America’s Game

Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending the 116th Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has hosted 86 of these contests and for good reason. It’s hard to argue that any other city in America has a prouder history. It’s America’s first capital, birthplace of the Constitution, and home of the Liberty Bell. It’s also the halfway point between both academies and a great meeting place for fans. I’ve been to over a hundred college football games but walking through the tailgates pre-game gives you emotions unlike any other sporting event. When talking to family members of these cadets and midshipmen you understand that this game is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The rivalry during the game is intense but the comradery that follows is of greater importance. While the majority of college athletes leave school to embark on any number of professions, the graduates of these academies in many instances leave for boot camp. The importance of what comes next is echoed in a pregame invocation by Army Chaplain Matthew Pawlikowski:

“Ready today to happily visit violence to each other, and, if need be, someday, sometime soon, on the enemies of the world so that our citizens, our allies’ citizens, indeed the sane citizens of all countries, can sleep safe and sound in peace”.

Anyone who’s watched the series since the turn of the century can see that the rivalry’s been very one sided. The Naval Academy has beaten the Black Knights in thirteen straight games. This year, with Army entering the game with a 2-9 record and Navy being nationally ranked, it looked like another blow out was coming. Once the Apache helicopters flew overhead and the teams took the field, it was obvious that neither team would get blown out. When Army took a 17-14 lead at the end of the first half it was awesome seeing the cadets go into complete pandemonium. In the end, Army squandered numerous fourth quarter scoring opportunities and fell to the heavily favored Midshipmen 21-17. The moment that will always live in my mind is after the game when both teams sing each other’s alma mater. The respect both institutions have for each other is unmatched and beautiful to see. Overall it was a humbling experience to watch our most courageous and selfless young men compete against each other on a field of play.

To get custom apparel for the United States Naval Academy and other Military institutions check us out at Prep Sportswear!

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Get ready for a MACtion packed Friday!

Tonight’s 2015 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship is a matchup between two teams accustomed to seeing each other in big games. The Bowling Green Falcons and Northern Illinois Huskies face each other in the title game for the 3rd consecutive year. This year’s game serves as the rubber match of the series. Even though both teams have dominated the MAC in recent years, the momentum going into tonight’s game couldn’t be more different.

Northern Illinois fans are starting to become very accustom to seeing their Huskies in the MAC championship game. They’ve represented the West Division for an astonishing six straight years. This year, it is doubtful Husky nation is as confident as the previous five outings. After losing two starting quarterbacks earlier in the season, coach Rod Carey will send out true Freshman walk-on Tommy Fiedler. Fiedler made his collegiate debut in a loss to Ohio last weekend. To beat the heavily favored Falcons, Northern Illinois will have to lean on the MAC’s leading rusher, Joel Bouagnon. Even if Bouagnon plays like he has all season it’ll be tough slowing down an offense scoring over 44 points a game!

In his second season as head coach, Dino Barbers has the Falcon’s rolling going into tonight’s championship game. Bowling Green has won eight of nine games and already knocked out multiple big name schools. The Falcons have already won road games this season against Maryland and Purdue making them 3-1 against the BIG 10, under coach Barbers. Like their MAC rival, Bowling Green is also lead by running back Travis Greene. Greene has been extremely effective in his college career averaging 5.6 yards per rush as a Falcon. Will the Falcons take the Huskies place as leaders of the MAC or will Northern Illinois solidify their dominance with an upset win?

 

To get custom apparel for these two schools or other College’s check out our Campus Team Shop!

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Top 10 Unique College Mascots

One of the greatest and oldest college traditions is the mascot. Often seen pacing the sidelines these characters of all shapes and sizes are critical for keeping fan moral high!  Mascots don’t just represent a school’s sports teams, but also the history and tradition of the institution. At Prep Sportswear we love clever mascots and Custom College Fan Gear, these are our favorites!

10. Southern Arkansas MuleridersThe Mulerider mascot of Southern Arkansas traces its history over 100 years. In the early 1900’s automobiles were scarce in the rural South which resulted in residents using other forms of transportation. The young men of the football team commonly used Mule’s for transportation around campus. One evening in 1912 the players arrived at their head coach’s house for a team dinner. Legend has it, while the riders dismounted, Coach Turrentine shouted to his players, “My Mule Riders!”

9. Henderson State Reddies- The school was originally nicknamed the “Reds” for their bright sports Jerseys. The name eventually shifted to “Reddies” and became the student body mantra. After a fire in 1914 almost destroyed the entire campus students had to decide if they wanted to transfer or rebuild the school. The decision to rebuild shows the “Reddie” spirit at its best!

8. Stetson HattersI can’t imagine many Stetson cowboy hat fans realize what’s on their head also represents a universities mascot. John B. Stetson, maker of the well-known hats, was named chairman of the board of Trustees in 1889. When the school fielded its first football team in 1901 they used the nickname Hatters and it’s still in use today.

7. New Orleans Privateers- Even though a Privateer might look like a pirate, they are two different identities with a very interesting history. Privateer was a term used for pirates pardoned by the U.S government in the 1800’s. After being pardoned these Privateers would go back out on the open seas to capture other pirates still pillaging.

6. Wichita State Shockers- Shockers is a great mascot because it’s so unique to the schools tradition and geography. Shocking is used to describe the process farmer’s use to harvest wheat. Early students would earn their tuition by shocking the nearby fields. Combine the name with the big yellow wheat design and it makes for an awesome mascot!

5. Campbell Fighting Camels- What a name! Camels are already one of the most unusual creatures in the animal kingdom. When you add “Fighting” to the equation, it makes for one of the funnier mascots in college athletics. If only a real Camel was able to energize fans at half time.

4. Evergreen State Geoducks- First and foremost let’s explain what a Geoduck is. Geoducks are enlarged Salt water clams native to the west coast of North America. This small school in the Pacific Northwest likes to beat to their own drum. Fight on Geoducks!

3. Saint Louis BillikensThe Billiken mascot was created over a hundred years ago by a Kansas City art teacher. This chubby, Buddha-like figure, with pixie ears was a rock star from the start and quickly caught on with SLU’s athletics. This loveable mascot will put a smile on your face and maybe even give you good luck.

2. Trinity Christian Trolls- This might come as a surprise but, Trinity Christian College in Illinois, is the only College in the country with a Troll mascot. The origin of the nickname is still unclear but Trolls have been spotted under a bridge near campus which has furthered the legend. Never has being called a Troll been such an honor.

1. UC Irvine Anteaters- If you want a clever mascot, allow your students the ability to submit whatever options they want. In 1965, the student body sided with “Peter the Anteater”! These far-out creatures live up to their name by eating up to 30,000 ants a day! Well done UC Irvine, you have come up with the most unique mascot college has to offer!

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