January 3, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Cowbells galore at Liberty
The collegiate bowl season is in full swing.
The first games for teams from our area were the Memphis Tigers in the New Orleans Bowl and the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi in the PapaJohns.Com Bowl. Both of those representatives crashed and burned.
The SEC sent their first gladiators in on Saturday at the Liberty Bowl.
This one will go down in history and will be discussed as a historical event for years to come. Mainly because it was rife with historical connotations. The head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Sylvester Croom, had been here before. He was a Bear Bryant assistant when the “Bear’ brought his Crimson Tide to the Liberty in what would be his last game back in 1982.
That was a sold-out arena and so was this one with over 70,000 tickets sold. According to turnstile figures, more than 65,000 showed up. There were also 130,000 cowbells in attendance (just kidding). There were probably only half that many.
The two head coaches were not only friends but they had been assistant coaches in the NFL on the same team (San Diego Chargers). George O’Leary, head man at University of Central Florida, stated in a pre-game interview that the friendship was put on hold when the starting gun sounded.
His sentiments were shared by Croom. He stated in a post-game interview that this would go down in his personal history as the most important win of his career. He was also elated that he feels that the Bullies’ program has turned an important corner on its road back to SEC prominence.
And for all of you (perhaps like me), who bother with such things, Kevin Smith, running back for UCF, did not break Barry Sanders’ all-time rushing record. Mr. Smith was less than affable in his post-game interview.
And believe it or not, even us diehard Ole Miss fans applauded for the Bulldogs. Naw, we didn’t ring any cowbells.
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