President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot during a hunt in Mississippi in 1902.  And Bear Bryant lived next door.
            It’s so obvious a mascot you wonder why it took them 162 years to think of it.
It beat out the Rebel Land Shark which is a shame since it would have become the first mascot named after a beer and a Saturday Night Live skit from the 70s.
            Some people say the Rebel name should be dropped because of its ties to the War Between the States.  Then LSU would need to drop their Tigers moniker since their team was named after an actual Confederate rifle squad.  Those who throw stones will soon hit a Cajun.
            In 1935 they played in their first bowl game losing to Catholic University 20 to 19 in the Orange Bowl.  They blame the embarrassing loss on the shock of seeing Catholics for the first time. 
            Actually their first bowl game was in 1921 at the Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba.  They were shutout 14-0 by the University of Havana Habaneros.  When wire reports on the telegraph came back to Mississippi most fans thought it was a typo.  Then they asked what a telegraph was.  A habanero is a very spicy chili pepper that gave the Rebels many an upset stomach that day and still does since you can search high and low and not find an official record at the school of that bowl ever being played.  That information is sleeping with Colonel Reb at the bottom of Sardis Lake.  The bowl was also called the Cigar Bowl and Rhumba Bowl at various times, changing its name to avoid the communist insurgents.
            Their best coach was Johnny Vaught, who won six SEC titles and three national championships, 1959, ’60 and ’62. Vaught refused to recruit dumb players (a boon to Auburn recruiting) or married players (a boon to BYU), saying they were too much of a distraction.  He refused to leave despite getting job offers at other colleges for more money.  In 1960 he was making less than 20,000 dollars a year.  Bear Bryant was pulling in around 80,000, but a dollar goes a long way when there’s little to buy. Vaught coached for 24 years and had just one losing campaign.
            In the 1950s they were second only to Oklahoma in wins, and were fourth-best in victories during the 1960s.  Vaught lost only six times in Oxford. At one point they played in 15 straight bowl games, a record at that time.
QB Charlie Conerly and Head Coach John Vaught attracting redbugs in 1947.
If you like what you've read so far just wait until you see the rest about Ole Miss and all the other SEC schools, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. It's all in 'The Totally Biased Guide to Southern College Football' by Pete Davis and available for the price of a Whopper Jr. on Kindle at:  Amazon.com/dp/B005FRFMYW
And you can follow me on twitter: @petedavis1