college football

Keith Strudler: Turning off the Train Wreck

Jun 29, 2016

Last week I told someone I was done writing about Johnny Manziel. His story went from journalistic to voyeuristic, which is where I vowed to get off. I didn’t want to chronicle one young man’s unstoppable fall from grace, even if that’s not exactly the right term. My conviction lasted for all of a few days, as I now find myself writing again on this very bizarre topic.

Keith Strudler: Political Football In Louisiana

Feb 17, 2016

For the citizens of Louisiana, this is not just a budget crisis. It’s truly an existential one. It’s the end of days, the apocalypse, cats and dogs living together. Because according to Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, if the state can’t find a way to close a $940 million budget deficit, then higher education – and its solvency – is on the table. And that could mean for next season, no LSU football. That’s right, forget the prospect of cutting classes, no diplomas, and no grades assigned. Next fall, according to the highest ranking state employee, Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the Mecca, Taj Mahal, and Wailing Wall combined, could remain empty. So instead of a mini-Mardi Gras event other Saturday, as the Tigers take on Alabama, or Ole Miss, or really anyone, Louisianans will have to find other pastimes for the Saturday morning into late night.


On Sunday in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles stunned the New England Patriots 35-28. The Pats have blown 14-point leads in consecutive weeks. And now they are tied with Cincinnati and Denver for best record in the AFC at 10-2. It's the first time the Pats have lost back-to-back regular season games since 2012. The Jets beat the Giants in overtime 23-20, and Buffalo topped Houston 30-21.

Keith Strudler: USC Dumps The Sark

Oct 14, 2015

I’d imagine there aren’t too many sports fans that will shed a tear for now former head University of Southern California head football coach Steve Sarkisian. That includes most loyal Trojan fans and alumni, most of whom are still reeling from an unexpected home loss last week to mid-tier University of Washington, a program that’s supposed to hardly be a speed bump in the steam roll of a revitalized Trojan football program. Of course, Sarkisian, or Sark came from UW, where he was a relatively successful if but slightly controversial coaching figure. He was a coach that hardly ever spoke softly, big stick or not, but led the Huskies to four bowl games in his five years, even if those bowl games were the kind that were named after auto repair shops and advocacy groups. So not exactly the Rose Bowl, which, of course, is an expectation at USC. Breaking .500 is acceptable in the Pacific Northwest. Downcoast in LA, the bar is set much higher.

  Endzone tells the story of how college football's most successful, richest and respected program almost lost all three in less than a decade - and entirely of its own doing. It is a story of hubris, greed, and betrayal - a tale more suited to Wall Street than the world's top public university.

Author John U. Bacon takes you inside the offices, the board rooms and the locker rooms of the University of Michigan to see what happened, and why - with countless eye-opening, head-shaking scenes of conflict and conquest.

  In his new book Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football, journalist Gilbert Gaul examines how – he says - college football has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities—reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories, even as many university presidents look the other way.

Gaul argues these abuses are mere symbols of something much larger and problematic: the business model that schools have created using football to brand their schools, monetizing every aspect of the game.

Gilbert Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers.

Keith Strudler: The South Rises

Oct 29, 2014

For all that say the south will rise again, perhaps you need wait no longer. Because right now, they’ve already risen to the top of the college football playoff rankings, with three of the four top teams hailing from Alabama and Mississippi, all three from the western division of the Southeastern Conference. The fourth team currently in that mix is Atlantic Coast Conference leader Florida State, located in the north Florida town of Tallahassee, a state where the more north you go, the more south you go. So if the season were to end today, which it won’t, the four team playoff would consist of schools that could meet for lunch and still make it home for tea.

Keith Strudler: Charlie Strong

Jan 8, 2014

Charlie Strong may have had the shortest honeymoon in the history of modern relationships. On Monday, Strong was announced as the new head football coach at the University of Texas, a job that’s been portrayed as ever so slightly more important and prestigious than that of the Pope. By all accounts, it is the premier college football coaching post in the country, although several top candidates from other schools, including Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, politely declined an interview. But Strong, straight off a successful run at the helm at Louisville, took the job and its $5 million annual salary. With that, he also gets the potential headache of managing the university’s own sports network and an alumni base as rich as it is powerful. It’s by no means a cakewalk, which is why, as they say, he’ll get paid the big bucks.

U.S. Department of Defense / Glenn Fawcett

The New Year—in addition to a monster snow storm—is bringing with it some exciting sports news. Notably, the BCS championship between Auburn and Florida State kicking off Monday night, and the rapid approach of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. We’re talking sports today with our WAMC Sports Commentator Keith Strudler.  

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with legendary football coach John Heisman’s grand nephew, John M. Heisman, the keeper of the family’s flame and the author of a new biography called Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy, which is published by Simon and Schuster.

When the Heisman Trophy is awarded December 8 to the nation’s best college football player, the sports world will look back fondly on the past recipients and their stellar careers, and then begin looking forward to the bowl season with anticipation.