Sunday, August 24, 2008

Georgia Know Your Foe: Georgia Southern University.

Benny Friedman used to do a segment on his blog called "Know Your Foe." It was a favorite of mine. It told all about a history of all the schools Michigan played in football. Well I'm gonna continue on the tradition and tell you all about the schools Georgia and Michigan (and Maryland and Cuse) are playing. You need to remember to play your games one at a time and not eyeball the Floridas or Ohio States in your life. So today I'll talk a little bit about: GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY.

History: Georgia Southern was founded as an A&M college in 1906. And it was created because of politics. Georgia's first congressional district wanted a school. But they named it the "First District A&M School." That name sounds like something like "OMG we're the first district look at our pretty school that only we have because we're the first district!" So a delegation traveled to Savannah (where all Georgia politics seemed to be done back then) to get the school, and they won. In the 1920s the school began an expansion to focus on education and became the Georgia Normal School ("normal" meaning educating teachers. "Normal" is a word that has, like 38 meanings). It became integrated into the University of Georgia system in the 1950s and was granted University status in the 1990s.

Location: Statesboro, Georgia. The town was created in 1803 for the sole purpose of being a county seat for a largely agrarian county. During the Civil War it was the center of the controversial march through Georgia. Afterward it became a large producer of Cotton. It has a population of 22,698 people, most of whom are affiliated with GSU. Sadly, Statesboro is home to the world's largest Wal-Mart as well (I hope you Statesboroites reading this are embarrassed at this). Famous people include anti-everything-I-stand-for-especially-New-York-culture and all star pitcher John Rocker, and running back Adrian Peterson (no, not that one).

Nickname: Eagles. A bland nickname. In fact, 60 schools use it. They used to be called the "Blue Tide." Why not stick with that? That will at least make you known for something. Although the Eagle is better than, say, the Tiger. At least the Eagle is at the top of the food chain or....something.

Mascot: Gus the Eagle. He's basically a humanoid eagle with a unibrow and a GSU tee. ESPN loves him, and he's often at the Georgia state capitol. In addition, a much cooler, live eagle mascot named Freedom flies around the stadium prior to each home game. He also flies over the school's graduation.

Colors: Blue and white. The official school colors are very similar to Penn State blue and white. But the logo seems to have a little gold on it, and not just on the eagle's beak. The color is different on each version of it. The large version seems to have Cal gold, while the smaller logo seems to have Notre Dame gold.

Logo: GSU has two logos. Its major logo is an eagle gripping the words "Georgia Southern" with its talons. Its smaller logo has the letters "GS" on top of an eagle's beak. It's your typical I-AA logo. There's no trace of the logo on the football helmet though. It basically looks like an inverse of an old Penn State helmet, as you'd expect. Part of the reason for this was the lack of an athletic budget when they started, and they were successful, so they stuck.

Fight Song
: It doesn't have a name (or at least the GSU web site says so). Here it is:

Wave the blue, wave the white
Hold the banner high
The Eagles are on the wing.
Sound a cry to the sky,
As we look for glory.
Victory now we sing.
Hail the blue, hail the white
Hail the team that's soaring
Upward to bring us fame;
Georgia Southern Eagles
Fight on to victory and
Win this game!

Blue and white-fight, fight!
Blue and white-fight, fight!
Georgia Southern-Eagles!
Fight, fight, fight!

GSU also has a "Georgia! Southern!" question-and-answer style thing. Many opposing teams feel this chant is compared to some of the loudest venues in the country. Clearly they haven't been to Happy Valley or Columbus.
Academics: GSU is a liberal arts school. It's not ranked, but it does have the only school of economic development and the only school of information technology in the South. It's one of the top institutions in the country in terms of degrees given to African-Americans. Interestingly, it's also home to the world's largest collection of ticks. I'd stay away from GSU if you're allergic or just don't want lyme disease. As far as rankings go, it's in the top 262 colleges.
Athletics: The Eagles compete in the Southern Conference (or "SoCon.") Football was dead from World War II to the '80s when local legend Erik Russel from UGA rebuilt the program. He won three I-AA national titles with them, and the Eagles would go on to win three more in the '90s. The team plays at Paulson Stadium, the "Prettiest little stadium in America" (according to Russell). The football team had a slump during the early 2000s, but are now back in action.

The men's basketball team hasn't had much success, and it only reached the NCAA tournament three times (1983, 1987, 1992), and the NIT three times, most recently in 2006. The baseball team was in two college world series in 1973 and 1990.
Rivals: Furman State is GSU's biggest rival, and surprised the world by beating them handedly in only their second year of existance. Although with Appalachian State's recent success on the gridiron, most of their SoCon brethren look to the school in Boone, North Carolina, as something to fear.

Famous Alumni: The only real alum of note is the guy who founded Chik Fil-A.

The Game: We all know the Appy State-Michigan fiasco last year, so if Georgia wants to win the title, it will be key to put up a lot of points on this team so they can outperform the other contenders in Week 1. And it will be tough with a lot of suspensions and injuries, but at least UGA will win. GEORGIA 38 GSU 7.

Tomorrow, I will do the Michigan-Utah game if I have time.

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