Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Choosing from among the stars: The 75 greatest moments in the SEC

Roy Exum writes today for the Chattanoogan.com about an attempt by colleague David Paschal to define the "75 Greatest Moments" in the SEC throughout the length and breadth of it's storied history (evidently available to print subscribers only). Exum was rather shocked, to say the least, that Paschal led off with Hal Mumme instituting the "Air Raid" offense at Kentucky.

Now, I am a Kentucky fan, and I do look fondly on the somewhat goofy memories of that first season, the amazingly good results we had with Mumme's new scheme, his endearing if somewhat whimsical obsession with all things Jimmy Buffet, the wailing air-raid sirens every time his TV show came on. Kentucky fans have been largely bereft of any kind of football glory since the heady days of 1976 and 1977 when we shared the SEC regular season championship with Georgia and Alabama, respectively, up until then. Never mind that he left under a cloud of distrust and doubt -- for a couple of years there, Hal Mumme gave Kentucky fans something different, and not just in terms of victories on the gridiron.

But even this Kentucky fan has got to agree with Exum. There are so many great moments in SEC football, choosing among them would seem to be like choosing from among the stars in the sky. Heck, Roy wheels off quite a few classics just ruminating over his column. Still, he comes to the conclusion that even though he didn't agree at first take, Paschal's article made him think about the impact of the "Air Raid", about the fact that it brought UK its first victory over Alabama since 1922.

Heck, how about that "hail mary" pass back in 2002 when LSU pulled off the "Bluegrass Miracle?" Or Alabama winning the Iron Bowl on a last -second 52 yard field goal in 1985? Or Herschel Walker -- just about every play? The list could literally go on forever.

But ultimately, Exum doesn't think that the Mumme offense even hits his top 750, and you know, I would probably agree with him. But if one were to try to pick 75 or even 175 great moments from the SEC, calling any of them worthy of the moniker "greatest" is going to get second-guessed from the bayous of Baton Rouge to the hills of Knoxville. But just as Exum said -- no matter who picks what, they all make us think -- and they are all great.