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.
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 ...