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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 →

Zultan’s Fearless Football Forecast for Week 12: Alabama Down 0

Posted on November 14, 2012 by JA Allen

A seismic shift in the gridiron status quo occurred in Week 11. Alabama awoke from football nirvana, their dreams of repeat glory squelched by “Johnny Football” and the Texas A&M Aggies last Saturday.

In the meantime outside SEC Land, the cream of the crop in the Big East, Louisville crashed and burned at Syracuse.

Another undefeated went belly up.

Plus, in Iowa City, the hometown Hawkeyes had their wings clipped by the Purdue Boilermakers 27-24. Can the Hawks get any lower?  No, they are officially in the basement of the Big Ten sitting beside Illinois, waiting for this season to blow over.

Ultimately Zultan went 7-3, losing those three contests last Saturday. Some of you equaled—but none surpassed Zultan in Week 11.

With only two weeks left in the regular season, this week’s contests become exponentially crucial as teams pray for bowl bids. The final BCS standings await the next two rounds of upsets.

Here is your next to last chance to outshine the premiere Pigskin Prognosticator.

Make your picks for Week 12 to try to outguess Zultan and see your name up in lights—figuratively speaking, of course.

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Mighty Zultan’s College Football Forecast: Week 9 98

Posted on October 26, 2011 by JA Allen

Michigan State hosted Wisconsin in Week 8.

When the sun finally set last Saturday, a couple of towering BCS Top Ten gridiron stars crashed and burned while entering the oh-n0-zone of the once-beaten.

The Michigan State Spartans blew Wisconsin’s national championship chances  out of the water while Texas Tech did the same thing to Oklahoma. Zultan who had picked Wisconsin to defeat the Spartans found himself facing loss number two last weekend as the “Hail Mary” pass by Cousins ricocheted the quarterback into unending Spartan glory.

Earlier in the day came loss number one. The all-seeing seer also failed to realize that Illinois would arrive in West Lafayette without any clout—with barely a smidgeon of stuffing left after being run over by the Buckeyes the week before. The Illini managed some scoring in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late, trailing 21-0.  Purdue hammered home some pride, winning this game for the home crowd.

As Zultan stirs from his weekly trance, he finds the Big Ten settled firmly in the middle of the pack in BCS rankings with only five of the 12 teams ranked.  Illinois fell out of the top 25 after suffering two losses in a row. The overachieving SEC takes over the top two spots until LSU and Alabama meet on November 5.

Only two brave souls scored better than Zultan in week eight. This week the all-seeing Zultan has more tough contests to predict as he stares into his crystal ball, awaiting clarity. Reaching for perfection, this may be the week for you to finally outguess the Mighty Zultan. Click here to make your choices and see if your prognosticating powers are greater than Zultan’s.

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The Power of Sam “Bam” Cunningham 10

Posted on September 25, 2011 by Dan Flaherty

Before he came to New England, Sam Cunningham was one of college football's significant players

It was September 12, 1970 that a man who would soon be a vital part of the Boston sports scene helped change the course of college football history. USC had a big fullback by the name of Sam Cunningham. When opposing players saw him in street clothes they thought he must be an offensive lineman because of his 6’3” 225 lb frame (yes, times have changed). But he was in the Trojan backfield and the night of 9/12, USC visited Alabama to face an all-white Crimson Tide team. Cunningham ran over and around the Tide, piling up 135 yards rushing as his team won 42-21. Legend has it that Alabama coach Bear Bryant made the decision to integrate his team based on Cunningham’s performance.

There’s some urban legend mixed in with this story. In truth, Bryant had already signed an African-American player to come on board the following year, but Cunningham’s performance didn’t hurt the coach’s effort to achieve more complete racial integration. It was a rare case where an athlete’s on-field performance takes on social significance and after three years of success at Southern Cal, Cunningham was drafted in the first round by the Patriots prior to the 1973 season.

It was the start of a good 10-year run for player and team, though it got off to a rough start. Cunningham rushed for 516 yards in his rookie year and was the leader of a mostly pedestrian backfield on a team that went 5-9. The following year Cunningham, gave way to Mack Herron as the team’s leading rusher, something that would occasionally take place in his career, given the importance of the fullback as a blocker. Something worked in ’74, because the Patriots got off to a 7-4 start before losing their final three games and missing the playoffs. Before we think that this collapse was akin to the ’74 Red Sox saga we looked at last week, bear in mind that New England played the AFC’s three great powers, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland in the season’s final three weeks.

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Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast: Week 3 3

Posted on September 13, 2010 by JA Allen

Zultan predictions for Week 3 of the college football season.

For Big Ten Plus

Finally order has been restored in the college football world.

Zultan would be as perfect as the Iowa Hawkeye defense were it not for the losses endured by Golden Gophers and the Fighting Irish.

These two teams conspired both weeks to trip up the mighty one.  Perfidy!

This week these two teams continue to try to stymie the All-Seeing One as he ponders the depths with his crystal ball.

The cloudy images of upcoming football clashes displayed in vivid but runny colors will come into focus once the last whistle blows on Saturday. It is Zultan’s innate power that allows him to read the indistinct images and predict the college football future.

Last week Zultan nudged perfection at 10-2.

There were a lucky 13 of you who managed to outguess the mighty one with 11-1 records. These super prognosticators will be listed at the end of the article so as not to distract from the important task at hand, picking the winners in Week 3.

Is this your week to surpass Zultan? Are you ready to step out on the lucky limb of chance?  If so click here and make your picks.  We shall see who has the superior powers.  Get ready to feel a sense of loss as you go against the power of mighty Zultan.

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Ghost of Orange Bowls Past Visits The Iowa Hawkeyes 5

Posted on December 13, 2009 by JA Allen
Fred Russell is tackled by Melvin Simmons

The Iowa Hawkeyes will look for a different result than in their last Orange Bowl appearance.

This is the ghost of Orange Bowls past—specifically 2003, when the Iowa Hawkeyes met the USC Trojans….

In case you have not heard this before, be advised that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Study your lessons well, Iowa Hawkeyes, before you head off to another Orange Bowl contest.

Simply put, the lesson to be learned is this—”Speed Kills.” You either contain it or it hits you like a Mack truck, leaving you flattened—road kill diem.

Think back…recall the hope and promise of the season…

It was January 2003 and Iowa had an amazing 11-1 record, ranked No. 3 in the polls (No. 5 BCS). The Hawkeyes’ only defeat, if you recall, came at the hands of in-state rival Iowa State. Curse those Clones!

Quarterback Brad Banks had come in second in the Heisman balloting, losing out to Carson Palmer, quarterback for USC who, ironically enough, would be leading his Trojans against Iowa—no, not in the Rose Bowl, but in the Orange Bowl.

Read the rest of this entry →

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