Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

The Legend of George Gipp 7

Posted on February 03, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Many American sports fans are aware of the legend of George Gipp, as it has risen to almost mythological heights. Gipp was one of the best college football players of all time, but is best known because of the phrase “win one for the Gipper,” which was popularized in a film about Coach Knute Rockne’s life.


Gipp died shortly after playing his final football game, but Rockne used this death to motivate his team before a game seven years later. Because this speech became so famous, Gipp’s legacy has lived on. Today, Gipp is a legendary figure, although we might never know the exact truth behind his life since he died so long ago and lived a very secretive life.

About George Gipp

Although he originally attended Notre Dame to play baseball, legendary coach Rockne convinced George Gipp to join the school’s football team. Gipp went on to lead the Fighting Irish in rushing and passing in 1918, 1919 and 1920, earning All-American honors in the process. Gipp is recognized as one of the best athletes in the history of college football and still holds numerous school records.

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Zultan’s Fearless Football Forecast for Week 11 1

Posted on November 07, 2012 by JA Allen

Another bleak week for the Mighty Zultan whose Big Ten teams waited until the very end to lose, making the agony that much greater.  Zultan went 6-4. Hordes did better.

Mom’s beloved Hawkeyes waited until the fourth quarter to give up the ghost. She has taken up volleyball.

Michigan State looked great, right up until the end when Nebraska rose up and stole the game in the blink of an eye. Those Cornhuskers give the All-Seeing Seer an unending headache, blurring his vision at critical junctures.

Outside the Big Ten, wouldn’t you just know Texas would show up with a complete game on both sides of the ball?? Plus, Zultan heard that the Mississippi State Bulldogs forgot to show up for the game, filling in with locals from the stands.

Now heading down the final stretch, the picks get harder deep into conference competition. Zultan seems to be teetering—not quite as cocky as he was during his “hot streak.”  Now is the time to make your picks and grab a little glory of your own.

Those who outguessed Zultan last week will be listed at the end of this article with tons of kudos for those souls bright enough to surpass the Mighty Zultan.

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Week Ten of Zultan’s Fearless Football Forecast 0

Posted on October 31, 2012 by JA Allen

It was a horrible day for a daring football prognosticator who swore Notre Dame was over-rated, who was sure the Gators were worthy of being ranked No. 2 and who predicted the Lions could best the Buckeyes at home in Happy Valley.

Like Icarus who flew too close to the sun—Mighty Zultan came too close to perfection. The Football Gods torched his flammable cloak, sending the All-Seeing One headlong into the sink hole of also-rans—where the rest of you dwell.

Except, of course the dozen or so of you who out-guessed Zultan last Saturday.

These distinguished prognosticators will be listed at the end of this article with appropriate kudos for rising above Zultan in Week 9.

Week 10 promises even more untold surprises.

What unlucky unbeaten will fall? Will Nebraska manage to sustain their slight lead and win on the road? Can LSU change the course of football history in 2012? Who knows??

Zultan was mortally wounded in Week 9—managing to hang on at 5-5.  He staggered under the weight of expectation.  Can he exceed that mark?  Make your own picks in Week 10—and go head-to-head with Zultan to defend your choices.

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One Blow Too Many: Why We Should Ban College Football…. 22

Posted on May 18, 2012 by JA Allen

Most of us relish the spectacle of college football on crisp Saturday afternoons, sitting in the stands at a mammoth football stadium in the heart of the Big Ten or the SEC.

We love the marching bands, the half-time entertainment and the spontaneous camaraderie in the stands. On game day, whether Division I or II, or III, college football remains as much a part of post-secondary academia as libraries, classrooms and puny-sized dorm rooms.

It comes from our rich heritage—the love we have for our respective alma mater. All this enhanced by football hoopla, beer foam, and online bets with bookies. These incentives—along with the added bounty of bone crushing hits—make us all look forward to the gridiron experience each and every Saturday after Labor Day.

College football IS America in 2012.  It is what we have evolved to since the 1950s.  Athletes have become bigger, stronger, and faster. Effective training has shaved seconds off scoring dashes down field while increased duration and strength training make the player from 60 years ago to seem almost comical by comparison.

We are assured by experts that modern equipment plus critical changes in football rules provide the modern player with adequate protection on the playing field. Yet, because of the current size and speed of college athletes, the brute force inherent in being tackled or tackling remain exponentially greater than they were even 20 years ago.

Still the thought of banning college football seems—well—it seems preposterous.  It would be like banning Little League or the Pinewood Derby.  Life just would not be the same. How could it be?

But consider this. According to Malcolm Gladwell, well-known author and columnist for the New Yorker magazine, the most compelling reason for banning college football is the number of head injuries college football players sustain in the course of a game, compounded over a season—additionally many seasons.

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Bowl Season Provides Few Winners Against the Zultan 22

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Much like the BCS Championship Game, the competition to defeat the College Football Zultan during the Sports Then and Now Bowl Challenge proved to be a relative mismatch. Of the many who tried to top the Zultan, only nine individuals were able to exceed his 9-5 record in the major bowl games.

As has been the case for much of the season, the Achilles Heel for the Zultan, as well as many of his challengers, was the Big Ten. The Zultan was burned by Ohio State, Northwestern and Nebraska as all three lost to SEC (or in the case of Northwestern against Texas A&M soon to be SEC) schools. The losses further reminded Big Ten fans that they still have a ways to go to reach par with the top conference in college football.

The Zultan (along with 82% of those who took the bowl challenge) were burned by the Clemson Tigers as West Virginia made a huge statement with their 70 point performance.

Though it doesn’t necessarily take a crystal ball to predict that Nick Saban would out-coach Les Miles in the BCS title game, the Zultan still believed that LSU had a stronger squad than the Crimson Tide and would ultimately pull out the victory. Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Paterno Still Has An Opportunity To Leave a Powerful Legacy 24

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Joe Paterno's tenure as head football coach at Penn State is over after 46 years.

The firing of Joe Paterno as head football coach at Penn State is a sad and in some ways shocking twist to a story that has rocked the college football world over the last week and that will perhaps serve as the tipping point for regaining perspective on where college athletics fit within the overall landscape.

Ironically, Paterno is the one coach that many thought already understood the role of college athletics.

Paterno became a legendary figure at Penn State and across college football not just because he was a successful coach on the field, but because it was generally perceived that he and his program “did things the right way.”

From the beginning of his tenure in 1966, Paterno emphasized having his players integrated as part of the educational institution. His players had to not only perform on the field, but also in the classroom. The result is a graduation rate of 78% of football players that ranks well above the national average.

For much of his tenure, it was generally felt that Paterno wasn’t coaching to create a legacy, but instead to provide young men with the tools to be successful well after their football careers were over.

He clearly recognized that a successful college had much more than just a good football team. Paterno and his wife donated millions of dollars to programs around the campus and were instrumental in raising the money for a library extension, which was named in their honor.

However, at some point things started to turn. Maybe it was around the time when Paterno and then-Florida State coach Bobby Bowden started to compete for the honor of having the most wins in Division I-A college football. Maybe it was when Penn State suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the first time ever during his tenure during the 2000 and 2001 campaigns and whispers started as to whether the game had passed him by.

Though the graduation rate of the players never wavered, suddenly Penn State players started piling up as many off the field incidents as they were scoring points on the field. A 2008 investigation revealed 46 Penn State players faced a total of 163 criminal charges. Read the rest of this entry →

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