Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On Boise State, TCU and Democracy in America

I wrote this piece for

In late 1969, one Richard Milhous Nixon, whose most prominent gridiron accomplishment involved having his front teeth separated from his jaw, declared the University of Texas the champions of college football. What gave Nixon the right to do this, no one really knew. Years later, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, whose team went undefeated that same season, would wonder aloud how Nixon could know so much about college football and so little about Watergate.
Of course, Paterno—the closest thing college football has to a Northeast intellectual—is himself a Republican; he once gave a convention speech seconding the nomination of George H.W. Bush. Such is the overarching ethic of the sport: a 2009 survey found that college football fans, as an entity, were slightly to the right of NASCAR fans. College football lore is crowded with reactionaries, and this is how many Americans prefer it. This year, Alabama is the defending national champion and the preseason No. 1, and it feels perfectly natural, a throwback to the days when Bear Bryant surveyed practice from a tower and George Wallace openly insulted hippies.
And yet, despite that, 2010 has the potential to be the most progressive season in the history of college football, for two reasons.

Read More

(Photo: AP)

1 comment:

EPorvaznik said...

Though more than a little late to this thread, George Wallace was a racist till it wouldn't work for him anymore and most definitely wasn't a Republican or conservative. To bum a line from Chuck D, keeping folks on the plantation, what else can a socialist, er, communist, um, liberal, uh, "progressive" do?