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Sports Then and Now



30 Years Ago: Herschel Walker Leads Georgia to National Title 7

Posted on January 01, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Freshman Herschel Walker rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns to lead Georgia to victory over Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl.

It is hard to believe that it has been more than 30 years since we were introduced to perhaps the best college football player of all-time. During his three seasons at the University of Georgia, Herschel Walker was in a class by himself as the prototype running back in college football.

As a freshman during the 1980 season, Walker burst on the scene with 1,616 yards rushing (5.9 yards per carry) to lead a Georgia team that had been 6-5 the previous season to a perfect 12-0 record and the first national championship for the school since 1942.

In the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1981, Walker rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs held off Notre Dame 17-10 to claim the national title. Other notable members of head coach Vince Dooley’s squad included quarterback Buck Belue, future NFL wide receiver Lindsay Scott and freshman defensive back Terry Hoage (who blocked a key kick early in the contest).

Over the following two seasons, Walker rushed for more than 3,600 yards as Georgia lost just one regular season game and won 18 straight SEC games to claim three straight league titles.

They went undefeated during the 1982 regular season as Walker was named the winner of the Heisman Trophy. The Bulldogs lost a chance at the national title with a 27-23 loss to Penn State in what would be Walker’s final collegiate performance.

Surprisingly, it would be 20 years before Georgia would claim another SEC Championship and they have yet to win another national championship.

Walker left following his junior season for the USFL and rushed for 5,562 yards in three seasons in the league. In 1985, he set the all-time professional football record for rushing yards in a season with 2,411 yards in 18 games. Read the rest of this entry →

Ohio State Situation Is Latest NCAA Hypocrisy 2

Posted on December 23, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Despite violations, Terrelle Pryor and four teammates will be able to play in the Sugar Bowl for Ohio State.

So let me get this straight, five members of the Ohio State football team committed actions deemed severe enough to warrant suspension for five games during the 2011 season, but not severe enough to suspend them from their bowl game for this season? I guess it just proves the old adage that the truth is stranger than fiction.

If you haven’t yet come to the realization that college football is a business, maybe this latest action will help you see the light.

Instead of suspending the five junior members of the Ohio State team (including the starting quarterback, leading runner and second leading receiver) from the high profile Sugar Bowl for which Ohio State and the Big Ten is being paid $17 million to participate, the NCAA postponed the suspension until the 2011 season. Of course it is highly likely that most, if not all, of the offending players will never serve even one game as this decision has probably ensured that they will be NFL bound following their bowl game.

I can’t really decide which part of this situation bothers me more: that the NCAA is being so blatant in ensuring the quality of the Sugar Bowl despite acknowledging that some of the participants broke known rules or that in a college football landscape where billions of dollars of revenue is being generated these players are being punished because they collected between $1,000 and $2,500 for choosing to sell items given to them during their college careers.

The NCAA and university leaders are always spouting off about the sanctity of college athletics out of one side of their mouth while seemingly doing everything they can to cash in on the other side. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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