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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 →

College Football Bowl Preview Part 2: Sizing Up the Big 6 Bowls 3

Posted on December 30, 2015 by Jim Hurley
The health of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook could be a big factor in their Cotton Bowl game against Alabama.

The health of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook could be a big factor in their Cotton Bowl game against Alabama.

The biggest college football games of the season are here! The six major bowl games will run on December 31-January 1, with the two biggest—the Playoff semifinals situated within the New Year’s Eve schedule. Whether you wager or simply want to watch, our job is to have you ready.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled the “Tale of The Tape”, a concise snapshot of all six games. It’s not comprehensive—if you actually plan to bet, this is a starting point not a finishing point. But it will provide the framework for an enjoyable (and profitable, if you’re so inclined) run of watching games.

Our tale of the tape includes…

*The basics of W-L record and most importantly, strength of schedule. The latter has to be a significant factor in how you weigh every other piece of data. Some of us rely on complex computer models to do it, others just keep it in the back of their mind. Just make sure you keep it in mind.

*Each team’s national ranking on offense and defense, as measured by points allowed.

*The basic stats of each team’s quarterback—their completion percentage, yards-per-attempt and TD/INT ratio.

*A notable player on the team besides the quarterback—usually an elite running back or defensive playmaker, and occasionally a wide receiver.

Now let’s dive into the games, in sequential order…

December 31: Peach Bowl—Florida State (-7) Houston (Noon ET, ESPN)
Houston: 12-1 (Schedule ranks 99th)
Offense: 10th
Defense: 23rd
QB: Greg Ward Jr: 68% 8.5 YPA, 16/5 and also ran for over 1,000 yards)
Notable: Linebackers Elandon Roberts & Steven Taylor combined for 33 tackles for loss

Florida State: 10-2 (56th)
Offense: 41st
Defense: 5th
QB: Sean Maguire: 62%, 7.8 YPA, 11/3
Notable: Running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 1,658 yards (7.9 yards per carry)

Comment: It will be Maguire at quarterback for Florida State, with Everett Golson not making the trip to Atlanta. The balance of Houston both offensively and defensively gives them a shot at an upset, but the concern is that the offense is so heavily reliant on Ward that the excellent FSU defense may be position to dominate the football game.

December 31: Orange Bowl—Oklahoma (-3) Clemson (4 PM ET, ESPN)
Clemson: 13-0 (39th)
Offense: 15th
Defense: 19th
QB: DeShaun Watson: 70%, 8.5 YPA, 30/11
Notable: Defensive ends Shaq Lawson & Kevin Dodd have combined for 37 tackles for loss and 18 sacks

Oklahoma: 11-1 (27th)
Offense: 1st
Defense: 24th
QB: Baker Mayfield: 69%, 9.6 YPA, 35/5
Notable: Samaje Perine rushed for 1,291 yards at 6.1 per carry

Comment: Those talented Clemson defensive ends need to win their battles or it will be long day for the Tiger secondary given how hot Mayfield is. The bigger area of concern for betting Oklahoma is the question of how much those dazzling offensive numbers are a product of playing in the wide-open Big 12 and the tendency of high-stakes bowl games to be a bit more conservative.

December 31: Cotton Bowl–Alabama (-8.5) Michigan State (8 PM ET, ESPN)
Alabama: 12-1 (17th)
Offense: 31st
Defense: 3rd
QB: Jake Coker: 66%, 7.4 YPA, 17/8
Notable: Heisman Trophy winning RB Derrick Henry ran for 1,986 yards

Michigan State: 12-1 (5th)
Offense: 45th
Defense: 22nd
QB: Connor Cook: 57%, 7.9 YPA, 24/5
Notable: Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge caught 79 passes for over 1,200 yards

Comment: The health of Cook’s shoulder is the overriding factor in this game. When healthy, he is by far the superior quarterback. When banged up, as he has been at the end of this season, he’s statistically inferior to Coker. Note that if you wager this game make sure to shop prices. The line of 8.5 can also go as high as 10 depending on the sportsbook. Read the rest of this entry →

College Football’s Aerial Icon: The Goodyear Blimp 0

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Good Year BlimpToday’s Sports Then and Now blog recognizes one of college football’s most recognized icons – The Goodyear Blimp.

That’s because this season marks the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s 60th year of aerial advertising during college football games.

The company’s annual broadcast coverage will culminate with a lucky college football fan hitching a ride on the famous blimp.

However, few football fans know the history behind the beloved blimps.

Furnishing amazing aerial views of some of the most recognized sporting events in the world, the Goodyear Blimp hovers way above the ground at approximately 1,000 feet. Read the rest of this entry →

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