Check Out the GridIron BlogRSS
Sep 4, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Atlanta, Auburn v Georgia, BCS Championship Game, Football weddings, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Heisman Trophy, Lilly Pulitzer and Gridiron Belles, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Southern Women, Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football
Football season has arrived and with impeccable timing, we just launched our highly-anticipated campaign for the 2nd edition of Gridiron Belles! ( You can go ahead and back the project here.)
With an overdue welcome to Mizzou and TX A&M to the SEC, I needed to add their chapters and some photos of their tailgates and traditions. While I was at it––to keep it a second edition and not an entirely new book–– I went ahead and added new belle photos, quotes, outfit suggestions and updated some unique tailgate ideas among other things. (It’s easy to pre-order, here, now)
So here is how this works: This kickstarter campaign is the only way for you to get a copy of the new book. If this isn’t a success, no one gets a copy, so be sure to spread the word. We recommend telling all of your sorority sisters, bridesmaids, boyfriends, friends you tailgate with and gridiron-loving family members. Heck, go ahead and order a few for yourself so you have hostess gifts on stand-by. Either way, y’all asked for more books, so here they are! You’ll be the first to have a copy of the fall’s must-reads and I guarantee you’ll understand the game of football when you’re finished reading!
Thanks in advance for your support; can’t wait to see you at the next tailgate!
Xs and Os,
Sep 3, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football
There is a lot to pay attention to each weekend of the season. Obviously, we don’t want you to miss a thing as true Gridiron Belles keep up with their team and those in their team’s division and conference. So read on. This is the recap for opening weekend… it’s already heating up!
Xs and Os,
North Carolina vs. (6) South Carolina (27-10)
The 2013 season kicked off with a classic non-conference battle between the Carolinas. The two teams hadn’t faced each other on the field since 2007. South Carolina got off to a fast start by scoring 17 points in first quarter, including a 65-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Connor Shaw to sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland. Junior quarterback Dylan Thompson also got some playing time after Coach Steve Spurrier said he was going to use the dual QB system this year. Thompson’s only pass of the game led to a 29-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Kane Whitehurst. Sophomore running back Mike Davis showed his speed abilities, after dodging a couple of defenders, by running the ball into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown. The Gamecocks beat the rival Tarheels by a final score of 27-10.
All-American junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s performance on the field wasn’t as dominant as all of the pre-season hype led up for it to be after he only grabbed three tables, but give it time. Clowney said he wasn’t very thrilled with his performance but says the hot temperature and a stomach virus from earlier in the week played some factor. Coach Spurrier says the team is going to spend a lot more time on conditioning this week before facing Georgia.
Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt (39-35)
The first SEC battle of the year was everything we could have wanted in a conference matchup. Ole Miss took control of the game early, scoring the only points of the first quarter to give the Rebels a 10-0 lead. The second quarter though belonged to Vanderbilt. The Commodores scored two touchdowns in just under a minute and a half to regain the lead.
Ole Miss’s Barry Brunetti and Vanderbilt’s Wesley Tate each scored 3-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter, but Ole Miss was able to pull the game within 3 points thanks to junior quarterback Bo Wallace. Wallace ran the ball in for a 3-yard touchdown and then connected with freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell for a two-point conversion. Wallace then scored the first points of the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Rebels a 32-28 lead. With 1:30 left in the game, Vanderbilt’s Carta-Samuels connected with sophomore tight end Steven Scheu for a 34-yard touchdown and took a 35-32 lead. 27 seconds later on the second possession of the drive for Ole Miss, senior running back Jeff Scott scored a 75-yard touchdown to give the Rebels a 39-35 lead. The make-or-break moment of the game came with :33 left in the game and Vanderbilt sitting at 3rd and 4, Carta-Samuels pass bounces off the hands of Jordan Matthews and into the hands of Ole Miss junior defensive back Cody Prewitt for the interception. The Rebels hung-on to earn their first conference win of the season, 39-35. Both teams will face their first non-conference opponent of the season this week. Ole Miss hosts SE Missouri State while Vanderbilt gets a visit from Austin Peay,
Toledo vs. (10) Florida (24-6)
The Florida Gators didn’t let the suspension of five players stop them from starting the season off with a win. Junior running back Mack Brown and junior quarterback Jeff Driskel helped lead the team to a 24-6 win over Toledo. Brown lead the team in rushing, caring the ball 25 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The number of carries Brown got in the first game of 2013 equaled the total amount he had during all of 2012. Driskel went 17-of-22 for 152 yards and one touchdown. The Florida offense had a total of 414 yards of offense with 262 coming on the ground. The Gators also showed some early signs of being as good as the fifth ranked defense from last year by only allowing Toledo to score 6 points in the game. Next up for Florida is non-conference foe Miami.
Rice vs. (7) Texas A&M (52-31)
After a whirlwind of an off-season, sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel found himself on the bench for the majority of the first game. Manziel served a first-half suspension from NCAA but found himself back on the bench after being yanked by Coach Kevin Sumlin after picking up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the fourth quarter. After the game Sumlin said the behavior of Manziel was not OK and the penalty was “foolish.” Manziel wasn’t the only Aggie player who spent the majority of his time on the bench. Junior cornerback Deshazor Everett was also serving a half-game suspension for a misdemeanor assault charge and entered the game in the second half. However, in the fourth quarter he was ejected from the game for targeting. Everett will now have to spend the first half of the Aggies’ second game on the bench under the NCAA’s new targeting rule. If that wasn’t enough drama, just before kickoff the Aggies announced four players had been suspended for the first two games for violating team rules.
With all the suspensions, Texas A&M started off slow. Rice held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter but the Aggies started to click in the second. At halftime, the Aggies lead Rice 28-21. To start the second half, Manziel rushed for 19 yards but the team ended up being forced to kick a field-goal after Manziel was sacked to end the drive. Even though Manziel only played for roughly a quarter and a half, he went 6-of-8 on the day for 94 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. If Manziel can manage to keep his nose clean this week, he will be able to start his first game of the 2013 season vs. Sam Houston State.
Mississippi State vs. (13) Oklahoma State (21-3)
The first game of the season can often times mean slow starts. That was certainly the case for the Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State game in Houston, Texas. The Bulldogs held a 3-0 lead until late in the second quarter. At halftime, the Cowboys only had a 7-3 lead. Mississippi State starting senior quarterback Tyler Russell left the game in the third quarter. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell was OK but they didn’t want to take any chances with head or neck injuries. Mullen would not specify what type of injury Russell suffered. He finished the day 10-of-16 for 133 yards before being replaced by backup sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott. Oklahoma State scored single touchdowns in the third and the fourth quarters to grab a 21-3 win.
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas (34-14)
The Bret Bielema era at Arkansas started off with a 34-14 win, with big help from sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen. Allen went 15-of-22 for 230 passing yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to senior wide receiver Javontee Herndon. Sophomore Jonathan Williams rushed for 151 yards and one touchdown while Alex Collins rushed for 131 yards. The Razorbacks had 292 rushing yards during Bielema’s first game, which totaled 125 yards better than the 2012 team’s season high of 167 yards. Up next for Arkansas is Samford.
(1) Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (35-10)
The Alabama Crimson Tide is looking to become three-peat BCS Champions this year, but they still have a lot of work to do. The final score of 35-10 might not show it, but the offense had a discouraging performance in the first game of the 2013 season. Three of the touchdowns scored by Alabama weren’t from the offense; two were from special teams and one from defense. Junior wide receiver Christion Jones started the game off with a 72-yard punt return touchdown and then scored a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter. In the second quarter, junior defensive back Vinnie Sunseri intercepted Virginia Tech senior quarterback Logan Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown return. The only offensive touchdowns came from a 2-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon in the first and a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jones from senior quarterback AJ McCarron late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Nick Saban didn’t hide his displeasure in the start of the season from the offense. Last year, the team averaged 445.5 offensive yards per game but only grabbed 206 yards vs. Virginia Tech. The Crimson Tide’s first-bye week of the season falls at week two this year. The team will have two weeks to prepare for their next game when they will face Johnny Manziel and the Aggies in College Station, a game where the offense, defense and special teams will all need to be on the same page.
Austin Peay vs. Tennessee (45-0)
Some might say that Butch Jones’ debut at Tennessee couldn’t have gone any better. The team scored 45 points and held the opponent to 0. However, if you asked him, I’m sure he could still find a few things the Volunteers could improve on. Senior running back Rajion Neal and junior quarterback Justin Worley helped Tennessee get off and running. Neal rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries while Worley went 11-of-13 for 104 passing yards and three touchdowns. The two sat out the second half of the game after the team scored a touchdown on each of their six-possessions from the first half. Jones didn’t just make an impact on the field either; he made an impact in the attendance. On Saturday, the official attendance was at 97,169 while in 2012 the largest crowd at 87,921. The 45-0 win also marked the 800th victory in Tennessee football history. The bar has been set high for the first game and the Volunteers could have their hands full vs. their next opponent of Western Kentucky.
Washington State vs. Auburn (31-24)
Gus Malzahn barely escaped his first game as a head coach with a win. Junior quarterback Nick Marshall went 10-of-19 for 99 passing yards on the night but had zero touchdowns in his starting debut. Junior running back duo Tre Mason and Corey Grant came up big for Auburn. Mason cored an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before scoring a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second. Grant finished the day with 146 rushing yards on 9 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run. Senior kicker Cody Parkey also played a huge role in Auburn’s win, scoring 11 points for the Tigers. Next up for Malzahn and his team? The Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Murray State vs. Missouri (58-14)
After a disappointing season filled with lots of injuries, the Missouri Tigers are looking for redemption for year two in the SEC. Starting senior quarterback James Franklin, who missed multiple games for shoulder, knee and head injuries, was 26-of-38 with 318 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Junior running back Henry Josey made his return to the field since suffering a knee injury in 2011 that required two knee surgeries and sidelined him during the 2012 season. Josey carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards and a 68-yard touchdown. Sophomore running back Russell Hansbrough added 104 yards and two touchdowns on only eight carries. Mizzou held Murray State to only 14 points, which all came in the first quarter. The Tigers pick up a game one win, 58-14.
Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky (35-26)
Mark Stoops was the only first year SEC coach to start the year out with a loss and it came at the hands of former SEC coach Bobby Petrino. For the second year in a row, Kentucky fell short of beating in-state rival Western Kentucky, 35-26. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Whitlow started the game for the Wildcats and went 10-of-15 for 78 yards but was pulled by Stoops in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith entered the game and led the team to a 30-yard field goal and a 34-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Demarco Robinson, but it was too little too late. Smith went 8-of-13 on the day for 125 yards and the one touchdown. Expect Smith to most likely start for Kentucky in the next game against Miami (Ohio).
(5) Georgia vs. (8) Clemson (38-35)
The game of the week for the college football world certainly lived up to its hype as many chose Georgia as the front-runner to de-throne Alabama of the SEC Championship. The game went neck-and-neck. Georgia’s running game proved to be the most effective against Clemson. Sophomore running back Todd Gurley lead the Georgia team in rushing, totaling 154 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Keith Marshall added 43 yards and one touchdown. When it came to the passing game, Clemson proved to have the advantage. Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray was selected by SEC coaches to the all-SEC preseason first team, but struggled during the game. Murray was 20-of-29 on the night, passing for 323 yards. However, he didn’t throw any touchdowns and was intercepted once in the game. On the other hand, Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd had a stellar night. Boyd was only 18-of-30 for the game but threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns and led his team to 38-35 victory. The two teams will open up the season against each other next year, this time in Athens.
Georgia won’t have long to lick their wounds because next up for the Bulldogs are the South Carolina Gamecocks. The winner of this week’s game could very easily determine who heads to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game in December. There is a little bit of hope for Georgia fans. Two years ago, the Bulldogs started the season off 0-2 but ended up advancing to the SEC title game.
(12) LSU vs. (20) TCU (37-27)
Making changes to teams can be hard, especially when you bring in a new offensive coordinator. For LSU, bringing in Cam Cameron proved to be well worth the changes – even if it did take some time to get settled in. Things started out slow for both teams with the only points in the first quarter coming from field goals. LSU senior fullback J.C. Copeland got the first touchdown of but TCU quickly answered, returning the kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown. The Tigers were able to make a field goal as time expired in the first half and took a 16-10 lead to the locker room. The second half was a different story for LSU. They scored four touchdowns and held TCU to only 10 more points, securing a 37-27 win. In the first game of the season, the LSU offense picked up 448 yards. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s 251 passing yards equalled almost as much as TCU’s combined total of 259 yards. Next up for LSU, the UAB Blazers.
Weekly Recaps are written by Mizzou’s finest Gridiron Belle, Ashley Colley
Aug 15, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football
My dearest Gridiron Belles:
My most sincere apologies for taking an unannounced break from the blog! I assure you it was for good reason as I’m proud to announce, Gridiron Belles now has a sister publication, SouthernLeague Magazine. You can imagine how my time has been eaten up!
Times have changed. So have the rules.
Many concerned onlookers, including retired NFL players, argue that the game of football is more dangerous than it’s ever been. Bigger, faster, stronger players result in bigger, faster, and harder hits.
In an attempt to protect our gridiron heroes, the NCAA has changed some rules, effective this season.
- If a player’s helmet gets knocked off, he will be treated as an injured player and the clock will be stopped.
- If a player’s helmet comes off for reasons other than a penalty on the opposing team, the player will sit out the following play.
Seems there is a new trend for players not to fasten both chin straps, resulting in loose helmets. Helmets that are there to protect players’ heads… that encase their brains… which are important for life post-gridiron.
- The kickoff will now be from the 35 yard-line. (It was the 30.)
- This is to increase the likelihood of the football going to the end zone, where receiving players cannot be flattened (or even touched) once they catch it.
- Touchbacks will now come out to the 25 yard-line. (It was the 20.)
- This is to encourage players to take a knee after receiving a kickoff—a touchback—instead of rushing into crowds of rushing, angry, bruise-inducing opponents.
- The kickoff team must line up between the 30 and 35 yard-lines. (They used to be able to start farther back.)
- This prevents a “running start” and thus hitting with less velocity.
According to Greg Johnson of NCAA.com, “The recommended changes came from the Football Rules Committee after that group examined NCAA data showing that injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in any other phases of the game.” What’s the NCAA rationale behind this decision? Fewer kickoff returns should lead to fewer injuries.
ESPN commentator and Heisman Trophy winner, Desmond Howard, who incidentally served as a kickoff and punt returner in the NFL, points out that “coaches put players back there to run the ball out of the end zone, not to take a knee.”
Whichever argument you use, the facts remain and the rules have changed. Store these changes in your useful-football-knowledge file and get ready for an exciting season!
Xs and Os,
Jan 17, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Athens, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, South Carolina, Tennessee Football, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt
All season I’ve preached about the importance of thank you notes. Thank you notes for your tailgate hosts, thank you notes for the people who get you tickets, thank you notes for the people who have you over to watch a game. (We really all should be writing thank you notes to our team’s players…) All season, I’ve received some ever so kind thank you notes myself from fans I’ve met along the way. So, it’s only fitting that I thank YOU for all that you have inadvertently done for me this season.
For the past 5 years I have expressed my obsession with SEC football with anyone who would listen. For research purposes, I have talked unceasingly about traditions, clothing styles, tailgate menus as well as players and coaches on the field. Then, I started asking for help. I started asking the Belles and Gents that I had met along the way to reach out to their friends to help me. I needed pictures, quotes and stories and boy did I get them!
If you’ve ever written your own book, you know that the chronic nerves that surface once the book is at the printer requires more support than anyone anticipates. For those of you, strangers and friends alike, that offered your calming words via calls e-mails, posts, and tweets of encouragement, a thousand thank-yous.
Ready or not September 3, 2011 came around and it was time for the rubber to meet the road. From the first game of the season to the last, strangers–now friends– took me under their wings. Generous fans invited me to lavish tailgates, allowed me to stay in their homes and graciously promoted my book to their friends. People I didn’t even know were inviting me to special events and treating me like kin. Southern hospitality at it’s finest.
Even those fervent SEC fans, that maybe didn’t love everything I wrote about their team, taught me something. They thickened my skin. Taught me to be more open-minded. Encouraged me to look at all sides. They reminded me that Belles are courageous and tough.
Without tearing up the way I do while watching Steel Magnolias, I’ll keep it short and sweet. It was because of YOU that my 2011 Gridiron Belles tour was a success. It is because of YOU that I was able to fulfill my dreams of being an author. My career for the past 4 months has been tailgating. And because of YOU, Gridiron Belles worked.
Thank you, from the bottom of my Southern Belle heart, for being such hospitable, generous and devoted fans of your team. It is the spirit and excitement that y’all displayed that kept me going on the road for 93 days straight without a break from the South’s greatest pastime. It is people like YOU that make Southern football the living legend that it is.
Thank you all. For everything.
Xs and Os,
SEC fans are the most loyal and energetic in the nation. I’m convinced, however, that Alabama fans are what most people mean when they use the term “Fanatical.” It’s expected of BAMA fans to be fanatical—it’s part of the oath they take as new borns: Wear Crimson, despise Auburn, name a child (or at least a dog, boat, or RV ) “Bear” and above all, be the most fanatical football fan you can imagine day in and day out. This is one vow that is unforgivable to break. And I love it.
On a level understood only in the SEC—perhaps only in Alabama– eating, breathing and decorating your home in the only logical theme of Crimson Tide, team dedication has reached a new level in Tuscaloosa.
My trip across the South has introduced me to more than my fair share of Tide fans. I stayed with one of the sweetest Bama Belles at her Bay house outside of Mobile and was welcomed into her home with open arms… just as soon as I changed out of navy and orange… in the driveway.
The Bama fan of the season, however, required a family. The “Tide Family” (I’ve kept their name to myself as to not have them inundated with calls and e-mails asking for ideas of how to be a better BAMA fan once this is released) has set a new bar for BAMA fans . They are as kind as they are loyal. They are as generous as they are dedicated.
Decorated by the eldest daughter of the “Tide Family,” this second home, located a first down away from the entrance to Bryant-Denny Stadium, epitomizes the phrase “Sweet Home Alabama.”
I’d likely get some of the details mixed up if I tried to tell you how long the “Tide Family” has been a part of the BAMA community. I’d tell you that there are 12 grandchildren who went to, or are currently enrolled at, the University of Alabama when really there are something like 26. And I’d tell you that it was MR. Tide that spearheads the “fanaticism” and game day excursions on their party buses and boats when really it’s MRS. Tide. So I’m going to keep the details to myself and just let pictures speak 13 words. Because, 13, is exactly how many national championships this Tide Family has been around to celebrate the Crimson spirit.
No detail, large or small, went un-dedicated to Alabama. I was in awe. I was impressed beyond words and knew immediately that there may be a lot of families that are Tide fans, but there is only ONE “Tide Family.”
Thanks for the hospitality Mr. and Mrs. Tide! And good luck getting your 14th national championship tonight!
Xs and Os,
Jan 6, 2012 CATEGORIES: BCS Championship Game, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Honey Badger, LSU, LSU Fans, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football
It’s been over a month since I’ve last seen LSU play football in person. Which is a long time… considering I managed to see the Fighting Tigers play five times this season alone.
No, LSU is not “my team,” but my purple dress sure did get a lot of Ware (see what I did there?) this season as I was lucky enough to be a distant part of the Tiger’s perfect season and impressive display of gridiron talent.
Take for instance, Honey Badger. This highly inappropriate, and not Gridiron Belles endorsed, video shows you how Tyrann Mathieu, the mind-blowing-five-foot-nine-almost-the-Heisman-winner-who-leads-the-world-in-tackles-as-the-most-intimidating-cornerback-in-college-football, easily personifies a honey badger found in the wild.
It’s safe to say that, yes, Honey Badger takes what he wants. Did I mention that Honey Badger, the player, ranks No.1 Nationally in fumble recoveries and No. 1 in the SEC for forced fumbles? He does.
So let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re an LSU fan, having a honey badger on your team (among many other talented players) going into the greatest game of college football history, is a good thing. Going into the most anticipated National Championship ever played with TWO honey badgers is even better. Allow me to introduce you to “Honey Badger II.”
What I’ve learned from 5 games with the purple and gold is the importance of having a Honey Badger in the stands. Having a tiger’s eye at midfield in Death Valley is all fine and good. What’s more intimidating is forcing the other team to actually look into the eyes of Mike the Tiger as they tip toe into Tiger stadium. The same goes with Honey Badger Number Two (HBII). It’s great to have Honey Badger on the field, but HBII really shows his teeth and tenacity to opposing fans at the tailgates and in the stands.
There is no record of existence of this honey badger prior to his 2011 debut season. There is no explanation of how HBII and the Honey Badger on the field are able to coordinate their gameday outfits so well. The only obvious connection is the mutual respect and obsession with winning. And, of course having their pictures taken by fans across the land and, taking with they want.
Thanks for all of your hard work this season, Honey Badger (II). What a fan!
Xs and Os,
p.s.– Bama fans, don’t worry, your super fan is coming on Monday!