For the second consecutive year the Shriners are bringing their postseason college football all-star game to the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium. The 84th edition of the East-West Shrine Game will be played on Saturday, January 17, 2009, with the kick-off set for 3:00 and the game to be televised by ESPN 2.
This year's game will be coached by Bobby Ross and Gene Stallings. Ross, who will be the coach of the East team, is the former coach of the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions (he coached the Chargers to their only Super Bowl) as well as The Citadel, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Army. The West squad is coached by Gene Stallings, the former coach at Texas A&M and Alabama, the NFL's St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals. He was also a longtime assistant to Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys.
But the reason to see the Shrine Game isn't the coaches. It's the players. And over the years, the game has showcased some of the finest college football players ever produced. Sixty-two Shrine Game alums have gone on to be inducted into the NFL's Hall of Fame. Former big names from the Shrine Game include Dick Butkus, Joe Green, Gale Sayers, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page, Gene Washington, Ollie Matson, Lenny Moore, Forrest Gregg, Carl Eller, Randy White, Paul Warfield, Bob Lilly, Raymond Berry, Tom Matte, Gino Marchetti, Eddie LeBarron and Craig Morton.
The rosters for this year game are still being finalized, but Rice's all-world receiver Jarett Dillard has committed to the West squad, making this his final college football game. And 44 players from last year's game were drafted by the NFL back in April. So this might be just the chance to do some scouting and see just which player the Texans should draft.
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Tickets are currently on sale through Ticketmaster, and prices range from five to 50 dollars. Proceeds from ticket sales are used to help fund the Shriners Hospitals for Children, which are located throughout the country, including Houston and Galveston. -- John Royal