<
>

Bear Bryant is no Crocodile Dundee

10/31/2011

BATON ROUGE, LA. -- Paul "Bear" Bryant has a special place in not just SEC but national college football lore.

The legendary Alabama head coach still has godlike status in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and his name is synonymous with greatness throughout the entire South.

Knowing about Bryant's achievements in college football is like knowing what Michael Jordan did with the Chicago Bulls. College football and Bear Bryant go hand-in-hand.

He literally was football. Heck, the man died 28 days after he retired from coaching.

That said, there is at least one person around these parts who isn't so sure who Bryant was or how much he meant to the game. When asked if he knew about Bryant, LSU punter Brad Wing sat back cautiously, looking around like he knew Bryant had to be important, but just wasn't comfortable saying he knew anything about him.

"Sounds familiar, but should I know?" Wing uttered.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Wing delivered such a stunning answer with him living most of his life on the other side of the planet. Wing came to LSU last year after playing 15 years of Aussie Rules Football in Melbourne, Australia.

Members of the media gladly gave him a quick history lesson on Bryant. Wing seemed impressed, but you could tell that it was something that didn't necessarily mean all that much to him.

Wing even delivered a bit of a chuckle when a reporter joked that Bryant was "no Crocodile Dundee."

So who is the Bear Bryant of Aussie Rules Football? Well, Wing said that would be Leigh Matthews, who won 255 from 1987-2008. That's almost 100 less than what Bryant finished with, but Matthews certainly has some major clout in his sport. He went 17-9-1 in Finals and the Leigh Matthews Trophy, which is appropriately named after him, is given annually to the Most Valuable Player in the Australian Football League.

He might not exactly be on Bryant's level, but Wing said Matthews is very much a legend where he comes from.

"He won like four Premierships in a row," Wing said.