The college football bowl season has nearly reached its pinnacle, with the undefeated Clemson Tigers beating the Oklahoma Sooners 37-17 in the Orange Bowl and the Alabama Crimson Tide destroying the Michigan State Spartans 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl. Alabama and Clemson will travel all the way to Arizona for the championship game. Despite those two shellackings, the worst loser may have been ESPN, as ratings for the two semifinal games plunged by more than a third from last year. [more inside]
Former NFL quarterback and current Fox Sports college football analyst Joey Harrington reflects on his NFL career.
The second annual College Football Playoff teams have been announced, and there are no surprises: Clemson vs. Oklahoma, Alabama vs. Michigan State. [more inside]
After several high-profile incidents of overt racism at the University of Missouri, the student organization Concerned Student 1950 (named after the first year that African-American students were allowed to enroll at UM) held protests and demanded the resignation of Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System. Graduate student Jonathan Butler started a hunger strike, and student members of the football team have boycotted all team activities until Wolfe resigns. [more inside]
Broke: A moving essay about poverty, fairness, and college football.
The college football season kicks off in earnest tomorrow night (though the first game and first upset have already happened) when the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech take on the Alcorn State Braves. [more inside]
"From the pictures and videos that accompany the NBC News and Buzzfeed stories, the crowd appears to have been predominantly white... which explains why they're described in the media as 'celebrating' rather than 'rioting'. But every time this happens – that is to say, every time sports fans, predominantly of the white variety, go on rampages after wining (or losing) various championships – many of us with a few gray hairs on our heads are reminded of the Clash's seminal punk anthem, 'White Riot,' which was released as a 7-inch single (that would be on vinyl, kids) in March 1977, and was later included on both the UK and the US versions of the band's debut album, The Clash." Whites Riot: That’s Not What Joe Strummer Had in Mind, by David Von Ebers (TwiB! / Valid magazine).
The first Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will be played on December 26 at Tropicana Field between N.C. State and UCF. The bitcoin processor BitPay bought the naming rights, paying for the deal in the virtual currency, and the event has grown beyond the game. A nearby town in a "Bitcoin Beach" initiative convinced 65 percent of its businesses to accept the currency, touting no transacation fees or chargebacks as incentive. Five bitcoin ATMs will be installed at the game and concessions will take it as payment. A sign that this isn't all bitvana, from the Tampa Tribune: "A downside to the coin is that its value fluctuates. But BitPay has offered area merchants the opportunity to accept it from customers and then receive the exact dollar amount of the transaction back into their bank accounts."
Hatin' Ass Spurrier has nothing to do with Steve Spurrier, the always colorful Head Ball Coach at the University of South Carolina. Hatin' Ass Spurrier does, however, channel the same spirit that Spurrier has brought to college football ever since he first put on a Gators jersey in 1963. Hatin' Ass Spurrier reviews the Saturday action once per week during football season, thanks to the surprisingly literate blog Every Day Should Be Saturday. [more inside]
"Bottom line: if you're successful in landing a player who is in turn successful on the field, and you can't abide people not knowing you had a hand in the process, you're in the wrong field of athletic support."
The NLRB has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are college employees and can form a union. [more inside]
At 3 pm EST, the BLACK KNIGHTS of WEST POINT will meet the MIDSHIPMEN of the NAVAL ACADEMY in PHILADELPHIA. It is the 114th time since the two teams first met, in 1890. Navy leads the series, 57-49, and after an 11 year winning streak, spirits are running high... [more inside]
The new College Football Playoff's selection committee has been officially unveiled, and it includes revered coaches, revered players (and fathers of revered players), a three-star general and even a college professor you may have heard of. [more inside]
Manifesto: People’s Union of American College Football: Make American Football Strong Like Bull, Smart Like Tractor. Under former capitalist system, American college football very unfair. Only few teams is climbing to top of heap, and is making all the money, especially more dollars on the television contract. Best, powerful teams is playing cupcake opponent, then flying across country to form conference alliance with faraway team, while also ignoring strong opponent right over next hill. People’s Union of American College Football is creating much better system. Each team is playing best quality opponents throughout season. Each team is being organized by geography, and must fight way out of home District to qualify for national playoff. Champion is last team standing, and is TRUE champion over all other teams in whole country.
On the last day of August, Arkansas will kick off against Louisiana-Lafayette, and Bielema will step to the sideline for the first time in this new conference. Hog calls will echo above and around him. The stadium will rumble with Week 1's blind optimism. The temperature will be warmer, the athletes faster, and the expectations higher. There will be more tailgaters, sundresses, and reporters. For now, on this practice field, every rep is geared toward preparing for that moment, when Bielema will begin to answer the question of just what the hell he's doing down here.Via Grantland.
"We may be regarded as villains, as traitors, as anything under the sun, but the proof for those titles is yet to be given with any reasonable argument. What also has not been given is reason for pity or applause, neither of which I deserve or desire in this matter." - An Interview with former Arkansas and USC quarterback Mitch Mustain, following the airing of the Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain documentary at the Little Rock Film Festival. A review of the film. Previously.
In 2005, he was considered the finest high school football player in the country. Heavily recruited, the quarterback was sought after by Notre Dame, Alabama, and the school just down the road from home, Arkansas. Many believed that he was a better player than another promising high school quarterback, Tim Tebow. In 2013, Mitch Mustain is the back up quarterback to the San Jose SaberCats, an arena football league team. The documentary,The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain, seeks to understand what happened.* *Trailer for documentary. [more inside]
Florida Atlantic University announced today that its football team will play in "GEO Group Stadium", named after a for-profit prison company. According to the New York Times, GEO Group Inc. gifted 6 million to the public university as part of a controversial deal to secure the naming rights for its stadium.
Fans of college football know the inspirational story of Manti Te'o - a Mormon Samoan linebacker from Hawaii, Te'o led Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season this year. A Heisman trophy finalist, Te'o overcame great adversity during the season, playing through the deaths of both his grandmother and his girlfriend. Well, except that, according to Deadspin, the whole girlfriend dying thing was actually just a big hoax. She never existed.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association today. Announcing the suit at a press conference this morning, Corbett claimed that the NCAA "seized upon the opportunity for publicity on the backs of the citizens of the Commonwealth". The suit seeks vacation of all of the sanctions levied against Penn State University by the NCAA (previously) after the release of the Freeh Report (previously) on the University's improper handling of allegations of sexual abuse against Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky (previously). Responding to the lawsuit, the NCAA called the lawsuit "an affront to all of the victims in this tragedy". Corbett, who has faced criticism for his slow-moving but ultimately successful investigation of the abuse and his close ties to Sandusky's Second Mile charity, is pursuing the case on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth rather than the University, which has stated that it is "committed to full compliance" with the sanctions, and is not a party to the lawsuit.
The Southeastern Conference has been ensured of producing its sixth straight BCS national champion as the #1 ranked 13-0 LSU Tigers will play against the #2 ranked 11-1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2011 BCS championship game. [more inside]
Larry Munson, the legendary voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, died yesterday at the age of 89. [more inside]
For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence—“amateurism” and the “student-athlete”—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not.
Jim Tressel, one of the most successful college football coaches in history, has resigned as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. After several players were discovered to have traded Ohio State football memorabilia for tattoos (actions which represent NCAA violations), it was revealed that Tressel knew of the player's actions and attempted to conceal the information from investigators. Though Tressel often projected a squeaky clean, conservative image, detractors have often accused him of hypocrisy.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
A long investigation into the Fiesta Bowl has produced a long and damning report (link goes to long PDF) detailing a culture of corruption under CEO John Junker. The report details gifts given to lawmakers, college administrators and others to help boost the bowl's stature in college football. [more inside]
After football head coach Randy Edsall left the University of Connecticut for the head coaching position at Maryland, the athletic director began the search for a new head coach. On January 13, Paul Pasqualoni was named the new UConn football head coach. In an unprecedentedly public manner, the largest athletics department donor at UConn sent a scathing six page letter to the athletics director demanding his money back for not being consulted prior to the hiring, while also listing his grievances against the UConn athletics director. [more inside]
October 18, 1997, Liz Heaston becomes the first woman to score points in a college football game (NAIA), kicking for Willamette in their victory over Linfield College. August 30, 2001, Ashley Martin kicks three extra points for Jacksonville State University, helping them in their 72-10 defeat of Cumberland, and becoming the first woman to score points in a Division 1 game. August 30, 2003, Katie Hnida becomes the face of women in college football when she scores two extra points in New Mexico's victory over Texas State University. She received harassment and (alleged) assault from her former teammates at Colorado University before becoming the first woman to core points in a Division 1-A game, as well as the first to suit up for a bowl game. Five years later, Kacy Stuart, a 14-year-old High School Freshman who can kick 50-yard Field Goals, is facing opposition for suiting up for the New Creation Center Crusaders, first from the league, and now from the other teams...
Last weekend, The Oregonian's Sports columnist John Canzano wrote about the two DUIIs by the son of the Oregon Ducks' coach. On Saturday, the Ducks football team beat the USC Trojans. The next day, Canzano wrote a story about the win. Before he wrote that story however, he wrote a blog post on what happened during the fourth quarter. Columnists are often held to different standards than reporters; and bloggers are often held to even different standards. It seems journalists are still learning the ropes of what standards they are held to under these different media. As a commenter JPound added to the post, "Before blogs, this unfortunate interaction would only have seen the light of day in a memoir."
When Sports Fans Go Mad. Just in time for your NCAA Final Four weekend: a celebration of sports fans' best and worst pranks, taunts, and hijinks. This ain't no Brady Bunch episode. Some require the skills of a tattoo artist. Some are confusing. Some are about public humiliation. This one, however, really takes the cake.
John Elway gets the ball to the 18-yard line. Mark Harmon (not that Mark Harmon...) kicks the field goal to bring his team one point ahead with 4 seconds left on the clock. Kevin Moen catches the ball on the return kick, laterals to Richard Rodgers, who laterals to Dwight Garner. Garner laterals back to Rogers who then shovels the ball to Mariet Ford. Ford then passes back to Moen, who finishes what he started by tackling trombonist Gary Tyrrell in the end zone. So ends the 1982 "Big Game" between UC Berkeley and Stanford. So begins the legend of the weirdest play in the history of college football, complete with audio (wav file).
There's lots of controversy about Nebraska playing for the national championship in tonight's Rose Bowl because they didn’t win their division or conference and got crushed 63–26 by Colorado in their last game of the season. [more inside]