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  • Serious Football: Week VII

    Oct 16, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football, Vanderbilt

    The arrival of fall is evident thanks to cooler temperatures,coaches retiring mid-season and the all-season-telling pumpkin craze.  Here at Gridiron Belles, each indicator is welcomed with open arms, especially weekends chock-full of gridiron battles that have grave post-season impacts.

    In case you haven’t decided what to wear this weekend, I’ll venture to say this is one of the last weekends where long sleeves will suffice. But be warned, layering is just around the corner.  In honor of the Head Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) retiring from South Carolina, the game of the week is Vanderbilt at South Carolina. And in case you haven’t planned the rest of your Saturday activities, I have your full schedule for tomorrow, too!  

    Go ahead and suit up in your game day best, this is what we live for!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Photo Cred @SEC on Instagram

  • Serious Football: Week V

    Oct 2, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football

    Every once in a while there is a light week during the college football regular season where our entire day doesn’t have to be dedicated to the sport. This week, is not one of those weeks. So much is riding on every play of every game, you can’t afford to miss a snap, even with unranked teams.

    There is a great match-up in each time slot this week, starting at noon. Don’t miss it!

    And don’t forget that as the weather turns to fall (you know that quote you’ve been seeing everywhere about being thankful for Octobers?), so must your wardrobe.  Be sure to layer for the sunshine during the day and the cool breeze for the late game. And thanks to some pending hurricanes, be prepared for rain!

    Happy game day eve!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

    WEEK V

    Noon:          South Carolina @ Mizzou

    3:30 PM:    #13 Alabama  @ #8 Georgia

    4:00 PM      San Jose Sate @ Auburn

    7:00 PM      #3 Ole Miss @ #25 Florida

                            Arkansas @ Tennessee

                           Eastern Michigan @ #9 LSU

                           Vanderbilt @ MTSU

    7:30 PM       #21 MS State @ #14 Texas A&M

                             Easter Carolina @ Kentucky






    Sep 25, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, SEC Football, Serious Football


    This fall weather has been nothing but welcomed.  Crisp mornings, sunny days, refreshing nights, all have me wanting time to stand still.  Alas, if time stood still we would never get to Saturdays so I’m just planning on embracing said perfect fall weather on game day, too!

    But this perfection will only last so long– take advantage of this weekend’s forecast of highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s to enjoy your tailgate and kickoff before we have to add scarves and gloves.  Layer up (or keep extra clothes in the car) and don’t forget your sunnies!  

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


    12:00 PM
    • LSU at Syracuse, Noon, ABC or ESPN
    • Southern at Georgia, Noon, SEC Network
    • UCF at South Carolina, Noon, ESPNU or ESPN2
    3:30 PM
    • Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m., CBS
    4:00 PM
    • UL-Monroe at Alabama, 4 p.m., SEC Network
    7:00 PM
    • Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, 7 p.m.
    • Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7 p.m.
    7:30 PM
    • Mississippi State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.
    • Mizzou at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
    *ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast the two 7 p.m. games. SEC Network will carry the 7:30 game.

    Sep 11, 2015 CATEGORIES: Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Mississippi State, Serious Football, Starkville, Tennessee Football, UGA, Vanderbilt


    All finally felt right in the world last Saturday as Week-1 of college football resumed. Traditionally, the first three weeks of football season are full of Power Team v Cupcake Team  match-ups and leave us viewers unimpressed and still longing for real football.  This season, the excitement is here on Week-2 and I don’t want anyone to miss it.

    Our favorites:

    Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops head to South Carolina on Saturday. But that’s not the only Stoops brother who will be in the SEC this weekend.  Mark Stoop’s brother, Bob Stoops, who is the head coach of Oklahoma, is coming to Knoxville in an attempt to get an SEC win on his schedule. Both Stoops brothers are great guys and daggum good football coaches, but we only hope one of them wins.

    #14 LSU is making the trip to Starkville for their “first game of the season” to line up against #25 MS State. The cowbells will be ringing for this early season SEC West matchup.  Could we be more excited?

    #10 Georgia @ Vanderbilt is high on our interest list for two reasons:  1) Vandy always shocks someone each season and I’m wondering if it isn’t SEC-East-Predicted-Winner Georgia; 2) Gridiron Belles is heading to Nashville for the game to tailgate and to take Vandy and UGA photos for the next book.  Be sure to let me know where you’ll be tailgating so I can stop by!

    Any way you slice it, it’s Week-2.  Summer is over. It’s time to dedicate your Saturdays to the Gridiron.  Here is your schedule for Saturday.

    11:00 AM

    Auburn v Jacksonville State 

    2:30 PM

    Georgia #10 @ Vanderbilt

    Fresno State @  #17 Ole Miss

    3:00 PM

    Middle Tennessee @ #2 Alabama

    Toledo @ # 18 Arkansas

    5:00 PM

    #19 Oklahoma @ #23 Tennessee

    6:00 PM

    Ball State @ #16 Texas A&M

    #21 Missouri @ Arkansas State

    East Carolina @ Florida

    6:30 PM

    Kentucky @ South Carolina

    8:15 PM

    #14 LSU @ #25  MS STATE

    More articles

    ESPN Week Two Game Breakdown

    Auburn develops a way for players to stay cool

    Early Morning Kickoffs Call for This


    Aug 26, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football


    The season is getting so close we can almost taste the buffalo chicken dip; we can practically smell the aroma of crisp fall air infused with bourbon hovering SEC tailgates, and what was that?  You heard the collision sound of pads and helmets, too?  

    With 8 days left before the highly anticipated season arrives, it’s time to send fluff home and get technical about serious football.

    Today we are breaking down the Xs and Os of our beloved game.  In case you took the summer off, this will be your refresher course so that next Thursday, Friday and Saturday you’ll be fully primed to understand the players on the field.  

    8 Days and Counting,

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


    The goal of the offense is to run, pass, or kick the ball over the end line or through the goalpost/up-rights to score points.


    The goal of the defense is to tackle the man with the ball and prevent the offense from running, passing, or kicking the ball over the end line.



    Offensive Linemen: The “O-Line,” consists of the players on the line of scrimmage. Their goal is to protect the ball-carrier while simultaneously creating gaps on the field where the ball-carrier can safely run through the opponent. The offensive linemen are the big guys.


    The play starts with the center snapping the ball (passing the ball through his legs) to a teammate. Once he snaps the ball, he begins to hold off the oncoming opponents.


    The guards do what it sounds like: They guard the quarterback, or whoever has the ball, from the opponent.


    Two offensive tackles try to block the opponent before he gets to the quarterback, or the player with the ball.

    Tight End

    Tight end is a hybrid position between offensive lineman and wide receiver who is supposed to have the dual abilities of blocking linemen and receiving passes.

    Wide Receiver

    A wide receiver’s primary responsibility is to catch passes. He is wide in the formation and receives the ball.

    Fullback/Running Back

    The fullback either blocks for the halfback so he can run down the field, or the fullback blocks so that the quarterback can make an uninterrupted throw down the field.

    Halfback/Running Back

    The halfback lines up in the offensive backfield behind the fullback and the quarterback.  The halfback primarily runs the ball during running plays and can also be used as a wide receiver.


    The quarterback takes the snap (receiving the ball from the center), and he can choose to hand the ball to the running back, pass the ball to an eligible receiver, or run the ball himself.



    Defensive Linemen

    The defensive line consists of four linemen, two ends and two tackles, who line up directly across from the opposing O-line.

    Defensive line from left to right:  end, tackle, tackle, end.

    End (Tight End)

    The defensive end’s main purpose is to contain the running backs to the inside on running plays, or to rush the quarterback on passing plays.


    Tackles are responsible for stopping the run up the middle and for engaging the offensive linemen so that the linebackers can move toward the ball without opposition.


    This player is also known as the nose-tackle. Depending on the defensive scheme (line up), “odd man fronts” will have what is called a nose-guard. This player lines up directly over the football (his nose is over the ball).


    Linebackers’ goal is to stop the run, defend against passes, and sometimes, to rush the QB . Linebackers are usually faster than defensive linemen and are larger than their defensive teammates.


    Secondary is the area of the field deep that is off the line of scrimmage (way in the back) where defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) are strategically placed to defend the run and pass.


    A defensive back, who is usually responsible for covering wide receivers.


    A safety is the last line of defense and is extremely fast and aggressive. Safeties are found deep in the defensive secondary (way in the back) and help the cornerbacks with pass coverage. 

  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL: Pre-Season Polls

    Aug 19, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Serious Football, Southern Football

    The dreaded off-season is almost over.  Cue pre-season polls to let us know the season is coming.

    Alas, let me be clear: pre-season polls are just that, PRE-SEASON.  Any and all of these polls below will fly out the window when the first kickoff sails over the gridiron. With every dropped ball, blocked punt or injured player, these polls change accordingly and they are never the same again.  

    Pre-season polls cause us much elation when our team is mentioned at the top of a list, and utter despair when it sneaks in at the bottom. Or, not at all. Each poll is based on different criteria so we’ve included a few samples for your review. Note: for the first few weeks of regular season play you will hear lots of references to the pre-season polls… but then we get real polls. Which actually matter.  

    Below are a few of the most visited polls. We are particularly fond of the Football Power Index (FPI) by ESPN because it considers strength of schedule. Being in the SEC, we all know that playing the best teams in the country week-in and week-out can wear on players, so we appreciate a poll’s acknowledgement for the season-long grind.  But hey, who asked us?  

    So go ahead and peruse, but don’t memorize. This is all pre-season hype and we are counting down the days until things get real on September 3!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    *More related articles for this week at bottom!

    AP Top 25

    “The AP Top 25 is determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college football’s best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first place vote, 24 for second place and so on through to the 25th team, which receives one point. The rankings are set by listing the teams’ point totals from highest to lowest. The mathematical formula is the same as the one used for the AP Pro 32 rankings and the AP Top 25 rankings for men’s and women’s basketball.” Visit here. 

    1)     Ohio State

    2)     Oregon

    3)     TCU

    4)     Alabama

    5)     Michigan State

    6)     Florida State

    7)     Baylor

    8)     Georgia Tech

    9)     Georgia

    10)  UCLA

    11)  Mississippi

    12)  Arizona State

    13)  Wisconsin

    14)  Missouri

    15)  Clemson

    16)  Boise State

    17)  Ole Miss

    18)  Kansas State

    19)  Arizona

    20)  USC

    21)  Utah

    22)  Auburn

    23)  Marshall

    24)  Louisville

    25)  Memphis

    Phil Steel 

    “According to sportswriter Phil Steele, the tendency is for voters to give the most weight to the makeup of returning starters, how teams did in their bowl game and where they ended last season in the rankings.” (Bleacher Report) Phil’s list can be found here. 

    1)     Ohio State

    2)     TCU

    3)     Alabama

    4)     Baylor

    5)     Oregon

    6)     Michigan State

    7)     USC

    8)     Florida

    9)     Auburn

    10)  Georgia

    11)  UCLA Bruins

    12)  Ole Miss

    13)  Notre Dame

    14)  LSU

    15)  Clemson

    16)  Arizona State

    17)  Georgia Tech

    18)  Wisconsin

    19)  Missouri

    20)  Arkansas

    21)  Mississippi State

    22)  Oklahoma

    23)  Boise State

    24)  Tennessee

    25)  Stanford

     Football Power Index: FPI

    “FPI is an estimate of team strength – not a ranking of who will have the highest win total (which is dependent on schedule) and not who is most likely to make the College Football Playoff. Preseason FPI is calculated using three major components for each FBS team: prior years’ offense, defense and special teams efficiencies; returning starters and head coach information; and recruiting rankings.”  For more, visit here

    1)     Ohio State

    2)     Alabama

    3)     TCU

    4)     LSU

    5)     Baylor

    6)     Oregon

    7)     Notre Dame

    8)     Ole Miss

    9)     Georgia

    10)  Arkansas

    11)  Texas A&M

    12)  UCLA

    13)  USC

    14)  Tennessee

    15)  Oklahoma

    16)  Michigan State

    17)  Stanford

    18)  Auburn

    19)  Clemson

    20)  Arizona State

    21)  Florida State

    22)  Mississippi State

    23)  Georgia Tech

    24)  Missouri

    25)  Michigan

    *Other Football Related Articles to Read This Week:

    Our Hero Samantha Ponder Steps Down

    Great Bragging Rights and Tailgate Talk: Last Time Gameday Visited Every SEC Town

    While We’re Talking Pre-Season, Here Are Pre-Season Running Back Rankings

    Is It Ever Too Early To Think About Playoffs? 

    Top 5 Best September Games To Watch


  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL: Pre-Season Cheat Sheet

    Aug 12, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football

    If your summer reading consisted more of The One and Only than Sports Illustrated, we don’t blame you, but….we’re here to give you the quick version of what you need to know about your team before the season begins to be a well-informed belle at your first tailgate. Reminder, given the recent coaches and quarterback musical chairs the SEC has been playing, this is all subject to change– especially because “Camp” is just beginning and starting QBs are still TBD, but for now, know your team’s quick stats of who and when.

    ‘Tis the season!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

    Head Coach: Jim McElwain (Offensive coordinator on Alabama’s title teams in 2009 and 2011) (1st season at Florida)
    Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier (First Year)
    Defensive Coordinator: Geoff Collins (First Year)
    Quarterback: Treon Harris (SO)  or Will Grier (FR)                 
    Opening Game: New Mexico State at home, Saturday, Sept 5m 7:00pm
    Head Coach: Mark Richt (14th season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer (First Year)
    Defensive Coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt (2nd season)
    Quarterback: Brice Ramsey (SO) or Faton Bauta (JR)
    Opening Game: Louisiana Monroe at home, Saturday, September 5, 12:00pm
    Head Coach: Mark Stoops (3rd Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Shannon Dawson (First Year)
    Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Eliot (3rd season)
    Quarterback: Patrick Towles (JR), Drew Barker (FR)               
    Opening Game: UL Lafayette at home, Saturday, September 5, 7:00pm
    Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (15th Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Josh Henson (6th Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Barry Odom (First Year)
    Quarterback: Maty Mauck (JR)                 
    Opening Game: SEMO at home, Saturday, September 5, 3:00pm
    South Carolina
    Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (11th Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Elliott (6th Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Lorenazo Ward (4th Season)
    Quarterback: Connor Mitch (SO), Perry Orth (JR), Michael Scarnecchia (FR) , Lorenzo Nunez (FR)                 
    Opening Game:  University of North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium, Thursday, September 3, 6pm
    Head Coach: Butch Jones (3rd Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Mike DeBord (First Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek (Third Season)
    Quarterback: Josh Dobbs(JR)                 
    Opening Game: Bowling Green at home, Saturday, September 5, 4:00pm
    Head Coach: Derek Mason (2nd Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Andy Ludwig (1st Year)
    Defensive Coordinator: Derek Mason
    Quarterback: Wade Freebeck (SO) and Johnny McCrary (SO)                 
    Opening Game: Western Kentucky at home, Thursday, September 3, 8:00pm
    Head Coach: Nick Saban (9th Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Lane Kiffin (2nd Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart (9th Season)
    Quarterback: Jake Coker (SR-RS) or David Cornwell (FR-RS)                 
    Opening Game: Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, September 5, 8:00pm
    Head Coach: Bret Bielema (3rd Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Dan Enos (1st Year)
    Defensive Coordinator: Robb Smith (2nd Season)
    QB: Brandon Allen (SR)                 
    Opening Game:  UTEP at home, Saturday, September 5, 3:30pm
    Coach: Gus Malzahn (4th Season )
    Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee (3rd Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp (1st Year)
    Quarterback: Jeremy Johnson (JR)                 
    Opening Game: University of Louisville, in Atlanta at Chic-Fil-A Bowl, Saturday, September 5, 2:30pm
    Head Coach: Les Miles (11th Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron (3rd Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Steele (1st Year)
    Quarterback: Brandon Harris (SO)                 
    Opening Game: McNeese State at home, Saturday, September 5, 7:30pm
    Mississippi State
    Head Coach: Dan Mullen (7th Season)
    CO-Offensive Coordinators: Billy Gonzales (3rd Season)
                                                       John Hevesy (7th Season)
    Defensive Coordinator : Manny Diaz (1st Year)
    Quarterback: Dak Prescott (SR)                 
    Opening Game:  At Southern Miss, Saturday, September 5, 9:00pm
    Ole Miss
    Head Coach: Hugh Freeze (4th Season)
    CO-Offensive Coordinators:  Dan Werner (4th Season)
                                                       Matt Luke (8th Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: Dave Womack (4th Season)
    Quarterback: Chad Kelly (JR)
    Opening Game: UT Martin at home, Saturday, September 5, 11:00am
    Texas A&M
    Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (4th Season)
    Offensive Coordinator: Jake Spavital (3rd Season)
    Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis (1st year)
    Quarterback: Kyle Allen (SO)
    Opening Game: Arizona State at home, Saturday, Sept 5, 7:00pm
  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL: SEC Helmet Schedule… Our Favorite.

    Aug 5, 2015 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football

    When the SEC helmet schedule comes out each year, my fall planning becomes complete. Finally, I can circle all of the games I am attending on the helmet grid, and at a glance, I am completely in the know of each weekend’s match ups and travel schedules.

    Why all of these  organized little helmets with team logos in an enlarged excel sheet get me going is beyond me. But it does, and they do.  It’s one of life’s little joys that stays with me all season.

    I print three copies for myself: one for my planner/calendar to have with me at all times; one for my office in clear sight during any task; one on my home fridge so I have a quick reference while testing game day recipes… and so my Alabama-loving husband can see that other teams actually do exist!

    Of course, I print a handful of these handy helmet schedules, laminate them and send as treats to my SEC-adoring friends who are always quick to say yes to meeting me at games or responding to my friendly taunts, questions, or general excitement during half time.  Pre-season treats are always welcomed. Heck, anything to make kickoff seem closer.

    So we thank  for doing all of the tedious work each year to bring us so much joy and fall organization.  We couldn’t be more grateful.

    Here is your chance to print, hang, laminate and send, Belles.  Trust me, you’ll love being in the know at a glance!

    Happy Pre-Season.

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

  • We’re baaaackkk!

    Aug 2, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Oh My!, SEC, SEC Football, Serious Football, Southern Belles, Southern Tailgating, Southern Women

    What an off-season!
    It’s been a tremendously action packed off-season full of travels, Triple Crown winners, coaches-musical-chairs, coordinator hires, and SEC-themed weddings. Alas, it’s time to re-submerge ourselves into the glory of the fall and the highly anticipated SEC football season.
    This year brings new things to Gridiron Belles and we couldn’t be more excited.  What you can expect on the blog this season:

    MONDAYS: Outfits, Recipes and Tailgates, Oh My!
    You can never plan your outfit or tailgate menu too early.  Mondays will give you ideas of outfit suggestions, our favorite recipes, interesting SEC sightings or recent photos of Gridiron Belles tailgating around the SEC. This gives you all week to wrangle what you need and to be inspired by what’s going on around you. 
    If you have a favorite game day recipe you want to share, by all means, send it in and we’ll test it out!

    WEDNESDAYS: Serious Football.  
    We’ll post the weekend’s match-ups, schedules and why in the world it’s important for you to watch, or not watch, the gridiron grit that weekend. 

    FRIDAYS: Belles in Biz.  
    We know that there is more to us Belles than being great on Saturdays. We are smart, motivated, talented and successful in a million ways outside of tailgating and being able to call plays for coaches.  Here at Gridiron Belles, we celebrate strong women and want to highlight the Gridiron Belles in Business around the south.  
    If you, or someone you know has started their own company, has made a difference in the community, or is otherwise pretty awesome, we want to hear about her!  Drop us a line about her and we’ll feature her success story.
    Note, you want to pay attention to Fridays, because sometimes these are going to be accompanied by product giveaways! See instructions on how to win on each individual post.

    As always, keep up with our whereabouts and going ons via Instagram: @GridironBelles, Twitter: @GridironBelles and Facebook:  Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie.
    We always look forward to hearing from you so don’t be a stranger, you hear?!
    Xs and Os,
    Christie Leigh