College Football Week One: POLL

pollingPolling dominates college football. Setting aside pure profit motives, everything that happens in college football is intended to improve a team’s ranking in “the polls.” The Associated Press has a poll. The “coaches” have a poll. Harris has a poll. Computers– including a computer named after the member of the J. Geils Band who served as the inspiration for the first face of theFacebook.com– have polls. In other words, everybody but ALDLAND has a college football poll. Until now.

Introducing college football’s newest poll, the ALDLAND poll. The ALDLAND poll is a clear voice for unassailable college football rankings. The voters are the subscribers, readers, listeners, lost googlers, and drive-by image-lifters of this website, and unlike most college football polls, which are bound to the singular mission of ranking the top teams in the country according to their on-field performance, the question this poll definitively answers likely will be different each week.

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Click to vote in the poll for week one.

College football starts tonight

College football is here at last. Like last year, the season begins on a Thursday night that features Vanderbilt in action against another SEC foe. In 2012, Vandy lost a heartbreaker to South Carolina on a blown call by the officials on opening night. This year, the Commodores take on inter-division rival Ole Miss. Vanderbilt has won three straight against the Rebs, but the margin of victory was just one point in their last meeting, and Ole Miss is on the rise thanks to their best recruiting class ever. While everything’s turning up roses in Oxford this season (“roses” being defined as something close to “Robert Nkemdiche“), a dark cloud has been hovering over Nashville as a result of rape allegations against four recently dismissed players. On the field, Vanderbilt’s biggest question might be at quarterback, where the journeymannish boy Austyn Carta-Samuels is set to take the reins from the graduated Jordan Rodgers and attempt to help the team improve on last year’s nine-win season, VU’s best mark since 1915.

Unlike last year, Vanderbilt technically does not play the first game of the season, Continue reading

NCAA Tournament: Day 1 Recap

spartyondrumsFor the most part, everyone did what they were supposed to do yesterday, with a few exceptions. Some of the highlights:

  • Despite some fight from Valparaiso and surrendering turnovers in spades, Michigan State pulled away to a win in the tournament’s opening game.
  • Newly anointed Gonzaga nearly blew their opportunity and almost became the first #1 seed to go down in the first round, escaping with a win over a Southern team that would not go away.
  • Harvard University, which has so little going for it, finally found some success in the realm of sport, securing its first tournament win with an upset of #3 New Mexico.
  • New Mexico State also lost yesterday, making this article really sad.
  • Colorado State’s win over continually hapless Missouri was a yawner…until it wasn’t!
  • When will we stop underseeding the Pacific Twelve? Oregon pulled one of the least surprising 12-5 upsets ever by knocking off Eddie Sutton-less Oklahoma State, while #12 Cal eked one out against #5 UNLV.
  • As usual, I got greedy with underdogs in the early rounds, so the dispatching of UNLV and Belmont wasn’t too kind to my ALDLAND bracket. (If you’re a junkie, you can see the updated standings here. We’ll do a deep analysis after the first two rounds are complete.)

On that last point, keep an eye on Ole Miss and Wisconsin today, outcome to be determined by the severity of Marshall Henderson’s inevitable hangover.

College football bowl schedule released

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The full bowl schedule, including times and broadcast networks, is here. Some highlights, in chronological order:   Continue reading

Ken Burns’ Old Mississippi

Ole Miss feels a lot like the most literary team in all of college football, and while I can’t put my finger right on the reason for that, I don’t think it’s just because of Faulkner, although there is that. It’s been more than a year since we all noted what I thought was the final chapter of Ole Miss’ mascot tale, although that story’s had an extended epilogue, which probably isn’t surprising. I think “Mississippi” was the first word I remember learning how to spell.

In our America, of course, all great literary things get the film treatment, and the best of them get the Ken Burns treatment. Arguably proving my above-stated thesis, Ole Miss is no exception.


(HT: SB Nation)

Ole Miss February

Upon changing my calendar this morning, I was greeted by the above image, which is the cover of the official football program for the 1947 meeting between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. According to Rivals, Vandy won the game 10-6 and finished that season with a 6-4 record, going 3-3 in the SEC. Not a bad year for them, and, for us, not a bad Groundhog Day.

The final chapter of the Ole Miss mascot search

The sports media’s football coverage in August has focused almost exclusively on the NFL to the exclusion of the fast-approaching college season. This is a small attempt to balance that coverage by taking a concluding look at a story that started to gain steam during the 2010 college football season.

On Saturday, September 3rd, the Ole Miss football team will take the field in Oxford with something they haven’t had since 2003: a mascot. The school’s teams will continue to be known as the Rebels, but after officially retiring Colonel Reb in ’03, the Rebel Black Bear now will represent Ole Miss squads on the field.

While Mississippi’s black bear population recently has been on the rise, particularly in the Delta region, the selection of the Rebel Black Bear was something of a second-best option, at least for a vocal subset of Ole Miss students and others watching off campus. This pre-selection video highlights the one-time top contender:

As the video suggested, copyright law of some variety formally took Admiral Ackbar out of the running, he surely would have made one of the most interesting and creative mascots in college football. Geekery aside, it also would have been a great marketing opportunity for George Lucas & co.

By dumping Col. Reb, Ole Miss distanced themselves from some of the school’s decidedly Confederate trappings, a motive that also drove revisions related to their fight song, “From Dixie With Love.” Students traditionally had concluded the song by chanting “the South will rise again.” Instead, “the Ole Miss student government passed a resolution suggesting the chant be replaced by the phrase, ‘To hell with LSU.'”