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Michigan State just misses out on a shot at history

Michigan State won the Rose Bowl. We know this. Mark Dantonio's Spartans rammed, battered, bullied, bruised and stonewalled their way to an 11-1 regular season, an upset of Ohio State for a spotless Big Ten record and a triumph over Stanford on New Year's Day, giving them their best season in a quarter-century and a No. 3 national ranking. 

But it's what the Spartans almost did that is the focus of this piece.

Sunday's 60-54 loss to Connecticut in the East Regional final cost Michigan State not only their basketball season, but a chance to join a group of eight schools to reach a BCS game and the Final Four in the same academic year. With the BCS now extinct, the club is closed at seven:

1998-99 Ohio State - won the Sugar Bowl, lost in the Final Four
1999-00 Wisconsin - won the Rose Bowl, lost in the Final Four
2001-02 Maryland - lost the Orange Bowl, won the National Championship
2006-07 Florida - won the National Championship, won the National Championship
2007-08 Kansas - won the Orange Bowl, won the National Championship
2010-11 Connecticut - lost the Fiesta Bowl, won the National Championship
2012-13 Louisville - won the Sugar Bowl, won the National Championship

Had Tom Izzo's club captured a national championship of its own, Michigan State's 2013-14 football/basketball combination would have cemented itself as the second-best year in the BCS era, trailing only the dual championships won by Florida in 2006-07.

With the 10-team BCS now closed for business and replaced by the four-team College Football Playoff, the bar is now raised for any gridiron-hardwood high achievers. 

The good news here for those in East Lansing, though, is that I can't imagine a better candidate to break that mold than Michigan State. 




Video: Muhammad Ali is the soundtrack to this look at Indiana practice

We've posted hundreds of practice videos in the history of this site but none (that I can recall, at least) that standout like this look at a recent Indiana practice. 

First, I love the underneath shot of two linemen going at it. Very creative.

And second, the greatest hits of Muhammad Ali put to music make this a very enjoyable 82 seconds.




Take a look at how East Carolina ran their Pro Day

Recruiting is, obviously, the birth canal of every college football career, but it's also the process by which a player leaves college ball for the NFL. At East Carolina, a school that isn't a Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State-level automatic stop on the Pro Day tour, player personnel director Brian Overton reaches out to his network of NFL scouts, inviting them to practice in the fall and then back for Pro Day in the spring. And it worked. Overton was happy to note that all 32 NFL teams had a representative in Greenville for the Pirates' Pro Day.

 "If you want to win a Super Bowl," notes head coach Ruffin McNeill, "put a Pirate on your team." The last four Super Bowl champions had at least one former East Carolina player on their respective rosters. 




Video: 'You've got to give up something to become a champion'

The video below is going a million different ways all at once. Just like the way Jerry Mack likes it.

Hired away from South Alabama, Mack was charged with changing the culture around a North Carolina Central program that went a disappointing 5-7 last season. His avenues to change have been sacrifice and attention to detail. 

“The devil’s in the details,” Mack told the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. “If we call a 3 o’clock meeting, the doors are locked at 3 o’clock.”

"Every day you've got to come out here and get a little bit better," says the video below. "Each day is a process. We've got to grow a little bit more as a team. Get a little bit better fundamentally, a little bit more disciplined every single day. That's the only way to become a champion. Every single time we take the field we have to take it with a passion...You've got to give up something to become a champion."




Photos: Construction updates on Houston's new stadium

Houston's new football stadium - creatively named Houston Football Stadium for the moment - is scheduled to open on August 30 as the Cougars host UTSA. That's 22 weeks from today.

On Friday, Houston posted a photo update of the progress on their new home. Let's just say there's some work left to be done in the 154 days between now and opening day.

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And this is (an artistic rendering, of course) how the stadium will look on August 30:

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See the full photo set at the stadium's Facebook page.




This Penn workout video will get your blood moving

Don't let the bagpipes and Celtic punk rock in the background fool you, this video is actually about football. 

As they say, the boys are back and they're looking for trouble. 




Video: South Dakota State has an impressive spring football trailer

I'm not sure what's more impressive here, the sharp camera work, the luscious greens of the South Dakota spring, or the Jackrabbits' actual work in these 52 action-packed seconds. Either way, it all works. 

After reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs each of the past two seasons, South Dakota State is looking to break through to the quarterfinals and beyond in 2014. 

 




Would you ever stop recruiting a kid because he took a selfie?

The line in the sand has been drawn, and UT-Arlington men's basketball coach Scott Cross knows where he stands. Late Wednesday night, Cross declared that he would never recruit a player who had committed the unpardonable sin of taking a selfie. 

As you can see at the bottom, the tweet generated its own little firestorm, more than 1,600 retweets, almost 900 favorites and almost as many replies, most of them positive. When pressed that Kevin Durant has been known to take a selfie, Cross replied that it "shows a chink in his armor."

For those fortunate enough to not know what I'm talking about, a selfie is the act of snapping a picture of oneself with a cell phone or digital camera. As a crochety 26-year-old, I've never taken one and never had the urge to. But I've never known the selfie to be a reflection of character either.

Like most 16-year-olds, I was caught up in the trends of the time that would turn my ghost-white with embarrassment if I had to revisit them today (please, Lord, let no one ever find my Xanga). Had modern technology existed in the 1920's, I'm guessing there's a greater than zero chance that Bronko Nagurski would have taken a selfie. I'm also guessing that there's a greater than 50 percent chance that the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner has his cell phone in hand and his arm extended in front of his face at this very moment. 

But maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe taking a selfie does reveal a player to be uncoachable and, thus, un-recruitable. Coaches, would you ever stop recruiting a player for taking a selfie?

(H/T Forbes)