“Hi! My name is Bro Ballace, starting quarterback for the Old Mississippi University Rebellious Black Bear Admirals or something… HOBBY LOBBY!”
By FinebaumFan. “Dr. Lou”, impersonator extraordinaire of WJOX 94.5 in Birmingham, offered up this parody of the Paul Finebaum Show this morning on “The Jox Roundtable”. He does a great job capturing some of the essence of the show and includes “Larry from Shelby County”, “Charles from Reeltown”, “Jim from Tuscaloosa”, and “Tammy”. The additional Read All or Comment…
Woah Nelly! It’s “Bama vs. LSU” week again in college football! The Tide is rolling and the Bengal Tigers are poised for a resurgence under interim Head Coach, Ed Orgeron. Not only is LSU hoping to change their future with a win over Bama, so is “Coach O”. Word on the bayou is that Coach Read All or Comment…
Celebrity sports fan, Tom Arnold, appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show today and promptly dropped this little bombshell: As a comedian, Arnold is paid to say stupid things. Is this one of them? Here’s the complete interview:
No. 1 Alabama hosted No. 6 Texas A&M in a battle of the last remaining undefeated SEC teams. In the first quarter, Alabama defensive lineman, Jonathan Allen, shed a blocker and flew over another to spear Texas A&M quarterback, Trevor Knight. The Aggies fell to the Tide 33-14.
Popular Mississippi State super fan, “Stingray”, makes good on a wager with Paul Finebaum following the Bulldogs 38-14 loss to the Auburn Tigers. As a result of the bet, “Stingray” sings the Auburn fight song, “War Eagle”. Hey “Stingray”, where’s the Auburn shirt? Here’s the original bet.
“Ryan From Ohio” called The Paul Finebaum Show seeking an explanation about why “Michigan fans are from another planet”. Finebaum proceeded to elaborate and seems to have offended the entire Wolverine fan base – again. Should they be offended? Listen and decide for yourself. Listen To More Finebaum Audio Clips
From BleacherReport.com by Christopher Walsh. Read the full article. 2016 Dual-Threat Quarterback Leaders Name, School Games Comp.% Yards TDs Int. Rating Rushing TDs Lamar Jackson, Louisville 6 58.2 1,806 15 4 156.7 113-832 15 Deshaun Watson, Clemson 7 63.6 1,950 20 8 146.4 71-259 1 J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 6 63.2 1,207 16 4 159.3 Read All or Comment…
We’ll update this post as memes begin to appear for today’s game! The University of Tennessee Volunteer fans are rallying around the battle cry “WGWTFA” after the phrase was made legendary by defensive end, Darrell Taylor. Taylor shouted the “Not Suitable For Work” phrase as he took the field to warm up for a game Read All or Comment…
By FinebaumFan. Many of you have been asking about this catchy tune used as bumper music on The Paul Finebaum Show. It’s called “Can’t Keep No Good Boy Down” and it’s performed by The Parlor Mob on Roadrunner Records. The Parlor Mob, originally named What About Frank?, is a rock band founded in New Jersey Read All or Comment…
By FinebaumFan. “Ed From Connecticut” is ambushed by “Jim from Tuscaloosa” on the Paul Finebaum Show. “Jim” poses as the customer service manager to field Ed’s complaint about Jim’s excessive calls to the show. Listen To More Finebaum Audio Clips
“Charlie From Memphis” called The Paul Finebaum Show today to discuss The University of Alabama football program and his his “Bama friends”. Fortunately for listeners, “Charlie” had a few drinks before mustering the nerve to call the show. The conversation quickly deteriorated into a discussion of his feelings for Finebaum, Memphis, Mexican restaurants, and Charlie’s Read All or Comment…
By FinebaumFan. “Andy from Perrysburg, Ohio” absolutely annihilated “Jim from Tuscaloosa” on the Paul Finebaum Show today. It wasn’t the first time! More later! Listen To More Finebaum Audio Clips
By FinebaumFan. You know you’ve been waiting for it… Listen To More Finebaum Audio Clips
By Finebaum Fan “Jim from Tuscaloosa”, the infamous “sidekick” of Paul Finebaum, apparently made his final call yesterday – at least for a while. “Jim”, a regular caller to The Paul Finebaum Show, let one of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words slip and the ESPN censors missed it. He, of course, denied the allegation via Read All or Comment…
When No. 2 Alabama (6-0) plays Ole Miss (2-3) on Saturday evening, the nation will not lift its head unless there’s an upset. It will be one of 26 college football games that ESPN will televise Saturday, one of 11 it will show under the lights. We take that for granted these days. It is news when a game is not televised.
Once upon a time, in 1968, 11 years before ESPN was born, a regular-season college football game had never been televised in network prime time. ABC experimented with a late-season game between Alabama and Miami. A year later, it remained a novelty. If you want to know when the modern history of the sport began, go back 42 seasons to an early October night. A genius named Roone Arledge had the idea to show Alabama play Mississippi, and the game turned out to be one of the greatest in the history of the Southeastern Conference.
The game may have had that impact because it was televised. But it definitely had that impact because of a skinny junior quarterback who became a folk hero in the manner that Southerners have mastered throughout this nation’s history — in a losing cause.
On Oct. 4, 1969, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning completed 33-of-52 passes for 436 yards and two touchdowns. He ran 15 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns. He gave the first indication that the program that coach Paul (Bear) Bryant had built at Alabama had begun to slide (the Tide would finish the season 6-5).
To put Manning’s performance in perspective, no player had ever thrown for as many as 300 yards and rushed for 100 in a major-college game. Manning did all of that, and yet the No. 20 Rebels lost to the No. 15 Crimson Tide, 33-32.
“We couldn’t rush Archie. We couldn’t contain him, either,” said Alabama athletic director Mal Moore. He was a defensive assistant that night.
“I don’t tell people I was the secondary coach,” Moore said. “I have to be asked. You probably knew. You just wanted to see if I owned up to it.”
So many elements of what made the night great are gone. Bryant hasn’t prowled the Alabama sideline in nearly 30 years. John Vaught, like Bryant a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, last coached the Rebels in 1973. Legion Field is a shell of its once towering self. The façade that read “Football Capital of the South” has been carted off, the upper deck with it. Manning is better known as the father of a pair of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
Among fans of a certain age, however, Manning is remembered for that performance.
“I always say that I don’t think that Legion Field held but about 70,000, but I know I’ve had 400-500,000 people tell me they were there,” Manning said. “The years go by and people have a poorer memory. ‘Was that you and Joe Namath?’ ‘I remember I watched every minute of that game with you and Kenny Stabler when y’all beat Alabama.’ It wasn’t Kenny and we didn’t beat them.”
The Alabama quarterback that night, Scott Hunter, may have had his greatest night as a collegian, too. Hunter was 22-of-29 for 300 yards.
“I just loved that kind of game,” said Hunter, who went on to play in the NFL and is now a stockbroker in Mobile. “You look up and you’re six points behind every time you get the ball. You got to go out there and keep throwing and keep making it happen. It was Archie’s kind of game, too. He didn’t do a single thing wrong that night.”
How the game came to be televised had a little to do with the structure of college football and a little to do with the structure of Major League Baseball. In 1969, the national pastime expanded to four six-team divisions and instituted postseason playoffs to determine the American and National League champions. The playoffs were to begin on the afternoon Saturday, Oct. 4 (postseason baseball wouldn’t be played at night for two more years).
Arledge, the executive director of ABC Sports, is best known as the father of Monday Night Football. Before that first, however, came his answer to the baseball playoffs. He saved the weekly college football telecast until Saturday night to show it in prime time. Though only three networks existed at the time, Arledge persuaded ABC to give the slot to the sports division. That wasn’t hard. ABC had only four of the top 30 shows in the preceding season.
In those days, ABC televised a dozen or so games a season, and set most of the schedule by April 1. Arledge contacted Bryant and Vaught in the early part of the year and sold them on the idea. Arledge sent a technical crew to Legion Field, where Alabama played its biggest games, to perform a site survey.
When the crew returned, Arledge called Bryant. ESPN analyst Beano Cook, then the ABC publicist for college football, happened to be in Arledge’s office as he spoke to Bryant. Cooke recalled the conversation as follows:
“Coach,” Arledge said, “we’re not going to be able to do the night game because the candlepower of the lights is not strong enough. Do you think you could do something about it?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Bryant replied. “I’ll talk to the mayor. If he won’t do it, he won’t be re-elected.”
“Bryant talked to somebody,” Cook said. “We sent somebody to check the lights again. They were good enough. We did the game.”
For the record, Birmingham returned Mayor George C. Siebels Jr. to office in 1971.
Arledge had another problem. His network televised “The Lawrence Welk Show” at 8:30 p.m. every Saturday night. Welk served up an hour of wholesome orchestral music. In the 1966 and 1967 television seasons, the show finished second among all of ABC’s shows in the Nielsen ratings. It had slipped in 1968 but Welk still had enough power in the marketplace that his contract gave him the right to his time slot. When ABC asked Welk to waive that right so that it could televise a college football game, Welk said no. The telecast began at 9:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. at Legion Field.
“Today, they come on the air, say hello and kick off,” Hunter said. “Back then, they trotted everybody out on the field. They went to head shots of the starting lineup (the players would line up step in front of a camera to be introduced, and move on) and then they would play the national anthem. All of that took 15 or 20 minutes.”
The viewers knew the two head coaches well. Vaught, who became the head coach at Ole Miss in 1947, had the longest tenure of any SEC head coach. Bryant had won three national championships at Alabama in the 1960s. He and Vaught had great respect for each other as coaches and competitors. They loved beating each other dating to Bryant’s years at Kentucky (1946-53). Going into the 1969 game, they had battled each other to a draw: 5-5-1.
Off the field, they had battled, too. Bryant loved the deception of the tackle-eligible pass and used it with great effect, especially against the Rebels. Vaught considered the play a blight on the game. He began campaigning against the tackle-eligible in the late 1950s. Vaught joined the NCAA Football Rules Committee in 1966 and still couldn’t get the play outlawed.
Finally, in 1968, when the committee moved to adjourn, Vaught stood up from the table, lodged a chair under the doorknob of the meeting room and said, “We are not leaving this meeting until we do something about that damn tackle-eligible pass.” And so the committee did.
Vaught wanted to beat Bryant so badly that the previous week, against SEC ne’er-do-well Kentucky, he refused to allow Manning to show any of the eighth-ranked Rebels’ high-powered passing attack. With the offense in shackles, Ole Miss lost 10-9.
“Kentucky was the only bad coaching job I ever experienced with Coach Vaught,” Manning said. “We tried to save everything for Alabama.”
There would be no shackles on either offense in Legion Field, even as they started slowly. The Crimson Tide led at halftime, 14-7. In the second half, the scoring never stopped. Legend has it that Bryant fired defensive coordinator Ken Donahue three times that night. He may have, though Donahue coached for Bryant until he retired in 1982.
“Fortunately, I was in the press box,” Moore said. “He would have [fired] me, too.”
Manning’s favorite receiver, Floyd Franks, caught 13 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. Manning drove the Rebels to touchdowns on four second-half possessions. They led 20-14, and Hunter and the Tide retook the lead.
Ole Miss led 26-21 in the fourth quarter, and Hunter brought back the Tide again. Manning and the Rebels went ahead 32-27, and Hunter had one more chance. He drove Alabama to the Ole Miss 14, fourth-and-goal, with just under 4:00 to play. The Tide called timeout. Hunter went to the sideline.
In the official history of Alabama football, published by the university in 2000, Hunter wrote, “Coach Bryant, trying for the umpteenth time to light a well-soaked cigarette, yelled at Coach [Jimmy] Sharpe for a play. Sharpe yelled through his headset mike at coach Steve Sloan in the press box for a play; everybody was yelling but nobody was coming up with anything …”
The referee came over and told Hunter that play must resume. He turned to run back to the huddle.
“I heard Coach Bryant yell, ‘Run the best thing you got!'” Hunter said this week, “which I now know was the best answer.”
Wide receiver George Ranager ran a comeback pattern in the middle of the field. Ranager, a junior, came from Meridian, Miss. In the 1967 Mississippi High School All-Star Game, Manning threw four touchdown passes for the North team. His top receiver had been Ranager.
Ranager caught Hunter’s pass at the 3 and spun to the inside as the defensive back grabbed at his legs. Ranager stumbled and kept his balance long enough to fall into the end zone. The Tide regained the lead for good.
ABC play-by-play announcer Chris Schenkel called it “the most exciting game I’ve ever seen in 20 years of broadcasting.” The game embarrassed both coaches, who had been known for defenses that would clothesline their mothers to prevent a first down. Langston Rogers, the longtime sports information director at Ole Miss, been a confidant of Vaught for many years before the coach died in 2006 at age 96.
“Coach Vaught told me that on the field after the game, Coach Bryant said to him, ‘That was the worst goddamn game I’ve ever seen,'” Rogers said. “He said, ‘You’re right, Bear.'”
The offenses combined to set one NCAA and nine SEC records. One of the latter still stands. To this day, 42 years later, no SEC player has surpassed Manning’s 540 yards of total offense. LSU quarterback Rohan Davey equaled it in 2001.
“It really was fun,” Manning said. “We just kind of had our way. We kept making plays in different ways — some of them drawn up, some of them scrambles. We had a lot of yards to lose a game.”
This just in, Ole Miss’s second-year head coach Hugh Freeze is more than just “that guy who was Michael Oher’s high school coach in The Blind Side.” Freeze has the potential to make his part in the Oher story nothing more than the magical beginning of a storied career in the coaching. So, what’s so special about Freeze, and how did he manage to rise from a high school coach to the head of an SEC program in less than 10 years?
Freeze’s start in coaching came by means of a B.S. in Math with a minor in Coaching and Sports Administration from Southern Miss in 1992. Wasting no time in putting his degree to work, after graduation Freeze became the offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Briarcrest high school in Memphis, Tenn. After serving in that capacity for three seasons, Freeze was promoted to head coach in 1995.
Not only did Freeze’s path prophetically collide with Oher’s during his nine years as the head coach at Briarcrest, he also led the school to state titles in 2002 and 2004. Freeze followed Oher to Ole Miss in 2005 but initially not to the football field. Freeze’s first post in the college ranks was as Assistant Athletics Director for External Affairs. This led to coach Ed Orgeron hiring him as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, roles he served in from 2006 to 2007. Freeze’s efforts led to Ole Miss signing—according to Rivals—the No. 15 ranked recruiting class in 2006, the highest in school history at that time.
Freeze moved on to coach NAIA Lambuth (located in Jackson, Tenn.) in 2008 and 2009. He took a program that had only scored double-digit wins twice in history to a 12-1 finish in 2009.
After a brief stay at San Jose State as offensive coordinator, Freeze landed the OC job at Arkansas State. In a single season he improved the Red Wolves offense from a No. 90 ranking in scoring a No. 42 rank.
Freeze was promoted to head coach at Arkansas State in 2011, where the offense improved further to a No. 31 ranking and the program to a 10-3 record. This marked the best finish since 1986 (when it was a D I-AA school) and the first Sun Belt title since 2005.
Freeze was named the head coach at Ole Miss in December of 2011 and led the Rebels to a 7-6 finish in his first season. In what has become a pattern for Freeze, Ole Miss improved its scoring offense from a No. 116 ranking in 2011 to a No. 44 rank in 2012. He also managed to take a program that brought in—according to Rivals— the No. 40 ranked recruiting class in 2012 to the heights of a No. 7 ranked class in 2013.
What’s So Great About Freeze?
Well, if you like the underdog, Freeze is your guy in a wonderful combination of ways.
First, Freeze didn’t play college football and next, he’s someone who has spent more than half of his coaching career in the high school ranks.
No, this is not a coach that has “crème de la crème” and “prodigy” stamped on his resume.
His role at Ole Miss only serves to enhance this “little guy” mentality. The Rebels—stationed in the powerful SEC West—aren’t perceived as having a realistic shot of knocking off Alabama and LSU, much less Texas A&M and Auburn.