Goodbye St. Louis Rams, Hello St. Louis Billikens?

Cruel doesn't begin to describe what Stan Kroenke has done to fans of the St. Louis Rams.

He didn't only move the Rams back to LA this week.  "On his way out he decided he had to torch the city, saying 'Any NFL club who signs on to this proposal in St. Louis will be well on the road to financial ruin,'" a not-so-cheery recap from the fans recapped on MMQB.  "This from a guy who proudly claims he was named after two amazing St. Louis baseball players. It was a completely classless act of revenge from a little man who profited greatly by being in St. Louis. He not only made himself look pitiful, he also made the NFL look like a heartless organization that only cares about money."

St. Louis is now left with a stadium that isn't yet paid off, the Edward Jones Dome, and no football team to play games there.

Nobody asked me, but to me, this presents the opportunity of a lifetime for the private, Jesuit Division I school in St. Louis.
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How Relegation And Promotion Can Work In FCS and FBS

To many sportswriters who have followed English Premier League soccer in any capacity, the holy grail is promotion and relegation.

United States sports leagues, for a wide variety of reasons, do not allow its teams or franchises the ability to get "promoted" to the top flights of their professional leagues.  That's largely to protect the teams at the bottom, which can stink as much as they'd like, but will still share in the profits of the league.

In the EPL, however, the teams that finish in the bottom are "relegated" to the "Championship" division, and the teams that finish on top get "promoted" to the EPL.

Many sportswriters have tried, and failed, to devise a promotion/relegation system for a variety of pro sports.  But I think where it could best work is in the worlds of FCS and FBS football.

Hear me out.
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Bama vs. Clemson Preview: What The College Football Playoff Got Right

Let's get something straight off the bat: I am not against bowl subdivision football.

Sure, it's patently unfair in that more than half of the "subdivision" is essentially unable to compete for their championship.  Yes, it's a money play.  Yes, it's overhyped.

But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it.  I'm a huge college football fan.  I love Army/Navy, big rivalry games (as long as they don't interrupt my Rivalry game), and marquee matchups.  When Temple played Notre Dame, I listened, and watched.  College football narratives remain the best narratives.

Tonight I'll be watching Alabama play Clemson, a most worthy conclusion to the FBS football season.  Let's take a look at what the CFP did right, and what to expect tonight.
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Your Lehigh Class of 2020 Commit Tracker

Only one thing can really make a Mountain Hawk fan smile during the offseason, and that's news about the latest Lehigh football commits for the class of 2020.

Fortunately for you (and me), some of the best fans of any sport have created an unofficial list of Lehigh football recruits.

Legendary fans Rich Heelan and Todd Cuddington have made a master spreadsheet of recruits.  With the very big caveat that all of these names are unofficial until the letters of intent are signed, I will be taking the names from their master list and making my own spreadsheet of names for you, dear Reader, to peruse.

Below the flip are two spreadsheets, and some links to get you excited about the incoming class.
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On New Years’ Eve, Lots Of Red Flags Around Sport of College Football

New Year's Eve is supposed to be about all the good things about college football.

For FCS, it's about the run-up to the FCS National Championship game in Frisco, Texas.  This season - again - North Dakota State heads to the party once again, while the No. 1 team in the nation. Jacksonville State, tries to be the team that finally harpoons the Bison to break their consecutive national championship streak.

In the FBS, the bowl games that really matter - the plus-one playoff teams, the four teams that could win their bowl championship - are being played.  Lots of people will tune in.  Advertisers will see a very strong return on investment on their ad buys for the game.  The administrators for Alabama, Michigan State, Clemson and Oklahoma will be entertained, and well paid.

Yet now, at the end of 2015, there are dark clouds on the horizon looming pretty much everywhere about the entire sport.  Folks are worried about head injuries more than ever.  The bowl system, with more exhibition games than ever, feels overstretched, and the games are competing with more and more sports entertainment and feeling diluted.  Even the revenue model for sports on TV feels under threat as more and more people cut the coaxial cable and media conglomerates like ESPN actually shrink in viewership.

College football was, and still is, the greatest sport in the entire world.  But many forces of change feel like they're coming, and it's making a lot of folks pessimistic about the future of the sport.
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My Recruiting Christmas List for Lehigh

It's the most wonderful time of the year, according to my radio.

Although it can't possibly be the most wonderful time of the year, since there's no Lehigh football or Patriot League football teams playing right now, I suppose the next best thing - recruiting period for the next four years of Lehigh football - is in full swing.

My thoughts for Santa pretty much involve the players I think Lehigh needs in the upcoming years, so, as I do every year, here's what I would like Santa to leave under head coach Andy Coen's tree this season.

(No lumps of coal, hopefully.)
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Season In Review: Future Bright for Mountain Hawks, Come Close to Championship

Everything about the 2015 season screamed "rebuilding," even if the Lehigh faithful never really could bring themselves to completely believe it.

Lehigh was coming from a frustrating 2014 where the Mountain Hawks came close to beating James Madison at home, but couldn't finish the game, making Lehigh slide to an uncharacteristic 3-8 record.

There was the departure in the offseason of RB Chris Leigh, the one player that scored a touchdown for the Mountain Hawks in the 150th meeting between Lafayette and Lehigh in Yankee Stadium, and RB Brandon Yosha, the transfer running back that battled injury and chop blocks leading to his retirement from football as well.

With pretty much any other team and any other fan base, expectations for the year would have been low.  But at Lehigh, expectations are sky-high, for better or for worse, all the time.  Perhaps it's the historic success of the program; perhaps it's the fans, who are spoiled by all the Patriot League championships, wins over Lafayette, and FCS playoff wins, but that's what playing at Lehigh is all about.

What the 2015 Mountain Hawks will be best known for is righting the ship from that awful 2014 to return to the winning ways that all Lehigh fans seem to expect.  Going into the 2015 offseason, the Mountain Hawks 6-5 record wasn't good enough to win a Patriot League championship - though they came very, very close - but it definitely shows that the foundation has been rebuilt for future success.
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What It’s Like To Be Disappointed

Being a college football fan sometimes means being disappointed.  It comes with the territory.

Disappointment comes in many forms.

In the Lehigh football world, there's the type of disappointment when a non-Lafayette game is lost, like when, say, the Mountain Hawks underperform in a loss to Yale.  While you can be upset that the Bulldogs push you around in your own house, the disappointment abates, eventually.  You get a bunch of really good wins, win the most important game on your schedule, and the disappointment fades away.  You move on, the Yale game an aberration in a mostly terrific year.

But recently, a bunch of Lehigh football players disappointed for a different reason.

What they did isn't exactly a secret, but I thought it worthwhile to say exactly what such news does to huge fans of the Lehigh football program, like myself, and how it affects many of the other passionate Lehigh fans that are a part of the great Lehigh football community.  It's not pleasant, but it is real.
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Lehigh Rewrites Recent History And Throws Aside Lafayette In #Rivalry151, 49-35

All the Rivalry games are memorable in their own way for everyone in attendance, from the seniors playing in their last game to the kids playing on the grass embankment.

The there will be four plays that will be remembered the most, the four plays that defined this game for Lehigh and really demonstrated how tough this team was in 2015, and how tough they might be in 2016.

Most importantly, though, was the fact that Lehigh finally was able to chuck aside any doubts about winning a big game.

Wins against Lafayette are always important for the many Lehigh fans in the near-16,000 people who attend these games.  But winning this particular game was doubly important for this Lehigh squad that seemed to almost desperately need the win in order to demonstrate to the fans in the Valley who they are, who they were, and where they're headed.
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The Road Back to Greatness Starts Today