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DeShaun Watson Proving He Belongs in the NFL 0

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

Sometimes the decisions made by teams in the NFL Draft can be very strange. Generally, the NFL is a performance-based league, however, when it comes to draft picks, and most especially quarterbacks, choices are often made based on projected ability, instead of how someone has actually performed on the football field.

That was certainly the case in the 2017 NFL Draft when two quarterbacks with relatively average college pedigrees were chosen ahead of one of the most successful quarterbacks in recent college football history. Something that can be confusing and frustrating for those who follow US Sportsbooks.

While DeShaun Watson was leading the Clemson Tigers to back-to-back National Championship Games following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Mitch Trubisky at the University of North Carolina and Pat Mahaomes at Texas Tech were playing on mediocre teams.

Trubisky spent two seasons as a backup quarterback at UNC before he finally earned the starting spot for the 2016 season. Though he was a solid quarterback in his 13 stats, his performance on an 8-5 team hardly give the impression he was the next great NFL player.

While Trubisky tossed 30 touchdowns on the season with only six interceptions, in the five UNC losses, he threw only eight touchdowns while suffering all six of his interceptions. His worst performance of the season was against Virginia Tech when he completed only 39.4% of his passes for 58 yards and two interceptions.

Yet, the Chicago Bears thought enough of Trubisky to trade up to pick him with the second pick in the 2017 Draft.

The son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, Mahomes had significantly more experience than Trubisky during his three college seasons.

Playing on a Texas Tech team that had only one winning year in his three seasons, Mahomes saw significant action as a freshman before starting the last two seasons.

The Red Raiders posted a 12-13 record during those two years while making one bowl appearance. Mahomes racked up huge numbers over the last two seasons tossing 77 touchdowns with 25 interception and compiling over 9,700 yards through the air. For his career, Mahomes completed 63.5% of his passes for 11,252 yards, 93 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Read the rest of this entry →

Memorial Day Remembrance: Nile Kinnick – American Hero 0

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy representing the University of Iowa.

Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy representing the University of Iowa.

In honor of Memorial Day, we remember a former Heisman Trophy winner who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and was more than just a football hero; he was an American Hero.

In 1939 with war starting in Europe, but the United States still two years removed from entering the war, Nile Kinnick Jr. led the Iowa Hawkeyes to an improbable run into the national Top 10.

A talented all-around athlete, Kinnick had been a Junior Legion baseball teammate of Bob Feller. He also excelled in both basketball and football first at Adel High School in his hometown and then, after the family moved to Omaha following his sophomore year, at Benson High School.

Choosing to return to his home state and attend the University of Iowa, Kinnick played both football and basketball as a sophomore in 1937.

He earned All-Big 10 and third team All-American honors in football. On the basketball court he ranked 15th in the Big 10 in scoring.

Following an injury-plagued junior season in which he earned honorable mention honors on the gridiron, Kinnick decided not to continue his basketball career and instead looked to concentrate on his senior football season for the Hawkeyes.

After posting a 2-13-1 record on the football field during the two previous seasons, the Hawkeyes and their senior leader looked to change their fortune in 1939.

Dubbed the “Ironmen” because most of the starters played both ways and rarely came off the field, the Hawkeyes posted a 6-1-1 record, finished second in the Big 10 and were ranked ninth in the final AP Poll.

Kinnick was the unquestioned star of the Hawkeyes in 1939.

Known for his late game heroics, Kinnick scored the game winning touchdown against Notre Dame and threw late touchdown passes in wins over Indiana and Wisconsin.

Playing primarily at left halfback, Kinnick rushed for 374 yards and five touchdowns. Though he attempted only 31 passes, he totaled 638 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also served as the punter and placekicker while also returning punts and kickoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

You Are Looking Live – Remembering the Career of Brent Musburger 1

Posted on January 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
There was Brent Musburger on the far left sitting with Joe Namath poolside prior to Super Bowl III.

There was Brent Musburger on the far left sitting with Joe Namath poolside prior to Super Bowl III.

Part of the memory for all sports fans are the faces and voices of the announcers and commentators who have helped connect us with great sports moments. As someone whose first memories of television sports include watching the NFL Today during the 1970s, Brent Musburger is one of those figures for me. His catch phrase of “You are looking live” still makes me excited and indicates that I better pay attention because something big could be about to happen. The announcement this week that the 77-year-old Musburger will be retiring from play-by-play duty on January 31st will leave a void in the sports world, but he has provided generations of fans with some great memories.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Musburger began his career in the late 1960s and very quickly found himself in the middle of the action and controversy.

Writing for Chicago’s American newspaper, Musburger covered the 1968 Olympics and the controversial “black power” salute by Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos. In the article, he stated that “Smith and Carlos looked like a couple of black-skinned storm troopers” who were “ignoble,” “juvenile,” and “unimaginative.” Years later Musburger said that comparing the two athlettes to Nazis was “harsh”, but stood by his opinion that the Olympic stage was not the appropriate place to make a political statement.

Just a few months later, Musburger found himself poolside in Miami as one of a handful of reporters sitting with a brash young quarterback who was holding court before Super Bowl III. As it turned out, Joe Namath was just the first of many Super Bowl heroes with whom Musburger would rub elbows.

Beginning in 1968, Musburger was first a radio and then television anchor for WBBM in Chicago. He later moved to Los Angeles where he was a news co-anchor at KNXT (now KCBS-TV) and worked alongside Connie Chung.

In 1973 Musburger began serving as a play-by-play announcer for NFL games on CBS – his color commentating partners included Bart Starr, Tommy Mason and Wayne Walker – and two years later was given the role that would make him famous. Read the rest of this entry →

Best Rose Bowl Games in College Football History 0

Posted on January 15, 2017 by Bernie Stein
The 2017 Rose Bowl will go down as one of the greatest games in the storied history of the prestigious bowl game.

The 2017 Rose Bowl will go down as one of the greatest games in the storied history of the prestigious bowl game.

They don’t call the Rose Bowl the Granddaddy of Them All for nothing, and the 2017 incarnation of the game proved to be perhaps the best ever.

USC’s Sam Darnell, who saved the Trojans’ season when he has put in the starting lineup four games into the campaign, throwing for 453 yards and five touchdowns in USC’s 52-49 win over Penn State.

The Trojans kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired for the victory, rallying to the win despite giving up a combined seven touchdowns to the Nittany Lions in the second and third quarters.

The comeback overshadowed a brilliant 194-yard, two touchdown performance by Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

Where does the photo finish rank among the lists of Rose Bowl greats? Let’s try and put it in perspective.

2006: Texas 41, USC 38

The go-to default greatest Rose Bowl game ever largely because it was also for the national championship and featured two of the game’s most electrifying talents: USC running back Reggie Bush and UT quarterback Vince Young. Both teams were undefeated and USC was in pursuit of a third straight national title. Young scored an eight-yard-touchdown on fourth down with 19 seconds left and the Longhorns made the two-point conversion to account for the final score. It was also the final game in the historic broadcast career of Keith Jackson.

1963: USC 42, Wisconsin 37

Both teams were undefeated and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 heading in. It looked like a Southern California rout as the Trojans took a 42-14 lead in the fourth quarter, but Wisconsin scored 23 unanswered points with three touchdowns and a safety to fall just short. Wisconsin set a still-standing Rose Bowl record with 32 first downs. Read the rest of this entry →

College Football and Head Injuries: Who Is Responsibility? 1

Posted on September 15, 2016 by Matt Rhoney

college-football-headshotsFall will be here soon, and that means football season has come crashing onto the country’s TVs, yards, and stadiums. That’s right, it’s time for the weekly rough and tumble rumble of good ol’ fashioned gridiron. Helmets colliding, pigskins soaring, and bodies bashing. It’s all here.

Football casts a powerful spell on players and fans alike. The game’s appeal is so strong, so compelling that enthusiasts of all stripes—be it on the field, sidelines, bleachers, or the couch—regularly forget the risks into which football puts it players. Safety is crucial to football. Players, coaches, family, and even fans all need to keep the safety question alive if football is going to survive as one America’s great games. College football is a field in which safety needs to be top priority.

College Ball, Helmets, and Head Injuries

Let’s kick this off with the big one: head injuries. If football doesn’t deal with this room’s elephant, the game will soon be endangered species. Helmets, brain trauma, and the football industry’s role in these issues have been featured in the New York Times several times a month for a long time now, and there’s been no indication the buzz is dying down.

As it stands, head injuries are a normal part of football. They don’t need to be. For college players and coaches, this issue needs serious attention. According to personal injury attorneys, head injuries are a common result of negligence. College players suffer head injuries regularly, and the research into university football and TBIs is not in nearly as advanced a state as is similar research into the NFL. What is to be done about student heads, and who should be doing it? Read the rest of this entry →

College Football Preview: Can the Alabama Dynasty Be Stopped? 0

Posted on September 02, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Alabama and coach Nick Saban are looking for their fifth national championship in the last decade.

Alabama and coach Nick Saban are looking for their fifth national championship in the last decade.

So you think there is no way to create a dynasty in today’s college football climate?

Well, then you obviously haven’t been paying close attention to the football being played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama over the last decade.

Since Nick Saban took the reigns at the University of Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide have developed into the closest thing college football has had to a dynasty since the glory days of the Miami Hurricanes in the early 1990s.

Excluding his first season when the Crimson Tide went 7-6 (with five of the wins eventually vanquished by the NCAA), Saban’s squad has registered eight straight seasons with double digit wins and has lost as many as three games in a year only once.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that they have been ranked number one in the country at some point in each of the last eight seasons while winning four national championships.

With Alabama again beginning the season as the top ranked team in the country, the defending champions continue to have a special aura that makes them the automatic favorite at the start of every season. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Joe Cronin: Player-Manager
      October 1, 2017 | 8:21 am
      Joe Cronin

      Joe Cronin

      In recognition of the start of the baseball playoffs, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a man who managed pennant winning teams in Washington and Boston and spent more than decade as a player-manager.

      When the Boston Red Sox acquired Joe Cronin following the 1934 season they didn’t just get an All-Star player, they also got a new manager.

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