How Atlanta Became the Host City for the 1996 Olympic Games: Part 1, Capturing the USOC Nomination




With the immortal words from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch on September 18, 1990—“The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 1996 Olympic Games to the city of…Atlanta.”—Atlanta had officially won its bid to host the centennial of the modern Olympic Games.  Billy Payne’s vision had become reality.  He had help, and plenty of it, from a wide assortment of business and political leaders and a throng of volunteers.  The journey was long and arduous but certainly worth it in the long run.

Payne, a real estate attorney, first thought of bringing the Olympic Games to Atlanta in 1987.  He believed that if he had the right help, Atlanta could secure the Games.  He summarized his thought process this way, “If you believe that if you surrounded yourself with enough talent, enough good friends, enough people willing to push or pull all in the same direction, there can be absolutely no limitation on what you can achieve.”

As a first step, Payne formed a non-profit group called the Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation (GAAF).  This group would be tasked with bringing the Games to Atlanta. Payne also persuaded fishing buddy Pete Candler to join him.  Candler’s relatives played an instrumental role in the founding of the Coca-Cola Company.  Payne then took a leave from his law profession to become a full-time volunteer with the GAAF and also borrowed $1 million from friends using real estate holdings as collateral.  In a short amount of time Payne convinced other friends to join him as volunteers for the campaign.  All had strong leadership skills, influence, and most importantly, contacts, which could aid the effort.  The group became known as the Atlanta Nine.  Besides Candler, the group included Horace Sibley, a partner with powerful law firm King and Spalding and one who also had strong ties to Coca-Cola; Ginger Watkins, known for her work as a charity fund raiser and with the Junior League; Linda Stephenson, also known for her work with the Junior League; Cindy Fowler, who managed an event-organizing business; Tim Christian, a construction company executive; Charles H. Battle Jr., a gregarious Atlanta attorney; Charles Shaffer, another attorney with King and Spalding; and Bobby Rearden Jr., an Atlanta businessman.

As the group moved forward, they realized they needed someone who knew Atlanta but had the respect of influencers nationally and internationally.  Andrew Young, then the mayor of Atlanta, could not have been a better choice.  People from across the globe respected Young for his work as a United States congressman and Ambassador to the United Nations.  He also was a revered leader of the Civil Rights Movement and former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Young endorsed the GAAF proposal for the Games and would later prove instrumental in winning international support for the Atlanta bid.

With his team in place, Payne directed his attention to the first hurdle: the official United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) endorsement of Atlanta as the United States representative in the battle for the Games.  Payne developed a personal touch strategy for the GAAF that would carry through the USOC bid process and the international process involving the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  The first example of Payne’s strategy came in September 1987 when GAAF members hand-delivered the formal bid to the USOC offices in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The other 13 United States cities bidding on the Games, including Nashville, San Francisco and Minneapolis mailed their bids.  While there Payne and his associates gave their presentation to the USOC board.  The GAAF produced a video entitled “Live the Dream,” which focused on Atlanta’s enthusiasm for the Games.  The video also delineated Atlanta’s strengths:  the international airport; existing sports venues; the construction of new venues such as a stadium for athletics (track and field), the Georgia Dome for basketball and gymnastics and a natatorium on the campus of Georgia Tech; existing facilities for the athletic village; over 60,000 hotel rooms; an extensive rapid rail and bus transportation system; experience in handling large amounts of people because of Atlanta’s extensive convention experience; and private funding sources through corporate sponsors, television rights, and ticket sales.

Payne’s personal touch strategy manifested itself again when the USOC sent 100 voting members to Atlanta in January 1988 before the official USOC Site Selection Committee’s visit.  The GAAF entertained the voting members in an Atlanta house, where they experienced an elegant and intimate dinner.  When the Site Selection Committee visited in February, the GAAF took the group to all existing facilities, the different sites for the new venues, meetings with local political leaders, and a lunch hosted by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce attended by prominent business leaders.  Upon leaving Atlanta the Committee told the GAAF that they were impressed with the group’s attention to detail, the overwhelming business and community support, and the overall enthusiasm for the Games.  The only negative cited was the city’s limited amateur athletic experience.

The possibility existed that the USOC would not recommend any city for the 1996 Games because Los Angeles hosted the Olympics in 1984 and the USOC was unsure if any American city could get the international nod so soon after LA.  However in March, the USOC moved forward with the process and cut the field from 14 to 2—Atlanta and Minneapolis.  Payne and the GAAF began preparations for the final presentation to the USOC Executive Board in April in Washington, DC.

The GAAF intensified their lobbying efforts.  They mailed each board member the formal Bid Proposal, hosted members in Atlanta to view competition sites, and met with national and international sports federation officials.  If the GAAF could not meet personally with board members, the group wrote personal notes, made phone calls or both.

Payne further exhibited his personal touch strategy by renting the famous Kalorama mansion in Washington.  By this time, Andrew Young was fully invested in securing the Games for Atlanta, and he, Payne and other GAAF volunteers greeted USOC board members in the mansion while a 10-piece string ensemble entertained them.  The next day, Young, Payne and Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris reiterated Atlanta’s strengths to the board.

The USOC board carefully considered the city’s organizing ability, enthusiasm for the Games, venues, hotels, large airport, rapid transit system, and the capability of handling thousands of people for the duration of the Games.  These attributes pushed the city ahead of Minneapolis and compelled the USOC board to award their nomination to Atlanta.  Young, Payne and the rest of the GAAF had cleared the first hurdle.  Now they must convince the international community that Atlanta would be a worthy host for the centennial of the modern Olympic Games.


College Football National Champions Since 1990


Of the Power 5 conferences, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has twice as many national champions since 1990 than the second place Big 8/Big 12 Conference—12-6. During this same period, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has four national champions, the Big 10 Conference has three and the Pacific 10/Pacific 12 Conference has two, although the 2004 champion USC Trojans had their title vacated by the NCAA for rules violations. Only schools voted number one by the Associated Press and/or the coaches’ poll at the time are included in this compilation. Dual champions were crowned in 1990, 1991 and 1997. With the advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, the national title went to the winner of the BCS game. Two years ago marked the beginning of the College Football Playoff system. Listed below are the national champions since 1990 and their affiliated conference at the time.

1990    Georgia Tech (ACC), Colorado (Big 8)

1991    Miami (Big East), Washington (Pacific 10)

1992    Alabama (SEC)

1993    Florida State (ACC)

1994    Nebraska (Big 8)

1995    Nebraska (Big 8)

1996    Florida (SEC)

1997    Michigan (Big 10), Nebraska (Big 12)

1998    Tennessee (SEC)

1999    Florida State (ACC)

2000    Oklahoma (Big 12)

2001    Miami (Big East)

2002    Ohio State (Big 10)

2003    LSU (SEC)

2004    USC (Pacific 10)

2005    Texas (Big 12)

2006    Florida (SEC)

2007    LSU (SEC)

2008    Florida (SEC)

2009    Alabama (SEC)

2010    Auburn (SEC)

2011    Alabama (SEC)

2012    Alabama (SEC)

2013    Florida State (ACC)

2014    Ohio State (Big 10)

2015    Alabama (SEC)

One can argue about the best conference in college football on a year-to-year basis, but one cannot argue with the recent success of the SEC in the national title games. Since 2006, the national champion has come from the SEC, and the two times the SEC did not win the national title, the conference lost in the title game—Auburn in 2013 and Alabama in 2014. When it comes to big games the SEC has no peer. The 2016 season kicks off in about three weeks. Can’t wait!

The Thunder Stole My Heart

2016 Thunder 1st Row: Smiley, Hannah M, Mia, Pop Up Queen, Dirt Girl, Money 2nd Row: Gabbie, Kiley, Morgan, Christina, Addie, Hannah H 3rd Row: Coach John, Coach Eric, Coach Luke, Head Coach Brad

2016 NYO Thunder
1st Row: Smiley, Hannah M, Mia, Pop Up Queen, Dirt Girl, Money
2nd Row: Gabbie, Kiley, Morgan, Christina, Addie, Hannah H
3rd Row: Coach John, Coach Eric, Coach Luke, Head Coach Brad

This story does not fit the mold of prior stories I have written.  I will not be going back in time to jog your memories concerning college football rivalries, the 1995 Atlanta Braves or the birth of the Masters.  Please indulge me as I write about the essence of sports, the purity of the game, the love of the game just because of the game. No mention of big egos, jealous players, or cheating you often read about in sports articles.  This tale involves twelve young ladies, all between seven and nine years of age, their coaches, and the game of softball.  Before I continue, I must disclose that one of the young ladies is my daughter, so this narrative is very personal.

Our story begins about six weeks ago on a softball field similar to that of thousands across the country.  The young ladies had just completed their recreation (rec) league schedule and were about to embark on an All-Star season, the first for the vast majority.  All of these girls had talent, some more than others. Some of the girls knew some of the others from the just-completed rec season, some knew just one or two.   They were equally excited and apprehensive; not sure what lay in front of them.  All they knew for certain was that they were going to be teammates for the next six weeks on a team called the Thunder, a name designated by their head coach, Brad.  In fastpitch softball parlance, the Thunder was a “B” team.  The league also had an “A” team comprised of girls supposedly more talented.  The Thunder had to compete in tournaments against mostly “A” teams, with a few “B” teams scattered here and there.

So Coach Brad, Coach John, Coach Luke and Coach Eric set other goals besides victories.  All the coaches had achieved success with prior teams, understood the game, knew how to teach the game and have fun doing it.  The Thunder won-loss record would be secondary to motivating the girls to learn the game and have fun.  This strategy became more of a success than even the coaches imagined.

I cannot speak for the rest of the parents, but I had a rather uneasy feeling as we proceeded down the path of two to four practices a week and three tournaments, each lasting Friday through Sunday.  I frequently asked myself questions like:  What have I gotten my daughter and my family into (make no mistake, I was the impetus behind the pursuit of an All-Star season)?; How would my daughter hold up?  Could she really commit to such a schedule?  Would I ruin softball for her forever?

I made sure I attended as many practices as I could and all of the tournament games.  One by one I got to know the rest of the parents.  Honestly, I can say each and every one of them is a wonderful person who wanted the best not only for their daughter but the other girls as well.  I consider myself fortunate to have spent as much time as I did with them. However, their daughters are the main characters here and what characters they were!

Kate came to the team known as Smiley because she smiled all the time—certainly an appropriate nickname.  She became our pitcher because of her vacuum-like fielding and pinpoint throws to first (note:  at this level, the coaches still pitch to their own batters).  Mia secured our second base position and could wallop the ball.  It seemed you could always depend on her for a couple of RBIs during each game.  Addie became the everyday shortstop and was fearless when scorching grounders came her way.   She always seemed to know what to do in any situation. Hannah M generally played third base.  Unlike Kate, Hannah M did not smile a lot and the team chided her for that.  But boy you should have seen her face when she caught a line drive to secure a victory for the team—grinning from ear to ear!  I must admit that I almost dove from the scorer’s tower onto the field after that catch.

Rylie was the only seven year old on the team but played well beyond her years.  She earned the nickname “Money” because any fly ball within 10-15 yards of her would drop deftly into the center of her glove.  Hannah H had probably the cheeriest disposition of any of the girls.  Nothing seemed to bother her and she played four or five positions with equal aplomb.  Kiley may have been the oldest on the team at the ripe old age of nine and was clearly the steadying influence.  She also played a mean first base.  Like many of the girls, Gabbie played several positions well.  I’ll never forget watching her run the bases with those long legs.  I predict, if she decides to pursue another sport, that she will have a successful career in track and field at the upper levels of that sport.

Christina, like Hannah M, had a quiet, reserved demeanor.  Everyone loved her.  You could just tell she loved playing softball.  Mallory has the face of an angel but fielded like the devil.  Similar to Rylie, Mallory would catch any pop up on the infield or in the outfield and would generally win the pop up contests during the practices.  This ability earned her the nickname of “Pop Up Queen.”  Morgan played multiple positions and played them all very well.  She also could hit some wicked line drives.  Last but not least, Katie.  She played with abandon.  Most of her time was spent in the outfield or behind the plate.  For some reason, she loved to scatter the dirt with her hands or feet while on the infield during practice and sometimes during the games.  Consequently, she earned the nickname, “Dirt Girl.”

The coaches must have been fit to be tied during the first couple of weeks of practice.  The girls would counter a great play with a not-so-great play.  Easy pop ups would be dropped or missed.  Simple grounders would roll under their gloves between their legs. Throws would not come close to their targets and how many times did the coaches have to tell the girls not to run after a ball was caught in the air—“If it’s in the air, you do not dare.”  Sometimes I couldn’t watch, but the coaches, undaunted, would coach on.  Drill after drill—all made fun through some kind of game or competition—strengthened the skills of the girls over time.  Everyone’s fielding, throwing, catching, base running and hitting improved.

As time went on, you could see it their eyes, in their steps, and on their faces.  The girls were genuinely having fun, but more importantly, the girls were bonding.  Dirt Girl, Smiley, Money, Pop Up Queen and all the rest learned to love one another.  They truly enjoyed being around each other.  In fact, they didn’t want practice or the tournaments to end.  None of them complained about a lack of playing time or what position they were playing, as many pros do.  None of them became envious of another.  None of them boasted about being a better player than another.  Oh my, would it possible for this type of behavior to permeate the pro leagues?  I think not.

The girls only won two of the twelve tournament games.  The coaches and parents knew it would be difficult to battle with “A” caliber teams, some having played together for months.  The emphasis was not on winning—what a wonderful concept!  It was on playing the best you could and having fun, and the girls did just that.  Oh, do not be fooled, we all relished the two victories—both against other “B” level teams.  Squeals and cheers of joy emanated from the girls, coaches and parents alike after the two wins.  You would have thought we had just won the seventh game of the World Series.  In fact, we are the first “B” team from our softball organization to ever win two tournament games, and that is indeed something of which to be proud!

These young ladies showed me the pure essence of sports. They played the game for the love of the game, for the camaraderie with their teammates, for the love of their coaches and parents.  Even now, my eyes are tearing up.  How could twelve little girls capture the essence of a team sport like fastpitch softball and my heart?  I don’t know for sure, but they did.  Boy, did they!

Now, I must confess that Dirt Girl is my little daughter and cannot express in words how proud I am of her, dirt and all.  What a wonderful six weeks.  I want to thank the girls, the coaches and the parents for an experience I will never forget, and you know darn well the girls will never forget.  Oh what a joy to watch a game played the way it is supposed to be played.  Cheers to the Thunder, the girls who stole my heart!

Muhammad Ali and Atlanta: A Love Affair for the Ages


The 1960s may arguably be the most tumultuous decade in American history.  The Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the challenge of established cultural norms and mores converged to produce an explosion that changed America forever.  One man and one city epitomized this convergence in 1970 and afterwards a bond formed between the two that would last for decades.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, an 18 year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, won the gold medal in boxing’s light heavyweight class representing the United States in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.  Four years later, Clay defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world.  Secretly, Clay had converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali 18 days before the fight. When drafted by the United States government in 1967 to fight in the Vietnam War, Ali refused his induction into the army declaring himself as a conscientious objector on the basis of his religious beliefs. The United States government arrested Ali, found him guilty of draft evasion, and sentenced him to five years in prison.  This conviction compelled the-then powerful New York State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association to strip Ali of his boxing title.  Ali appealed the draft evasion verdict that would eventually be overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1971.  However for three years no city in the United States would sanction a fight involving Ali, and he could not fight abroad because the government would not let Ali leave while the case worked its way through the court system.  Ali’s fortunes would begin to change in 1970 when a New York corporate attorney, his father-in-law in Atlanta and a Georgia state senator conspired to set up a fight for Ali in Atlanta.

In a 2011 article in The Georgia Historical Quarterly by Paul Stephen Hudson and Lora Pond Mirza, the authors detail how the fight in Atlanta became a reality. Robert Kassell graduated from Emory University Law School and embarked on a career as a corporate attorney in New York. He also had an interest in promoting a fight for Ali.   Kassell consulted with his father-in-law, Harry Pett, who owned a spice business in Atlanta and a small sports promotion enterprise.  Pett knew he needed political help to get the fight sanctioned in Atlanta and had previously met Leroy Johnson, a Georgia state senator.  Johnson promised Pett that he would obtain a license for Ali to fight in Atlanta.

Although Johnson did not have the fame of other African-American legislators at the time, such as Julian Bond, he was “without peer in Southern black politics,” according to New York Times Magazine writer Stephen Lesher.  Johnson became the first African-American to serve in the Georgia legislature since the Reconstruction Era and earned a reputation for his ability to achieve political initiatives while in office.  In the late 1960s, Johnson assumed more political clout as a leader in the Atlanta Negro Voters League and worked closely with African-American businessman Jesse Hill, then vice president and chief actuary of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.  The two invested their money in a venture called the House of Sports, Inc., which promoted the fight.  Johnson later stated that his goal with the Ali fight was “to beat the system and say to the world that you cannot do this to a man just because of his color” (Hudson and Mirza, p. 44).

Johnson helped Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, the city’s first Jewish mayor, win the mayoral election by urging African-American voters to cast their ballots for Massell.  Johnson knew the mayor would support him in his efforts to secure the fight.  Massell had served on local draft boards and understood the laws protecting the rights of conscientious objectors.  Massell also believed in the notion that blacks and whites could work together to further the socioeconomic and political viability of the city.  The state of Georgia had no boxing commission at that time, so politics would decide the fate of an Ali fight in Atlanta.  Johnson secured Massell’s support by pledging $50,000 to fund a program that would pay people for giving information that led to drug arrests and convictions, a pet project of Massell.  With the city’s support, Johnson needed to obtain state support before the fight could be arranged.

Governor Lester Maddox had a reputation as a fierce segregationist.  Johnson met with Maddox and told him that Ali deserved another chance.  This appeal struck a nerve with Maddox.  Maddox’s son, Lester Maddox Jr. had recently been arrested and charged with burglary.  The judge in the case gave the governor’s son a second chance by allowing him to avoid jail time.  Maddox acquiesced to Johnson’s desire to stage an Ali fight in Atlanta.

With the fight officially set for October 26, 1970, the promoters for Ali initially approached current heavyweight champion Joe Frazier to be Ali’s opponent, but Frazier had a conflict.  However, Jerry Quarry, Ring magazine’s number one heavyweight contender, agreed to take on the rusty Ali.  Ali trained at Morehouse College to prepare for the contest with Quarry and worked his way to a trim, rock hard 213.5 pounds.

The fight took place with much fanfare on that fateful October evening at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium (now known as Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall), where both black and white patrons filled the facility.  African-American celebrities came to watch the re-birth of Ali’s career. The audience included Diana Ross, Hank Aaron, Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, and the Temptations.  Let the record state that Ali scored a technical knockout of Quarry after nine minutes of the third round, but the more important result from the evening was the formation of a bond between Muhammad Ali and the city of Atlanta.

The defeat of Quarry and the Supreme Court decision enabled Ali to return to a boxing career that would last into 1981, when he officially retired.  Ali returned to Atlanta in 1975 to help Mayor Maynard Jackson promote businesses owned by African-Americans in Atlanta.  The two squared off in a charity boxing match that ended when the mayor “knocked out” the reigning heavyweight champion.

When the city suffered through a string of child murders from 1979-1981, Ali offered his help.  The pressure was mounting for the capture of the serial killer. In 1981, Mayor Jackson held a news conference pleading for information from the public that would lead to an arrest.  The mayor offered a reward of $100,000.  Days passed with no new leads.  Ali noticed and called Jackson in the middle of the night and pledged another $400,000 of reward money.  A month later, Atlanta police found and arrested the killer.  While Ali’s money did not lead to the arrest, his magnanimous offer further demonstrated his love and appreciation for the city.

Before a fight in 1980 against Larry Holmes, Ali began showing signs of Parkinson’s syndrome.  He began experiencing vocal stutters and trembling hands.  Ali lost the fight by knock out, and according to Mike Hale in a 2009 article in The New York Times, the beating led to the further development of the disease.  Ali fought once more in 1981 losing a decision to Trevor Berbick.  In 1984, doctors officially diagnosed Ali with Parkinson’s, but it would be 1996 before Atlanta and Ali would share the headlines again.

Preparation for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta was entering the final stages.  Billy Payne, CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, needed to decide on someone to light the Olympic flame to begin the Games officially.  Evander Holyfield, former heavyweight boxing champion and local home-town hero, came to mind quickly.  When Payne suggested Holyfield to NBC executive Dick Ebersol, Ebersol countered with Muhammad Ali.  NBC held the television rights to the 1996 Games and Ebersol wanted someone with global appeal.

Ebersol gave Payne a convincing argument, stating that “…Ali may be, outside of perhaps the pope, the most beloved figure in the world.  In the third world he’s a hero.  In the Muslim world, he’s a hero and a fellow traveler.  To anybody young—just about—in the United States, he’s a man of great moral principle who was willing to go to prison” (Sports Business Journal, by Josh Ourand, May 18, 2015, p. 30).

In Payne’s mind, at the time, Ali was a draft dodger.  Ebersol countered that Ali was a man of conviction, not a draft dodger.  The decision process took about five months before Payne finally agreed that Ali was indeed the best person to light the flame.

On July 19, 1996, Holyfield ran the Olympic torch into Centennial Olympic Stadium and handed it to Janet Evans, an American Olympic swimmer.  Evans eventually handed the torch to…Muhammad Ali.  Ali’s appearance had been a heavily guarded secret between Payne and Ebersol.  Even NBC announcers Dick Enberg and Bob Costas did not know until Ali appeared on screen.  When the spotlight shone on Ali holding the torch, people were in awe: “You could almost hear a global gasp,” according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Steve Hummer.

Ali stood with the torch in his right hand, with his left hand clinched and shaking because of the Parkinson’s disease.  For a few anxious moments, Ali held the flaming torch next to the small plug that would send the flame up the long wire to the Olympic cauldron. The plug would not light.  Ali remained steadfast, undaunted.  Finally, the plug lit and the cauldron burst ablaze.  Ali had once again stood victorious before thousands of fans in Atlanta and millions more across the world.  Payne would later state that while he and Ebersol had put Ali back on the world stage, Ali helped put Atlanta on the world stage.  Ali and Atlanta had once again benefited the other.

From the fight with Quarry in 1970, to the charity fight with Mayor Jackson in 1975, to the reward money in the child murder cases in 1981, to the 1996 Olympics, Ali and Atlanta forged a symbiotic relationship and love affair that lasted until Ali’s death.  From all of us in Atlanta, rest in peace, Champ.


CFP Team Facts

CFP Trophy at Ohio State House courtesy of Nheyob

CFP Trophy at Ohio Statehouse courtesy of Nheyob


The 2015 College Football Playoff teams consist of the University of Alabama, Clemson University, Oklahoma University, and Michigan State University; all contain rich football histories. The following contains some facts about each school: first football season, overall record, national championships (Awarded by the Associated Press and/or the designated coaches’ poll at the time. Claimed titles while on probation do not count.), conference titles, consensus All-Americans (players voted first team, second team, or third team by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation), players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame, and Heisman Trophy winners.


  1. Alabama

First Season:                                                    1892

Overall Record:                                               858-309-41

National Championships:                                15

Conference Titles:                                           29

Consensus All-Americans:                              57

College Hall of Famers:                                  24

Heisman Trophy Winners:                              2


  1. Clemson

First Season:                                                    1896

Overall Record:                                               702-455-45

National Championships:                                1

Conference Titles:                                           21

Consensus All-Americans:                              27

College Hall of Famers:                                  6

Heisman Trophy Winners:                              0


  1. Oklahoma

First Season:                                                    1895

Overall Record:                                               860-318-53

National Championships:                                7

Conference Titles:                                           45

Consensus All-Americans:                              76

College Hall of Famers:                                  26

Heisman Trophy Winners:                              5


  1. Michigan State

First Season:                                                    1896

Overall Record:                                               681-440-44

National Championships:                                6

Conference Titles:                                           11

Consensus All-Americans:                              31

College Hall of Famers:                                  12

Heisman Trophy Winners:                              0



Make no mistake about it—blood, sweat, and tears will accompany each of the three games. Fierce battles will take place in the trenches. Spectacular plays will be made on both sides of the ball. The coaches will be on edge and quick to anger. The tension will mount with each play as the games progress. Only one team will walk away victorious. Will it be the Crimson Tide, the Tigers, the Sooners, or the Spartans? It’s time. Let the games begin!