Archives for posts with tag: Sugar Bowl

Just as the Third Saturday in October post did a few weeks ago, let’s take a look at games from five, ten, 20 and 30 years ago in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. All were Georgia victories.

Auburn leads the series 54-53-8, but Georgia enters as a 15-point favorite tomorrow night on the Plains seeking to tie the overall record. The Tigers have led the series since 1988.

2007: #10 Georgia 45, #17 Auburn 20 (Athens)

Knowshon Moreno runs away from Auburn defenders in 2007.

Known as the Blackout Game on the Georgia side, the Bulldogs wore black jerseys for the first time in the modern era and jumped out to a 17-3 lead in the 2nd quarter. But Auburn responded and took a 20-17 lead in the 3rd quarter. A 24-yard touchdown run by RB Knowshon Moreno put the Bulldogs back on top for good as they ran off 28 consecutive points to end the game.

Georgia finished #2 after the bowl games behind fellow conference member and national champion LSU. They wore black jerseys again in the Sugar Bowl defeating Hawaii. Meanwhile, Auburn defeated Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, finishing 9-4 and #15.

Georgia’s “black magic” came to a screeching halt in 2008 against Alabama and in 2009 against Florida as they wore black helmets for the first time.

2002: #7 Georgia 24, #24 Auburn 21 (Auburn)

Georgia clinched its first SEC Eastern Division championship with its comeback win on the Plains. QB David Greene hit WR Michael Johnson in the back of the end zone on 4th-and-15 for the game winner. The Bulldogs defeated Arkansas 30-3 in the SEC Championship Game to secure Georgia’s first SEC Championship in 20 years. The Bulldogs beat Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, finishing 13-1 and #3 in the polls.

Auburn defeated Penn State in the Capital One Bowl, finishing 9-4 and #14.

Legendary Georgia Bulldog announcer Larry Munson on the call:

 

1992: #12 Georgia 14, Auburn 10 (Auburn)

Ray Goff’s best Georgia team (10-2) beat Pat Dye’s last Auburn team (5-6) as Georgia defenders laid on the pile as time expired on Auburn’s offense at the 1-yard line. Nine years later in 2001, Auburn defeated Georgia 24-17 in Athens in very similar fashion as Auburn defenders did the same thing at the 1-yard line.

After Georgia’s win in 1992, the Bulldogs defeated Ohio State (with QB Kirk Herbstreit and RB Robert Smith — yes, today’s ESPN analysts) in the Citrus (Capital One) Bowl and finished #8. Auburn lost to #1 Alabama and didn’t go bowling.

Two videos here — the first includes an image of Goff directing his players to lay down and the second includes Georgia announcer Larry Munson’s “Old Lady Luck” call of the play:

 

 

1982: #1 Georgia 19, Auburn 14 (Auburn)

In the days before an SEC Championship Game, many Auburn-Georgia games decided the fate of one’s chances to claim the conference crown. Such was the case in 1982 as Georgia was seeking its third consecutive SEC championship and was the #1 team in the country. Auburn was 7-2 in Pat Dye’s second year and trending up.

Auburn QB Randy Campbell and RB Lionel “Little Train” James led a late Auburn drive that ended as Georgia broke up a 4th down pass in the end zone.

#2 Penn State (with QB Todd Blackledge — another ESPN analyst) defeated #1 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl 27-23 for the 1982 national championship. Meanwhile, Auburn beat Alabama for the first time in ten years as freshman RB Bo Jackson scored late, and the Tigers beat Boston College in the Tangerine Bowl to finish 9-3 and #14.

Another Larry Munson call and he looks back on the 1982 Auburn-Georgia game:

 

Will Saturday night look like this?

Alabama and LSU meet for the third time in 11 months on Saturday night. That’s something Florida and Florida State did two times over in the mid 1990s, and New Orleans hosted each postseason match-up: 1995 Sugar Bowl (Florida-Florida State); 1997 Sugar Bowl/National Championship (Florida-Florida State); and 2012 BCS National Championship (Alabama-LSU).

Florida won both “rubber matches” in the mid 1990s — both in Gainesville in ’95 and ’97. Each of those games between the Gators and Seminoles were top 10 match-ups just as today’s Alabama and LSU match-ups. In ’97, #10 Florida upset #1 Florida State to derail the Seminoles’ national championship hopes. That game is still considered by some Gator fans as the “Greatest Game Ever Played in the Swamp.”

Or will Saturday night look more like this?

LSU is 2-9-1 all-time against the AP #1, including last year’s win in Tuscaloosa. However, the Tigers are 0-2 against the Tide in Baton Rouge when Alabama is the AP #1, losing 3-0 in 1979 and 27-21 in overtime in 2008.

And if this series couldn’t get any closer, Alabama leads the past 30 meetings 15-14-1.

Ole Miss travels to New Orleans Saturday to take on Tulane, a founding member of the SEC in 1932-1933. After sharing the SEC title with Alabama in 1934, #13 Tulane defeated #3 Temple 20-14 in the inaugural Sugar Bowl played on Jan. 1, 1935. The Green Wave finished 10-1 with its only loss to Colgate. It defeated current SEC members Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Kentucky and LSU as well as former members Georgia Tech and Sewanee in 1934.

Tulane won three SEC championships — 1934, 1939 and 1949 — before leaving the conference in 1966. That’s still more than founding members Kentucky (2) and Mississippi State (1) have today.

Ole Miss leads the series with Tulane 42-28, and has played the Green Wave more than any other program outside the SEC. The Rebels defeated Tulane 27-13 in 2010.

Expansion came to the SEC in 1992 in the form of two new teams — Arkansas and South Carolina — and a new SEC Championship Game, first played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., and then moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 1994. While the first SEC Championship Game almost ruined #2 Alabama’s and the SEC’s chances at their first national championships since 1979 and 1980, respectively, the Crimson Tide eventually overcame Florida 28-21 and blasted #1 Miami (Fla.) 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to claim it all.

Florida’s HC Steve Spurrier and QB Danny Wuerffel claim the program’s first national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

While Florida met Alabama in four of the first five SEC championship games (’92, ’93, ’94, ’96), it was the Gators’ new rivalry with the SEC East’s perennial 2nd-place team Tennessee that sparked so much interest nationally for the conference each September throughout the 1990s. Florida strung together four consecutive SEC championships from 1993-1996 that hadn’t been accomplished since Bear Bryant’s Alabama teams as Steve Spurrier brought a different winning style to the SEC through the air. Spurrier capped it off with the 1996 national championship, the first in Florida’s history.

Meanwhile, Philip Fulmer took over for Johnny Majors in east Tennessee in 1992 and promptly positioned the Vols as Florida’s main obstacle to the SEC East crown. His Vols beat Spurrier’s Gators in 1992, but wouldn’t again until 1998 on their way to Tennessee’s first national championship since 1951.

For 6 years, Fulmer dealt with blow after blow from Florida on the field and quip after quip from Spurrier off it.

Perhaps Spurrier’s best recognized shot at Tennessee during those years was his quote about the Volunteers regularly playing in the Citrus Bowl, the bowl season’s home to the SEC’s 2nd-place team.

“You can’t spell Citrus without the U and T,” jabbed Spurrier.

Heightening matters was the fact that Spurrier is originally from east Tennessee before playing his college football at Florida and winning the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback.

Not even top recruit and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who directed the Vols at quarterback from 1994-1997, could break through against the Gators. He led Tennessee to the 1997 SEC championship during his senior year, but took his 4th loss to Florida earlier that season.

Tennessee’s HC Philip Fulmer and QB Peyton Manning couldn’t get it done against Florida in four tries together.

Tee Martin took Tennessee’s quarterback reigns in 1998 as the Vols finally knocked off the Gators in overtime in Knoxville — a win, as stated earlier, that eventually led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship.

The Florida-Tennessee rivalry ushered in the SEC’s new expansion era in the 1990s as television coverage exploded across the country. Between highly touted recruits and lofty national rankings, the rivalry was annually pointed to as the biggest September game of the season.

While it’s not #2 versus #4, Florida and Tennessee meet in Knoxville this Saturday night with both ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in many years and ESPN College Gameday in tow. That ’90s feeling is back, if only slightly.

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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

A popular argument against the SEC is its so-called lack of out-of-conference travel. The argument falls flat against several SEC teams, but holds true for Florida. The Gators — believe it or not — haven’t traveled outside of the Southeast as a guest since 1991 when they lost 38-21 to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. That’s 21 years ago.

New Orleans: The 1991 SEC Championship team was the first official one for Florida, which finished 10-1 in the regular season, losing only to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. However, the Gators lost 39-28 to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

Florida points to its annual neutral field rivalry with Georgia in Jacksonville as to why it takes every opportunity to schedule extra home games (for the extra revenue) instead of traveling. However, Georgia, which faces the same situation, has been to Tempe, Ariz., Stillwater, Okla., and Boulder, Colo., within the past 4 years. Of course, Florida could point to Georgia’s 1-2 record in those games as a reason to keep things closer to home. The Bulldogs were also hammered by Alabama in 2008 the week following their only win out west in Tempe.

The Gators travel to College Station, Texas, this Saturday for Texas A&M’s inaugural SEC game. If an out-of-conference opponent couldn’t draw them out, then it seems as if the SEC was ready to send Florida west as its welcoming committee. Jeff Driskel has been Florida’s starting QB after a camp-long battle with Jacoby Brissett. The Gators played both in the first half against Bowling Green, and head coach Will Muschamp tapped Driskel for the second half as Florida slogged through a 27-14 opening win. Gators’ coaches and players won’t say how much of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s offense they showed last Saturday, but the consensus is they played it close to the vest.

Mike Archer answers reporters’ questions as N.C. State’s defensive coordinator

Former LSU Head Coach Mike Archer has been Tom O’Brien’s defensive coordinator at N.C. State since O’Brien arrived in Raleigh, N.C., in 2007. The 59-year-old Archer has worked for an impressive list of head coaches including Howard Schnellenberger, Bill Arnsparger, George Welsh, Bill Curry, Bill Cowher, Rich Brooks and O’Brien.

But at 34 years old, Archer was the youngest head football coach in the nation when he took the LSU reigns in 1987 after Arnsparger left to become Florida’s athletic director. Archer was LSU’s defensive coordinator from 1985-1986 and was Arnsparger’s hand-picked successor after the players lobbied for him, getting the job over the likes of Steve Spurrier, whom Arnsparger would later hire at Florida.

The Bayou Bengals played in two Sugar Bowls in Arnsparger’s three years as head coach from 1984-1986, the first Sugar Bowl appearances for LSU since 1968. The pressure was on the new young head coach to continue LSU’s success.

After his playing days at Miami (Fla.), Archer stayed at his alma mater and coached under Howard Schnellenberger, winning the National Championship in 1983. He left for LSU the following year with the 58-year-old Arnsparger, who served as defensive coordinator for Don Shula’s Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins teams for the better part of 20 years.

Archer before the Gator Bowl against 9th-ranked South Carolina

Archer quickly continued LSU’s mid-’80s success with a 10-1-1 season in 1987, losing only to Alabama and tying Ohio State. The 7th-ranked Tigers defeated 9th-ranked South Carolina, which wouldn’t become an SEC member for another five years, in the Gator Bowl 30-13. LSU followed up with an SEC Championship in 1988, a title it shared with Auburn at 6-1 in conference. The Bayou Bengals defeated Auburn 7-6 in the famous “Earthquake Game,” in which the roar of the Baton Rouge crowd registered on a campus seismograph as LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown, but Sugar Bowl representatives chose Auburn as the higher ranked team. LSU finished 8-4 overall, losing to Syracuse 23-10 in the Hall of Fame Bowl (now the Outback Bowl).

Archer was forced out after two losing seasons in 1989-1990, finishing 27-18-1 overall. He hasn’t been a head coach since.

Prior to N.C. State, Archer served his second stint at Kentucky from 2003-2006 as Rich Brooks’ defensive coordinator after his first under Bill Curry from 1993-1995 as assistant head coach. Friday, he’s tasked with tackling Kentucky’s old nemesis Tennessee.