It’s a DAWGS World

Happy fall, y’all. Here is a unique piece of sports journalism.

My daddy was a race car driver. Well, not really, but he married six times and was engaged when he died. He was a champion water ski jumper, a boxer, an amateur pilot, a defensive back a year ahead of Roger Staubach at New Mexico Military Institute, a heavy acid and weed using long-haired rich hippie who once lived in a tent in a mansion in Malibu with the lead singer of the Beach Boys while working on a film by a hitchhiker friend he met in, you um guessed it, north Texas. Always craving flights of fancy, Dr. Randolph Michael Vance Sr. has left this earthly plain, that north Texas ranch kid who bred the unique ME.

I’m a DAWG to the bone, today. Born in Austin because the folks did everything weird, I’m “from” north Texas, too, because I lived on the compound my daddy’s daddy (an aviation pioneer) built in Ft. Worth, until I moved to the Southeast at age five. An American culture writer by main trade, I’ve never lived outside of the South, and if heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I don’t want to go.

Speaking of prettiness: “A lot of pretty girls go to North Texas,” Daddy said. He was an expert in that field. Though my secondary field is the expertise of college football, none in the media outside of Denton and the Metroplex (greater Dallas-Ft Worth area) know a whole heck of a lot about the Mean Green. They have a winning program and may be emerging as a mid-major. They’ve started appearing in bowl games. They’re in Conference USA, and the Dawgs last C-USA opponent, UCF, embarrassed UGA in a tight bowl game where then-redshirt-freshman Murray played like crap. They were renamed after their greatest player Mean Joe Greene – the Steeler legend.

Let’s go tangential again – this is not a marquee game, after all. For college, I looked at the University of Miami, LSU, Tennessee, GEORGIA and Georgia Southern. Miami was my initial first choice. I was a flashy Hurricane fan with a tan and wild blond hair and wanted to live in South Florida. My dad had wanted to go water ski for “The U” until his dad died in a boating accident on Lake Worth; he stayed home and became a Horned Frog. I’d lived for two years in Louisiana and a summer in Tennessee in middle school, where I somewhat caught the SEC big football school bug. I’d been to Athens, once, to sell football flags where Herschel Walker ran wild, when I was a boy. Then, as a sophomore living back in Georgia, I visited the number one party school in the USA and my fate was sealed. If I didn’t get in, I’d go to Georgia Southern and transfer to Athens. I was going to stay instate and be a DAWG! I started studying again some in preparation. I’d made straight As in 8th grade but was very distracted. By senior year, I was a straight A student again, and I wrote a letter explaining which may have been the tiebreaker in me getting in, as I had a way with words. I blamed it on my dad, for derailing my sports career by moving me around so much, and it was a persuasive argument, which must have entertained up in the Classic City. They not only let my then-stoned butt in, they let me work at the Tate Student Center, where I eventually made manager.

12:21 today Between the Hedges on the Peach WPCH TV in ATL – GO YOU BIG HAIRY DAWGS!!! Sic’ ’em.

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~Every Friday Wayne Gandy and I talk SEC for a full radio hour at www.thesportsjoc.com 9a-10a EST / 10a-11a in Texas and Louisiana / Noon-1p on the West Coast