The Legend of Bobby Grier

I had to write the following essay for my Sports Journalism course. I enjoyed learning about the courage of Bobby Grier and the University of Pittsburgh football program. I thought some of you might too.

How could a team that lost 7-0 in the 1956 Sugar Bowl still manage to win, in spirit?

The Sugar Bowl that year was much more than a game. It was a risk. It was a bold move. It was the day that Bobby Grier became the first African-American to play football in the Sugar Bowl.

1956 was obviously a much different time in the United States of America for African-Americans than it is today. Today, the president of this country is part African-American. Today, every college and professional football team has African-Americans playing on it.

But the way this country works, and the way football works, is much different today than it was in 1956.

The University of Pittsburgh Panthers played the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets in the 1956 Sugar Bowl. Georgia was a much different place for African-Americans in 1956, than it was in Pennsylvania.

“The South stands at Armageddon. The battle is joined. We cannot make the slightest concession to the enemy in this dark and lamentable hour of struggle,” said Marvin Griffin, Georgia’s governor at the time.

Was Griffin referring to the Civil Rights Movement? Was Griffin referring to the desegregation of schools? Was Griffin referring to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Malcom X?

No. Griffin was referring to a 19-year-old African-American teenager named Bobby Grier.

And what did Grier do to spark such an emotional and passionate statement?

He wanted to play football against Georgia Tech in the 1956 Sugar Bowl.

Griffin proposed to “forbid the athletic teams of the university system of Georgia from participating in games against any teams with Negro players, or even playing in any stadium where unsegregated audiences breathe the same air.”

This shocked the Pitt players, but it was not something totally uncommon to the Deep South during this time period. The fact that something like this was said less than a century ago is unfathomable.

“This can’t be that bad,” Grier said.

Georgia Tech students and players, infuriated with the governor’s proposition, decided to march on his mansion. There was no way that one player was going to stop Georgia Tech from competing in the Sugar Bowl.

The game itself was low-scoring. The end result left Bobby Grier crying.

Was he crying from happiness for being able to play? Was he crying from the amount of taunting he received? Was he crying because Pitt lost the game?

The answer to the last question is yes. But, it holds more significance than a simple one-word answer.

Bobby Grier was flagged for pass interference, which gave Georgia Tech a first-and-goal that led to them scoring a touchdown. The end result of the game was 7-0.

“I was crying because it was because of me we lost.”
But Bobby didn’t lose that day. Pitt didn’t lose, either.

They won. Because if it wasn’t for this one day in history, this one 60 minutes of football, it might have taken years, maybe decades, for someone as courageous and valiant as Bobby Grier and the University of Pittsburgh football program to have an African-American compete in the Sugar Bowl.

Florida State is Getting Screwed by the College Football Playoff Rankings

For years it seemed like all anyone could talk about was eliminating the BCS in college football. Now that our wishes have finally been granted it seems like the college football playoff rankings have come along with the same amount of controversy and discussion as the former BCS. The new college football playoff rankings were released and with that of course comes debate. There is a problem in college football in the fact that there will always be an argument for that last spot to get in the playoffs. For the most part the BCS got it right with the two championship teams almost every year. Yes, that includes the year Notre Dame was embarrassed by Alabama but had the hardest schedule in college football. I love the idea of expanding to give more teams a run at a national title because as we all know in sports the playoffs are a new season, a clean slate. What I simply can’t understand is why a loss at the beginning of a college football season is better than a loss towards the end.

The problem with these College Football Playoff Rankings are purely the rankings in itself. Simply, they’re dropping the ball with Florida State being #3 to this point. I don’t think there is a single debate that FSU is as good as the championship team from last year because they’re simply not. To this point what has Florida State done to deserve to be dropped in the rankings? Last time I checked Florida State plays in a power five football conference. Last time I checked they’re the ONLY undefeated team in a major football conference and besides Marshall the only undefeated team in Division 1-A.

Notre Dame v Florida State

Alabama after an intense game this week was the latest team to jump Florida State after a major win against the undefeated Mississippi State whom to that point was the only team deserving of #1 ahead of Florida State. The SEC is the deepest conference in all of college football and we all know that, yet that still does not crown any 1 loss or 2 loss SEC team as the best team in college football. Could they be? Absolutely.  At the same time though as demonstrated last year this same Florida State team was the best team in college football and they’re not an SEC team. Alabama to this point has only beaten 3 ranked teams (the same as Florida St.) and also lost to a ranked team. The Oregon Ducks are another team clearly deserving of being in the top four for the college playoffs but not more deserving of number two than Florida State. The Ducks alike have three victories against top 25 opponents with a loss to an unranked Arizona.

Jameis Winston has had his idiotic moments and been given some simple advice from Kevin Hart regarding this.

The integrity of the program has been in question multiple times in the past two seasons and quite frankly the past few decades. Multiple investigations and accusations have come to light. Regardless, even with suspensions, investigations, back-ups, and injuries this Florida State team has consistently won on the field. This is a 10-0 team regardless of their margin of victory. Since when is your point differential more important than the number of wins/losses in your stat line? Three victories against ranked opponents and no losses and they’re ranked #3 behind two 1 loss teams with the same amount of victories vs ranked opponents.

Virgina v Florida State

Mississippi State after their loss dropped to #4 and remained in the playoff picture because being ranked where they deserved at #1 gave them a little bit of wiggle room even with a loss. Unfortunately for this undefeated Florida State team if they were to lose in these final two games they will hands down drop out of the playoff picture. It’s no secret that you’re safer in college football if you get your loss out of the way early in the season as opposed to the end, even though a loss should simply be a loss. Florida State could lose their first game of the season to an unranked opponent and be 5-10 spots behind an Oregon team with a eerily comparable record, schedule, and results. The rankings are setting Florida State up for failure with their placement in the latest rankings and not allowing them the same opportunities that Mississippi State was deserving of and received. Whether it’s the drama that comes with Jameis, the ferocity that comes with Jimbo, or just the disappointment with the extracurricular events that surround the Seminoles team, there is bias when it comes to their ranking. The CFP rankings haven’t got it right to this point and have a lot of work to do. Florida State may not win the national title, they may not even make the national title, and they very well may not be the best team in college football as we may come to find out. The point is until they give you a reason to clearly say that they aren’t, you don’t punish this team for doing nothing but winning in a major conference.

Florida State v Louisville

Will the Philadelphia 76ers ever win?

The Philadelphia 76ers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 100-75 in San Antonio, Texas, Monday, reassuring they are the worst team in the National Basketball Association.

The Sixers, now 0-10 on the season, are the last team in the NBA without a win. During their embarrassing 123-70 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, fans became so bored they started reading the newspaper to pass time.

mavs-newspaper

Keep in mind, this picture was taken before the end of the first half. It seems that the Sixers have a lot of work to do to save their 2015-2016 season, even being only 10 games into the 2014-2015  season.

The Sixers chose Joel Embiid as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. However, the injury to his foot continues to delay the possibility of him having any sort of impact on the team.

The active players on the Sixers, that were supposed to have an impact, are doing anything but that. The 2013 No. 6 overall draft pick Nerlens Noel was expected to stand out among other players on the squad. After playing eight games, Noel is averaging 6.6 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game. He is shooting 40% from the field, according to ESPN.com.

2013 Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams hasn’t been playing horribly, but has only competed in three games so far this season. He is averaging 16 points per game, 6 rebounds per game and 4.7 assists per game, according to ESPN.com. It seems as if his focus has been more on Stephen A. Smith than winning games for his team.

In case you haven’t heard of what has been occurring between MCW and Smith, Carter-Williams accused Smith of playing a character in the locker room, in an essay he posted to the Players Tribune. Maybe this was said out of anger, or perhaps frustration. Regardless, it doesn’t help the Sixers win games.

The one glimmer of hope on this Sixers squad is shooting guard Tony Wroten. Wroten is averaging 19.1 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and 6 assists per game, according to ESPN.com. However, it takes more than one player performing to win games.

Starting 0-10 is tough for any team, but the schedule the Sixers will be facing in their upcoming games doesn’t exactly provide any hope to Philadelphia fans. Their next five opponents are the Boston Celtics (3-6), Phoenix Suns (6-5), New York Knicks (3-8), Portland Trail Blazers (8-3), and Brooklyn Nets (4-6).

One thing that distinguishes these next five opponents from the Philadelphia 76ers? They all have won at least one game.

Philadelphia faithful are not so quick to forget the 26-game losing streak the Sixers had during the 2013-2014 season, which is tied for the longest of all time in the NBA. As of now, they are on pace to surpass that streak without a single win on the season.

Written by:

Joseph Markle

Indiana University of Pennsylvania ’15

Journalism

Writer’s note:  Allen Iverson, if you can read this, THEY NEED YOU.

Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles Defeat Carolina Panthers 45-21

615W-Sanchez

The Philadelphia Eagles and backup quarterback Mark Sanchez defeated the Carolina Panthers 45-21 on Monday Night Football in Philadelphia.

Sanchez finished with 332 yards, two touchdowns, and completed 20 of 37 passes. Cam Newton, Carolina’s quarterback, finished with 306 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and completed 25 of 40 pass attempts.

The most surprising player of the game?

That would have to be Eagles rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews. He caught both of Sanchez’s touchdown passes and racked up 138 yards on seven receptions.

Jordan Matthews’ best game statistically before Monday night? Week 3 against the Washington Redskins, in which he racked up 59 yards and two touchdowns.

Eagles running back Darren Sproles was also a key component in the win. Sproles had an 8-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, and a 65-yard punt return touchdown later in the first.

With the win, the Eagles remain in first place of the NFC East. However, the Dallas Cowboys are not far behind. The Eagles are now 7-2, while the Cowboys are 7-3.

The Eagles play the Green Bay Packers next week, and the Cowboys have a bye week. Both teams will play each other on Thanksgiving day.

Chris Bosh: The Underappreciated MVP Candidate

Sears Shooting Stars Competition 2014

Nine time all-star Chris Bosh is finally back where he belongs, as the centerpiece of a basketball team. Bosh is the most under appreciated basketball player of the past decade.  A superstar in the NBA and a workhorse on the block, time and time again Bosh has been overlooked and under accredited for the work he contributed en route to two NBA Championships in Miami. He has been ridiculed for being outplayed down low during his tenure in Miami, he has been called out for not posting big enough numbers while surrounded by two other stars, and most importantly he’s simply left out of superstar conversations that he has earned his right to be in.

Chris Bosh has defied odds since he entered the NBA

How quickly people forget things in this new era of sports. Let’s start from the beginning and talk about this lanky, quiet, kid named Chris Bosh that decided it was best to leave Georgia Tech after his freshman season.  Not only was he entering the NBA draft after his freshman season, he was entering one of the most stacked drafts of all time. Included in this draft were the likes of future teammates in Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and others such as Carmelo Anthony, Josh Howard, David West & Mo Williams.  Bosh was drafted 4th overall in that draft. I know draft position doesn’t mean you just become a good NBA player and that is evident when looking at draft picks such as Kwame Brown,  Michael Olawakandi,  and Darko Milicic (who was drafted two spots ahead of Bosh). Not only did Bosh get drafted in the top 5 amongst the likes of Melo and King James but he came in and performed.  Bosh was forced into playing out of position and filling in at center as a rookie in Toronto. Bosh was continuously mismatched and outsized and still found a way to contribute.

Chris Bosh becomes a SUPERSTAR

I tend to agree with the general public that the term superstar can be thrown around loosely in today’s sports era. One person that it wasn’t just given to though, was Chris Bosh. When Chris Bosh arrived in Toronto it was Vince Carters team. Bosh only got one full year to play with Carter before  he was traded to the New Jersey Nets and the rebuilding around Bosh was able  to commence. In Chris Bosh’s first four seasons his statistics improved convincingly each season from his 11.5 ppg/7.4 rpg statline that he was able to improve to 22.6/10.7.  As the Raptors realized the talent they had in Bosh they continuously tried to draft crucial role players to help him lead the Raptors to the promised land. One of these draft picks was Andrea Bargnani, drafted number one overall,  who was expected to come in and give Toronto one of the most powerful front courts in the NBA. Needless to say, that never happened and Bosh was forced to pick up slack in the Toronto front court on a team that was constantly shuffling players such as Jermaine O’neal, Shawn Marion, Jamario Moon in and out not giving the team any chance to get a rhythm and establish a team connection. By the 2009 season Chris Bosh had already earned 3 All-Star selections and set the Raptors franchise record for double doubles & offensive rebounds. The 2009-2010 campaign is when Chris Bosh truly solidified himself as one of the best in basketball.  Chris Bosh was able to record career highs in almost every single category including:

  • Points per game-24.0  (9th in NBA that season)
  • Field goal percentage-51% (18th in NBA that season)
  • 3 point field goal percentage-36%
  • Rebounds per game-10.8 (6th in NBA that season)

When you rank in the top 10 in the NBA in points scored and rebounds per game amongst the likes of the above link, your name deserves to be thrown into the superstar pot. Simply put, since the 2005-2006 NBA season until his departure to Miami, Chris Bosh was top 15 in points per game every season and was top 20 in rebounds every season. The three seasons preceding his departure to Miami he was top 10 in scoring, and the two seasons preceding his Miami departure he was top six in rebounds both years. There were only five players able to stay in the top 15 in points per game during that stretch. Those players were LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki , Kobe Bryant, and Chris Bosh.  That’s superstar company to be in.

East All-Star Chris Bosh (C-#4) of the T

Chris Bosh becomes “Irrelevant”

After all the information provided to you I’m hoping some of you people remember how much of a relevant player Chris Bosh was before departing Toronto for Miami. It wasn’t Smush Parker joining King James and the NBA scoring leader in Dwayne Wade in Miami. There’s a reason Chris Bosh was a part of “The big THREE”. This man was highly sought by teams throughout the league knowing how talented and productive he was. Bosh & Wade both took a hit to roles they’re used to having to take a backseat to the best player in the NBA. LeBron as well had to take a hit , financially and in terms of play to make his gameplay work with two other basketball players who have always had a team run through them. D-Wade even catches hell for “not doing enough” in Miami even though if the Heat would’ve beaten the Mavericks in that first title appearance he would’ve been the MVP.  Even with the hate Flash may catch none of it caps the amount of disrespect Chris Bosh receives. In FOUR years the big three went on to FOUR Finals appearances. Yet some still want to contribute all of the Heat success to LeBron. Let me state that I know LeBron was the biggest part of this amazing run the Heat went on, but NO player in NBA history has been able to lead his team to multiple Finals appearances as such without GREAT players to contribute. Not Jordan, Kobe, Magic, West, Isaiah, Duncan, and certainly not LeBron. It still blows my mind that Bosh can continuously be swept under the rug in this solid attempt at a dynasty and I question how people can forget things about this team

  • Chris Bosh is a power forward and for the majority of his career has had to make up for the lack of talent at the center position. In his four years at Miami he was playing down low with Joel Anthony.  Anthony is a blocking machine but lets be real, this man is not a good NBA center. Udonis Haslem has had some great postseason appearances but he is no factor to stop the likes of Tim Duncan, Dirk, and Tyson Chandler.  Chris Bosh was constantly outsized down low and still found a way to get the job done as much as he possibly could.
  • Chris Bosh continuously worked to develop his mid-range to outside jumper throughout his time in Miami. Each season not only did his FG% improve but he was able to improve his 3 point FG%  to 34% giving defenses yet another factor to gameplan for.

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game One

  • Bosh is one of a few handful of big men in the NBA that will consistently switch off and guard a point guard on pic and rolls. Though this isn’t uncommon in the NBA it’s been drawn up for Bosh to switch because he can be successful and stick with the likes of elite NBA point guards.
  • The Miami Heat would have never won that second championship without Chris Bosh. Ray Allen gets all the glory for hitting that amazingly clutch three. Let’s not forget that LeBron James missed the first attempt and Bosh never gave up on the play and fought to give the Heat just one more chance at a title. Can you imagine the media if Bosh & Allen didn’t connect there?! LeBron James already heard nothing but how “Unclutch” he was and without that offensive rebound and three the Heat would’ve lost the series at the hands of LeBron James. Did I forgot the clutch block to seal the deal shortly after?

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

  • Chris Bosh is clutch. Since the 2012-2013 campaign Bosh is shooting 71% and 69% from deep in the final 5 minutes of games in which his team has a +/- 5 point differential. There’s no need for me to elaborate on this.

Chris Bosh has been berated time and time again by the media and by fans. He has never received his due credit. He is constantly called out on his physicality while competing with players bigger and stronger than him and continuously battles night and night again though he is undersized in many match ups. He gave up personal statistics without blinking an eye just to reach his ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship. Yes, it was his decision to join James and Wade in Miami but I can’t think of many players that would’ve quietly accepted the EXTREMELY diminished role Bosh had to deal with to start out. Once Bosh realized and accepted his role that would hurt his personal statistics he changed his game to contribute in any way, shape or form. Chris Bosh is now the centerpiece of a James-less Miami Heat offense. The talent to score is still there and now he can mesh being a number one option along with his developed jump shot, his defensive improvements, and his heart and determination that he exemplifies on the court. Chris Bosh will compete with his career best statistics this year and will be an MVP candidate come the end of the NBA season.  Let worldstar and the haters hate Chris Bosh, while they mock you for cheap laughs

while educated basketball fans will sit back and appreciate the greatness that will be rewarded with a Hall of Fame nomination one day

Nick Foles and the Future of the Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles suffered a crack in his collarbone against the Houston Texans Sunday, leaving the team in purgatory between playoffs and an unsuccessful season.

The injury makes Foles unable to play for the next 6-8 weeks, according to ESPN.com. Mark Sanchez, notorious for the “butt-fumble” that put him number one on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10” for 40 consecutive weeks, replaces him as the starter. (video of the butt-fumble below)

       Foles isn’t the only player on the Eagles, but he plays a key role in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Players like running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will look to help Sanchez in the next upcoming weeks.

However, Eagles fans shouldn’t look to the past when thinking of the team’s future success. At least, when it comes to making the playoffs this year. After Foles was injured, Sanchez completed 15 of 22 passes for 202 yards, threw two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.

These statistics aren’t terrible for a quarterback that hasn’t started a game since 2012. However, the last time Sanchez started, he was benched by Jets head coach Rex Ryan after throwing three interceptions. Another distinct fact about the last time Sanchez started, he had the worst QBR in the NFL at 25.8, according to ESPN.com

So, is it time to worry for Eagles fans?

Not quite yet. The Eagles sit at the top of the NFC East division with a record of 6-2, right in front of the Dallas Cowboys who are 6-3. The Eagles play the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football Nov. 10. It will be a key game on how Sanchez can handle the speed of Chip Kelly’s offense as a starter.

Key Career Quarterback Statistics

Nick Foles                                                                                                    

  • Completion Percentage: 61.6%
  • Passing Yards:  6,753
  • Career Touchdowns: 46
  • Career Interceptions: 17
  • Career Fumbles: 10
  • Quarterback Rating: 94.1

Mark Sanchez

  • Completion Percentage: 55.2%
  • Passing Yards: 12,294
  • Career Touchdowns: 70
  • Career Interceptions: 71
  • Career Fumbles: 26
  • Quarterback Rating: 71.9

*All statistics according to ESPN.com