Archives for posts with tag: Bear Bryant

Bryant with two players at Texas A&M

The tie between Alabama and SEC newcomer Texas A&M is obvious to anyone who’s studied the history of college football — Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Alabama graduate served as A&M’s head coach from 1954 to 1957 before heading home to Tuscaloosa in 1958. ESPN highlighted Bryant’s beginning at A&M with its movie “The Junction Boys,” which featured his first training camp with the Aggies in Junction, Texas.

While Bryant stands out as the obvious link between the two schools, there are other ones like Gene Stallings and Jackie Sherrill who each had a significant impact in the SEC as well as at A&M. Stallings played for Bryant at A&M in the mid-1950s and won Alabama’s first national championship in 1992 since Bryant’s retirement and passing ten years earlier. Sherrill is an Alabama graduate who also coached under Bryant and won three SWC championships as A&M’s head coach in the mid-1980s.

Stallings coached under Bryant at A&M.

Even Dennis Franchione represents a tie as he coached the Tide from 2001 to 2002 and left for the same position at A&M in 2003.

Paul Bryant Jr. hosted a reception last night at the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa honoring 30 former Aggies players who played for his father in the mid-1950s.

They’ve only met four times on the field, but ‘Bama’s and A&M’s histories run deep.

The Tide and Tigers met in the 1968 Gator Bowl.

Here’s a surprising stat. Missouri actually leads the all-time series with Alabama 2-1 — one of the few programs in America to do so. Dan Devine’s Tigers were victorious in the 1968 Gator Bowl 35-10 over Bear Bryant’s Tide and Missouri won the second meeting in 1975 in Alabama 20-7. The Tide returned the favor in 1978, winning in Missouri 38-20.

Alabama is a three touchdown favorite to even the series tomorrow afternoon in what should be termed the Don James Bowl as both Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel are former James players and assistants at Kent State. Could someone sneak a Golden Flashes trophy down to Columbia?

1964 Arkansas Razorbacks: Players included future Arkansas head coach Ken Hatfield, future Miami Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, and future Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Bowl games were rewards for successful seasons and they didn’t play a role in crowning a national champion. That is until after the controversy following the 1964 regular season and 1965 bowl games. Top-ranked Alabama (AP and UPI polls) and #2 Arkansas finished their regular seasons undefeated and untied, both at 10-0-0. The Crimson Tide were the SEC champions, while the Razorbacks were the old SWC champions and relegated to the Cotton Bowl. Under the Sugar Bowl’s “no repeat” rule at the time, Alabama played in the Orange Bowl because the Cotton Bowl, in November, invited Nebraska to play the SWC champion.

1965 Orange Bowl: Texas LB Tommy Nobis, future Atlanta Falcon, met Alabama QB Joe Namath, future New York Jet, at the goal line on 4th and goal to preserve the Texas victory. However, Namath claims he stood up in the end zone.

The AP and UPI (coaches) polls awarded Alabama the 1964 national championship pre-bowls as was the standard since the polls were in existence. However on New Year’s Day 1965, the Crimson Tide lost to #5 Texas 21-17 in Miami, while Arkansas defeated #6 Nebraska 10-7 in Dallas. The Football Writers Association of America awarded the 1964 national championship to Arkansas post-bowls and controversy was fueled.

In response, the AP Poll — in a trial run — crowned its national champion after the bowls following the 1965 regular season. The practice was made official 3 years later for the 1968 regular season. The UPI Poll followed suit in 1974.

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Alabama and Arkansas also met in the 1962 and 1980 Sugar Bowls, signifying the first and last national championships head coach Bear Bryant won at Alabama as the Crimson Tide won the 1962 Sugar Bowl 10-3 and the 1980 Sugar Bowl 24-9, defeating Frank Broyles and Lou Holtz respectively.

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Alabama holds a 15-7 record over Arkansas and has won 5 consecutive games in the series. However, according to the NCAA, the Crimson Tide vacated wins in 2005 and 2007 over the Razorbacks for athletes improperly receiving textbooks and playing in the games. Alabama was also forced to forfeit its 1993 win over Arkansas due to former defensive back Antonio Langham’s inappropriate contact with an agent and his participation in the game. The difference between vacated wins and forfeited games is that vacated games are wiped clean, while forfeited games are awarded to the opposing team. For these reasons, the series record might be portrayed differently than what’s been played out on the field.

Would Nick Saban ever do this? Um… (Credit: Paul Abell, US Presswire)

N.C. State’s, on Friday night, and Michigan’s, last night, 4th quarters were greeted with the “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!” chant that’s all too familiar to the rest of the country as Tennessee and Alabama dominated their out-of-conference foes, respectively — Alabama’s was more of an evisceration actually. With its 26-19 win over Auburn, Clemson seemed to not just win one for the ACC but for the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast as well.

Tennessee’s WR Cordarrelle Patterson served notice to the conference that the Vols’ WR corp doesn’t need Da’Rick Rogers — they’re just fine, thank you. And Patterson wasn’t the only one to burn N.C. State All-American CB David Amerson, last year’s NCAA interception leader, as it seemed all orange-clad receivers had at least one moment against him.

While Tennessee’s passing attack looks up to speed, the Vols are still searching for a complimentary runner behind QB Tyler Bray, and new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri’s unit was very hit-and-miss on Friday night as well. Transitioning to a 3-4 defense can prove for some tough growing pains in the first year. Tennessee’s JUCO transfer nose tackle, the 6-foot 6-inch, 362-pound Daniel McCullers, has been a hit with Vols fans this off-season, but it remains to be seen if he can hold the point for the first year 3-4 defense.

‘Bama beat ’em blue, black and every other color. (Credit: LM Otero, AP)

After Michigan forced a 3-and-out on Alabama’s first possession of the game, the Wolverines were so jacked up they almost floated through the hole in Jerry’s World’s roof. Too bad that’s where their game went after that series, but that had more to do with Alabama than Michigan. Nick Saban has a program — or a “system” or a “standard” — that’s a little hard to believe in the limited 85-man scholarship era. The old saying of “I’ll beat you with my team today, and I’ll beat you with your team tomorrow,” that’s credited to Bear Bryant can almost be applied to Saban today. Good luck beating the Crimson Tide when Nick has more than a week to prepare.

Why didn’t Auburn play QB Kiehl Frazier more last year? This was a question we pondered in 2011 and in Auburn’s 26-19 loss to Clemson last night, he showed why he should have been given more consideration. He was only 11-for-27 but his athleticism should have had him working more in 2011 and, in turn, working out his accuracy issues. But credit the other quarterback in the Georgia Dome Saturday night with Clemson’s comeback win. QB Tahj Boyd, in a gritty performance that saw his helmet come off multiple times, led the ACC Tigers to 10 consecutive points to close the game.

Frazier could have worked out the kinks last year. (Credit: Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

Auburn, like Tennessee, is adjusting to a new defensive coordinator with ex-Georgia assistant Brian Van Gorder. Named the Frank Broyles “Assistant of the Year” in 2003, he should have Auburn much better on defense this year with DEs Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford coming off the edge. Also like the Vols, the Tigers are experimenting with what they have in their offensive backfield. RB Onterio McCalebb has always been an edge runner, but RB Tre Mason showed out with 100+ yards last night. Auburn goes to Starkville next week to open conference play against Mississippi State.

The Palmetto Auburn Club couldn’t care less about living close to Lake Hartwell

The late Southern columnist and humorist Lewis Grizzard once remarked that Clemson was just Auburn with a lake, and every time the two Tigers tee it up that joke makes the rounds. Of course, Grizzard was a well-known Georgia fan and it was his way of tweaking both rivals.

But the programs do have strong similarities and a long history with each other, which was revived in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl and regular season match-ups in 2010 and 2011. Auburn leads the series, which dates back to 1899, 34-12-2.

Auburn and Clemson claim two of the best stadium entrances in college football. Nova, Auburn’s War Eagle VII, circles Jordan-Hare Stadium pre-game and Clemson players touch Howard’s Rock — a rock from Death Valley, Calif., to Death Valley, S.C. as it goes — and run down the hill, which was once described as the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.

Nova, War Eagle VII, Auburn

Howard’s Rock, Clemson

The two schools have shared commonalities between their head football coaches. John Heisman became Auburn’s fifth head coach in 1895, leading the Plainsmen for five seasons before leaving for Clemson in 1900. He led the Palmetto State Tigers for four seasons before directing Georgia Tech for 16 (1904-1919).

Former Clemson head coaches Charley Pell (1977-1978) and Danny Ford (1978-1989), who led Clemson to its only National Championship in 1981, both played and coached for Bear Bryant at Alabama, and former Auburn head coach Pat Dye (1981-1992) coached under Bryant as well. Unfortunately, another commonality between these three was NCAA sanctions.

Finally, brothers Terry Bowden (1993-1998) and Tommy Bowden (1999-2008) led Auburn and Clemson, respectively.

John Heisman, arguably the most recognizable name in college football history, led both Auburn and Clemson

But perhaps the most important connection shared between Auburn and Clemson is that of Walter Riggs. The Auburn graduate participated on Auburn’s first football team in 1892 and is known as the “father of Clemson football” after arriving in 1896 to coach Clemson’s first team. He served as Clemson’s president from 1910-1924 and Riggs Hall, home to Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science, is named in his honor.

Clemson’s Tiger nickname is speculated to have been named after Auburn’s nickname with Riggs’ — and later Heisman’s — arrival, but that isn’t completely clear.

The two Tigers tee it up for the 49th time Saturday night in the second game of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.