Monday, August 2, 2010

Iconic Shot: The 1899 Sewanee Tigers

(click to enlarge)
Amid the earliest era of college football in which most schools played eight games or less per season, the above-pictured team from Sewanee, a small Episcopal university nestled in the mountainous Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, ran the table like no other school, before or since, compiling an undefeated 12-0 record while outscoring their opponents by a combined 322-10.

The '99 Iron Men are most noted for what remains, some 110 years later, the most impressive road trip in college football history, as team manager Luke Lea -- for reasons unknown to anyone -- scheduled a grueling six-day, 2,500-mile journey against five "big name" opponents: Texas, Texas A&M (in Houston), Tulane, Louisiana State, and Ole Miss (in Memphis).

From November 9-14, The University of the South (as Sewanee is officially known) not only won all five road games, but the rugged Tennesseans prevented each opponent from scoring at all.  In fact, Auburn was the only team that managed to score against Sewanee all season.  However, despite the Tigers' impressive resume', Harvard and Princeton were declared co-national champions for the 1899 season.

Those Ivy League boys are lucky the men from Tennessee didn't schedule a second road trip for the northeast.  That could've been nasty.

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