Tiger Shirt Tour: Chaos Reigns Supreme

“Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos, I’m an agent of chaos, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.” – The Joker, The Dark Knight

Throughout a football season, every team will take a bye week. The bye week serves as a chance for teams to recover mentally and rest physically for the remaining games ahead. This week the Tiger Shirt Tour is on a bye week, and I’ll be heading to north Louisiana for an engagement party. Much like a typical football team’s bye week, it’s strategically placed close to the midway point. It’s been whirlwind through the first six weeks of the Tiger Shirt Tour. I’ve witnessed thrilling football games at nearly every stop. Last second wins, chaotic comebacks, wild finishes – you name it, and already I’ve seen it occur firsthand during the first half of my trek through the Southeastern Conference this fall (By the way, if you’re not following me on Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat or Facebook, you’re missing out on some great #TigerShirtTour photos).

Let’s recap the first six games of the Tiger Shirt Tour:

September 1  – Appalachian State vs. Tennessee

The No. 9 ranked Volunteers trailed App State (a Sun Belt opponent) for nearly three and a half quarters until quarterback Joshua Dobbs finally completed a touchdown pass to force overtime. In overtime, Tennessee recovered one of the luckiest fumbles I’ve ever seen to ultimately survive the Mountaineers and remain unbeaten…

September 3 – Southern Miss vs. Kentucky

Kentucky proved once again why it will never be more than a basketball school with its epic second half collapse against Southern Miss. In his first game as an FBS head coach, Jay Hopson led the Golden Eagles into Lexington and emerged with the school’s first victory over an SEC opponent since 2000, ripping off 34 unanswered points en route to a 44-35 victory. #MustardBuzzards

September 10 – Eastern Michigan vs. Missouri – This game was not chaotic, just a good old fashioned rent-a-win beat down by the Tigers.

September 17 – East Carolina vs. South Carolina

The Gamecocks posted 17 first quarter points, but won on the shoulders of a stubborn defense that forced the Pirates to settle for field goals most of the evening. ECU struck late to make it a 20-15 one score game, but failed to convert the ensuing onside kick, allowing the USCe fans relish in “Sandstorm” all night long.

September 24 – LSU vs. Auburn

The Battle on the Plains did not disappoint, as the Tigers vs. Tigers slugfest produced another SEC thriller. LSU thought it had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last second touchdown pass from Danny Etling to DJ Chark. Alas, LSU was a second short of victory, as the Tigers failed to get the snap off in time to legally run the final play. Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson scored all 18 of the Tigers’ points on six field goals, while LSU failed to score a fourth-quarter point for fourth straight game in 2016. The clock management woes finally caught up with LSU coach Les Miles, and he was fired the next day, ushering in the Ed Orgeron era in Baton Rouge. And the Toomer’s Corner tree was lit on fire following the game.

October 1 – Tennessee vs. Georgia

The Tennessee – Georgia clash will go down in the history books as one of the most thrilling finishes in SEC football history. The final three minutes were an absolute roller-coaster of emotional lunacy. The Vols grabbed their first lead (28-24) in the game with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter after recovering UGA freshman quarterback Jacob Eason’s fumble in the end zone. On the ensuing Bulldog drive, Eason throws an interception. All hope seems lost for the Dawgs, but Georgia’s defense forces a UT punt. Exhibiting the poise of a veteran signal caller, Eason orchestrates a comeback drive, hitting Riley Ridley for a 47-yard touchdown with 10 seconds to play.  Sanford Stadium is an absolute madhouse, but not so fast my friend. The Vols have time for one more play following a solid kick return and favorable field position in Georgia territory. UT quarterback Joshua Dobbs heaves a 43-yard hail mary to the end zone and the seconds seem to crawl by as the ball soars through the air. Touchdown! The Vols remain unbeaten in thrilling fashion…

By far the wildest college football game ending I’ve ever witnessed in person. Will one of the remaining nine games of the Tiger Shirt Tour top the UT-UGA clash in terms of pure excitement? I sure hope so.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Follow Andrew Alexander and the Tiger Shirt Tour on Twitter & Instagram (@TheOtherAA) for more exciting updates.

Tiger Shirt Tour: University of Missouri

After a successful first weekend of the Tiger Shirt Tour, in which Hunter Schoen and I journeyed nearly 1,900 miles to Knoxville, Tennessee and Lexington, Kentucky , I’m undertaking my first solo expedition of the TST.

The next stop on the Tiger Shirt Tour is the University of Missouri aka the red-headed stepchild of the Southeastern Conference. After a 26-11 lost at the hands of West Virginia last week, the SEC East Tigers face the Eastern Michigan Eagles of the Mid-American Conference in their home opener at Faurot Field.

andrew-and-michael-uk-usm

Cousin Michael and I celebrate the Golden Eagles’ first victory over an SEC opponent since 2000. #SMTTT

So far chaos has reigned supreme on the field during the Tiger Shirt Tour. Through two games, I’ve witnessed Appalachian State (a Sun Belt team) nearly upset the (then-ranked) No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers in overtime and the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles scored 27 unanswered second half points to topple the Kentucky Wildcats. I’m not calling a #MACtion upset, but let’s just say I think this game will be more interesting than Mizzou fans believe.

Entering its fifth football season as a member of the Southeastern Conference, Mizzou has made its presence felt on the gridiron. Under now-retired coach Gary Pinkel, the Tigers emerged victorious in the SEC East in 2013 and 2014, amassing a 14-2 conference record over those two seasons.

But 2015 was a different story. Amid controversy on and off the field, the Tigers finished 5-7 (1-7 in SEC play). Gary Pinkel retired and the Barry Odom era has begun in Columbia.

On the third stop of the Tiger Shirt Tour, I’ll see how the western Columbia has acclimated to being a full-fledged SEC college town at the half decade mark. It’s one thing to produce on the field, and the Tigers have shown they are more than capable of hanging with the traditional powers of the SEC, but how do the Mizzou faithful stack up to their counterparts in Baton Rouge, Athens, Tuscaloosa and beyond? Do the Tiger fans ooze with SEC pride?

Off the field, what lingering effects will last year’s student protests, hunger strike and football team boycott have on the Mizzou game day experience? Will I encounter the infamous poop swastika?

I’m looking forward to my first trip to Columbia, watching the Tigers play, meeting the Mizzou faithful and checking out the six large columns on campus.

Follow Andrew Alexander and the Tiger Shirt Tour on Twitter & Instagram (@TheOtherAA) for more exciting updates.