I’ve long thought that an Aussie footy sup­porter would find the pas­sion of US col­lege foot­ball fans far more recog­nis­able than the NFL equiv­a­lent.

Inside Sport - - EDITOR'S LETTER - Jeff Cen­ten­era Deputy Editor

With the Olympics finishing, it was time to get back into footy in a big way. We’ve got all forms of pigskin cov­ered this month: AFL, NRL, union, soc­cer, NFL, even wheel­chair rugby. While we’re get­ting reac­quainted with the fi­nals time of year, this month also brings a new spec­ta­cle – the Amer­i­can col­lege foot­ball sea­son will be­gin in Syd­ney, as the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia-Berke­ley plays the Uni­ver­sity of Hawaii.

With an eye to this game, we tasked long-time con­trib­u­tor and our man in the United States, Rick We­ber, with mak­ing the case for one side in an eter­nal de­bate: NFL or col­lege, which is bet­ter? For the last few years, Rick has writ­ten an an­nual NFL pre­view for the mag­a­zine which neatly cap­tures the league in its ram­bunc­tious glory. Find­ing out that Rick comes down on the side of the col­le­gians, we ex­pected him to tout its well­known virtues. In­stead, he shares a per­sonal tale that reaches into the very soul of what makes col­lege foot­ball so com­pelling. You can read it on page 81.

I’ve long thought that an Aussie footy sup­porter would find the pas­sion of US col­lege foot­ball fans far more recog­nis­able than the NFL equiv­a­lent. Part of it is his­tory – uni­ver­sity teams, like our old­est clubs, date back to be­fore the turn of the century, where the old­est NFL team is yet to turn 100. I only be­came more con­vinced of this no­tion when talk­ing to a mate, a club rugby player who went on ex­change to the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­sis­sippi for a year. He re­turned with a new taste for two things: bour­bon and col­lege foot­ball. As he’d tell me, hang around a game day at Ole Miss and the NFL can’t com­pare. Here’s hop­ing for a col­le­gial ex­pe­ri­ence in Syd­ney. *** Forbes Carlile was a leg­endary fig­ure in swim­ming, coach to Shane Gould, the in­ven­tor of the con­cept of ta­per­ing, and even be­came an Olympian him­self by qual­i­fy­ing in mod­ern pen­tathlon. Carlile, who died last month at age 95, was also a staunch an­tidrugs ad­vo­cate, a po­si­tion he made abun­dantly clear in this mag­a­zine’s pages in Novem­ber 1995, when he called for China’s swim­mers to be banned from the Olympics. With the IOC’s non­de­ci­sion on Rus­sia at the Rio Games, you can’t help but read Carlile’s words and feel them res­onate.

Hard not to get caught up in col­le­giate en­thu­si­asm ...

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