First, some background. You may already know that I'm a fan of the University of Georgia. My daughter went there (and she was a cheerleader) and I almost went there. But I didn't.
However, a little closer to my home town in southeast Georgia is another college, Georgia Southern University. Back then, it was Georgia Southern College. And, they didn't have a football team. But, that would change.
In 1981, Georgia Southern announced the hiring of Erk Russell as head coach. Russell had been defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia for the previous 17 seasons, but accepted the challenge of starting up a football program from scratch. The school had no football facilities when Russell was hired. In fact, they didn't even have a football. The Athletic Director had to run across the street to the K-Mart to buy a football as a prop at the press conference to announce Russell's hiring.
Georgia Southern did things simply back then. They got old yellow school buses from the Bulloch County school system to take the team to games. And in those games, the Eagles wore simple white pants with no stripe down the leg, simple blue jerseys at home and plain white jerseys on the road with no stripes on the sleeve, and blue helmets with numbers on the side. Old fashioned, simple football uniforms. And the reason is because they were the cheapest available.
Turns out, though, that you don't need fancy buses or fancy uniforms to win. Georgia Southern won the Division 1-AA national championship 1985, their first of three under Russell, and six overall. And they did it while wearing cheap uniforms and riding yellow school buses to games.
Today, and for several years, Georgia Southern has been able to afford a lot more. This season is their first year moving up to Division 1-A, officially called Division 1 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), and they've kept the traditions.
This weekend, though, they're kinda ticking me off. They're showing off some new uniforms to be worn special for homecoming. And they have the nerve to call it "Traditions."
It's a great tradition, too.