Three College Football Players To Watch During Tonight’s National Championship Game

Tim Williams. (USA TODAY Sports)

Tim Williams. (USA TODAY Sports)

Brace yourselves for the grand finale, as Clemson and Alabama meet once again in the College Football Playoff National Championship game. Last year in Glendale, the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers in a thrilling game, 45-40, after trailing after three quarters. Alabama has one of the best defenses in recent college football memory, as they defeated Washington in the Peach Bowl, 24-7. On the other hand, Clemson put up a shocking performance in New Year’s Eve, as they shut out Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, 31-0.

Here are three players Eagles fans should keep an eye out for during tonight’s college football finale. Read more »

Could Penn State Be a Contender Next Season?

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley, a true sophomore, is not eligible for the NFL draft and will return to Penn State next season | Photo: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports

Penn State had a weird season.

The Nittany Lions weren’t seen as one of the top teams in the country when the college football season began. They didn’t receive a single vote from the media in the preseason Associated Press poll. They struggled against Kent State in their opener, then lost to Pitt. They beat Temple by a touchdown before getting walloped by Michigan, 49-10, at the end of September.

Penn State was so lightly regarded at the end of the month that PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour had to quell rumors that head coach James Franklin could be fired at the end of the season. Fans even started a petition calling for his ouster. New offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead was similarly under fire.

The Nittany Lions then had a charmed three months — before it all came crashing down in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl on Monday evening. Penn State didn’t lose a game after September until yesterday, when it gave up 17 points in the final eight minutes to lose the Rose Bowl to USC, 52-49. It was the highest-scoring game in the 100-plus year history of the bowl game. Read more »

Penn State to Honor Joe Paterno at Game vs. Temple


Penn State will honor Joe Paterno before its home game against Temple this season, according to a press release about the season’s promotional schedule.

On the September 17th game against the Owls at Beaver Stadium, Penn State will hold an pregame ceremony “[c]ommemorating the 50th anniversary of Coach Paterno’s first game as Penn State head coach,” per the release. Per Onward State, which first reported the news, Penn State has not had any in-stadium mention of Paterno since his last game on October 29th, 2011 (besides his appearance in a few “hype” videos).

Paterno was fired in the aftermath of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, and died on January 22nd, 2012. His former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse in June 2012. Read more »

Temple Is Trying to Get Into the Big 12

Temple logo / Big 12 logo

Temple’s athletic team is trying to join the big boys.

There are five “power conferences” in college sports: ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. A school from one of these conferences always wins the national championship in football, and usually in basketball, too. (This year notwithstanding on the latter.) As such, schools from the Power Five conferences collect the most money from media deals (and are on TV the most). If you want your school to get attention on TV, being in one of these conferences is the way to do it.

The Big 12 — which currently only has 10 members — is looking to expand. Temple has been interested for a while, a fact the Daily NewsDavid Murphy has mocked. It’s a tough sell: While Temple is certainly a large enough school to compete in the conference — it would be the second-largest school by enrollment — it doesn’t have the athletic pedigree to fit in. Read more »

6-Year-Olds Will Be in College When Temple Plays Oklahoma

Hooter the Owl leads the team onto the field during an October 10, 2015, game against Tulane at Lincoln Financial Field.

Hooter the Owl leads the team onto the field during a game last year at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Temple football team is on a bit of a hot streak. The team opened 7-0 last year, beating Penn State, and finished 10-4. The Owls may be moving up in the football world. And yesterday Temple announced a three-game series with Oklahoma, a traditional football power.

“We look forward to starting a series with a great program like Oklahoma and hosting the Sooners in Philadelphia,” Temple University Director of Athletics Patrick Kraft said. “Our goal is to continue to schedule the best games possible for our program, alums and the college football fans in the city.” Read more »

Why This Princeton Football Team Won’t Be Suiting Up Next Season

Princeton vs. Chestnut Hill College. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Two Princeton sprint football players tackle a member of the Chestnut Hill College team. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Back in 2010, Stephen Bednar, a former Princeton sprint football player (class of 1960), ignited a firestorm by penning a letter to the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly after Penn’s sprint team beat the Tigers by a score of 91 to 13. “Ninety-one is a basketball score,” Bednar noted. “Because of its dismal performance over the years, it appears that Princeton cannot compete effectively in the sprint-football league against the likes of Army, Navy, etc.” He went on to suggest that the sprint program be discontinued — a mercy killing, if you will.

Among those who sprang to defend the sport was Joe Salerno, also a former player (class of ’84), who countered with a stirring paean to the program: “Sprint is for those who were told their whole lives that they were too small to play football but still strapped on the pads for the love of the game. … Instead of glory, sprint footballers get a few moments of on-field exhilaration and lessons about discipline, dedication, and teamwork that last a lifetime. … ” Last week, Princeton finally, belatedly acquiesced to the now-deceased Bednar’s proposal and announced the end of its sprint football team.

Joe Salerno is still worked up about that. He’s worked up even though in all the years since Bednar wrote his letter, Princeton’s sprint football team hasn’t won a game. It hasn’t won a game, in fact, since long before that, in an amazing losing streak that dates back to 1999. (Or thereabouts; nobody’s really sure.) A 2005 article in the Daily Princetonian cited 35 straight losses over the prior five years — “A men’s Division 1 record — for any sport — of dubious distinction.” Sports Illustrated and SB Nation have written about the streak. The annual joke edition of the Daily Princetonian regularly skewers the team.

But where some see relentless humiliation, Joe Salerno sees only the promise of vindication. “I look at this as the biggest opportunity in the world!” he says, just about hyperventilating in his outrage. “No one’s ever lost that much! I can’t believe this is the university’s decision!”  Read more »

No More Tackling at Ivy League Football Practices

Photo | Penn Athletics Facebook

Photo | Penn Athletics Facebook

In what could be the first faint peal of a death knell for college football, the Ivy League has announced that it will no longer allow players to tackle one another at practices. The decision was unanimous, approved last week by all eight Ivy League coaches. The move is, of course, intended to reduce concussions suffered by student athletes.

Dartmouth has banned tackling at practices since 2010, with players hitting pads and tackling dummies instead. “People look at it and say we’re nuts,” Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens told the New York Times. “But it’s kept my guys healthy.” Since institution of the ban, his team has gotten progressively stronger, going from 3-4 in 2010 to 6-1 in 2014 and in 2015, when it shared the Ivy League title with Penn and Harvard. (It was the only Ivy to beat Penn last season.)

NCAA guidelines for football allow full-contact practices up to four times a week in the preseason and twice a week in season. Coach Teevens says the restriction cut concussions from an average of more than 20 per season to just a handful and has improved tackling, since players now focus more on technique: “It hasn’t hurt our level of play. It’s actually made us a better team.” Read more »

Temple Is Playing at Penn State on September 17th This Year

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Temple beat Penn State for the first time since 1941. That’s 74 years! Next season, they’ll travel to Happy Valley to try to make it two in a row. Temple announced that that game will be on September 17th when the team announced its 2016 football schedule.

Temple rallied from a 10-point deficit and ended up beating the Nittany Lions going away, 27-10, at the Linc last season. But winning on the road is a tougher matter altogether: The Owls lost 30-13 the last time they played in State College, and Penn State was 6-1 at home last season. Read more »

How Clemson’s Football Coach Used Creed to Inspire His Players


In case you missed it in the New Year’s Eve madness, the Wall Street Journal last week published an article about Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney’s habit of having his team break down film the day before its games. Nothing new in that. But Swinney isn’t screening footage of Clemson’s opponents. He’s showing his team the latest Hollywood flicks. And since his team is undefeated and ranked number one in the nation, his method must be working. Clemson plays Alabama in Monday’s national championship game. Read more »

WATCH: Temple Got Hosed By the Referees Last Night

Temple coach Matt Rhule argues an onside kick recovery call with the referee during the second half of the Boca Raton Bowl NCAA college football game against Toledo, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Boca Raton, Fla. Toledo defeated Temple 32-17.

Temple coach Matt Rhule argues an onside kick recovery call with the referee during the second half of the Boca Raton Bowl NCAA college football game against Toledo, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Boca Raton, Fla. Toledo defeated Temple 32-17.

Temple’s dream season ended with a thud last night. But it wasn’t all the team’s fault.

The Owls fell to the Toledo Rockets last night, 32-17, in the Boca Raton Bowl. Temple finishes the season 10-4, tied for the most wins in school history. But the Owls end the year with consecutive losses, and won’t finish the year in the Associated Press Top 25. It was a good year, but the end is kind of a downer.

But! The Owls should’ve had a chance to drive for the tying score. Temple couldn’t get into the end zone for much of the game, but Kip Patton finally scored with 2:50 to go. A 2-point conversion pass from P.J. Walker to Robby Anderson made it 25-17. Temple went for an onside kick. If they recovered it, they’d have a chance to tie it.

And they appeared to recover it! Only the referees decided it was Toledo’s ball instead. Read more »

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