Auburn and Georgia Southern have only squared off on the gridiron once in their long, storied histories. That game occurred in 1991, ending in an 32-17 Auburn victory.
Despite having such little interaction, the two schools do have a pretty strong connection. Erk Russell was a 4-sport letterman at Auburn, coached football and baseball at Auburn, and then basically became the godfather of Georgia Southern athletics. But this series is about strange stuff, so let’s go there. I could tell you that Georgia Southern houses one of the largest collection of ticks in the world, but I want to go deeper. Let’s get… STRANGE.
1. They stole Auburn’s pregame eagle flight.
At first, you wouldn’t really think this is strange, but maybe more of a honor. But it makes me mad. I don’t know why you think you can take the greatest tradition (a 17 year tradition) in the history of college football, and just straight up jank it like that. Do you see any other team running a buffalo out on the field like Colorado? I don’t think so, so I’m calling this strange. And the eagle only flies to a dude’s hand? Come on…
2. They ride around on $1 dollar school buses.
According to Wikipedia…
When the football program was restarted in 1981, money was tight. In fact, there wasn’t enough money to furnish transportation to home games. The Bulloch County school system sold two buses for a dollar each to the team. The buses have been used by the team ever since as transportation to Allen E. Paulson Stadium. This tradition continued even when the Eagles rose to powerhouse status. This briefly ended with the arrival of Brian VanGorder, following his scrapping of the Eagles’ triple-option rushing attack. The tradition was revived after VanGorder’s departure.
I had completely forgotten about Brian VanGorder, Auburn’s former DC, coaching there. And I’d think he’d be the type to want his team to rough it on a yellow school bus. Hmmm, strange.
3. They have had some really STRANGE mascots.
In 1907, with the school being based on agriculture, they decided to go by THE CULTURE. Yes, for real. The Georgia Southern Culture? Ohhh, I’m scared. Actually, I am. That sounds worse than Texas A&M and their cult… Wait, is cult short for culture? Dude, cancel this game.
From 1924-1941, they were known as the Blue Tide. So now they are just straight up copying Alabama and Auburn. You are aware that their uniforms are basically just Alabama’s if they were dyed blue, right? Strange that you’d want to copy such a lowly program.
I will give them this on uniforms. Again, according to Wikipedia…
The uniforms consist of plain white pants, blue helmets with a white stripe down the middle and the player’s number on the sides, and blue jerseys. This minimalist look was adopted more or less out of necessity. When the program was revived in 1982, the school did not have a large budget. Indeed, the equipment budget was so limited that only plain white practice pants could be purchased. Russell bought solid blue helmets and had the players put a piece of tape down the middle. Sports Illustrated has ranked the uniforms as being the third best in college football.
After World War II, they become known as the Professors. I can’t even…
It was in 1959 when they finally became known as the Eagles. And get this, the actual Eagle mascot’s name is… GUS. Who do you think you are? Clemson?
If I wanted to get technical, still running the triple option in today’s football is STRANGE, but I think they’ve more than covered the fact that Georgia Southern is full of… STRANGER THINGS.
If you know of any other tidbits from the Upside Down, leave them in the comments below.