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Keith Strudler

  • Last weekend was one of the more frustrating in recent memories. I mean that specifically around sports, or more pointedly about watching the few teams that I still actually cheer for. For the most part at this stage of my life, my fan loyalties have been ground to a pulp through a confluence of disappointment, geography, and cynicism. But I still find the strength and courage to root for a couple of my favorite teams, driven almost exclusively by where I went to school – perhaps the one sports habit you can’t quit.
  • The term dead money gets talked about a lot around college sports, especially right now. Dead money is dollars paid out to coaches for essentially not coaching anymore. This happens when a coach gets fired, but contractually their university has to pay out most or all of their contract. It’s like severance on steroids.
  • It’s not unusual to analogize things happening in college sports and governance to the wild west. That’s especially true in recent years, when long held foundations of what college sports was and what its players were allowed to do and how schools aligned seemed to evaporate in a series of court cases and economic partnerships. So a lot of the rules about what you can and can’t do seem to be made up as we go.
  • There are very few things more enjoyable in life than hearing a big-time coach go on an out-of-control rant in front of the media.
  • By any measure, Connor Stallions seems to love football. He’s been on the staff of the University of Michigan Football since 2022. And he volunteered for the team for seven years before that. And beyond Michigan football, he has bought tickets to more than 30 football games over the past three years, including at 11 other Big Ten schools. It’s that last part that seems to have caused some trouble. Because it seems increasingly likely that those tickets were purchased to help Michigan steal signs from opposing teams in clear violation of NCAA rules.
  • There are some basic rules around the Olympic Games. Like participating countries must maintain sports federations in competing sports, and countries must qualify through a range of qualifying standards and competitions, and, of course, no tackling.
  • Perhaps every football coach’s favorite offensive formation is something called the Victory Formation. Every coach but Mario Cristobal of the University of Miami. At least that’s what it seemed like last Saturday, when Miami had a three-point lead and the ball with 33 seconds left against Georgia Tech, who had no time outs left. Which, unless it’s fourth down, is when you call Victory Formation, when the quarterback takes the snap and a knee while the offensive line huddles around. That, in this case, would have effectively ended the game and secured Miami’s win and continued their undefeated season.
  • After some eight years of playing increasingly competitive soccer, my 13-year-old son Elliot finally got his first yellow card, which came in an otherwise unspectacular middle school league game. He got it for exactly what I would have expected – not a dirty play, but for complaining to the ref after a bad call.
  • There is literally no bigger story in sports right now than, well, Taylor Swift. After selling out scores of NFL stadiums across the country at Super Bowl ticket rates for her recent world tour, she’s now taking center stage in the games themselves. At least Kansas City Chiefs games, and from a luxury box, not the field.
  • It may have been after 2 a.m. Eastern Time in what turned into early Sunday morning last weekend, but it was very much still Prime Time. That’s especially true for ESPN, which had over nine million people tuned in for a late-night college football game, the most in the history of that time slot. That game was Colorado/Colorado State, a game that in previous years would have barely registered with fans and would have been found in the nether channels of streaming purgatory. But not this year, now that new Colorado head coach Deon Sanders has taken over and brought his brand of showtime to the Rockies. Sanders came to Boulder after three years at Jackson State, where he lifted an otherwise downtrodden I-AA program to a 12-1 record in his final season. Sanders also brought a whole bunch of new players to Boulder as well, including two of his sons, one who is now the team’s star quarterback.