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  • Who You Need to Know Before Kickoff

    Aug 28, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC football writers, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Uncategorized

     

    What was highly anticipated has finally arrived. Football season is here! 

    In case you had a life in the off-season, we’ve compiled a quick list of who all Gridiron Belles need to know before kickoff.  You’ll receive extra points for knowing about other teams, but at a bare minimum, know the head coach and key players of your team. And of course, which opponent you will be beating this kick-off weekend!

    Happy season, y’all!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Alabama

    Head Coach: Nick Saban

    • 7th season at Alabama, 18th season overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB AJ McCarron: 25-2 record as a starter; 2012 BCS Title Game Offensive MVP
    • Sophomore WR Amari Cooper: set school freshman records for 1,000 receiving yards on 59 carries and 11 TDs in                  2012; battling foot injury and is probable for first game
    • Senior LB C.J. Mosley: 211 career tackles, 14 pass breakups and 5 interceptions; 2012 Butkus Award finalist                                    for nations’ top college linebacker

    First Opponent: Virginia Tech

    • Game at neutral site at Georgia Dome
    • Saturday, August 31 in Atlanta, GA at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Arkansas

    Head Coach: Bret Bielema

    • 1st season at Arkansas

    Key Players:

    • Sophomore QB Brandon Allen: 1-0 record as a starter; 21-of-49 for 186 yards and 1 TD in 2012
    • Senior WR Javontee Herndon: 304 receiving yards on 21 carries  and 3 TDs in 2012
    • Senior DL Chris Smith: career stats include 86 tackles, 13 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, six pass breakups and                            one forced fumble; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Louisiana-Lafayette

    • First matchup since November 16, 2002; Arkansas won 24-17 in Fayetteville
    • Saturday, August 31 in Fayetteville, AR at 4:00 p.m. ET on FSN

    Auburn

    Head Coach: Gus Malzahn

    •  1st season at Auburn, 2nd season overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Nick Marshall: JUCO transfer from Garden City Community College who passed for 3,142 yards,                                   18 TDs while rushing for 1,095 yards and 19 TDs in 2012; played 13 games for Georgia at corner in 2011
    • Junior RB Tre Mason: lead the team in rushing with 1,002 yards in 2012; named Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC                       Second Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior DE Dee Ford: recorded 30 tackles, 6 sacks and 1 pass defended in 2012; battling knee injury and is out for                        first game, no timetable on his return

    First Opponent: Washington State

    • First matchup since September 2, 2006; Auburn won 40-14 in Auburn, AL
    • Saturday, August 31 in Auburn, AL at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU

     Florida

    Head Coach: Will Muschamp

    • 3rd season at Florida and overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Jeff Driskel: threw for 1,646 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 2012; had emergency             appendectomy in July but is expected to play in first game
    • Redshirt Junior WR Quentin Dunbar: recorded 383 receiving yards on 36 carries and 4 touchdowns in 2012
    • Senior DL Dominique Easley: has recorded 67 career tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, one blocked punt                                                                               and one fumble recovery; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Toledo

    • First meeting between the two schools
    • Saturday, August 31 at 12:21 p.m. ET on SEC Network

    Georgia

    Head Coach: Mark Richt

    • 13th season at Georgia and overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB Aaron Murray: completed 249-of-388 passes for 3,893 passing yards and 36 TDs in 2013; named                                     to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Offense for 2013
    • Sophomore RB Todd Gurley: rushed for 1,385 yards and scored 17 TDs in 2012; became second true freshman                                      in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards
    • Sophomore LB Jordan Jenkins: recorded 31 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble                    recovery in 2012; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Clemson

    • First matchup since August 30, 2003; Georgia won 30-0 in Clemson, SC
    • Saturday, August 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC; ESPN College GameDay will be on location

     Kentucky

    Head Coach: Mark Stoops

    •  1st year at Kentucky and overall

    Key Players:

    • Sophomore QB Jalen Whitlow: went 87-of-161 for 801 yards and 3 TDs while also rushing for 206 yards                                           and 3 TDs in 2012
    • Senior RB Raymond Sanders: career stats including 1,078 rushing yards for 8 TDs and 238 receiving yards                                     on 39 carries with one touchdown
    • Senior LB Avery Williamson: recorded 135 tackles, four pass breakups and one interception in 2012; named                                        to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Western Kentucky

    • Last game on September 15, 2012 in Lexington; Kentucky lost 31-32 in OT
    • Saturday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNews

    LSU

    Head Coach: Les Miles

    • 9th season at LSU, 13th season overall

    Key Players:

    • QB Zach Mettenberger: went 215-of-363 for 2,701 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions                                            in 2012; originally went to Georgia but transferred to Butler Community College in 2010 before going to LSU
    • Senior RB Alfred Blue: career stats include 910 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns; tore ACL on September 15, 2012                                 (week three) against Idaho and didn’t for the rest of the 2012 season
    • Senior DB Craig Loston: recorded 55 tackles, three interceptions, 1 fumble recovery and one pass breakup in 2012;                    named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: TCU

    • Game at neutral site at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX
    • Last game was in 1968; LSU won 10-7 in Baton Rouge
    • Saturday, August 31 at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Ole Miss

    Head Coach: Hugh Freeze

    • 2nd season at Ole Miss, 4th season overall

    Key Players:

    • QB Bo Wallace: went 235-of-368 for 2,994 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2012
    • Junior WR Donte Moncrief: recorded 979 receiving yards on 66 carries for 10 touchdowns in 2012;
    • Sophomore LB Denzel Nkemdiche: recorded 82 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 interceptions in 2012; earned                                         Freshman All-American honors and named to SEC All-Freshman team in 2012; named to Coaches                                                       Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Vanderbilt*

    • Last game was on November 10, 2012 in Oxford; Ole Miss lost 26-27
    • Thursday, August 29 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Mississippi State

    Head Coach: Dan Mullen

    • 5th season at Mississippi State and overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB Tyler Russell: went 231-of-394 for 2,897 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012; is                                                       the school’s all time leader in passing efficiency and needs one passing touchdown in 2013 to break school record
    • Senior RB LaDarius Perkins: has 3,463 career all-purpose yards including 2,012 rushing yards and 20                               touchdowns; named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Offense and Third Team Specialist for 2013
    • Sophomore LB Benardrick McKinney: recorded 102 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups and one                                fumble recovery; earned Freshman All-American honors and named to SEC All-Freshman team in 2012

    First Opponent: Oklahoma State

    • Game at neutral site at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX
    • Last meeting in September 18, 1999; Mississippi State won 29-11 in Starksville, MS
    • Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2

    Missouri

    Head Coach: Gary Pinkel

    • 13th season at Missouri, 23rd season overall

    Key Players:

    • Senior QB James Franklin: recorded 1,562 passing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012; battled multiple                                        health issues last season including a sprained knee and a concussion
    • Sophomore WR Dorial Green-Beckham: recorded 395 receiving yards on 28 receptions for five touchdowns;                             named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior S E.J. Gaines: has 169 career tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered; named                                 to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team Offense for 2013; battling a knee injury but is listed as probable for                                  the first game

    First Opponent: Murray State

    • Last meeting on September 2, 2006; Missouri won 47-7 in Columbia, MO
    • Saturday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m. ET on PPV

    South Carolina

    Head Coach: Steve Spurrier

    • 9th season at South Carolina, 32nd season overall

    Key Players

    • Senior QB Connor Shaw: 17-3 record as a starter
    • Junior WR Bruce Ellington: recorded 600 receiving yards on 40 catches and 7 TDs in 2012; battling                                        hamstring injury and questionable for first game
    • Junior DE Jadeveon Clowney: named SEC Defensive Player of the Year after setting single season school                                   record for sacks at 13 and  23.5 tackles for loss; battling shoulder injury and probably for first game

    First Opponent: North Carolina Tarheels

    • Non-conference rival
    • First game vs. UNC since October 13, 2007; South Carolina won 21-15 in Chapel Hill, NC
    • Thursday, August 29 in Columbia, SC at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Tennessee

    Head Coach: Butch Jones

    • 1st season at Tennessee, 7th season overall

    Key Players:

    • Junior QB Justin Worley: 48-of-87 for 607 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions as a starter in 2011
    • Senior RB Rajion Neal: has 1,039 career rushing yards for 7 touchdowns plus 518 receiving yards for 5 touchdowns
    • Junior LB A.J. Johnson: recorded 138 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries in 2012;                                          named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Austin Peay

    • First meeting between the two schools
    • Saturday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. ET on PPV

    Texas A&M

    Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin

    • 2nd season at Texas A&M, 6th season overall

    Key Players

    • Sophomore QB Johnny Manziel: went 295-of-434 for 3,706 receiving yards with 26 touchdowns and                                                  9 interceptions, rushed 201 times for 1,410 yards with 21 touchdowns; won the Heisman Trophy in 2012,                                            first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy; lots of off-the-field issues and is facing a possible suspension                                 after allegedly signing autographs for money, is questionable for the first game
    • Sophomore WR Mike Evans: recorded 1,105 receiving yards on 82 catches for five touchdowns; named to                                        SEC All-Freshman team in 2012, selected to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Second Team Offense for 2013
    • Junior DB Deshazor Everett: recorded 56 tackles, 9 pass breakups and intercepted 2 passes, including                                           one from Alabama QB AJ McCarron, in 2012

    First Opponent: Rice

    • Last game on November 9, 1995; Texas A&M won 17-10 in Houston, TX
    • Saturday, August 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Vanderbilt

    Head Coach: James Franklin

    • 3rd season at Vanderbilt and overall

    Key Players

    • Redshirt Senior QB Austyn Carta-Samuels: went 14-of-25 for 298 yards and one touchdown in 2012;                                   transferred from Wyoming following the 2010 season
    • Senior WR Jordan Matthews: recorded 1,323 receiving yards on 94 carries for 8 touchdowns in 2012;                                        named to Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Offense for 2013
    • Senior CB Andre Hal: recorded 48 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions in 2012; named to                                        Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC First Team Defense for 2013

    First Opponent: Ole Miss*

    • Last game was on November 10, 2012; Vanderbilt won 27-26 in Oxford, MS

    Thursday, August 29 at 9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

     Written by Ashley Colley

  • 2012 Fall Intern Opportunity

    Aug 2, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Arkansas, Athens, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Internship, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC football writers, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    It’s that time again!  Gridiron Belles—the lifestyle guide to football in Dixie—is looking for fall 2012 interns to join our team.

    We are taking Gridiron Belles (and her sister magazine, SouthernLeague), to the bestseller list this year so we need the best team of brilliant Southerners that the SEC can provide!

    Qualifications: Gridiron Belles and SouthernLeague Magazine are seeking upperclassmen and graduate students at SEC universities, both male and female. Preference will be given to those majoring in: journalism, PR, sports marketing, fashion, photography, creative writing or English.  Interns must be self-starters. The ideal candidate is enthusiastic about life in the south, adept at writing short nonfiction pieces, and socially engaging.  Experience in publishing is preferred, but not required.

    Job Description: Each intern must commit 5-10 hours per week, beginning August 27, 2012 and ending in January 2013. This is an unpaid internship with an opportunity for employment based on growth of the company. Duties will include:

    • Creating and executing social media strategies
    • Writing and managing weekly updates for online publications, including interviews and photographs
    • Creating organized Excel sheets of research
    • Vendor relations- following up with inventory of stores and potential ad sales
    • Planning, organizing and promoting PR events, book signings and tailgates on your campus

    How to Apply: Complete the attached application and submit to ChristieLeigh@SouthernLeagueMagazine.com by 9 A.M. CT on Monday, August 20 2012.

    Looking forward to hearing from y’all soon!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • Spring Football Reading

    Apr 26, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, SEC Football, SEC football writers, SEC Media Days, Southern Belles, Southern Football

    Let’s assume you’ve read my book, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie.  Let’s also assume you’re like me and are already longing for SEC Media Days and preseason polls.

    If you’re looking for a great book, or four, to keep your SEC-Saturday-craving-souls alive during the dreaded off-season, I’ve got three books for you to indulge in—again, assuming you’ve already read Gridiron Belles. And yes, these are quite the indulgences—you’ll be laughing at the authors and yourself– because we’ve all crossed that line between fan and fanatical at some point. All of us.

    These books aren’t new, but they are classics.  So classic that I’m sure by the time my unborn children get to middle school in the Deep South, all three will be on their summer reading list. A Gridiron Belle can dream, can’t she?

    Warren St. John in NYC. One good-looking BAMA gent.

    Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer , Warren St. John

    Alabama native, and mildly obsessed BAMA fan, brilliantly takes his readers through his season long tour with the Crimson Tide. His quick wit, smooth writing, and dry intellectual humor (St. John is a Columbia grad who works with the New York Times), has you wishing you could have his social ease and unwavering support of his team.  Well, your team at least.  He paved the way for the rest of us to write about the Southern football culture.   You can also thank him for Gridiron Belles.  Yes, he came to Rhodes College my senior year and I opted out of studying for a Political Science mid-term to hear him speak. Thankfully, I still have the signed napkin and a published book to show for how much he inspired me.

    Thank you, Professor Nelson, for bringing W. St. John to campus--I wouldn't have written my book without it!

    God and Football, Chad Gibbs

    Imagine this guy in church. Read his book to find out why you want to go with him!

    Mr. Gibbs tries to answer the south’s age-old question, is football God? Gibbs’ takes a pilgrimage to the 12 SEC homelands in search of answers, or at least perspective, from religious co-eds and indoctrinated leaders in the college towns.  Don’t like to talk about God publically? You don’t have to. Just be willing to laugh your backside off as you relate to Gibbs and realize that your god may also consist of first downs, 20-yr-old student-athletes and 50 yard-line tickets!

    Dixieland Delight, Clay Travis

    I know this is a nerdy picture of Mr. Travis, but I swear you'll want to hang out with him.

    I thought Dixieland Delight was going to be a copycat version of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer so I gave it the old stiff arm for years.  My copy sat unread on my shelf of all-books-football for many seasons.  Until, I needed some inspiration and realized that this Vandy law graduate also knew a thing or two about having fun at SEC stadiums.  Travis gives his personal accounts of his visits to each SEC stadium in one season.  He explains such phenomenons as why LSU fans smell like corn dogs and attempts to explain the logic behind Vandy students forgoing watching the game from inside the stadium.  He’s hilarious. He uses other people as the butt of his jokes but it somehow comes off as self-depricating. He’s the most endearing smart-a** I’ve ever never met.  You end up loving him and wanting to be his friend. Even though he points out all of your team’s shortcomings.

     

    Let’s face it, you were already starting to plan your next season’s travel schedule—these three reads are just going to help you add a handful more, because who doesn’t dream of attending a game at every SEC stadium?

    Happy reading!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh