CONFIRMED. According to the man himself, Phil Steele, our own Beaver Stadium is tied for sixth in a ranking of the toughest places to play in the country with the likes of Alabama, Florida and Wisconsin. This isn't exactly "news" since we already know just how crazy games can get in Happy Valley, but it's always nice to see Penn State listed at the top in anything (I SEE YOU, PARTY SCHOOL RANKINGS. GET IT TOGETHER, STUDENTS.). Michigan is alllllllll the way back tied for 32nd, which makes some sense I suppose. I mean, jangling your car keys and yelling "DOWN IN FRONT!" just doesn't generate that much noise or atmosphere.
This may not present such an intimidating home field advantage. Northwestern is redoing their basketball court, and have released four designs that the public will vote on. One of those options is a mainly purple basketball court, a la Boise State's blue turf. I'm extremely open to new ideas when it comes to sports uniforms and the like, but a purple basketball court may be beyond the realm of what I'd find acceptable. Ballsy and unique? Definitely, but probably not the best idea. Also, the N center court logo looks naked and weird without the wildcat in it.
More Northwestern news than you could ever have possibly imagined! I think we're all agreed that Dan Persa is good at football. Very good, in fact. He's a tough kid that routinely wins games against teams with better players. I wouldn't necessarily call him a Heisman candidate though, but that's exactly what Northwestern thinks he is. In an effort to raise awareness for the oft-overlooked Wildcat QB, the university mailed out a set of seven pound weights to members of the media. Creative, but probably not the best allocation of funds. I know at least one media member wasn't crazy about it.
I've seen an embarrassing number of games involving these teams. Spencer put together a list over at the mothership of the least watchable teams in recent memory. Included in the list is 2007 Minnesota and 2005 Syracuse, two teams so putrid that it hurts to think about them. Living in Western New York, I get to see a lot of terrible football, but I can safely say that the GERG era Orangemen were the absolute worst pile of crap I've ever seen. But hey, at least he gave us this.
HE MAD. According to Bo Pelini, the referees told him that they were out to screw Nebraska the night they lost to Texas A&M 9-6 last season. He refuses to say what the ref said to him, but if you look at the stats from the game, the Huskers were tagged with 16 penalties for 145 yards compared to two for 10 for A&M. I don't know whether this supposed exchange ever happened or not, but if it did it the officials from that game should be fired - into the sun.
Let's hope this goes well. A number of Notre Dame players will be using special mouth guards this season that record data relating to the violent beating that a player receives during a football game. The information will be used to try to create better equipment, which will reduce concussions and injuries. Football is a violent game and it's impossible to remove all of the risk from it, but any steps taken to improve player safety are steps that we all should be in favor of.
Kind of non-football related. Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples is one of the best college football writers working right now. He also just started a barbecue blog this week. If you don't like barbecue, you can go back to Russia because we don't want you here in AMERICA [shoots gun in air] [pounds can of Busch heavy]. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go think about ribs for a while.