Category Archives: NCAA

Taking It On The Chin

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Make no mistake about it that the Boston College Eagles have never been a national power in men’s basketball or football, but they have always been respectable. However the Eagles went without a win in both men’s basketball and football in the Atlantic Coast Conference during this academic year. And in the process, Boston College became the first school in ACC history to suffer such a fate. Now the Eagles will attempt to dig themselves out of this rubble that they themselves created.

Boston College was a charter member of the Big East Conference in 1979 in men’s basketball along with being there in 1991 when the conference got involved with football. The Eagles would have some success under the Big East banner which included 11 trips to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and four conference regular titles, while also winning the Big East Tournament in 1997 and 2001. Boston College was also no stranger to sending players to the NBA such as Howard Eisley, Dana Barros, and John Bagley.

In football, the Eagles only won the Big East Conference once in 2004, but in their last six seasons in the conference they finished each season ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press Poll. The Eagles were never world beaters but you knew who they were as they were always a tough out. But little did the school know that their greed would set their athletic program back as much as it currently is.

William Leahy

On October 12, 2003, Boston College school president William Leahy chased the almighty dollar when he agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. But after having initial success in both men’s basketball and football within the ACC, the Eagles success down on Tobacco Road has faded.

Since 2010, the Eagles have never had a record better than 7-6 in football while they’ve failed to reach the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 2009. Since 2006, Boston College has had four different head football coaches and three different men’s head basketball coaches since 2010. And in both sports it has been a common theme for Boston College which is the inability to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

It’s not that the Atlantic Coast Conference was a superior league to the Big East, but Boston College thrived when their brand was solely focused on the Northeast region of the United States and now they have not been able to keep up. Locally the Eagles have to compete with professional sports franchises in the New England area such as the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots while many other schools within the ACC are the only show in their respective towns which gives them that added local support. That lack of support has also hurt Boston College on the gridiron as even when they have a decent season, they tend to get pushed down on the conference totem pole for as they don’t travel well. Boston College has always primarily recruited locally which was good enough to stay afloat in the Big East, but not in the ACC. However Boston College is not the only former Big East school that has struggled since turning their backs on the conference in favor of larger paychecks.

The University of Miami left the Big East in favor of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004. From 1983-2002, Miami won five national titles in football while playing for it all on three other occasions. Miami would also claim nine Big East Titles and that success hasn’t traveled with the Canes as they’ve never won the ACC and they have also failed to produce a 10-win season. In 2013, the University of Pittsburgh along with Syracuse University would join the ACC. Pitt and Syracuse were basketball powers that had mediocre football programs in the Big East. But now down on Tobacco Road, both schools have gotten lost in the shuffle. West Virginia University decided to leave the Big East in 2012 for the Big 12 Conference. And after finishing the college football season ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press’ Poll in six of their last seven years in the Big East, West Virginia has not been able to achieve that same success in the Big 12. That same greed would see Rutgers University join the Big Ten Conference in 2014. The Big Ten sought Rutgers for the New York media market and in turn the school has become a conference whipping boy as they finished the past college football season with a record of 4-8 while going 17-47 over the last two years in men’s basketball.

We’ve seen school administrators chase a bigger payday from a conference that will have a better television deal due to their irresponsibility in managing finances. Men’s basketball and football are the only two collegiate sports that are lucrative enough to justify the spending that it takes to support them. However many schools spend in the same fashion on other sports which then can drive them into debt. Many of these schools have chased that paycheck, and in the process they’ve sold themselves short on the athletic field.

Syracuse men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim was a person that was vehemently against his school joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. Boeheim knew the importance for him to recruit the Northeast for his program, but the school simply looked at the bigger picture for football which has been a laughing stock at the Central New York campus for more than a decade. Like myself, Boeheim was able to foresee the future as he knew that these athletic programs that primarily focused on the Northeast would be fish out of water in other regions of the country.

But in the case of Boston College, they will always be fighting an uphill battle due to the fact that the play in a major metropolis. Last month, Boston College athletic director Brad Bates unveiled a plan for a $200 million upgrade to the school’s athletic facilities which is good even though it might not allow them to take that next step in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles have long had a history of underpaying their athletic coaches which is also a practice that they’ll have to get away from if they want to turn things around which means that the alumni must pony up the bread.

The Boston College family has to be embarrassed after going winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference which is going to help them attempt to get the ball rolling as far as turning things around. But typically when people chase something; especially money, they tend to look past things that have been helpful to them along the way. Like other schools that chase a paycheck, Boston College thought more of themselves than what they were and all they have to show for their trip to Tobacco Road is more money in their bank account while the losses have mounted and their respectability has been tossed out of the window. And once you added all of this up, it simply amounts to Boston College completely bottoming out in the ACC.

Source: Sports-reference.com

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Whatever It Takes

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Butch Jones

Tennessee Volunteers head football coach Butch Jones and his program are in the midst of facing a pair of opponents that are more fiercer than any foe that they’ll meet in the Southeastern Conference on Saturday afternoons. Those foes are the media and the court of public opinion. Tennessee’s entire athletic program is currently entwined in a federal lawsuit where the school has been accused of violating Title IX which is a law that bans discrimination in education. And it also appears that sexual assault is something that the school could be covering up as well.

In a sworn affidavit, former Tennessee wide receiver Drae Bowles reportedly assisted a woman who claimed that she was sexually assaulted by two Tennessee football players in November 2014. But in the report, Bowles was called ” a traitor to the team” by Jones when he alerted him of the incident. According to the testimony, Jones would later apologize to Bowles, but the ship had already left port as the youngster was ostracized from the team as he was confronted by several of his teammates which resulted in him suffering a bloody lip at the hands of teammate Curt Maggitt. Bowles has since transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga while the Vols are left to deal with the turmoil that is increasing in Knoxville as the days go by.

This is a Tennessee program that is already dealing with accusations against former Volunteers and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning who allegedly sexually assaulted a female athletic trainer at the school during the mid-1990’s as the storm clouds of the NCAA will be forming over the Smokey Mountain Region real soon. If these accusations against Tennessee are indeed true, the sanctions that the school could potentially face from the NCAA would only rival that of what we saw when Penn State was hit with lengthy sanctions in wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal in 2011. Jones, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart, and other school administrators would be out of work if these allegations are true as sexual assault is nothing that should be approached with kid gloves.

But this is an issue that is bigger than Tennessee or the NCAA as there has been a culture in place for years where criminal activities on collegiate campuses have been covered up when involving athletic programs; especially those of the football and men’s basketball variety as they are the two money makers for universities. We saw it at Penn State with Sandusky, at Florida State where former quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of raping a female student as the school attempted to cover it up, and at numerous institutions around the United States as some administrators tend to shove this issue aside in the rush to see their football team make a big bowl, or their men’s basketball team reach the NCAA Tournament which means a big payday for the school.

Unlike on Saturday afternoon’s in the fall at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, there won’t be any winners in this one as Tennessee is already suffering, and if the accusations are true, the victims will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. The eyes of a nation are now focused on Knoxville while other football coaches within the Southeastern Conference are using these issues surrounding the Vols to sway potential prospects from attending school there as no top-tier high-school kid wants to play big-time college football for a program that could be hit with NCAA sanctions which could mean less television exposure and no bowl game. Regardless if these allegations against Tennessee are true or not, the school’s public relations department has to put on the full-court press in order to smooth things out while they are more than likely spending top dollar on quality attorneys.

Tennessee has spent the past few years attempting to get back amongst the elite teams in the Southeastern Conference, and they have been getting back to that under Jones. The Vols are coming off of their first 9-win season since 2007 and there is a growing consensus that they could be in the mix to win the SEC in 2016, but at this rate they’ll be lucky to have a football program in 2017 if the allegations that have been levied against them are true which would force the NCAA to drop the hammer on them.

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Delany’s Wish Isn’t Granted

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Jim Delany

A few months ago Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany sent shock waves when he suggested that freshman should be ineligible to participate in football and men’s basketball. Delany called for a “year of readiness” to the college lifestyle for incoming freshman. Delany was attempting to get other conference commissioners from the Power Five Conferences to come on board with his idea, but he was unable to get overwhelming support for his plan as freshman ineligibility looks to be a thing of the past in collegiate athletics.

Prior to 1971, freshman were ineligible to participate in varsity athletics, but now that the NCAA nearly generates $1 billion annually, it is all hands on deck as far as participation. Head coaches are paid more money and more than ever they cannot afford to have a bad season as they are basically on a year-to-year basis as the pressure to win is so immense which has paved the way for underclassmen to do big things in competition.

In 1991, it was unheard of for five freshman to start for a major college basketball program. But former Michigan Wolverines head basketball coach Steve Fisher defied the odds and by the mid-point of 1991-1992 college basketball season, he had inserted five true freshman into his starting lineup. And the combination of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard would lead Michigan to the Final Four in 1992. Underclassmen have also contributed immensely on the gridiron as well, where in 2007, Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore in history to win the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top college football player. And since Tebow won the Heisman in 2007, two sophomores along with a pair of redshirt freshman have won the award and you know that the idea of a true freshman winning the award is not that far fetched.

Delany’s proposition of sitting freshman down is just a way to prolong their time in college; especially for men’s basketball. Delany is worried about the readiness of freshman, but he is only concerned about it as far as men’s basketball and football which happen to be the two sports that generate the most money for college athletics. In 2005, the NBA implemented a rule that in order the be eligible for the NBA Draft, a player must be out of high school for a year and be at least 19-years of age. This rule was put in place to prevent players from making the jump straight from high school to the NBA and all that it has done is turn men’s college basketball into a joke as there is a constant flow of players that only spend one year in college before they decide to turn pro. And if a player is a one-and-done player in men’s basketball, he theoretically only has to attend class for one semester.

In football, a player must be out of high school for at least three years in order to be eligible for the National Football League Draft. But being that football is such a violent sport, players want to get their as quickly as possible in order to earn a paycheck and you cannot blame them as they are left out in the cold financially in college.

The name of the game is money and with all of the revenue that is generated, the folks that work the hardest (the student-athletes) are the ones that are left out. The NCAA can attempt to come off as a non-profit all that they want to, but make no mistake about it that they are a business just like everything else.

With the expansion of large cable networks such as ESPN and the overwhelming access that is available on the internet, high school players are able to become household names like never before and as soon as they arrive on college campuses, they can become the big man on campus as they are building their own brands. From 7-on-7 football camps to the McDonald’s All-American Game in boy’s and girl’s basketball, the exposure for high schoolers has become unprecedented. Recruiting has become so intense that some football players graduate a semester early in order to enroll in college to take summer classes so that they can participate in football immediately.

If Delany were so concerned about student-athletes getting accustomed to the college lifestyle, he would have attempted to push it across the board that all freshman would be deemed ineligible to participate in varsity athletics as opposed to just in the case of men’s basketball and football. The purpose to attend college is to get further educated in order to increase your earning power in the workforce. But we’re talking about young people that play men’s basketball and football who possess tremendous athletic talents that are able to earn them a living right now. So why should they be punished and not allowed to draw a paycheck while the fat cats at college institutions continue to fill their wallets off of their blood, sweat, and tears? Student-athletes in men’s basketball and football are forced to attend autograph sessions with fans where they don’t get a dollar for their services and the NCAA continuously makes money off of their likeness through jerseys and video games; not to mention the revenue that comes in to respective universities for their football team making a big bowl game or participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Delany’s greed has already allowed the Big Ten to expand as they are now no longer just a Midwestern conference as they have expanded to the East Coast and into even bigger media markets with the addition of the Rutgers Scarlet Knight and the Maryland Terrapins. In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko famously said that “greed is good” and that can be attributed to collegiate athletics as well as the NCAA and its institutions due to the fact that they are cash cows. But just like the film and everything else in life, what goes up, must surely come down.

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Top Sports Moments At The Georgia Dome Part 4

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2013 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Game-Michigan Wolverines vs. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville-MichiganAfter years of being a non-factor in college basketball for nearly the Michigan Wolverines returned to the college basketball spotlight during the 2012-2013 college basketball season which culminated with the school’s first trip to the Final Four since 1993. The Louisville Cardinals on the other hand had reached the Final Four in 2012 only to be knocked off in the national semifinal by their in-state rival in the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wolverines arrived at the NCAA Championship Game with a record of 31-7 and after knocking off the Syracuse Orange 61-56 in the national semifinal, Michigan liked their chances in facing another Big East Conference school in Louisville. The Cardinals came into the NCAA Tournament as the number one overall seed and heading into the title game they were riding a 15-game winning streak.

In the first half it was Michigan’s outside shooting against Louisville’s uptempo offense. Michigan was paced by reserve guard Spike Albrecht who hit four three-point shots. But Louisville looked to counter with their dynamic backcourt of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. Smith had a cold shooting night, but Siva picked up the slack with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.

At the half Michigan was leading 38-37, but Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is infamous for motivating his team and getting them to turn it up to another level.

In the second half Louisville’s full-court press attempted to get Michigan out of their offensive rhythm, but the Wolverines countered with guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. who combined to score 36 points. Louisville’s depth was on display as well, as forward Chane Behanan scored 15 points and 12 rebounds while reserve guard Luke Hancock scored 22 points off of the bench.

The Cardinals would hold off the Wolverines 82-76 and win their third national championship in school history.

Week 7 1994 NFL Season-San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

San Francisco-AtlantaCornerback Deion Sanders spent the first five years of his National Football League career with the Atlanta Falcons. After the 1993 NFL season was complete, Sanders would go on to sign a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.There was still some animosity between Sanders and the Falcons being that he signed with a team within the NFC West.
Prior to the game the 49ers defense was introduced and the fans in attendance at the Georgia Dome let Sanders hear it. 
The 49ers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when running back Ricky Watters scored on a 10-yard touchdown. 
Sanders was the center of attention during the game which led to a fight with his former Falcons teammate in wide receiver Andre Rison which did not slow down San Francisco’s onslaught.
The 49ers were ahead 21-3 in the second quarter when Sanders put the icing on the cake when he intercepted Falcons quarterback Jeff George and returned the football 93 yards for a touchdown. 
The 49ers would defeat the Falcons that afternoon by a score of 42-3 to improve their record to 5-2. The 49ers would finish the regular season with a record of 13-3 en route to winning their fifth Super Bowl Championship.

1997 SEC Championship Game Tennessee Volunteers vs. Auburn Tigers

1997 SEC ChampionshipThe first four editions of the Southeast Conference Championship Game primarily featured the two best teams in the conference in the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide. But the 1997 edition of the conference title game featured the conference’s best player. 
Quarterback Peyton Manning was the SEC’s best player in 1997 and he led the Tennessee Volunteers to a 10-1 record in the regular season and a spot in the SEC Title Game. Manning and the Vols would be opposed by the Auburn Tigers who had a 9-2 record and they were looking to play spoiler. This was the first time that neither Florida or Alabama would be in the SEC Championship Game, but the Vols and Tigers gave us a title game for the ages.
It didn’t take Manning that long to get Tennessee on the scoreboard as he found his favorite wide receiver Peerless Price early in the first quarter on a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the Volunteers up 7-0. 
During his tenure as Auburn head coach, Terry Bowden preached all three fazes of the game and in the first half the Tigers scored in each facet to take a 20-10 lead into the dressing room.
In the first half the Tennessee defense was unable to stop Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig. But in the second half, led by linebacker Al Wilson the Tennessee defense would shut down Auburn’s running attack in order to make them one-dimensional on offense. 
Even with that Auburn still had a 29-23 lead until early in the fourth quarter when Manning found wide receiver Marcus Nash for a 73-yard touchdown pass to put the Vols up 30-29. 
Tennessee would go on to win by that score and Manning would be the game’s MVP.

2006 Sugar Bowl Georgia Bulldogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

2006 Sugar BowlSince 1935 the Sugar Bowl has best a Southern tradition in the beautiful city of New Orleans. But in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which damaged the Louisiana Superdome, the 2006 Sugar Bowl would be played at the Georgia Dome. What made the game more intriguing was that the home-state Georgia Bulldogs would be playing in the Sugar Bowl as the Georgia Dome is only a short ride from their campus in
Athens. There the Dawgs would meet the upstart West Virginia Mountaineers out of the Big East Conference.
Georgia came onto the field and the were greeted by a sea of red. At first the Bulldogs took the Mountaineers for granted and after the first quarter it was West Virginia with a 21-0 lead as Georgia was unable to stop their spread offense.
Early in the second quarter West Virginia running back Steve Slaton scored from 18 yards out to extend the Mountaineer lead to 28-0.
Slowly but surely the Bulldogs would begin to chip away at West Virginia’s lead and when Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley found tight end Leonard Pope with just under a minute to play in the first half, the Mountaineers were only leading 31-21.
After the high scoring first half, there was only one touchdown scored in the third quarter and it was by Georgia when Shockley found wide receiver A.J. Bryant to cut the Mountaineer lead to just three points. But in the fourth quarter just when West Virginia appeared ready to surrender the lead to the Bulldogs, it was Slaton once again; this time on a 52-yard touchdown run to put the Mountaineers up 38-28. 
West Virginia would go on to win the game 38-35 and with 204 yards rushing, Slaton would be named the game’s MVP.

7/6/1998-Bill Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan

Bill GoldbergIn 1998, World Championship Wrestling was in the midst of an era that was dominated by the New World Order. Hulk Hogan was the WCW Heavyweight Champion while The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) were the tag champs.
In 1997 former National Football League player Bill Goldberg made his WCW debut and he took the company by storm with his sheer power and reckless abandon. Early in 1998 Goldberg became United States Heavyweight Champion and his popularity continued to soar. By the summer on 1998 Goldberg was still undefeated and he now set his sights on the WCW Title which was held by Hogan.
On the July 6 edition of Monday Night Nitro, Hogan promised Goldberg a title shot if he could get past Hall in a singles match. Goldberg disposed of Hall which left Hogan no option but to enter the squared circle with the hottest man in professional wrestling.
Prior to joining WCW, Goldberg played for the Atlanta Falcons for two seasons and he was thus billed as being from Atlanta, Georgia. The crowd at the Georgia Dome was buzzing and once Goldberg gave the legendary Hogan the “spear” which was followed by his signature “jack hammer” it was all over except the shouting as Goldberg would be crowned as the new WCW Heavyweight Champion.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com
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Top Sports Moments At The Georgia Dome Part 3

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Super Bowl 28-Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills


Super Bowl 28For
the first time in the history of the Super Bowl the two teams that met
the previous year in the championship game would meet again for the
Vince Lombardi Trophy. In Super Bowl 27 the Dallas Cowboys destroyed the
Buffalo Bills 52-17 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. In January 1994, the Bills were looking to avoid becoming the first and only National Football League franchise to lose four consecutive Super Bowls while the Cowboys were looking
to become the first team since the San Francisco 49ers in 1988 and 1989
to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The Bills lost the three previous Super Bowls by a combined score of 109-61 and they were out to change that.

In
the first half the Bills defense was able to slow down the Cowboys
powerful running attack led by running back Emmitt Smith. The Bills took
a 13-6 advantage to the dressing room at halftime, but little did they
know that the roof was about to cave in on them.

In the third quarter
the Bills were driving when running back Thurman Thomas committed the
first of his two costly fumbles. The ball was recovered by Cowboys
defensive back James Washington who returned the pigskin 46 yards for a Dallas
score which knotted the score at 13.

The Cowboys entered the game
favored to defeat the Bills by 10.5 points and they began to play like
the heavy favorites that they were while Buffalo lived up to the hype
that surrounded them as underdogs. The Bills would not score in the
second half as they fell to the Cowboys 30-13.

The game would mark
the last time that the Bills would make the Super Bowl while the
Cowboys would win it all again following the 1995 NFL season as they became
the first franchise in the Super Bowl era to win three championships in
four years.

2007 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Game-Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators


Ohio State-FloridaFor
the 2006-2007 college basketball season the expectations were high for both
the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Florida Gators. The Buckeyes began the
season ranked seventh in the country while the Gators were the top
ranked team in the land and they were also the defending national champions. The two
teams met on December 23, 2006 in Gainesville, Florida where the Gators
smoked the Buckeyes 86-60 and there was a possibility that they could
meet again during the NCAA Tournament.
Both Ohio State and Florida had navigated through
the 2007 NCAA Tournament and they made it to the Final Four in Atlanta
at the Georgia Dome. In the national semifinals Ohio State would get
past Georgetown 67-60 while Florida would take care of UCLA 76-66 which
would set up Monday night’s championship game.
The Gators
experience would be the difference in the first half as they took a
40-29 lead to the locker room at halftime, but Ohio State wasn’t ready
to throw in the towel.
In the second half Ohio State head
coach Thad Matta called upon his freshman duo in center Greg Oden and point
guard Mike Conley Jr. The Gators were unable to slow down Oden who
finished the game with 25 points and 12 rebounds while Conley Jr. had 20
points and 6 assists. But every time the Ohio State appeared poised to
take the lead the Gators were able to respond. Florida forward Al
Horford finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds while sharp shooting Lee
Humphrey would finish with 14 points including knocking down four
three-point shots.
The Gators would win the game 84-75 and they
became the first school since the Duke Blue Devils in 1991 and 1992 to
win consecutive Division 1 men’s basketball national championships.

2008 SEC Championship Game-Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators

2008 SEC ChampionshipSince
its inception in 1992 the SEC Championship Game has been dominated by the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The two schools met in
four of the first five SEC Title Games and they have combined to win the event 11
times. In recent years the SEC Championship Game has also served as a de
facto national championship game semifinal game and that was once again
the case in 2008. 
Entering the game Alabama was the top
ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series standings while the Gators
were ranked fourth. But the Associated Press had Alabama and Florida
ranked first and second respectively and the game would live up to the
hype.
After two years as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins,
Nick Saban had returned to the college ranks in 2007 to become the head
ball coach at ‘Bama. Under Saban, the Tide went 7-6 in 2007, but they returned to being a national powerhouse in 2008. Alabama entered the 2008 SEC
Championship Game with an unblemished record of 12-0 while the Gators
came to Atlanta with a record of 11-1.
It didn’t take Florida
that long to get things going as quarterback Tim Tebow found wide
receiver Carl Moore midway through the first quarter to put the Gators
ahead 7-0. Alabama would quickly respond as they marched 82 yards for a
touchdown on just two plays when running back Glen Coffee scored on an
11-yard touchdown run. It was a defensive battle between both sides
until late in the first half when Tebow found wide reciever David Nelson
for a five-yard touchdown pass that gave the Gators a 17-10 halftime
lead.
The Crimson Tide would dominate the third quarter and
take a 20-17 lead into the final frame. But just like he had done for
his entire career, Tebow would rally the Gators.
The Gators
capped an 11-play, 62-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run from
running back Jeff Demps with just over nine minutes left in the game.
Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson was a cool customer for three
quarters, but he was consistently under pressure in the fourth quarter
from the pesky Gators defense. The Gators were able to get the football
back and Tebow led an eight-play, 65 yard drive that culminated in the
beloved quarterback finding wide receiver Riley Cooper for a five-yard
touchdown pass with just under three minutes left in the game to put Florida up 31-20. 
The Gators would win the game by that exact score and they would go on to win their second BCS Championship in three years.

1994 SEC Championship Game-Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators

1994 SEC ChampionshipThe
first two editions of the SEC Championship Game were played played at
historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama before being moved to the
Georgia Dome in 1994. The venue may have changed but the participants
were still the same from the first two SEC Championship Games as it
would be the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators clashing once
again from the conference crown.
The Tide entered the game
ranked third in the country with a record of 11-0 and they were looking
for a chance to play for a national championship. The Gators entered the
season as the top ranked team, but a home loss to Auburn along with a
tie against Florida State changed that. The first two SEC Championship
Games that featured Alabama and Florida were decided by a combined 22
points, but their tango in 1994 would be a little bit tighter.

The first half would go the way of the Gators as quarterback Danny Wuerffel accounted for two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing). The Gators took a 17-10 lead to halftime, but they were far from being out of the woods against the Tide.

The Defense dominated the third quarter as all the scoring for the frame came on two Alabama field goals.

Midway through the fourth, quarterback Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd picked off Wuerffel and returned the ball 23 yards for a touchdown that would put ‘Bama up 23-17. Alabama head coach Gene Stallings could see the finish line and another chance to play for a national title, but Wuerffel and the Gators were not ready to go away quietly. Wuerffel led Florida on a drive that culminated with him finding wide receiver Chris Doering for a two-yard touchdown pass with under six minutes remaining. Led by defensive tackle Ellis Johnson, the Gators defense would hold off Alabama quarterback Jay Barker and the Tide’s offense to win 24-23.

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Top Sports Moments At The Georgia Dome Part 2

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Week 2 2011 NFL Season-Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons

Michael VickFrom
2001-2006 Quarterback Michael Vick was the face of the Atlanta Falcons
franchise. But in 2007 Vick’s federal conviction for running a dog
fighting ring changed all of that as he spent nearly two years in
prison. In 2009 Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to be a
backup quarterback. By 2010 Vick became the Eagles starting quarterback
as he led the team to the NFC Eastern Division Title.
In Week 2
of the 2011 National Football League season Vick made his return to the
Georgia Dome as the Falcons hosted his Eagles. The jeers outnumbered
the cheers that day for Vick who attempted to downplay everything. 
The
game was a back and forth affair between both sides. Vick finished the
game 19-of-28 with 242 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns before
being knocked out of the game with a concussion. The Eagles would go to
lose the game 35-31. 

Finger Poke Of Doom 1/4/1999

For
several years World Championship Wrestling had overtaken the World
Wrestling Federation in the ratings battle during “The Monday Night
Wars”. Led by the formation of the New World Order in 1996, the WCW
became a ratings nightmare for their counterparts at the WWF. Eric
Bischoff was the president of WCW who oversaw everything that was being
done; including signing former WWF wrestlers such as Scott Hall, Kevin
Nash, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan.
The two companies began 1999 neck and neck in popularity, but Bischoff and WCW would make a mistake for the ages. 
Bischoff
had appointed Nash to head booker and in the world of professional
wrestling there is an unwritten rule that wrestlers should not be
allowed to book matches. Towards the end of 1998 Nash had defeated the
immensely popular Bill Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Title and ending his undefeated streak. 
The
first Monday Night Nitro of the year would take place at the Georgia
Dome where over 40,000 wrestling fans would be in attendance. 
The
once strong NWO appeared to be tearing at the seams and earlier in the show Nash challenged Hogan to a match. Hall,
Hogan, and Nash were the founding fathers of the NWO and everyone tuned
in to see what would happen.
Famed boxing announcer Michael
Buffer was on hand to introduce the two parties. Hogan was introduced
first and he came to the ring accompanied by Scott Steiner to Jimi
Hendrix’s famed “Voodoo Child”. Nash then came to the ring accompanied
by Hall.
Kevin NashThe atmosphere at the Georgia Dome that night was
electric. Nash and Hogan danced around the ring for a few minutes with a
brief dose of pushing and shoving. Nash had Hogan backed up in the
corner before backing off. From there Hogan placed his finger directly
in the chest of Nash who immediately fell to the mat. Hogan immediately
jumped on Nash and the referee counted. Hogan was crowned WCW Champion
and a stunned crowd began throwing debris in the vicinity of the ring.
In
the aftermath of the incident that was dubbed as “The Fingerpoke of
Doom”, WCW saw a huge drop in ratings. Within less than a year Bischoff
was fired by WCW and by 2001 the company had been purchased by the WWF
for a mere $3.5 million.
In the world of professional wrestling you cannot tease wrestling fans and Bischoff and his posse found that out the hard way.

2013 Chick-Fil-A-Bowl-Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies

Formerly
known as the Peach Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A-Bowl has been a southern
tradition in Atlanta that started out at Bobby Dodd Stadium on the
campus of Georgia Tech University in 1968 before moving to
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1971. The game would stay there until
1992 when it began being played at its current home in the Georgia
Dome.The Chick-Fil-A-Bowl has been known for dramatic finishes and
tremendous comebacks in a game that showcases teams from the Atlantic
Coast and Southeastern Conferences.
Texas A&M-DukeThe final college football
game of the 2013 calendar year was a barn burner between the Duke Blue
Devils and the Texas A&M Aggies. The Blue Devils were making
consecutive bowl game appearances for the first time in school history
while the Aggies were bidding farewell to the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner
in quarterback Johnny Manziel who was expected to declare early for the
National Football League Draft.
The Blue Devils led for the entire first half as
the Aggies defense was unable to stop them. Duke took at 38-17 lead into
the dressing room at halftime and they appeared to be in complete
control.
Manziel is listed ta 6’0″ and although he might be a
little shorter he has the heart of a giant. Manziel wasn’t going to end his
collegiate career with a loss and he led a furious Texas A&M
comeback in the second half. Early in the fourth quarter Texas A&M
had shed 18 points off of Duke’s lead as they trailed 41-38. But Duke’s
offense woke up and quarterback Anthony Boone found wide receiver David
Reeves for a 21-yard touchdown pass to give the Blue Devils a 48-38 lead
with just under seven minutes left in the game. 
Like a true
gunslinger Manziel rallied his troops one more time. With just under six
minutes remaining in the contest Manziel found wide receiver Derel
Walker for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
Unable to stop Duke’s
offense for the entire game, A&M’s defense finally rose to the
occasion when defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. picked off Boone and
returned it 55-yards for what turned out to be the game-winning
touchdown with about three minutes remaining in the contest.
Soon
after the game Manziel would declare for the NFL Draft ending his
college career and in the process he forever left his stamp on college
football. 

2001 ACC Tournament Semifinal-Maryland Terrapins vs. Duke Blue Devils

Maryland-DukeIn
2001 the Atlantic Coast Conference decided to change things up as they
held their men’s basketball tournament for the first time at the Georgia
Dome. The ACC began the 2000-2001 college basketball season with the Duke Blue Devils, North
Carolina Tar Heels, and Maryland Terrapins all ranked in the top 10 of
the Associated Press Poll.

Coming into the ACC Tournament, Duke and
Maryland had two epic battles in the regular season with the road team coming away victorious
on each occasion. But what would happen on a neutral site at the Georgia
Dome?

Duke came into the ACC Tournament as the second ranked team in
the country and they knew that winning the ACC Tournament would solidify
their chances to be a one seed in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Maryland came to
Atlanta ranked 13th in the country and they were looking to gain some
momentum for themselves after suffering nine losses in the regular
season. These two teams would meet in the ACC semis in an epic back and
forth affair.

Maryland was ahead by three points at halftime and the game was far from over.

This
contest was not decided until the end with Duke swingman Nate James scored
on a tip-in basket to put the Blue Devils head 84-82 with just 1.3
second remaining. The Blue Devils would on to win by that score and when
the two teams shook hands after the game it was Duke forward Shane
Battier who told Maryland forward Lonny Baxter that “We’ll see you in
Minneapolis”.

Minneapolis, Minnesota was the site of the 2001 NCAA
Men’s Final Four. Duke and Maryland would both make it there as they met
in the national semifinals. Duke would defeat Maryland 95-84 en route
to winning their third national championship in school history.

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