Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State

Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State

The best college game day spots in the Appalachian state

The college football world descends on its current beleaguered capital—Boone, North Carolina, home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.


The Mountaineers won three consecutive FCS national championships between 2005 and 2007. However, they may be best known for their wins against Power 5 teams.

In 2007, the Mountaineers defeated the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines to open the season. Last week, it was the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies who suffered an upset.

The Aggies are featured in what could have been the game of the week with the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes traveling to College Station. Three other top-11 teams are on the road. The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs face the South Carolina Gamecocks, the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans play the Washington Huskies, and the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners will go to Lincoln to renew their rivalry with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State
Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State

But the Sun Belt (aka the Fun Belt) takes center stage. For the Troy Trojans, they will take on the Mountaineers, and, for the first time, it’s college game day. On Friday, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that local office supply stores were out of posters. Brian Fisher of Fox Sports reported that one of the reasons behind the decline is that Appalachian State is offering a one-year full scholarship to the best signee.


COLUMBIA, S.C. — While the rest of the college sports world spent the summer of 2022 squabbling over a myriad of issues that threatened to end our beloved sports, the University of South Carolina athletics department and supporters found themselves embroiled in many different names, image, and likeness debates. A winged one.

Over four chicken weeks, the Gamecocks’ live mascot, a regular red-winged, black-breasted Old English rooster, went from Sir Big Spur to Cock Commander (sort of) to a bunch of other names we’ve already forgotten. Again for Sir Big Spur, just in time for the college football season. When his cockiness entered Williams-Bryce Stadium to take his place with Yoga the Bulldog for Saturday’s Week 3 home game against crosstown rival Georgia, it was the apathy of the poultry that caused him so much grief for that plumage. All the names that led to creation seem to have finally been done away with. To settle down or have it?

Join us for this exclusive investigative report from, as we follow the three-finger-forward and one-finger-back feeds and tell-tale tracks. Let’s call it … Claw and Order.


University of South Carolina Athletic Department

Columbia, SC

at 9 a.m. August 2, 2022

When South Carolina athletic administrators arrived at work on Tuesday, Aug. 2, they were greeted by a story in the Charleston Post and Courier, written by longtime GameCox beat writer David Cloninger, titled “No more Sir Big Spur? Controversy on GameCox Live. “Mascot ruffles feathers.”

These administrators were already aware of the encroachment surrounding the iconic bird, which as of a day ago had prevented them from using the rooster’s name for more than 20 years. From the Men’s College World Series and the NCAA Women’s Final Four to College Game Day with Le Corso and after last year’s Mayo Bowl over Duke, Sir Big Spur headlines every Game Cox sporting event by football coach Shane Beamer. I had become a constant, er, staple. North Carolina

But legally, that gamecock was now nameless. People in the building knew him for 24 hours. Now everyone else also knew.

“I’ve spent time coaching fires and breaking news about jobs and written a lot of real, deep stories that I’m proud of,” Cloninger said. “But the story that everyone will remember was about a chicken.”

In this story, Cloninger detailed a feud between two South Carolina couples, the original Sir Big Spur handlers and the couple who had taken over two years earlier, with whom they were now fighting.


Serge Fryfield

Columbia, SC

Spring 1999

At first, the sight of a rooster roosting above the ballpark dugout caught GameCox baseball fans off guard. But as the innings and games and weeks went by, those fans not only embraced the high-footed bird, they simply went nuts when he didn’t. It was head coach Ray Tanner’s third season at Columbia, and his squad made a run for the SEC East Division title.

“I wasn’t so sure when they started talking about a bird at the ballpark,” Tanner remarked back in 1999. But it seems like every time he’s here, we win. So, bring him on! “

It was a dinner with Tanner that landed Rooster the gig in the first place. As part of the fundraiser, Mary Snelling and her husband, Ron Albertelli, of Aiken, South Carolina, won a private dinner with the baseball coach. During the meal, Snelling explained to Tanner that he had received a rooster from his father, who had given him the bird on the recommendation of a friend who was known to have been involved in some illegal cockfights. He used to participate, which was not very difficult at that time. Find out in Upstate South Carolina. By the time the Rooster was allowed on the field, Tanner was on board. So for seven springs, the Roosters chased the baseball team, including three straight trips to the College World Series in Omaha.

Despite his devotion to hardball, the bird named the gridiron, Cookie Doodle Lou, after then-head football coach Lou Holtz. But realizing that football coaches don’t last forever, Snelling and Albertelli changed the moniker to Sir Big Spur. In 2006, at the request of the athletic department, Sir Big Spur stepped into football. He’s been there ever since, sired by Sir Big Spur I to Sir Big Spur VI, working through the paws of six different Gamecocks, all raised and trained by the couple on their 28-acre farm outside Aiken. are The arrival of a rooster atop his remote-controlled roaster, custom-made by Albertelli, causes Williams-Bryce to explode as if Spencer Rattler had just thrown a touchdown pass.

The University of South Carolina has never owned or maintained Sir Big Spur. He never paid Snelling and Albertelli for their efforts, apart from some help with travel expenses.

“It’s not about the money,” Albertelli remarked to ESPN in 2010. “It’s about our passion for the games and delivering pride to a very proud fan base and sportsmen.”

However, some copyright and trademark agreements were signed. Most notably, the bird’s shared nickname, created by the couple but widely used by the university, For years, Sir Big Spur has retained key legal counsel in Charleston’s Joe Rice, a GameCox superfan, following the massive settlement with Big Tobacco and the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. most known

The most recent contract between Albertelli, Snelling,, and South Carolina was set to expire on August 1, 2022.

Williams-Bryce Stadium

Columbia, SC

April 16, 2022.

The Gamecocks were on the field for their annual garnet and the black spring game. The lower part of the stadium was packed with more than 20,000 fans. The buzz carried over from Rattler, the high-profile transfer QB, carried the buzz in place, as did dozens of former Carolina players, from 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rodgers to current NFL star Debo Samuel.

Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State
Best signs from College GameDay at Appalachian State

But the most popular photo op was with Sir Big Spur VII, the latest in South Carolina’s history of live mascots. His predecessor died in early spring, at an estimated age of 12. Poor Big Spur VI had endured more than its ancestors. He was forced to stay home for the entire 2020 season due to the COVID-19 protocol. Moreover, at the end of the 2019 season, he changed homes and handlers.

Beth and Van Clark are students and retired educators from South Carolina. They live in Edgefield, South Carolina, which is located near the Georgia state line, about half an hour from Augusta National and about the same distance north of Aiken. Van Clark first encountered Sir Big Spur and Albertelli during a trip to Aiken. They killed him. So did their wives. Snelling and Albertelli were considering retiring as Spur handlers. At one point, they tried to take over the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, but the zoo owner said no. He was a Clemson graduate.

Instead, they recruited Clark and immediately pressed him into service in the season-ending Clemson game. The newbies kept to themselves and got down to work.

After the death of Spur VI, the Clarks began bringing three roosters to Gamecock sporting events. These birds were not reared by Snelling and Albertelli. These were Clark’s first native candidates. Each appearance was an audition. How did each rooster react to the crowd? Does it make a noise? To play the role of the literal chicken of Walk’s Columbia? All three Roosters were featured heavily on social media during the baseball season. The Chosen One, the new Sir Spur VII, debuted in the Spring Game, live on the SEC Network.

Each photo that was posted or broadcast made Snelling and Albertelli angrier and angrier. While the rest of Gamecock Nation saw a magnificent bird ready for battle, they saw something that made them ready for their battle. Sir Big Spur’s head was not clean-shaven. It had a bright red comb.

Snelling thought to himself, and then out loud to Cloninger in the Post and Courier, that the new Sir Big Spur didn’t look like Sir Big Spur at all.

“He looks like Barney the Barnyard Rooster.”


The Archipelago of Saint Lazarus

The Kingdom of Taytay

Philippine Islands

22 March 1521.

During Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, the Portuguese explorer and his crew were the first to witness the batting game that had existed in different corners of the world for centuries, cockfighting. A century later, in a British how-to handbook, the term “game cock” was coined, which was eventually abbreviated to “game cock.”

As the sport developed (a relative term at best), those who trained roosters to fight adopted a practice now known as “dubbing,” which involves clipping or removing the bird’s comb. According to modern poultry expert and author of “The Chicken Encyclopedia,” Gail Demrow, the comb is defined as: “A fleshy crown-like protrusion on the head of a hen, usually more prominent than in hens.” In other words, the big red floppy thing on top of the rooster’s head.

Combs serve a really important purpose. Chickens don’t sweat, so the comb acts as a kind of radiator. The bird’s blood fills the fleshy organ—thus the bright red colour—expelling heat into the air and then returning, refreshed and cooled, to the body. It can get infected, damaged, or diseased just like any other organ. In these cases, it may be partially or completely removed.

Many who took part in the sport—now illegal in all 50 US states—practiced dabbing to avoid excessive bleeding. Because of this stigma, to dub or not to dub is a source of intense debate in the livestock industry today.

It turns out the debate extends to the world of live mascots as well.


A chicken coop

Edgefield, S.C.

August 1, 2022

Clarke deliberately chose to leave the comb over the heads of his Sir Big Spur candidates, citing the decision not to dub as being in the best interests of their health. He pointed to Columbia’s notoriously hot streets and the overheated sidelines of Williams-Brice Stadium, where daytime temperatures typically stay in the 80s during the college football season. Their supporters point to the abundance of rooster combs that adorn Carolina games wherever they are played and celebrated, from the official athletics logo above the bird’s head to the giant statue outside the main entrance to Williams-Bryce Stadium. Even the statue of Gamecock is visible.

However, their Avery ancestors took issue. Why? Because it didn’t appear right to them, Albertelli is particularly indicated. In August, he questioned the toughness of the chicken, lamenting “making gamecocks chicken” and talking about “making gamecocks dumb”.

His demand was simple. As long as he saw the rooster roaming Colombia without a comb, he held onto the name Sir Big Spur, which was within his legal rights until August 1, 2022. Best signs from College

The University of South Carolina opens the co-op gate to new nickname ideas. His list was an entry, and after much discussion, university officials believed they had a suitable replacement. The problem was that people had other ideas.

Newsroom Best signs from College


Columbia, SC

August 24, 2022

Dwayne McLemore is a son of Myrtle Beach and a proud graduate of the South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He interned at the Daily Gamecock, one of America’s most prestigious student publications, while in college.

McLemore had read with great interest Sir Big Spur’s August 2 story by former colleague David Cloninger. Shortly after, he receives a tip that the school has not decided to fight Albertelli and will soon announce a new name for its Combed Live mascot.

So, he assigned the newest member of the state sports department to sum up the Sir Big Spur controversy. Jeremiah Holloway had just graduated from another Carolina, the University of North Carolina, and he dutifully knocked out a 300-word refresher on the name mess.

And then he added an online poll.

It seemed innocent enough.

“We circulated it across the newsroom for suggestions, and we received some good ones,” McLemore continued.”We’ve all lived in South Carolina long enough to know that Gamecocks can have improper It almost always does.

Then Sarah Ellis suggested “Cock Commander.” Best signs from College



At The Daily Gamecock

Columbia, SC

Nov 18, 2004

Sarah Ellis, now enterprise editor and reporter at The State, was on the staff of The Daily Gamecock until she graduated from South Carolina in 2014. He, like McLemore and anyone else who had ever worked on a student paper, had heard the myth. Even a decade later, it was a good laugh and a cautionary tale.

The story goes that it was Clemson week, so stress levels were high and sleep hours were low. The cover photo for the next morning’s paper was a dramatic shot of Kaki, the school’s lifeless mascot, with his felt arms outstretched as a Clemson Tiger, blazed behind him. Best signs from College

For those who don’t know, when newspaper and magazine pages are initially designed, the first words are placed in the places where the stories and descriptions will come to life, usually dummy lines. They can be a bunch of Xs or nothing more than a random string of letters and words, with nothing to measure it and hold down the space until the actual words are written and stored.

That night, the layout editor felt inspired. very impressed. So he wrote the following words under the apocalyptic pheasant:

“I am the co-commander. All other roosters must bow to the cock commander. “You soya el cock commander.”

The editors realized that they had sent their newspaper to the printer and had forgotten to change the dummy caption.

It was too late. Best signs from College

The next morning, University of South Carolina students rushed to newsstands across Columbia for Friday’s edition of the Daily Gamecock, and there were those three lines with the photo.



August 25, 2022

Just as it was too late to stop Cock Commander in 2004, it is too late to stop it in 2022.

But then Poole was picked up by some national college football writers and they posted it because of Cock Commander. Because I wrote the story with Poole, I was copied on Twitter. Because of that, I knew based on what I saw. It was getting a lot of attention.

a lot of attention, as in 18,869 votes. That’s a lot for an online newspaper sports survey. A total of 78% of those votes—14,760 in total—went to Cock Commander. The next closest was Click Norris with 7% and 1,408 votes. None of the other nine options (Marco Polo, Cock-a-Doodle-David, Booster, etc.) came close to a thousand votes. Best signs from College

“You spend your whole life around this school as I have, and you get used to the jokes about nicknames,” Cloninger said of the skyrocketing survey.

The phone started ringing in the athletic department. Some called to confirm the name. They had to explain that the pool was not affiliated with the university. Others, people of great importance to the school, called to express their embarrassment and wanted to know what was being done to remedy it. They were told that a savior was on the way, arriving by tidings … and horseback.


The University of South Carolina

Athletic Department Offices

Columbia, SC

August 29, 2022, at 2 p.m.

When the state posted its poll, it included the nickname “The General,” and in retrospect, it wasn’t random.

Sources indicated that the university authorities had already chosen the name to fill the gap left by Sir Big Spur. By the time the decision was made official on Monday, August 29, the week of South Carolina’s football season opener, the newspaper polls had closed and the Generals were in sixth place with just 2% of the vote.

The next morning, the aftermath of the announcement was still reverberating. The name certainly didn’t gain any momentum when Rattler was also asked about the rooster’s new name and replied, “I thought it was Cock Commander, to be honest.”

The rationale for the new name (besides avoiding legal maneuvers around the bird’s previous owners) was explained by Eric Nichols, South Carolina’s deputy athletics director.

Patriot Brigadier General Thomas Sumter led a militia of 1,000 soldiers during the Revolutionary War. He became known as the “Fighting Gamecock”, a backhanded compliment given to him by the British, with whom he terrorized the South Carolina countryside. His greatest victory was achieved when he also covered up the bullet wounds all over his body. The thing is, the OG General Gamecock was tough—just not tough enough to stop Sir Big Spur. Best signs from College


Unknown location

South Carolina

September 1, 2022

At some point, a meeting was held that included Mary Snelling and Ron Albertelli, Beth and Van Clark, and other South Carolina athletic administrators, mediated by the man beloved by all Gamecocks, Ray Tanner, who has been at the university since 2012. He is the athletic director of Best signs from College

Details are not and will probably never be made public.

On the afternoon of September 1st, just 48 hours before the college football season began, it was announced that the Generals were no more. Sir Big Spur was once again the name of the living mascot.

And when that gamecock rode into Williams-Bryce Stadium Saturday evening, he was without a comb.

Some believe that Sir Big Spur VII may be VIII, the undubbed cockerel raised by Clarke being replaced by a comb bird previously developed by Snelling and Albertelli before he knew that they would delegate their responsibilities. Best signs from College

All parties involved are locking horns, as the official terms of their ceasefire have been finalized.

But one thing is certain. It’s a weekend when everyone—from former to current handlers, from the students in the student section wearing bootleg Cock Commander T-shirts to the guys in the suite who made sure that that name would never have a chance—put their differences aside. They will band together and concentrate their efforts on the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs coming to town. Best signs from College

They’ll bounce to “Sandstorm,” sing “We Heal Thee Carolina,” and work to heal the wounds they suffered that summer with a birdie.

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