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SEC Week: Old School and Miscellany

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A brief, thoroughly incomplete history of the SEC, courtesy of what happens to be available (and palatable) on YouTube...
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• Earliest available clip is from 1942, when top-ranked Georgia (light helmets ad pants) and eventual Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich played Auburn in Columbus, Ga., effectively a neutral site. Look for the classic light post blocking the camera and listen for a peppy old school version of "Tiger Rag" (the cliched, anachronistic rendition of "Rock ‘n Roll," on the other hand, you may ignore):

• Just added: a six-part examination of Tennessee’s 1966 season. You get parts one and three:

You can also check out parts two, four, five and six, one of which (two) includes the Vols’ Armageddon game with should-have-been mythical champion Alabama, albeit without the elan of Keith Jackson’s narration:

• I never really understood the literally generations of goodwill in my home state towards Archie Manning over so many of its other, greater stars. Manning never won an SEC championship at Ole Miss but is still revered there as one of the all-time, upper echelon quarterbacks in history. Why? I suppose being an "aw shucks" sorta guy will do that for you, provided you can also lead a 38-0 blow out of a three-touchdown favorite, as Manning and the all-white Rebels of 1969 proved against Tennessee:

• CBS schmaltz on USC’s season-opening visit to Alabama in 1970, one of the single most important games in the development of the league, for all the reasons implied. Much of the forward-thinking egalitarianism attributed to Bear Bryant smacks of polite revisionism, but then, that’s basically what success in the South is about, to say nothing of CBS schmaltz:

• 1966 Redux: Jackson narrates Tennessee-Alabama 1972, worthy mainly for the cheerleaders at the end of Terry Davis’ touchdown run:

• Now fully influenced by Sly Croom’s booming voice, the vibration from Bryant’s bass shakes that delicious Co-cola into a perfect, refreshing froth on his classic, important show after the Tide’s win in the ‘79 Iron Bowl. Even odds on the amount of whiskey in that bottle:

• It was the Ray Perkins era, officially, but certainly Van Tiffin ate his scrumptious Golden Flakes before hitting the improbable game-winner to beat Auburn in 1985. Mike Shula "orchestrated" this drive, I guess you’d say, and everyone invested in his ‘Bama career agrees now he probably should have left well enough alone:

• I know what’s going to happen here, and I still find the end of the ‘88 "Earthquake Game" extremely tense and compelling. LSU was going on its second full game without scoring and Auburn was en route to the Sugar Bowl with a single loss:

• This entire post could be devoted to Larry Munson, whose breathless, unabashedly partisan barks show up everywhere . Here’s a less-viewed clip from the end of the UGA-South Carolina game in 1993, notable for Munson’s trademark, matter-of-fact ode to emotional devastation:

• An Auburn-centric version of one of the truly great, epic morning games that shaped my nascent mental notion of the perfect wall-to-wall football Saturday, a nostalgic ideal that still holds, when the undefeated Tigers played at number one Florida in 1994:

• The other interception-heavy, morning Auburn game burned into my brain from 1994 is the Tigers’ infamous fourth quarter comeback against Jamie Howard and LSU, just before the upset at Florida. In three amazingly similar parts, followed by a clip of the entire quarter, if you’re into context (and can deal with shitty nu metal):


• Because the teams are rarely any good, and never at the same time, people underestimate the hatefulness at the heart of the State-Ole Miss rivalry. It was a better game in the years it was played in Jackson (the real jewel of a clip is this one, of the winning field goal in 1983 that went through the uprights, hung in the air for a second, and was blown back out into the end zone by a suspiciously-timed gust from the open end of Veteran’s Stadium, but it’s too brief and grainy to decipher), and since it moved back to the respective campi the most memorable moment was probably the warm-up brawl in 1997. I was hanging around with my dad on the sideline before the game – he had coached Romaro Miller, Deuce McAllister and a few other players in an all-star game the year before – and saw nothing but a giant mob moving across the other end of the field. Watch for Mississippi State’s Ed Smith (No. 2) kicking an already-pinned Rebel while he’s down and an anxious recruit getting more than he bargained for on his official visit. Or maybe exactly what he bargained for, actually. Quality improves as it runs:

• I close with Kentucky, which is responsible for two of my absolute favorite football clips from any conference or era – one of them shocking and dramatic, and the other, well, shocking and dramatic, depending on your disposition, and also totally catchy, as only Marcus McClinton can deliver. Look for the slowly unfolding horror of awareness on tie-wearing guy’s face behind Marcus Randall:

Amazing fact: the music is McClinton’s, of course, but the lyrics were actually penned by Babe Parilli. Absolutely true.