Archives for the month of: August, 2012

College Football is back and as JB would say “Ain’t Life Grand….”

 

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Texas A&M unveils new uniforms with a nod to its past and the 12th Man

Side stripes are back on A&M’s “new” uniforms

College football needs more of these match-ups

Alabama, ranked 2nd, and 8th-ranked Michigan meet for only the fourth time in their storied histories Saturday and for the first time in the regular season. Jerry’s World seems like the perfect stage for two programs that have loomed so large over the college football landscape for more than a century.

Alabama claims 14 national championships, while Michigan claims 11. Michigan has the most wins in the country with 895, while Alabama has 814. Alabama has played in 59 bowl games — the most nationwide — winning 33 of them, also the highest total. Michigan answers with 41 bowl games of its own. And finally, the Wolverines have won 74 percent of their games, while the Tide checks in at 71 percent.

Nice classic look (Credit: The Art, The Art, The Art)

It’s hard to find a better historical match-up.┬áBut the Tide’s and Wolverines’ on-field history only includes the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl (now Outback Bowl), the 1997 Outback Bowl and the 2000 Orange Bowl. Michigan owns a 2-1 record.

Nick Saban, who served as Michigan State’s head coach from 1995-1998, is 1-3 against his former cross-state rival.

The records, the classic helmets, Alabama’s houndstooth print and Michigan’s block M — it’s all there in Dallas on Saturday night.

Borges was Auburn’s OC from 2004-2007

The national pundits want to talk about Michigan’s QB Denard “Shoelace” Robinson and Nick Saban’s plug-n-play defense after several elite recruiting classes at Alabama. And that’s okay. Those are the “known” names in the nation’s conscience in this weekend’s Cowboys Classic featuring the Tide and Wolverines in Dallas.

Brady Hoke begins his second season as Michigan’s head coach against the defending national champions. And although many Buckeyes fans don’t want to admit it, he was a very good hire from San Diego State and a “Michigan man” to boot. Like Saban, Hoke’s background is on the defensive side of the football, and to address his offense, he hired former Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges, and coaching vagabond, at San Diego State. The 56-year-old Borges followed Hoke to Michigan last year and installed an offense around Robinson’s unique skills.

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville hired Borges away from Indiana in 2004 to lead an offense featuring QB Jason Campbell and RBs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. The Tigers promptly went undefeated after Borges installed what he termed his “Gulf Coast” offense.

Each of Borges’ offenses at Auburn finished in the top 15 nationally

Borges stayed at Auburn through 2007 as the Tigers went 41-9 and never lost to Alabama. His offenses were the only SEC offenses to finish ranked in the top 15 nationally each season from 2004-2007.

“We played against him a lot through the years [with LSU and Alabama] when he was the offensive coordinator at Auburn and he did a really good job,” Saban said in an ESPN.com article. “He does a lot of shifts and motions and tries to give you new looks, maybe confuse your players, but not really anything to confuse his players because they end up running the same plays. They try to out-flank you and use formation shifts and motions to do that.”

The good news for the Crimson Tide is Michigan doesn’t have anyone close to Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown in its backfield outside of Robinson, and Alabama’s program has made a rather large change from its 2004-2007 days.

But while everyone else focuses on Robinson’s “escapability” and Saban’s defense, we’ll be eyeing the shifts and motions Borges has in store for his old rival.

Officials miss a pass interference call on 4th down against Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews late. South Carolina wins 17-13. Let the SEC conspiracy theories begin and it’s August. Ugh.

A gritty performance by a banged up Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore’s 109 rushing yards and 2 TDs led the 9th-ranked Gamecocks past the Commodores. Shaw showed tremendous toughness fighting through a significant injury on his throwing shoulder.

Vanderbilt was aiming for its first win over a top 10 team since 2007 when it upset the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.

A few takeaways:

  • Shaw’s a tough, gritty player, but if they keep using him like that, he won’t make it through the season.
  • Lattimore lacked confidence and burst off his knee and still ran for 100+ yards. Once he gets his confidence back, he’ll be very good again.
  • The Gamecocks will miss Alshon Jeffery stretching out opposing defenses — doesn’t look like there’s a replacement for him.
  • Ellis Johnson was a very underrated DC — we’ll be interested to see how they fair without him.
  • Vandy had plenty of opportunities, but the game made a change when James Franklin elected to try the 51-yard FG in the second half. His kicker made two earlier tries, but was limited on distance.
  • The game squeezed down to a handful of plays afterwards and there was no guarantee Vandy would have scored after the missed pass interference call.

Russ patiently waits for the name above to read Uga IX

Georgia finally elevated eight-year-old Russ, a spotted brother in Sonny and Cecilia Seiler’s line of all-white English bulldogs, to Uga IX after serving as an interim mascot — yes, an interim mascot — for nearly three years. Named by Sports Illustrated as the nation’s best college mascot, many earlier bulldogs in the Uga lineage have been recognized off the football field.

A ceremony will take place before Georgia’s Sept. 15 game against Florida Atlantic officially naming Russ as Uga IX.

Other fill-ins for Uga over the years have included Bugga Lou in 1971, Argos/Knute in 1972, Otto in 1986 and Magillicuddy I in 1989. No fill-in bulldog has served as long as Russ or eventually been named to the Uga lineage.

The Uga mascot line started in 1956 when Sonny Seiler brought a bulldog that was given to him as a wedding gift to Georgia’s first home game that season.

Anointed

Dooley won 6 SEC crowns

Via the SEC Digital Network, former Georgia head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley will be providing a weekly look at the conference’s games as well as a look back to some classic moments in SEC history.┬áSounds right down our alley.

Dooley turns 80 in September and has more than 50 years of service in the SEC, proving that once it gets in your blood it stays for life. He’s quite the historian, so his weekly show should provide you with something you didn’t know.

Without further adieu, Dooley addresses the SEC off-season, conference expansion and what to expect every week from his show: