Yahoos Rejoice: Notre Dame Will Win

If Alabama were playing Oregon or Kansas State in the BCS national championship game, we wouldn’t be reading articles about how Joe from northeast Philly is a third-generation Ducks fan whose father walked through a blizzard to watch the green-and-gold play back in the ‘50s, and how he has scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and ticket stubs from days of yore.

But since the Crimson Tide will square off with Notre Dame Monday night in south Florida, we have been treated to weeks of the Irish mystique, not to mention the infestation of Fighting Irish fans who have dusted off their hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, bumper stickers to display their love for ND – now that the school is winning big again. Read more »

Will Eagles Steal Bill O’Brien From Penn State?

Pity Poor Penn State. Things finally seemed to be settling down in Happy Valley after the series of body blows the university and its football program took in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and there was even reason to hope: New coach Bill O’Brien had salvaged a potential fiasco and turned the program’s first post-Joe Paterno campaign into a winning season. That success has now made O’Brien attractive to other employers, including Penn State’s home-state NFL neighbor, the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Flynn at the Patriot-News, however, doesn’t think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is willing to alienate a fan base that overlaps with his own. “Would Lurie want to pay the cost of ticking off an already (and always) surly fan base? There are plenty of Eagles fans who follow Penn State on Saturdays. Should O’Brien leave after just one season, the incredible progress he has made in putting Penn State back together would be blunted.” It’s not like Lurie needs Eagles fans to be any more surly, does he? In related news, Andy Reid apparently didn’t make the trip to Arizona to interview for the vacant Cardinals job. Does that mean he’s going to Kansas City? Do we care anymore? [Patriot-News]

Why Corbett Wants to Sue the NCAA for Penn State Sanctions

Penn State boasts the largest dues-paying alumni base of any school in the U.S., and one would imagine that many of them are registered voters in the Keystone State. That’s why it makes plenty of sense Gov. Tom Corbett would file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of Penn State, challenging the stiff penalties the organization levied against the school in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. With a re-election run coming next year, Corbett could use the support of the “We Are …” crowd, especially in a blue state. Read more »

Manti Te’o for Heisman

Back in late October, the networks dredged up old footage of Notre Dame back Dick Lynch’s end run from 1957 that snapped Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak. Fans were reminded that the Irish had beaten OU six consecutive times, dating back to that milestone win. ND entered Norman to face the Sooners with a 7-0 record, ready for a major test. It was a huge spot, and Manti Te’o knew just what to do before the game. Read more »

Penn State Football: Doing the Best They Can

Despite the fact that the Big Ten Conference as a whole is playing poorly and living almost completely off its reputation, a few potholes remain on the Penn State schedule. That visit from Ohio State on Oct. 27 won’t likely be too pleasant, thanks to new coach Urban Meyer’s insistence on running the Buckeyes like an SEC program, rather than a cement-footed Rust Belt outfit. And going to Lincoln on Nov. 10 ought to be a tough challenge, even if OSU shucked the Cornhuskers but good Saturday night. Read more »

The Vanderbilt Athletic Model Could Save Penn State

If you are looking for one of the best examples of irony in the sausage factory that is big-time college athletics, go directly to Gordon Gee, bow-tied president of THE Ohio State University and a quotation machine. In the spring of 2011, when it became clear that then-Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel had covered up his knowledge of players’ trading memorabilia for cash and prizes, Gee was asked whether he intended to fire Tressel. Read more »

3 Ways to Save Football

In a 1905 article in McClure’s Magazine, investigative reporter Henry Beach Needham, wrote a sensational article detailing the excesses of college athletics. Among them were a win-at-all-costs attitude, payments made to players, institutional profiteering and a cavalier attitude toward rules that resulted in the serious injury and sometimes death of its participants. Read more »

Junior Seau Killed Football

Junior Seau didn’t just commit suicide last week. He probably killed football itself.

Now, to be sure, both pro and college teams will take the field next fall, and they’ll do so in packed stadiums and to awesome TV ratings. The death Seau inflicted on his sport won’t work quite as fast as the bullet he put in his own chest—football is simply too popular and profitable to disappear overnight. It will take years, and perhaps decades. But it is coming.

And for good reason. Football—it seems abundantly clear now—kills its players. And as Seau’s death may yet prove, it even kills its biggest and brightest stars. Read more »

How Yale Screwed Up a Sexual Assault Complaint

Back in September, I wrote in the magazine about the problems posed for colleges and universities by the Department of Education’s new rules governing how they must respond to allegations of sexual assault. Over the weekend, those chickens came home to roost, big-time, as the news spread that Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt had been accused of sexual assault. Read more »

Tim Tebow, Could You (or God) Arrange This?

It was just an offhand comment from one of the announcers for the Alabama/LSU BCS National Championship Game last Monday—the game in which the Tide defense didn’t let the Tiger offense past the 50-yard line until deep in the fourth quarter. The announcer was talking about walking alongside some of the players on the Tigers’ offensive line. They were big, he said—big enough, he thought, to hold their own against the New Orleans Saints.

My husband Doug looked at me from his rocking chair, one eyebrow inching up. “You know,” he said thoughtfully. Read more »

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