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Sewanee puffs out chest with historic title

During the 1899 college football season, the University of the South, aka, Sewanee, outscored its opponents 322-10, including five victories in six days over Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, LSU and Ole Miss.

So it should come as little surprise that the 1899 Sewanee squad recently beat the 1961 Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Hall of Fame’s March of the Gridiron Champions, a 16-team playoff (what a novel idea!) to determine the best team in college football history by a fan vote.

Led by running back Henry “Diddy” Seibels (Puff Daddy to his friends), Sewanee beat Alabama in similar fashion to previous opponents -- the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1947 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and 1974 Oklahoma Sooners). Which is to say, they stuffed the ballot box.

In fan voting on Facebook, the Tigers of Sewanee (nicknamed the “Iron Men”) crushed Nebraska, 1,213-23; buried Notre Dame, 612-14; routed Oklahoma, 412-11; and rolled Alabama, 684-88.

Members of the 1899 Sewanee team were unavailable for comment, but current Tigers coach Tommy Laurendine said he was proud to carry the mantle for such a storied program. He also said he would like to set up a contest between the current Alabama and Sewanee teams.

“In a two-hand touch game as a fund-raiser,” said Laurendine, whose 2011 team went 5-5 in Division III. “Of course, all the funds would go to the Sewanee football program. I don’t think our budget compares to the one in Tuscaloosa.”