Here’s something that needs addressing in both the upcoming Republican and Democratic debates: the growing epidemic of rivalry trophies in college football.
Despite playing almost annually since 1929, Baylor and Texas Tech just now created a trophy.
Bob Diaco created a trophy game out of thin air, and it’s hard to be too mad at him because Jim Delany has done the same thing for years.
If every game is sacred, then no game is sacred. Doesn’t anyone understand this?
While both sides of the aisle enthusiastically agree the rivalry industry desperately needs governmental oversight, we can equally agree the new rivalry belt created for the Troy-South Alabama series is great.
They’re both Sun Belt programs in southern Alabama, so the rivalry checks out on both fronts there. And they’ve met only three times previously, not until 2012, so we don’t have a Texas Tech-Baylor situation on our hands, either.
Add in the unique trophy item, and this is a trophy that receives a seal of approval from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump alike.
A new title belt will be on the line this week when South Alabama and Troy battle for a championship-style belt this Saturday. The trophy is fitting considering South Alabama and Troy each play in the Sun Belt Conference.
“In the hearts of students, Troy has always been our biggest rival. The ‘Battle for the Belt’ is the culmination of those passions,” said South Alabama Student Government Association President Ravi Rajendra. “The introduction of the trophy to the rivalry will offer a new way for Jag Nation to connect with our football program. The concept behind the Belt stemmed from our student body and was accompanied by insight from our football team; the football team really liked the concept of a wrestling belt, and the Belt also plays off of the Sun Belt Conference of which both Troy and USA are members.”
At l;east this rivalry trophy was mutually agreed to by both sides, unlike UConn’s made-up rivalry with UCF.
“The reason behind this upcoming week is not to tear two group’s leaders apart, but to solidify our separate yet unified University spirits and drive towards excellence,” added Heath Barton, President of the Troy Student Government Association. “We encourage everyone at these two schools who have launched some of Alabama’s greatest individuals to enjoy coming together, as one, to partake in one of the state’s greatest rivalries.”
Troy leads the all-time series 2-1, and South Alabama won last year’s meeting. Saturday will mark the Sun Belt opener for each school.
There is no word on whether UAB will crash the game with the Money in the Bank suitcase, but it sure would be fun to see.
Myriad on-field injuries led to Jake Fely getting a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA in July of last year. Now, it’s an off-field incident that will cost him some playing time this year.
Earlier this week, the San Diego State linebacker rear-ended a vehicle that stopped suddenly in front of him. The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that “[a]lthough the air bag in Fely’s car deployed, the senior hit his head on the windshield.”
Fely was subsequently diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, which will, in all likelihood, prevent the senior from playing this Saturday against South Alabama. The fact that Penn State is on tap the following week, followed by the Mountain West opener against Fresno State the next, could allow SDSU to err on the side of caution when it comes to Fely’s availability this weekend.
Austin Wyatt-Thayer, a JUCO transfer, is listed behind Fely on the most recent depth chart.
In 2010, Fely suffered a lacerated liver that cost him all but three games of his true freshman season but led him to his first medical hardship waiver. In the fourth game of the 2013 season, Fely suffered a broken foot that cost him the remainder of that year and led to the sixth season of eligibility.
In between the injuries, Fely has started 32 games during his time with the Aztecs.