Bartow getting early look at pigskin prognostications
by David Royal
Aug 03, 2014 | 1128 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
College and professional football fans in Bartow County will get an early preview of their favorite teams next week while helping the Etowah Scholarship Foundation raise scholarship monies.

The pigskin analysis — which will feature indepth looks at Georgia and Georgia Tech football prospects — occurs Thursday as part of “Tailgating for a Cause,” which starts at 6 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, according to Hershel Wisebram of Cartersville, who founded the event.

“It’s been successful for six years,” Wisebram said. “We’ve raised almost $200,000 for scholarships in that time.”

The scholarships go to students from Bartow County.

The panel of football experts includes:

— Tony Barnhart, known as “Mr. College Football” and author of “Southern Fried Football.”

Barnhart, an analyst with CBS for four seasons, is switching to the new SEC TV network, where he will carry out similar duties.

— Wes Durham, sportscaster for Fox Sports South who does radio play-by-play for the Atlanta Falcons.

“Durham does the play-by-play TV for the Fox Sports South Game of the Week in the SEC,” Wisebram said. “He did Georgia Tech football and basketball for years.”

— Scott Howard, sportscaster for the Georgia Bulldogs.

“Tailgating for a Cause” raises money for the Etowah Scholarship Foundation in a number of ways. The gathering draws about 500 people who purchase tickets and are feted at the conference center and then listen to the analysts.

Wisebram said those listeners also get to question the analysts, adding that is a popular feature.

“The analysts like that because they don’t want to make a speech anyway,” he said.

He said listeners will get a run down on the national championship hunt as well as the likely winners of the different conferences.

“The listeners like to question the analysts so they can learn about their own schools,” he said. “I know we’ll have Tennessee fans there. They haven’t been competitive in six or seven years, but they have a new coach they are excited about.”

He said the timing of the event is good, too.

“It’s three weeks before the first SEC game,” he noted. “That game is Aug. 28 and they get a head start on the college football season. It’s also a fun event.”

He said a live auction and a silent auction also are part of the fundraising event.

Food is prepared by Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse.

He said this year’s auction will feature a personalized football from Herschel Walker.

“After they buy the football,” Wisebram said, “it will be sent to Herschel, who then personalizes it. If your daddy was a fan in Herschel’s day, you can have him put your dad’s name on the ball.

“We will do the same with a baseball. Hank Aaron will sign and personalize it.”

Wisebram said he has one of those baseballs on hand.

“He did it for my wife and I will have her baseball to show a sample,” he added.

Wisebram said Georgia Bulldog head coach Mark Richt also is to personalize a football but cautioned the time frame for getting that ball back is much longer.

“Mark Richt doesn’t do autographs like these during the season,” he said. “College football coaches work as many as 80 hours a week in season and the recipients are more likely to get it back around Christmas.”

It’s not just sports items that are being auctioned.

“We have two nights at Reid Ridge Inn in the Georgia mountains in October,” he said. “This will include dinners at two outstanding restaurants.

“We have a moonlight cruise and dinner on a 38-foot luxury yacht on Lake Allatoona, numerous gift cards from local restaurants, and an aerial tour of Bartow County in a twin-engine plane.”