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  • Order the 2nd Edition of Gridiron Belles

    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

    My dearest Gridiron Belle:

    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,

    Christie Leigh

    Go ahead, order!

     

     

     

     

  • Gridiron Week 1 Recap

    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

    And so it begins!

    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,

    Christie Leigh

    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

  • 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

  • Quarterback Cram

    Aug 29, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Arkansas, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Vanderbilt

    No, the quarterback cram isn’t a new play, although it could be, it’s just time to cram for our QB knowledge!

    As we went on with our lives once we calmed down after the first BCS National Championship between two SEC teams, the college football world stayed working.

    Coaches changed roles, players were recruited, and we took a little break to stock up on the necessary energy it takes to be an SEC fan. Not to mention, we needed some time to find the perfect game day outfits and tailgate accessories for the 2012 season.

    If you’re anything like me, you’re practically drooling over the upcoming season but have had too much going on to actually realize that there is a whole new lineup coming out for kickoff. Which is TOMORROW, so we need to cram!

    Part two of the pre-season primer is a study guide for you to learn about your team’s play-makers and the coaches.  Don’t stop at this information—there is a whole chapter about this in the book— but use this as a base for the entire season!

    Alabama:

    Coach: Nick Saban

    Quarterback: A.J. McCarron (JR)

    Arkansas:

    Coach: John L. Smith

    Quarterback: Tyler Wilson (SR)

    Auburn:

    Coach: Gene Chizik

    Quarterback: Kiehl Frazier (SO)

    Florida:

    Coach: Will Muschamp

    Quarterback: Jeff Driskel (SO) and Jacaoby Brissett (SO)

    Georgia:

    Coach: Mark Richt

    Quarterback: Aaron Murray (JR)

    Kentucky:

    Coach: Joker Phillips

    Quarterback: Maxwell Smith (SO)

    LSU:

    Coach: Les Miles

    Quarterback: Zach Mettenberger (JR)

    Mississippi State:

    Coach:  Dan Mullen

    Quarterback:  Tyler Russell (JR)

    Missouri:

    Coach: Gary Pinkel

    Quarterback: James Franklin (JR)

    Ole Miss:

    Coach: Hugh Freeze

    Quarterback: Barry Brunetti (JR) or Randall Mackey (SO)

    South Carolina:

    Coach: Steve Spurrier

    Quarterback: Connor Shaw (JR)

    Tennessee:

    Coach: Derek Dooley

    Quarterback:  Tyler Bray (JR)

    Texas A&M:

    Coach: Kevin Sumlin

    Quarterback: Johnny Manziel (FR)

    Vanderbilt:

    Coach: James Franklin

    Quarterback: Jordan Rodgers (SR)

    Happy Season!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • Times have changed. So have the rules.

    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!

    Alas, I would never leave you going into the anticipated season unprepared, so here is part one of the Gridiron Belles pre-season primer.

    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.

    Helmets:

    • 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.

    Kickoff:

    • 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,

    Christie Leigh

     

  • 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

  • I Heart Athens, GA

    May 31, 2012 CATEGORIES: Athens, Atlanta, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Lilly Pulitzer and Gridiron Belles, LSU Football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Gentlemen, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Uncategorized

    Gridiron Belles has a new project up its sleeve and we are itching to share it with you… but the timing isn’t right quite yet. So sit tight for just a little bit longer!

    Getting geared up for a full day of shooting

    To pique your interest, I’m sharing some photos from the new project.  Last week I was in Athens, GA with a handful of my interns, Southern-not-quite-yet-professional-models-but-close, owners of Southern companies, and drool-worthy clothes for our models (Volunteer Tradition, SouthernProper, HighCottonTies, Brier&Moss, Pennington&Bailes, Atlantic Drift, Leona, YoursTruly, Lilly Pulitzer, Old Try, Bonobos, Cordial Churchman,cheeky Peach, Mast McBride). Some of which they got to keep!

    Capturing a FL look for the first game of the season

    We were doing our fair share of glistening under the Georgia sun.  We worked hard and played hard.  Our phenomenal photographer from Back Down South captured looks and moments that epitomize the perfect Dixie experience.   Thank goodness for Photographer Caroline.

    Photographer Caroline was AMAZING. Hence why I brought her to the shoot!

    Just making sure we "nailed" the shot...

    Day one consisted of hours on North Campus in front of Magnolia trees, fountains, and the famous arch with a rushed session on the immaculately kept greens of the Georgia golf course.  Day two was a chicken biscuit breakfast and a trip down Greek lane with shots in front of the ADPi, Beta, and ATO houses that included short shorts and state flags.

    We like the SEC trend of wearing shorter shorts. Nice legs, Jordan!

    Interns Caroline and Michelle show off their Lilly sunglasses

    What I valued most was the time spent together with people I had never met.  Who were these people that showed up under The Arch at 4pm on Wednesday to help me take the next step toward a new dream?  How generous.  How admirable.  How appreciative I am.

    Chelsea from Southern Gent Gifts!

    Why not put on bow ties and loafers and practice handstands?

    I don’t know why people were so willing to help, but I’m going to give some credit to the uniting factor, Athens, GA.  There is something about that city that says “welcome, we’re here to help.”  People who have a connection to Athens tend to have a “we’re all in this together” mentality.  Georgia isn’t my team, per se, but you can guarantee that after last week, Athens has my heart.

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

     

  • M-I-Z! S-E-C!

    Feb 15, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Uncategorized

    A welcome basket from Harpos and the Alumni Association- Already mastering that Southern hospitality thing!

    When the University of Missouri and Texas A&M were added to the SEC I was frozen with shock.  I wasn’t sure why, geographically among other reasons, these two teams were added to what I liked to call, a very happy 12-team-SEC-family.

    Of course, Commissioner Slive didn’t call me for my opinion, so I conceded (a very rare occasion)  that they knew best and had the best interest of the SEC in mind.

    Now, just months before Mizzou and Texas A&M officially become members of the SEC (in July), the Mizzou chapter has mostly been written for the next edition of Gridiron Belles.   Thanks to a two day visit to Columbia, MO last week, I have a new found respect for Mizzou, their traditions and the wonderful people that bleed black and gold. I have no doubt, that you will too!

    This is the iconic Jesse Hall. They are big on "6" at Mizzou for these last 6 standing pillars. We are big on 6 National Championships in a row so it's a great fit!

    Upon my arrival to Columbia, I was welcomed by the sweetest coaches’ wife at a lunch provided by a local tailgating must-have, Hoss’s, along with the director of game day operations and the director of donor relations.  I wont brag and tell you I also met with the Athletic Director, but I did, and he was a real gentleman!

    What I learned in my first two hours on campus was enough information that I could write an entire Gridiron Belles Mizzou edition. But I still had another day and a half to meet with students, local businessmen, and the alumni team responsible for homecoming (Which, rumor has it,  originated at Mizzou).

    It takes heart to play in the SEC and these Mizzou Tigers certainly have that

    Next stop was the football training center that is home to state-of-the-art workout facilities, coaches offices and the biggest indoor media screen I have ever seen to help with recruiting. It worked on me, but more importantly, it worked on the players whose photos were on the wall above– the players that had been in the first round draft the year before.  Impressively, there were a handful.  Every school, of course, has their song. This is Mizzous and it’s catchy (Black and Gold version coming shortly). If Chris Fowler says Mizzou is the best, we better make them feel welcomed!

    Make no mistake about it, Mizzou is ready for the SEC!

    Later on, I stopped by the Kappa Delta house to present to the KD ladies about what to expect when Georgia, Vanderbilt, Alabama, and Kentucky come to town. Not to mention, how to dress when they travel with the team to the “original Columbia,” Florida, and Tennessee.  A simple power point showcased my collections of beautiful belles across Dixie from last season and boy if the questions about wardrobes weren’t flying from the audience!  I translated a few Southern sayings for them and of course, asked them about the student traditions on campus.

    Imagine if the guy on the far right was your mystery date to the KD swap in 1984... yes, look closer... That's Brad Pitt!

    Again, no shortage of Southern hospitality, the KDs hosted a reception for me at the house and I was able to spend time with the girls and help them grasp what it means to be a Gridiron Belle and how much fun they will have being a part of football’s great traditions.  I’m convinced that word about being a Gridiron Belle will spread  across Mizzou’s campus like wildfire. The book was written for Yankee transplants and those who have never experienced a game day in Dixie– looks like the book was also written for Mizzou Tigers!

    They’ll be ready.

    M-I-Z!  S-E-C!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh