In a story on the Time magazine website, James C. Cobb, Franklin College's B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in the History of the American South, knocked the message of a sports T-shirt slogan that was raising eyebrows before the BCS football championship game between Notre Dame and the University of Alabama.
The T-shirt, created by an entrepreneur without ties to either school, referred to the title game as "Catholics vs. Cousins." The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic institution. The cousins part presumably comes from the tired stereotype that Southerners engage in incest. A cartoonish hillbilly drawn in Alabama crimson and white accompanied the slight.
"It's not only ignorant, it's wrong," said Cobb in the article.
He added that these kind of jokes were part of the reason that fans of Alabama's SEC rivals, including UGA Bulldogs fans, rooted for the Crimson Tide.
"Southern loyalties in games like these trump intraregional hostilities," said Cobb. "The SEC is more than a football conference. It's a manifestation of regional identity."