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Sports Then and Now

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 →

Death of Joe Paterno is Another Sad Twist to Penn State Story 34

Posted on January 22, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Joe Paterno became an assistant coach at Penn State in 1950 and head coach in 1965.

News of the death of former Penn State head football coach is a reminder of just how quickly things can change.

It was less than three months ago (October 29, 2011) that Paterno led Penn State to a 10-7 victory over the University of Illinois to become the winningest coach in all of Division I football history and I wrote an article with the title “Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions Keep on Ticking.”

No one could have imagined that Paterno would be fired from the school less than two weeks later without coaching another game and then less than three months later the iconic 85-year-old football coach would be dead following complications from lung cancer that was diagnosed just days following his dismissal.

Paterno now joins one of the men he passed on the way to the all-time wins record, Paul ‘Bear” Bryant, as an all-time iconic coach who passed away just months after the end of his coaching career.

However, thanks to the scandal that has engulfed Penn State football over the last two and a half months, unlike Bryant, who is still a legendary figure in college football, Paterno’s final legacy will likely be a combination of respect and disappointment. Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Paterno Still Has An Opportunity To Leave a Powerful Legacy 25

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 →

Fearless Zultan Predicts College Football Winners in Week 6 34

Posted on October 05, 2011 by JA Allen

Iowa State self destructed last week.

It was an agonizing week for the all-seeing seer as four of his ten picks went South on October 1.

In retrospect, Zultan offers these occult words of wisdom to the Iowa State Cyclones, “In the future, if you are going to shoot yourself in the foot, do not use a sub machine gun.”

Prior to the Texas vs. Iowa State debacle, Arkansas came back to thwart Texas A & M as the Aggies failed by five points. Zultan could not believe his eyes as he watched A&M’s second collapse in a row. Someone must tell the Aggies that the game lasts 60 minutes, not 45.

Even playing in Columbus, Ohio State could only hold on, losing by three. It could have been even uglier. But MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins spared the Buckeyes abject humiliation by doing his own Spartan version of self-destruction in key moments.

Zultan blames his cloudy crystal ball which continues to conjure up  images from 2010.

But the pigskin prognosticator’s biggest miss was Clemson who stomped on Virginia Tech 23-3 without mercy. This Tiger is all business and will claim the ACC in 2011.  Zultan made a note to himself—C Rules in ACC.

What is more—to heap on massive degradation— almost three score of you recorded better results that the Mighty One. Zultan has barricaded himself in Mom’s garage, pouting and throwing rocks at a poster of Paul Rhoads.  Where was the triple overtime win when you really needed it, Coach?

Those surpassing the great one will be listed at the end of this article along with appropriate, if begrudging accolades.

Next up for the all-seeing seer—Week 2 in the Big Ten, Week 6 overall in the college football season.

Zultan offers you another week of difficult picks daring you to try to outguess him again.  If you feel lucky, or even if you don’t, click here to make your picks and see if you can surpass the big Z this coming Saturday.

Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Paterno’s 400th Victory is Just Another Day at the Office 28

Posted on November 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Joe Paterno and his players celebrate the coaches 400th victory.

After Penn State University rallied from a 21-0 deficit to defeat Northwestern University 35-21 on Saturday evening it seemed the only people not focused on the historical significance of the victory were Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and his wife Sue.

While the game announcers and crowd were celebrating the fact that the win was Paterno’s 400th as head coach of the Nittany Lions, to the man who has been at Penn State since 1950 and the head coach since 1966, the most important thing was that his team had rallied from a big deficit to defeat a pesky Wildcats’ team for their sixth win of the season.

When asked about the significance of the milestone victory, Paterno first wanted to talk about the comeback, Northwestern and what a good job head coach Pat Fitzgerald was doing with his team.  “I was just delighted to see us comeback. I thought the kids hung together and I was real proud of them. I think Pat [Fitzgerald] is doing a great job and I was worried sick about them.”

Finally when asked about what has motivated him for all these years, Paterno thought for a second, chuckled and then said, “Getting paid.”

It was just another reminder that unlike many coaches today who are about spin and creating an image, with Paterno what you see is what you get. And it appears the same can be said for the woman who has been by his side throughout his entire tenure as head coach. Read the rest of this entry →

Zultan’s Fearless College Football Projections: Week Two 9

Posted on September 07, 2010 by JA Allen

Zultan predicts college football fortunes in Week Two.

Zultan should be very humble after week one of his vaunted football predictions.

He was tempted to supersede his All-Seeing Powers and was punished for his arrogance. He became human, sad to say…

The NCAA football gods, therefore, struck him down.

Hordes of you outguessed Zultan who quivers in shame and humiliation with a mere 10-4 record in week one.

The mighty one has learned two valuable lessons in predicting the outcome of football contests.

(1) When in doubt in projected close contests, always pick the home team. For example do not pick Connecticut to overcome Michigan in Big Blue’s house or Purdue to get the best of the Irish in South Bend no matter how much the crystal ball tempts you.

(2) Also always make sure that the team you select is going to be playing––Zultan did not realize that half of the North Carolina team would be sitting on the sidelines when he made his ill-fated prediction that NC would win this contest.

Besides that, the Gophers have always been a thorn in the side of the all-seeing one.

So now you think Zultan is an easy mark. If so, try him again this week and learn your lesson as Zultan did––the hard way!

Zultan senses redemption coming his way this week big time. Click here to pit your puny powers of prognostication against the mighty Zultan for a chance to win a prize.

See the end of this prediction for a comprehensive list of all of you who smote the Zultan, scorched his crystal ball in week one.  Do the hokey-pokey one time around the room and come back for week two!

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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