I know, I know, it's strange when there's no Lehigh football game result to pick apart. That doesn't mean that the rest of college football stood still during the Mountain Hawks' bye week.
Lehigh's bye week came during a time when Penn State football, already rabid at the best of times, was at peak foaming-at-the-mouth after Happy Valley hosted ESPN College Gameday on Saturday morning and Michigan on Saturday night.
In case you've been living under a rock, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley has a local connection: he went to Whitehall at the same time a guy called QB Nick Shafnisky was under center. Now, Barkley is the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman with the Nittany Lions after a 263 yard, 3 TD effort against the Wolverines as Penn State coasted to a 42-13 win.
Completing the return to 1986, Notre Dame also went to 6-1 after their own resounding 49-13 win over USC Saturday night as well, surprising in the ease in the way RB Josh Adams carved through the Trojan defense for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns. Oh yeah, Josh Adams' high school isn't too far from Barkley's - he came from Central Bucks South in Warrington, the same high school where Lehigh freshman LB Nate Norris played.
Seeing the success of Barkley and Adams on college football's biggest Saturday showcase serve as a fresh reminder that Lehigh's football players frequently come from the same schools that produce some of these massive football talents.
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First of all, it gives you time to catch up on watching ESPN's College Football Gameday, where you can see the Lehigh flag that frequently makes an appearance on the program. (Who knows? Perhaps Gameday will head to Lehigh for the Fordham game next weekend, or maybe perhaps #Rivalry151 in November.)
There's also so good opportunities to scout out Lehigh's upcoming opponents in Patriot League action. Three Patriot League games are taking place at lunchtime, and another is happening at 3:30 PM.
If you receive the CBS Sports Network, you can see whether Bucknell will make it a perfect Patriot League sweep over Army-West Point in the 2015 football season. The Bison face off against the Cadets at noon, and if you don't have it available on TV, it can be seen via subscription from Army's website. In much of the Lehigh metro area, too, the game can be heard on AM 770 WABC New York as well (which is how I will be catching part of the game).
At 1:00 PM there are two critical Patriot League games on at the same time: Colgate at Georgetown and Holy Cross at Fordham. Both are streaming on the Patriot League Digital Network.
I'm probably going to be out when these games are on, so their digital archive will likely be my friend. Besides, I need to figure out how Lehigh is going to stop Fordham RB Chase Edmonds next weekend, right?
I'm hoping to be home in time to catch Harvard at Lafayette at 3:30, which will also be on the Patriot League Digital Network (and also available by broadcast on WPBH-60 locally in the Lehigh Valley).
There's a lot of interesting games on in the area on regular TV starting at 3:30 as well.
On ABC, Michigan State takes on Michigan in a huge, national game, while locally on the Big 10 Network Rutgers takes on Indiana as the Scarlet Knights hope to get back on track after losing their upset bid to the Spartans last week.
In the FCS world, at 3:30 former Lehigh opponent Yale plays an out-of-conference game at Maine of the CAA, which is available on Fox College Sports Atlantic on some cable systems.
Some over-the-air TV stations can also receive Villanova at Albany, a CAA matchup, as well. Check your local listings.
If you can stream ESPN3, two really good FCS games are happening, South Dakota State at Youngstown State, and Penn at Columbia. Penn is a former Lehigh opponent, and Columbia, fresh off a win over Wagner last weekend, will see head coach Al Bagnoli face off against the team he coached for decades. You can get to these streams here.
At night, the two biggest area college football games will be on broadcast TV. Notre Dame takes on USC, in a game with oodles of storylines, on NBC. And Penn State takes on Ohio State on ABC. Pretty sure that game will be on a lot of TV sets tonight.
Nobody questions the role that football has at Notre Dame. Football was what allowed the South Bend, Indiana school to grow from a growing Catholic university to a national, iconic institution.
But what allowed Notre Dame to become Notre Dame was a path that isn't available to religious institutions today.
Much virtual ink has been spilled about the effects of collegiate realignment, how some conferences have been torn asunder, how some schools are stuck in places that don't make sense, how other conferences are receiving piles of money that would make Scrooge McDuck envious.
But one of the biggest losers in this conference-driven realignment is the idea of independent football-playing schools, either loosely-tied or untied from the conference structure that drives the bus today.
When realignment articles come out today, floating schools like BYU or Liberty as potential conference-mates for schools like Texas or Old Dominion, they ignore the issue that they dare not speak publicly - mixing religion and football is not something they're comfortable doing.
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Aside from being one of the few football movies my wife will willingly sit down and watch with me, the "based on real events" story somehow, almost twenty years later, hits just the right notes and proceeds at just the right pace as Rudy Ruettiger goes from junior college to South Bend to dressing for a game.
Not coincidentally, Rudy was broadcast this past Saturday night on NBC, and the airing no doubt was spurred by the surprising real-life Notre Dame football team, who sits undefeated at 9-0 and also sits at No. 4 in the BCS.
This season, the parallels between the team with golden helmets in South Bend and the team with the golden helmets in Bethlehem come into focus.
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