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Even football cannot escape technology


Mariah Smith/Extension Center for Technology Outreach



As Southerners at the start of the 2012 football season, it seems only fitting that we dedicate a little time to discussing technology and football. Most of my friends have their priorities in this order: football, tailgating and technology. 


I am a tried and true Mississippi State University football fanatic, and I think it's hard to beat the cowbell app for Android and iPhone. The Bulldog faithful can download that app for free from Google Play. Simply shake your phone to imitate the cowbell or tap the football roster button to see who made the big play. 


Even if you are not "True Maroon," though, there is plenty of technology to go around. I tried to find a similar app for Ole Miss, but I could not find a free black bear roaring app. There is a generic black bear sound app available for 99 cents from the Google Play site. 


Other apps let you listen to games on your mobile devices. Try College Football Radio for 99 cents or see if your university offers the service for a small fee. For example, Southern Miss has a listen live app available for 99 cents. CBS Sports mobile app and the WatchESPN app allow you to stream the game to your mobile device. Those of us in the Southeastern Conference who miss the big game can slide on over to and watch the game 24 hours after it was originally played. 




Tailgate apps 


If someone shows up at your tailgate with an unusual meat to throw on the grill, consider downloading the Grill-It! app for 99 cents. It will tell you how to grill everything from vegetables to lobster tails. Seriously, when certain universities come to town, is anyone ever really sure what their fans are grilling? 


If you want to know how long potato salad will keep when it's out of the refrigerator, be sure to "Ask Karen." That is a live video chat feature from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at This feature is available only Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  


If you are at the game and have questions about food safety, check out the mobile app available from (The answer to the potato salad question is not more than hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees and two hours max, just in case you need to know.) 


European football, or soccer, as we Yanks call it here in the states, is in the process of introducing goal line technology. This technology has two very different approaches. The first approach uses multiple cameras at the goal to track the ball. An encrypted radio signal is sent to the officials if the ball crosses the line. This type of technology is also used at sporting events like Wimbledon. The second approach uses an embedded chip in the ball that activates once it crosses the signal places at the goal line. Many people think American football will eventually introduce chips into the footballs to determine where the ball is when the player's knee goes down. 


From the yellow first-down marker to players' shirts and helmets, technology is finding its place in America's favorite pastime. Soon we may even be able to blame bad calls on technology.



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