So I'm brushing up on my Ole Miss for tomorrow's Rebels preview, and I stumble across a bounty of old stats. Turns out, Ole Miss has its season stats posted all the way back to 1967. Click here for a blown-up screen-cap from 1969. Archie Manning's 1969 stat line: * 154-for-265 passing (58.1%), 1,762 yards (6.6 per pass), 9 TD, 9 INT * 124 carries, 502 yards (4.0 per carry), 14 TD This made him a major Heisman candidate in 1970. (And while we're at it, when you woke up this morning, you and I both know the first question you asked yourself was, "Who was the second-string quarterback for Ole Miss in 1999?" Now you have the answer! Even Eli Manning rotted away on the third string for a while.)
In 1935, Alabama's head coach Frank Thomas was featured in Sport Story Magazine where he espoused his particular philosophy toward the game (he used the Notre Dame system) and his thoughts on that year's Rose Bowl which had been won by the Crimson Tide. Included in the piece was a pair of diagrammed pass plays that Thomas broke down in some detail, explaining that Alabama's effectiveness in the air had been the key to the 29-13 victory over Stanford. The labeled players are Dixie Howell, Don Hutson and the team's "other end" Paul Bryant. If I am not mistaken, this video shows the play in "Diagram No. 1." It's a fascinating little look back at the X's & O's of the game as it was played three-quarters of a century ago.
Oregon's tendency to tinker with its uniforms has become something of a running joke across college football. The simple explanation of why the Ducks endure the unending permutations of their equipment is an overeager Nike marketing department. Yet there might be a deeper philosophical basis for the team's embracing of apparel experimentation. While Nike is inevitably associated with former UO runner Phil Knight, it was the Duck's innovative track coach Bill Bowerman that provided the initial inspiration for the company. Bowerman's insistence on experimentation as a way to gain the competitive edge was a foundation of his approach at Oregon and, through him, it became the corporate credo of the sports apparel giant. I take a look at Bowerman and his knack for innovation (and how it applies to the current football team) today over at SB Nation's running site, Stride Nation.
In 1964, Alabama and LSU met in Birmingham, Alabama as undefeated teams vying for the conference championship and, with a little luck, the national title. It proved to be a titanic battle with almost mythical overtones. Over at the SB Nation mothership, The Historical takes a look at this matchup which followed a six-year break in the series between the two storied programs. The game prior, in 1958, was notable as the first for Paul W. Bryant as head coach of Alabama and the debut of LSU's famed "Chinese Bandits" defense. The Historical examined this game last November. Interestingly, the 1958 contest was held at Mobile's Ladd Stadium, marking the last time the teams met at a neutral site prior to tonight's BCS National Championship Game.
On Nov. 18, 2006 No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan in a 42-39 shootout in Columbus. Barely had the final whistle sounded ere the calls for a national championship rematch had begin. On Nov. 13, 1993, No. 1 ranked Florida State was felled by No. 2 Notre Dame 31-24 in South Bend. For the next six days the main topic of discussion was how the two squads should face each other again for the title. Over at the mothership, The Historical takes a detailed look at these two seasons and how the possibility of a rematch emerged and how it failed to come to pass.
The first New Year's Day game in Rose Bowl stadium was the 1923 game between Southern California and Penn State. The Trojans bested the Nittany Lions 14-3 in front of 43,000 who showed up to see the game in the brand-new horseshoe-shaped venue. Over at the SB Nation main page The Historical takes a look at the story of this famous stadium and how it came to be built. It is a monument to the sports' first great era and, in it's own way, is as emblematic of that time as much as billion-dollar television contracts are of today's.
A boatload of Numericals went up earlier today. Catch up here. And yeah, Wesley Tate wins the Best Open Field Block Of The Bowl Season award for his job yesterday.
The story of the 1969 season opener between Texas and Cal is now posted over at SB Nation for your perusal and enjoyment. While the Golden Bears fell to the eventual national champion in that Sept. 20 contest in Berkeley, it tends to be forgotten that the Longhorns' trip to the West Coast provided their high-flying offense with it's toughest defensive challenge that season. Yet there was a similarity between the two teams that isn't as fondly recalled - both squads struggled with controversy over racial discrimination as the 1960s came to a close. The 1969 University of Texas team holds a doubious honor in the history of the sport as being the last all-white national champion. While the team's color barrier had been broken the year prior, there were no black varsity players on the squad that claimed the national title. While the Longhorns had a few black players on the practice squad, the lack of any on the field during gameday lead to protests during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. And less than a month after winnning the title, head coach Darrell Royal found himself dealing with another racial controversy. In January 1970, the Associated Press penned a story that claimed Royal had attended a convention in Washington D.C. and told several black coaches they were not "scientific enough" to coach in the sport's all-star games. The writer, Bob Green, later admitted he had gotten the information through hearsay and the news service published a retraction. "It was absolutely a total lie," Royal said. "I was going to file suit on them and maybe I should have, becuase that was the biggest rap I ever got." Integration wasn't an issue for the Golden Bears. The Cal football team's first black player was Walter Gordon who arrived in Berkeley in 1914 and was an All-American in 1918. Despite the University of California program's long history of integration, the team found itself struggling with a discrimination controversy in 1968. In the spring of that year a number of black athletes, lead by a group of basketball players, boycotted their teams alleging discriminatory practices by coaches and the athletic department. The football team became the focal point of national news stories when 14 black players refused to participate in Spring practices. The Golden Bear's head coach Ray Willsey denied accusations his staff had been discriminatory in alloting playing time and refused to meet the player's demands saying they were "removing themselves from the California football team." Eventually, the crisis resulted in the resignations of Cal's basketball coach Rene Herrerias and Athletic Director Pete Newell. Willsey subsequently took steps to reform the football program. By the start of the 1968 season he had installed a system of group sessions where players coluld confer with each other and coaches over grievances. He also hired a black former player, John Erby, as an assistant coach.
Today's Historical looks at the 1944 Army vs. Navy game - one of the greatest contests in the history of the service academies' rivalry and arguably one of the most legendary machups in the history of the sport. The contest pitted the unbeaten No. 1-ranked Cadets against the powerful No. 2 Midshipmen unit many felt was the best team in the land. Add to that the backdrop of a country at war made the season-ending rivalry game one of college football most highly-anticipated contests. And, arguably, it delivered.