As we start another week with the temperatures continuing to soar, here are a few SEC Football facts, most if not all of them, are facts you may not have heard before.
Fact #1: You may do a double-take if you look at the South Carolina roster for 2012. The Gamecocks have a defensive end named Gerald Dixon and a defensive tackle named Gerald Dixon Junior. The two Dixons are related, but they are not father and son. Dixon is the younger half-brother of Dixon Junior. Their father, Gerald Dixon Senior played for the Gamecocks in 1990-91.
Fact #2: LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu became a national phenomonom known as the "Honey Badger" after dying his hair blonde last fall. As of this week, his hair is back to its natural color, (reddish-brown) and Tyrann is a bit more low key. "Last year was great and I had a lot of fun, but I just want to be out there with my teammates and helping us do whatever I can to win," said Mathieu. Time will tell.
Fact #3: New Auburn defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder's full head of hair and distinctive mustache has folks talking on the plains. There have been Twitter parodies, and Photoshop interpretations, as well as comparisons to Magnum P.I. and Napoleon Dynamite's Uncle Rico. Van Gorder doesn't know what all the fuss is about;" All my years at Georgia and nobody ever said anything about it."
Fact #4: Tennessee has produced 329 NFL Draft choices all time, tops in the SEC, and 27 more than second place Florida. The Vols also have produced 24 first-round picks over the past 20 years,(1991-2011) also tops in the SEC. Tennessee ranks fifth nationally among NCAA schools during that time period.(Phillip Fulmer's era; just sayin')
Fact #5: Georgia may have more fake Twitter accounts than any other school. Bogus accounts have been set up for head coach Mark Richt, both coordinators, quarterback Aaron and tailback Isiah Crowell. Crowell's is a parody account with more than 8,000 followers as of April. The account makes fun of the tailback, but even Crowell himself says he reads it. "I think it's funny," he says.
Fact #6: It may be hard to believe, but the Florida Gators were called, "soft" by their head coach Will Muschamp last season. Muschamp called his team out following a home loss to Florida State in 2011. "The physicality of our football team team is much better than it was a year ago," he said. "We have to carry it over to game days."
Fact #7: To open the 2012 season, Alabama will face Michigan for the first time ever in the regular season. Michigan, college football's all-time winningest program has won two of the three previous meetings, all in bowl games. The Wolverines and the Crimson Tide meet September 1st at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. While Michigan is first all-time in wins, Alabama is eighth.
Fact #8: Which SEC team has the easiest schedule in 2012? Right now, it appears to be Mississippi State. The Bulldogs face the likes of Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee State in the non-conference portion of their schedule. The back end of this year's docket is much tougher; highlited by SEC road games at Alabama and LSU. Only three of the Bulldogs 12 opponents are ranked in the pre-season top 25 polls.(Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas)
Fact #9: Head coach James Franklin has caused quite a stir among Vandy fans in Nashville. The Commodores are adding FieldTurf to the surface at Vanderbilt Stadium as well as installing a new JumboTron in the north end zone. There are also plans to add a grassy hill in the open end of the stadium, similar to the one at Wake Forest.
Fact #10: Tennessee coaching legend Robert R. Neyland was a baseball letterman at Texas A&M in 1911. One of the General's All-Americans, guard Herman Hickman, while speaking to a group of Texans said," Tennessee gave you Sam Houston and Davy Crockett; you gave us Bob Neyland. Now the score is even."
Contact Randy Smith at email@example.com
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 42 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer, author and is also a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. He is currently teaching an "Intro To Sportscasting" class at Red Bank, the only class of its type in Tennessee. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 10 years. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry Davey and Alison Smith). They also have two grandchildren (Coleman and Boone).