Posted by: furmanbisher | November 26, 2010

Footnotes on Football

*****This is painful proof that you can’t revive historical events. Army and Notre Dame matched up in Yankee Stadium during the days of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, when the country was in love with the military. Fans came to Yankee Stadium—the original—in droves, and the nation stood still. Somebody tried to reproduce the old rivalry the other day, in Yankee Stadium—the new one—and it was a sham. The final accounting was that probably no more than 10,000 fans showed up. I haven’t seen an actual count, but anything near that guess is sad enough. And while those wartime games were classics, the Irish wiped out this peacetime Army team. War has lost its flavor.

*****Suddenly, there’s an outburst of small-ball football in colleges around Georgia—all due to the popularity of Georgia State’s emerging team. First, there was Kennesaw State, which enlisted Vince Dooley to help with the christening. Then came news that Mercer was thinking of bringing the game back to its Macon campus. Then, news from  Rhinehardt College at Waleska that the football itch had broken out there. Well, we shall see. (Just remember, fellows, don’t bite into that bigtime scheduling, even for a $400,000 payout.)

*****St. Louis Rams? Where’d they come from? Last year they couldn’t brush their teeth. This year they’re mean as hell, and gave the Falcons a boatload. OK, now I’ve seen Sam Bradford and I’m impressed. And a year ago he was playing QB at Oklahoma.

*****Sam Wyche’s name came up during the telecast, as one of the NFL’s innovators. Sam’s an old Furman University man, now retired due to some visual problem. He lives in Pickens, SC, his wife’s hometown, and he helps coach the local high school team.

*****Call them bowl games, if you choose, but they’re nothing more than an extension of the schedule. :Bowl games began as rewards for an outstanding season. Now they’re added on for those ordinary teams that have ordinary seasons. Win six games and you get a trip to some county seat in Idaho. Worst bowl game I ever saw was called the Silicon  Valley Bowl in the vicinity of San Jose, Calif. Dreadful stadium, muddy field, maybe 5,000 people in the stands, and Georgia Tech made that trip to lose to Fresno State. Awful, but it takes its place on the south end of Grant Field right along with the Rose Bowl and all those others of distinction.

*****Greatest all-round athlete I ever saw in college—Ace Parker at Duke. Football, basketball, baseball—played major league baseball and pro football. Oh, and the first time he went to bat in the major leagues, he hit a home run.

Any questions?—Selah.



  1. Furman,

    Of all people, I’m surprised that you did not observe a truth behind the competitiveness of Army football in that era. It was because the service academics had a guaranteed four-year college education program during the war while so many others deferred college to enlist in the military.

    You did that same thing, so that is why I say I am surprised you did not mention it. Today, there is no draft and therefore no such advantage for the service academies.

    Given it all, I am sure all would agree it would have been better to not have that instrinsic advantage at work from 1942 until 1946. The price paid was as monumental as human history can record!

    So, here’s to the Greatest Generation, and while the game this year was not of the same quality, it was still a good homage, and when you get right down to it, Furman, isn’t that a good enough reason for a football game?



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