The Gulf Coast Athletic Club opened its September 27, 2021 meeting at Woodside Restaurant in Gulf Shores. After social time and dinner, President George Autrey welcomed the assembled crowd at 7:11pm.
He again reported that our longtime meeting site, Craft Farms Golf Resort, is almost complete with renovations from Sally, we think, but still no official word if and when. Woodside has been awesome and very accommodating and we may end up there for the duration. We’ll see.
Membership is still trailing our normal, but we had 3 guests, with one becoming a new member! 40 people were present.
Club Treasurer David Lee gave a brief Financial Report. Without our normal Fundraising golf outing last year, the once bulging coffers are fairly bare-boned, but David says we should scrap by without dipping into the $45,000 reserve. With a Dues increase from $250 to $275 per person this year, we will come close to breaking even this year. There have not been any GSHS funding requests so far. The GCAC Foundation has about $9,000 in the bank for scholarships for this coming year, so, ok on that front.
Speaking of Gulf Shores Football, the team started hot at 2-0, but then ran into Spanish Fort, currently #1 in Alabama, and McGill, who played like they were #1. The Dolphins bounced back with a win against Robertsdale, but now gets Citronelle and Saraland on the road before getting back to friendly turf. Dr. Dr. Akin says the goal this year is to get to the playoffs. Looking good so far!! GO, DOLPHINS!!
Our annual Pigskin Prognosticator Challenge is now into its fifth week with Bulldog Billy still leading the pack. early with lots of games to go. 32 players this year, and, if you haven’t paid your $25 entry fee yet, Bubba and Guido will be calling on you soon. Your Editor and your President are tied, two slots away from DAL, poised for a second half run!
Team Reports led off with our President noting that, after only four weeks or so of the season, the Pre-season Top 25 already had 9 teams with 2 losses each, including 3 of the Top 10! This season is wide open with FSU, Clemson, Missouri, and others all underachieving. The Alabama report began with longtime member and former Pigskin Prognosticator Champion Fred Dickinson giving us his best Barb Patty impression. Not really. His comment, “Alabama and Ole Miss this weekend should be a good one”. Pretty sure about that! More on that later from our Speaker.
Arkansas has started 4-0 and fans are looking forward to challenging the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend. That will go a long way in determining the future for those clubs. The Hog Fans say “We’re pretty good”, as do the Army Fans, noting the West Pointers have started 4-0, but with little opposition so far. Auburn reported they won the last game by 10 points, which brought laughs from the assembled crowd. They get a chance to visit Coach O in Baton Rouge this week – offense looking better, defense ok, and Coach O? May be on a hot seat – like the Mississippi State Coach -seems Air Raid South is fluttering. Maryland fans are delighted with Tua’s younger brother, Tulia, and the Terps are 4-0 early this year. Iowa is next.
Crying Towel – Last spotted on the shores of Lake Michigan hollering “USA! USA!”, Dec was still MIA, but President George did a great job in recognizing that Auburn came within 45 seconds from earning the Crying Towel from the GSU game. Stating “It can’t be Mississippi State every week’, he then turned around and gave the War Eagles the CT for the Penn State game with Penn Stater Tom Grabowski doing the honors. “Penn State Whites Out Auburn 28-20”in the White Out game.
Our speaker for the evening was Brad Edwards, a 25-year ESPN veteran and author of a new book with the longest title ever “Dynasty By The Numbers: Why Alabama Now Owns The Greatest Decade-Plus Run In College Football History”. It’s rare that we have a guest speaker with such a vast knowledge of data, info, and just great material about almost everyone. He said that he got to watch, write, and talk about college football every day for 25 years. How cool is that?
This University of Alabama made a connection with an ESPN higher-up, who later called him at his post-college job at Chili’s and offered an ESPN job, unheard-of now in this environment. This began a 25-year career with ESPN writing for ESPN.com, and on air on ESPN Radio, and on TV with College GameDay, Sports Center, and College Football Live. His knowledge of analyzing the data and predictions led to a reputation of “Expert” on the BCS Championships. The COVID layoffs did him in and 300 others in 2021.
Growing up in Jackson, MS, he was a Bulldog fan, but learned to love the Tide when Coach Bryant and his Wishbone offense went 58-3 against the SEC in the 1970’s. He went to ESPN HQ in Hartford, CT, thinking he was there for 2-3 years, but 25 years went quickly. The layoff this year gave him the opportunity to write the ultimate Bama stats book – 6 National Championships in 12 years. He had some humorous stories about Cooter Brown and Lee Corso, a chicken sandwich, and a golf cart wreck.
This year, Bama, Georgia, and Ole Miss are the cream of the crop, and all three could be in the Playoffs. Offensively, he sees Bama not as good as last year, Ole Miss better. Defensively, Bama not as good and Ole Miss better. Georgia has the most talent this year. Three things to look for: 1) Ole Miss hasn’t played anyone, 2) Bama has better players at every position except QB when Corral has a slight advantage, and 3) Ole Miss hasn’t played a true road game in a full stadium in 2 years and the NOISE factor will be key.
Texas and Oklahoma coming into the SEC just means more money, but it will hurt recruiting for all other SEC teams in Texas. It will certainly be harder to go undefeated, regardless of the Division set-ups.
Other observations: Name, Image, and Likeness will continue to present issues as Donors may ignore helping other sports to concentrate on athletes, who, in turn, might try to avoid making game mistakes to protect their image. The majority of Coaches are against more games, as the biggest challenges are injury-related. College students aren’t as invested in College Football now, and of course, the elephant in the room, ESPN, owns the SEC and ACC Networks, which concerns the Big 10 & PAC 10 and others.
10/11 Cole Cubelic : ESPN SEC Network sideline reporter, WJOX radio host of McElroy & Cubelic.
10/25 Chris Childers: ESPN radio/Sirius XM Channel 84 host of Chris Childers & Rick Neuheisel.
11/8 Phillip Rivers: Former NFL All Star QB, future Hall of Famer, and now Coach at St. Michael’s.
11/22 Bo Bounds: ESPN radio host of The Out of Bounds Show.
The meeting adjourned at 8:35pm.
Submitted by Bill Tunnell, GCAC Secretary