With the resurgence of football at Notre Dame this season Irish fans are excited. I live in the center of Notre Dame hype and support in Chicago. These fans have every right to be thrilled with their team’s success and the obvious upgrade of their once floundering football program. I believe Notre Dame is great for tradition, even though in the more recent past they were often over-rated. People tend to love them or hate them but few real fans ignore them. Tonight they face a true test when they play Oklahoma in Norman, a tough road game if there ever was one. I expect the Irish to lose this evening but their defense is good enough to keep them in this game and give them a shot at a close win in the fourth quarter. If they win then they will then have a decent shot of playing for a national championship in January. (They still have to play and beat USC as well.) But true fans know better than to plan their schedule around
Readers know I love college football. I watch an NFL game now and then but almost never see an entire game, including the over-hyped, much ballyhooed Super Bowl. One reason for my love has to be that I matriculated as a freshman at the University of Alabama in 1967. I enjoyed two seasons of football with Bear Bryant on the sidelines. The two seasons were mediocre by the Bear’s standards.(Yes, I did meet the greatest coach ever and yes football dominates the fall semester on campus in the minds of most students!) I later finished two degrees at Wheaton College, where I now teach as an adjunct professor in evangelism and leadership.)
This weekend college football had the most momentous and exciting group of games in decades. The BCS, which is the formula used to determine the top two teams who will play for the championship, is maligned in many quarters. Most people clamor for a playoff system. (The argument is always about “what’s fair.” Personally, I did
This famous line in my title comes from the infamous Black Sox baseball scandal that occurred early in the twentieth century. As the story goes a young lad, who loved “Shoeless Joe” Jackson of the Chicago White Sox, could not believe his hero has cheated. In the movie version of “Eight Men Out” the boy plaintively said, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”
That’s about how I felt last week as we watched the Joe Paterno story unfold through every news medium possible. In this case even a sports story became a national tragedy. Not only did the actions of a famous coach (or his non-action in this sad case) make global news but it galvanized a whole new conversation about sex abuse. And well it should. But how could Joe Paterno, a decent and good man by every account, have failed to deal with this tragedy and thus allowed children to be molested by a predator? How could he not report this crime when he had
It is well-documented that I love college football. I have been accused of choosing to attend the University of Alabama (1967-69) because of this passion. This accusation is not entirely true. But it is a serious partial truth. I went out-of-state in the fall of 1967 (I lived in middle Tennessee) because I wanted to go away to college. I also wanted to follow a friend who was a pastor who had just moved to Tuscaloosa. And I wanted to root for the Crimson Tide, being a big-time Bear Bryant fan. After my growing relationship with Christ manifested itself in a clear call to mission I transferred to Wheaton College to finish my bachelor’s and master’s degrees after January of 1969. But I never lost my passion for all things Crimson Tide. I have more shirts, jackets and hats than most fans. I wear crimson as my color of choice. Hey, I did this even when the Tide was losing and being routinely mocked by ESPN with
Though one game has already been played college football kicks off a new season in earnest today. That means ESPN Game Day and the gang with all the hype and fun of a college football Saturday in the fall. I love it. I plan my days around these events and soak it all in with much fun.
To say that I have marked the days until Alabama begins the new season would be a huge understatement. I follow news from Tuscaloosa daily and read practice reports with real interest. In the championship season of 2009 I ended up getting to see three games in person: Arkansas, Kentucky (in Lexington) and Texas in the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. Nothing can top that year for me. But every Crimson Tide fan knows that every year opens the door for another crack at the top spot and this year is truly no exception.
Pre-season polls have Alabama ranked No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 at worst. Some
Blogging is a rather amazing phenomenon. It has impacted politics, the church and almost everything else in between. When I began to write blogs in April of 2005 I had no idea what I was doing or where this would go. I began blogging because I enjoyed writing and believed I could express my thoughts in this form and thereby help and serve both God and some of his people. My core values were clear: speak the truth in love, always correct my mistakes when they became known to me and encourage people in every way possible to think, grow and change in the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. For about five years now I have written a blog almost every day of the week.
To this end I soon began to write about a whole panorama of issues and ideas. Now, more than six years later, I write to an audience that includes Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox. I write to non-Christians and I write to people on both sides of issues that divide us; homosexuality, abortion, health care, etc. I generally avoid partisan politics because
It is a widely known fact that I love college athletics, especially D-I football. Why? I grew up watching Alabama and Bear Bryant and then went to the University of Alabama. I am, thus, a die-hard Crimson Tide fan. Having said this I must admit that my alma mater has done more than its fair share of wrong over the course of my lifetime. It has cost Alabama dearly, putting it on probation several times and taking its storied tradition to the proverbial “dog house” of big-time football. So, let it be duly noted here, “The one without sin should cast the first stone.” I am not, however, comparing apples and apples in what I am about to say. I am speaking about a university that is the premier Catholic university in America and one that prides itself on a storied tradition that is supposed to be above the common lot of college football programs. Not so.
The resignation yesterday of head coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State was “the sports news” of Memorial Day. Rarely do I watch 35-40 minutes of video clips on a sports news story but this story so captivated my interest that I spent a good deal of time last night trying to absorb it. I am truly saddened by the actions of Jim Tressel and pray for him and those who love him.
I wrote about the problems Jim Tressel faced just a few weeks ago. I suggested then that he should resign. I can only guess that it took time to work out the details of his contract for this to finally happen. I have no idea why the announcement came on a holiday. Cynics have made several suggestions.
This is what we know. Coach Tressel made a decision to cover up the actions of five players, perhaps because he cared about the players deeply. He further chose to withhold information from the NCAA and his superiors at Ohio
Friends know that I am a huge college football fan. I am especially loyal to my own school, the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide has had its own trials in the recent past with probation because of serious violations with boosters paying for players, etc. This sad legacy came on the heels of the head coaches moral failure (Mike DuBose). The coach’s lack of attention to his own program landed them in deep weeds. No excuses. Alabama got hammered and deserved it.
Nothing strikes a college fan with more dread than an NCAA investigation. It likely means penalties that will set back the football program for years. The ramifications for the school, the team and the fans are immense. But the NCAA shows no mercy in these instances. (Perhaps on another day I will share my view of the NCAA, which is not all that favorable either. )
High school athlete Floyd Raven says his mom was just trying to help when she forged his signature on a letter of intent to Mississippi on Wednesday morning. Instead, she only caused confusion. Floyd had decided to go to Texas A&M but mom had different plans.
"Long story short, my mom thought she was helping me out," Raven said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. "I wasn't home and she sent it in. I never told her I had changed my mind to Texas A&M. I forgive her for it. It was an honest mistake."
Once Mississippi coach Houston Nutt learned that the letter of intent was forged he declined to get into specifics about the incident. All he would say was Raven's "mom really wanted him [at Ole Miss]. Mom wanted him here in the worst way."
Raven, a highly regarded defensive back who played high school football at East St. John in Reserve, La., said the Ole Miss coaches were "very understanding" during the