– Mary McGrory (1918–2004), journalist and columnist for The Washington Post who probably wasn't paying homage to the game that has possibly replaced baseball as our new American pastime.
The Commercial Appeal's Geoff Calkins is right: 2011 has been the most scandal-plagued year in college football history. What began with the conference realignment shuffle/multi-billion-dollar money grab has culminated with a mélange of far-reaching controversies at benchmark institutions such as North Carolina, Ohio State, Miami (FL) and now Penn State from which there appears no end in sight. Yet the irony is found in how the sport only continues to flourish.
College football and the NFL are a conjoined juggernaut that remains unscathed by even the most salacious state of affairs. In fact the world class athletic paradigms central to the sport itself are tolerated because perhaps nothing is more genuinely American than dressing up like a modern day Roman legion and acting the part of the ultimate alpha male, thus allowing the average person to share vicariously in the illusion of being large, strong, tough, famous, wealthy and practically untouchable.
Such age-old fascinations played a considerable role in establishing our country as the nation by which all others are judged. It is a permanent part of our cultural landscape. Consequently the ethos from which scandals of every imaginable sort has become the acceptable norm will likely never change, either.
Stanford's loss to the burgeoning Oregon Ducks costs the Cardinal their #2 ranking, but hang on to remain in the Top 10. The same cannot be said for Boise State, whose surprising loss to resurgent Texas Christian has the Broncos on the outside looking in for the first time this season.
In addition Virginia Tech's victory over nationally ranked Georgia Tech all but clinches a rematch with Clemson – who handed the Hokies their only defeat – for the ACC championship on December 3.
1. Louisiana State (def. Western Kentucky, 42-9), 10-0, 640 pts.
2. Oklahoma State (def. Texas Tech, 66-6), 10-0, 610 pts.
3. Alabama (def. Mississippi State, 24-7), 9-1, 585 pts.
4. Oregon (def. Stanford, 53-30), 9-1, 575 pts.
5. Oklahoma (Bye), 8-1, 545 pts.
6. Arkansas (def. Tennessee, 49-7), 9-1, 520 pts.
7. Virginia Tech (def. Georgia Tech, 37-26), 9-1, 455 pts.
8. Stanford (lost to Oregon, 53-30), 9-1, 405 pts.
9. Clemson (def. Wake Forest, 31-28), 9-1, 350 pts.
10. Houston (def. Tulane, 73-17), 10-0, 315 pts.
|Players and coaches from Penn State and Nebraska met at midfield to pray before the start of the game in State College, PA. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images|
|Penn State cheerleaders embrace on the last play of the game against Nebraska. JoePa’s boys lost, 17-14. Things in Happy Valley may not ever be the same. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images|