Sprint Football (CSFL)

Travis Normand
December 9, 2017

Have you heard of “The Collegiate Sprint Football League” (CSFL) or “Sprint Football?”

“Sprint football, formerly called lightweight football, is a varsity sport played by United States colleges and universities, under standard American football rules. The sport is currently governed by the Collegiate Sprint Football League.” – Wikipedia Page on Sprint Football

 

Lombardi Award Canceled

Logo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Houston

Travis Normand
October 31, 2017

I have been a college football award voter since at least 2009 (and possibly as far back as 2006 from what I can remember, although at this time, I can’t find proof that I voted in anything earlier than 2009). I love the individual college football awards; I have always taken pride in my status as a voter and always give my votes serious consideration.

In 2011, I was honored to be selected as a voter in the Lombardi Award which was given out by the Rotary Club of Houston. As you probably already know, the Lombardi Award was historically given to the best college football lineman or linebacker, however, before the 2016 season, the award was changed and any college football player was eligible for consideration.

However, a couple of weeks ago I was notified that the Rotary Lombardi Award will not be given out this 2017 season for reasons that are not entirely clear. The purpose of this post is not to speculate as to the reasons, but to simply inform readers of this decision. As far as I know, in July of 2017 the award was still scheduled to be awarded after the 2017 season, as a pre-season watch list was announced on July 31, 2017.

The following is the press release from the Houston Rotary Club that was released in late September 2017, explaining the current situation:

Media Contact:
Laura M. Pennino, Senior PR Consultant for the Rotary Club of Houston
281 286 9398 office
713 419 1776 mobile
lp@penninoandpartners.com

The Rotary Club of Houston Will Not Present the 48th Annual Rotary Lombardi Award in 2018 as Previously Announced

HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2017) – Representatives of the Lombardi family have elected to end the historic and long-standing relationship with the Rotary Club of Houston. Consequently, the Rotary Club of Houston will not present the 48th Annual Rotary Lombardi Award for the 2017-2018 College Football Season as previously announced. The Club is very proud of its history in promoting, managing and presenting the Rotary Lombardi Award for 47 years.

The Rotary Club of Houston is a non-profit volunteer organization that established the Rotary Lombardi Award to honor legendary coach Vince Lombardi and to raise funds to fight the deadly disease that claimed his life—Cancer. Since 1970, the Rotary Club of Houston has presented this prestigious award to a talented college football player who not only demonstrates outstanding athletic performance and skill, but exemplifies the type of discipline, courage and wisdom that define Coach Lombardi’s exceptional brand of leadership. Proceeds from the Rotary Lombardi Award have benefitted three designated charities—the American Cancer Society, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.

“The Rotary Club of Houston applauds the numerous volunteers who have provided countless hours of service to support the mission of the Rotary Lombardi Award. Our members remain committed to the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and will continue to raise funds and awareness to battle Cancer,” commented Rick Olsen, President of the Rotary Club of Houston for the 2017-2018 calendar year.

In the immediate aftermath of “Hurricane Harvey” thousands of people remain displaced and face a challenging recovery. The Rotary Club of Houston will continue to provide assistance to those in need during this crisis. Rotarians, like the city they serve, are “Houston Strong!”

About The Rotary Club of Houston

The Rotary Club of Houston, founded in 1912, is the oldest and largest Rotary club in the greater Houston area. As a charter representative of Rotary International, a worldwide service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries, the Rotary Club of Houston continues to provide assistance to various local and global community service campaigns. Notwithstanding Rotary’s international pledge to eradicate Polio, the Rotary Club of Houston sponsors several programs that address literacy, child welfare, veteran assistance, and public health. The Rotary Club of Houston is also credited with helping to establish Goodwill Industries and Little League Baseball in Houston, and actively participated in scholarship programs sponsored by the Houston Endowment and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

For more information, please visit www.rotaryhouston.org.

I am not sure if, or when, the Lombardi Award will ever be back. However, my hope is that it returns soon, as it is one of the great college football awards.

Hullabaloo (The origin of …?)

Travis Normand
October 4, 2017

I found this online the other day and contacted the author, Sue Owen, about reposting/sharing it here on OPS. If you haven’t seen this, you should check it out. She does a great job researching the origin of the phrase “Hullabaloo, caneck, caneck” (from Texas A&M’s fight song), and discovers where it might have come from.

Hullabaloo: Ancient Greek and a play by Aristophanes could help decode a famous Aggie phrase
by Sue Owen ’94
Found at: https://www.aggienetwork.com/traditionsthroughtime/hullabaloo.aspx

 

Greatest Comebacks in College Football History

Travis Normand
October 4, 2017

Some of the following information was originally incorporated within another post that I had made back in September of 2017. However, I have added to these lists and consider the information worthy of its own post. So, having said that, here are the greatest comebacks in college football history:

List 1: The winning team trailed by at least 30 points
before overcoming the deficit:

[1] 2006: Michigan State 41, Northwestern 38 – Deficit overcome: 35 points
[2] 2017: UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44 – Deficit overcome: 34 points
[3] 1984: Maryland 42, Miami 40 – Deficit overcome: 31 points
[3] 1989: Ohio State 41, Minnesota 37 – Deficit overcome: 31 points
[3] 2006 Insight Bowl: Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41 – Deficit overcome: 31 points
[3] 2016: Tulsa 48, Fresno State 41 – Deficit overcome: 31 points
[3] 2015: TCU 47, Oregon 41 – Deficit overcome: 31 points
[8] 1993: California 42, Oregon 41 – Deficit overcome: 30 points
[8] 2001 GMAC Bowl: Marshall 64, East Carolina 61 – Deficit overcome: 30 points

(The above list of games is courtesy of Matt Brown at SportsOnEarth.com)

List 2: The winning team trailed by at least 20 points
before overcoming the deficit:

[1] 2010: Kansas 52, Colorado 45 – Deficit overcome: 28 points
[1] 1994: Florida 31, Florida State 31 – Deficit overcome: 28 points
[1] 1992: Clemson 29, Virginia 28 – Deficit overcome: 28 points
[2] 2000 Outback Bowl: Georgia 28, Purdue 25 – Deficit overcome: 25 points
[3] 1979 Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame 35, Houston 34 – Deficit overcome 22 points
[4] 2010: Auburn 28, Alabama 27 – Deficit overcome: 21 points
[5] 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M 52, Duke 48 – Deficit overcome: 21 points
[6] 1980 Holiday Bowl: BYU 46, SMU 45 – Deficit overcome: 20 points

I am still adding to these lists. If you know of a game that should be included, please let me know by posting in the comments below. I am sure there are some games from the 1800’s that have been entirely overlooked, but as I find them, I will include them. Also, all of the above-listed games are Division 1/FBS games. I have not yet researched the other divisions, but I am willing to include them. Again, if you know of a game from another division that should be included, just post it below in the comments and I will add it.

Completing the journey

by Travis Normand
September 2, 2017
Updated: September 4, 2017

Today (September 2, 2017) I start the final leg of a journey I started almost 20 years ago. This grand slam, or superfecta, which can no longer be accomplished due to the loss of the Orange Bowl stadium and the non-use of the Cotton Bowl stadium, will be completed tomorrow when I attend the UCLA vs. Texas A&M football game in the original Rose Bowl stadium.

As many of you know, college football has four major bowl games which are traditionally the Sugar, Cotton, Orange, and Rose. Not only are these bowl games, but at one point in time they were all played in stadiums built for that purpose (or in stadiums that were named after the bowl game itself). In other words, the Cotton Bowl game was played in the Cotton Bowl stadium (as was the Orange and Rose Bowl).

The one exception to this rule is the Sugar Bowl game, as that was originally played in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Sugar Bowl game has never had its own stadium (or otherwise stated, there has never been a stadium that was merely built for the purpose of hosting the Sugar Bowl game; and while Tulane Stadium was referred to as the Sugar Bowl, it was never officially named that).

However, when the sun rises over the San Gabriel Mountains on Monday morning, I will finally be able to say that I have seen A&M play in all three original historic bowl venues, as well as in the Sugar Bowl game.

Now, before you get too much further into what I have written, please take note (if you have not done so already), the distinction between the bowl game and the bowl stadium, as they are entirely two separate things. A perfect example is the Cotton Bowl. As you will read, I have seen the Aggies play in the Cotton Bowl game in the original Cotton Bowl stadium. However, for the purposes of this article, what is most important is having seen them play in the original historic stadium. I make this distinction because, for example, I may someday get a chance to see A&M play in an Orange Bowl game, however it will not be played in the original historic stadium as that is gone forever.

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1908 Missouri State Normal School and James P. Fitch

by Travis Normand
Originally Published: June 8, 2017
Updated: August 24, 2017 & May 24, 2018

The original photo that I found and began researching.

A couple of years ago I found an old black and white photograph of what appeared to be a college, or maybe high school, football team. While finding an old football photo is nothing special, this photo had my maternal great-grandfather in it (James P. Fitch). I instantly recognized him but I had no idea what team or school the photo was of.

The only identifying information that was ascertainable from the photo itself was the word “Normals ’08,” that someone had written across the bottom of the photo. There was also the coach, who was standing behind his players, wearing a white sweater with a logo that I couldn’t quite make out. The logo appeared to include a “T”, a triangle, and an “S”, although I wasn’t entirely sure. It wasn’t a lot of information to go off of, but with that, I began my search for the source of this photo.

I knew a lot about my great-grandfather but for some reason I didn’t know where he had attended college. I started searching for Normal schools in states where he had lived as a young man. As you can imagine, this didn’t narrow my search very much as there were a lot of Normal schools in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

I also tried searching for the logo, but that didn’t yield any results either. This wasn’t too disappointing as I knew that even if I found the logo, it might not be for the same school that my great-grandfather had attended. After all, it is not like schools during this time period had Nike contracts for their athletic apparel, and the coach’s sweater could have been from another school (or anywhere else for that matter). In other words, there was a very real possibility that the logo had nothing to do with this particular school or team.

I continued searching and put in an inquiry with a college football historical research group that I am a member of, but that turned up very little information. Everywhere I looked, I found another dead-end, and I was having a difficult time figuring out what school this photo was of. After a lot of searching, the only information I had was that my great-grandfather was in the photo, it was a “Normal” school, and the year was 1908. I started to think that I would never figure out what school my great-grandfather had attended. My biggest fear was that the school was a small college, located in the middle of nowhere, that had long since demised without a trace, and thus there was little chance that I would ever learn of its existence.

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Need-to-Know Rule Changes for 2017 College Football Season

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2017

Need-to-Know Rule Changes for 2017 College Football Season
CFO and NFF team up to highlight the changes designed
to protect players and increase safety

The NFF has partnered with College Football Officiating national coordinator Rogers Redding to highlight the key rule changes that will take effect during the 2017 college football season.

For a copy of this release in PDF format, click HERE, or view it at FootballFoundation.org.

IRVING, Texas (Aug. 23, 2017) – As the season draws near, the month of August provides the perfect time for the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame to highlight the key rule changes that will take effect during the 2017 college football season.

Since 2011, the NFF has partnered with Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating (CFO), to help generate awareness for the rule changes in college football through a series of regular columns distributed by the NFF. The CFO functions as the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level, and the organization held its annual winter meeting of conference coordinators for football officials in late January for the fifth consecutive year at the NFF headquarters in Irving, Texas.

Having officiated football for more than three decades, Redding started his career working high school football in Texas. He later officiated in the Southwest Conference from 1988-93, served as a referee in the Southeastern Conference for nearly a decade and worked three national championship games. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and later obtained a masters and PhD in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt. Redding was honored with the NFF’s Outstanding Football Official Award in 2010.

The NCAA football rules committee recommended a very small number of changes for the 2017 season, and these were approved earlier this year by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP).  Because 2017 is the “off year” for changes, the committee was limited to making rules that directly impact the safety of the players. Here are the 2017 major rule changes as summarized by Rogers Redding:

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Georgia Tech’s 222

Scoreboard from the 1916 Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland football game, Wikipedia.com

by Travis Normand
July 26, 2017

I have written about Georgia Tech’s historic 222-0 drubbing of Cumberland before (here and here), but for some reason I was thinking about it again today. I was wondering how the outcome of that game stacked up against other games and whether or not the outcome was truly an anomaly.

I set out to answer these questions and created this post to share what I found.

1916 Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland, 222-0:  According to Wikipedia.com, the 222-0 Georgia Tech (GT) victory was the most lopsided in the history of college football. However, how much more “lopsided” was this game than others? Well, again, according to Wikipedia.com:

  • Of the current Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, only (1) Arizona, (2) Bowling Green, (2) Georgia Tech, (3) Oklahoma, and (4) Tulsa have eclipsed 150 points in a single game.
  • Ignoring games from the early 1900s (and earlier), the Houston Cougars are the only Division I, FBS team to score 100 points against another FBS team in the last 50 years (they did it against Tulsa on November 3, 1968).
  • King College (now King University) in Tennessee scored 206 points against Lenoir in 1922.
  • St. Viator College (Illinois) scored 205 points against Lane Tech in 1916 (the same year as Georgia Tech’s 222 points against Cumberland). In fact, according to an article published in Sports Illustrated, the Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland game received no national publicity. The New York Times reported a new scoring record when St. Viator’s beat Lane Tech 205-0, which happened three weeks after Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland (Georgia Tech had to wait until 1917 before it was recognized as the nation’s top-scoring team). [FN1]
  • Yale defeated Dartmouth 113–0 on October 25, 1884 (in Hanover, New Hampshire). This is the first recorded incident of a team (1) scoring over 100 points in a game, and (2) scoring over 100 points while shutting out the other team. [FN2]
  • Four days after Yale’s defeat of Dartmouth, on October 29, 1884, Princeton outscored Lafayette 140-0. [FN3]
  • Another notable finding is that more often than not, when one team scores 100 points, the other team typically doesn’t score at all. However, in 1916 SMU scored an early field goal in its game against Rice. However, Rice made a “come back” and ended up winning the game 146-3.

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College Football approaches its 150th Birthday

by Travis Normand
June 28, 2017

Yesterday the National Football Foundation released a statement that a group of college football leaders were planning a nationwide celebration to commemorate the game’s 150th anniversary.

IRVING, Texas (June 27, 2017) – College football, one of America’s most beloved and popular institutions, is getting ready to celebrate a big birthday.  And it plans to do so in style.

A group of college football leaders announced plans today to launch a nationwide celebration to commemorate the game’s 150th anniversary.

Click here to read the full statement at FootballFoundation.org.

While I think this is a fun idea, and I enjoy having a solid date that allows fans to commemorate the game of college football as being a specific age, I also recognize that many college football historians dispute the November 6, 1869 start/birth date and have pointed out that it may not be entirely accurate. (I also don’t expect football officials/executives to let historical facts get in their way of having a marketable event which produces interest and money). Regardless, whether or not this is the correct date is technically another discussion, as this commemoration is based upon the premise that college football was “born” on November 6, 1869 when Rutgers defeated the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), 6-4. Further, the commemoration will be celebrated across all divisions of college football during the 2019 season, with a focus on November 6.

For those keeping score, here are some key dates regarding college football’s “age”(assuming you accept November 6, 1869 as the official start date of college football).

  • 2017 College Football Season: College football is 148 years old & 2017 is the 149th season.
  • 2018 College Football Season: College football is 149 years old & 2018 is the 150th season.
  • 2019 College Football Season: College football is 150 years old & 2019 is the 151st season.

 

Texas A&M’s Historical 1976 Trifecta

by Travis Normand
June 13, 2017

A friend of mine (David Walker – who played QB at Texas A&M in the 1970s) is always pointing out interesting stats and facts from the years he played football at Texas A&M. The most recent stat that he brought to my attention is that the 1976 Texas Aggie football team is the only one to: (1) defeat the University of Texas in Austin, (2) win a bowl game, and (3) finish the season ranked in the top-10 (AP No. 7 and UPI No. 8).

Three other Aggie teams have come close to accomplishing this particular trifecta, but fell short due to no fault of their own. Those three teams were the 1939 (National Champions), the 1985 SWC Champions, and the 1987 SWC Champions. Each of these three teams (1) defeated the University of Texas at Kyle Field, (2) won their bowl game, and (3) finished the season ranked in the top-10. The only difference being that these three teams played the Longhorns at Kyle Field as opposed to playing them in Austin.

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