It’s the 65th anniversary of the Browns upsetting the Eagles in ‘World Series of Professional Football’

Sixty five years ago, in 1950, the Philadelphia Eagles played the Cleveland Browns in what was called the "World Series of Professional Football."It was the biggest game in the history of the NFL at the time because it pitted an Eagles team that was the NFL champion in 1948 and 1949, against a Browns team that was the All-American Football Conference champion all four years — 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949 — of the league's existence. Although technically not a championship game, the contest had all the anticipation and hype of this era's Super Bowl.On Saturday night, Sept. 16, 1950, the Cleveland Browns upset the Philadelphia Eagles, 35-10, in the opening game of the 31st National Football League season before 71,237 fans in Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium (later JFK Stadium).The Otto Graham-led Cleveland victory over the Eagles in 1950 had the same shock value among football fans of that era as when the Joe Namath-led New York Jets upset of the 18-point favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, 19 years later, in January 1969.The Browns' victory sealed the merging of three AAFC teams — Cleveland, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts — into the gridiron establishment of the NFL.The EaglesPhiladelphia, coached by Earle "Greasy" Neale played in three straight NFL championship games from 1947 to 1949 and won the title the last two. The 1950 Eagles were paced by quarterback Tommy Thompson and four future Pro Football Hall of Famers in Steve Van Buren, the NFL's greatest runner at that time, end Pete Pihos, center/linebacker Alex Wojciechowicz, and center/linebacker Chuck Bednarik, who was only in his second NFL season after starring at Bethlehem High School and earning All-American honors in 1947 and 1948 at the University of Pennsylvania.The Eagles also had two other Lehigh Valley connections in Bethlehem's John "Bull" Schweder and Allentown's Ray Dini.Like Bednarik before him, Schweder was also a Bethlehem Red Hurricane star and a Penn Continue Reading

Basketball is now important in the American Athletic Conference

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Joe Sullivan Globe Staff  January 01, 2018 The American Athletic Conference is really an orphanage. It’s filled with schools unwanted and neglected by the Power 5 football conferences and abandoned by the Big East basketball schools. All 12 schools really want to be somewhere else, like the ACC or Big 12. Someplace where it’s easy to be invited to bowl games.These schools are obsessed with football when actually they’d be better off dropping the sport and concentrating their money and attention on basketball. Despite that obsession, something really interesting is going on with basketball. The AAC has become a really good basketball league, with many matchups worth anticipating and watching.It starts with Wichita State, which jumped to the AAC from the Missouri Valley with the hopes of elevating its basketball profile and thereby avoid getting seeded 12th by the NCAA Tournament selection committee because of its conference affiliation. Advertisement This alone is a good trend for the AAC. It may exist for football, but Wichita dropped the sport in 1986. Hey, Bill Parcells played there, but the administration did the smart thing long ago. Wichita helps elevate the American on the basketball court. Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox: Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here The league has the two longest active home-court winning streaks, with Cincinnati at 34 and SMU at 33. Both those teams will challenge Wichita, as can long-dormant Houston, which has been revived by Kelvin Sampson, the long-distance phone call specialist. Central Florida, Connecticut, Temple, and Tulsa are all good teams. The top teams can lose to any of those four on a given night. Amazingly, Mike Dunleavy has even improved things at Tulane. Right now, Memphis, Continue Reading

NJ Football: Central’s season ends  with upset loss to Hammonton

 BERKELEY—The No. 3-seeded Central Regional Golden Eagles were riding high into the playoffs, winning four straight games, but this streak came to an unforeseen halt after taking a 21-6 loss from the sixth-seeded Hammonton Blue Devils on a cold Friday night. Hammonton (4-6) struck first early in the second quarter after recovering a fumble by Central Regional quarterback Joe Fowler on Central’s 43-yard line. Thirteen consecutive running plays ended with a 5-yard score by starting running back Jake Cooper. The Blue Devils continued playing strong defensive football in the first half, forcing a punt, an interception and a missed field goal by Central to enter the locker room up a touchdown at half-time. After throwing only a single incomplete pass in the first half, Hammonton quarterback Rey Triboletti got going in the third frame completing a 38-yard pass to Peyton LeMunyon and then an 8-yard touchdown score to Anthony Fazio on a wide-open fake direction pass. Cooper added another 4-yard score to put the Blue Devils up 21-0 with 10:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.Central Regional (7-3) was hurt with three turnovers and three punts heading into the final 12 minutes, but they weren’t about to give up. A 40-yard pass from Fowler to Blake Horgan got the silenced home crowd back into the game and the momentum pendulum began to slowly turn Central’s way. Ultimately, they ended Hammonton’s shutout as Fowler found his receiver Darius Martorano who made the diving catch just past the goal line to cut Central’s deficit to 21-6.However, the Hammonton defense was too much for Central to handle late and the Blue Devils now find themselves in the NJSIAA South Group IV semifinals.      Three who matteredJake Cooper: Aside from his two running touchdowns, Cooper led the rushing attack for the Blue Devils carrying the ball 21 times for 62 yards against Central Regional.Hammonton team defense: Continue Reading

Current Big East to be known as American Athletic Conference next season

The current Big East will be called the American Athletic Conference starting next season. The conference announced the decision Wednesday after university presidents approved the new moniker earlier in the day. The Big East football schools were in need of a new name after they agreed to let seven basketball schools break away from the conference to start a new league this summer to be called the Big East. In return, the football schools received about $100 million of a $110 million pot the league had accumulated in recent years from exit and entry fees and NCAA basketball tournament revenue. The American Athletic Conference will have 10 members in its first season: Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple. Rutgers and Louisville are likely leaving after 2013 and are set to be replaced by Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa in 2014. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015 for football only, and the conference will begin playing a league championship football game. Nine of the schools set to compete in the American Athletic Conference were at one time part of Conference USA. By 2014, South Florida, UConn, Temple and Cincinnati will be the only schools in the AAC to have been in the Big East. Commissioner Mike Aresco said the members worked with marketing experts, media partners and asked for feedback from fans to come up with a list of possible names. “Versions that included the word ‘American’ led every list,” Aresco said in a statement. “American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our re-invented Conference.” The rebuilt conference has new television deals in place with ESPN and CBS. “The American Athletic Conference is a brand that suggests a national scope and quality membership,” said Burke Magnus, Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming, ESPN. “It is an exciting time for Continue Reading

UC football: Where do slumping Bearcats stand in AAC power rankings?

Despite a 33-3 loss at USF last Saturday, the University of Cincinnati did not drop in the weekly American Athletic Conference football power rankings.UC remains No. 9 in the 12-team power rankings, as voted upon by league beat writers.Here is how the AAC stacks up this week:1. USF (6-0, 3-0 AAC): In a performance that had coach Charlie Strong fuming, the No. 16 Bulls committed 14 penalties and languished inside the red zone in a 33-3 rout of Cincinnati. The Bulls did hold Cincy to 95 rushing yards. USF has its stiffest challenge to date Saturday at Tulane. - Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times2. UCF (5-0, 3-0 AAC): McKenzie Milton passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another as UCF dominated East Carolina 63-21. The 63 points were a season-high for the team and the most by UCF since 2001. UCF is 5-0 for the first time since 1988 and ranked No. 20 in the latest AP Top 25. - Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel3. Memphis (5-1, 2-1 AAC): Saturday's 30-27 victory over Navy set a new standard for the Tigers, who have defeated two top-25 opponents in a season for the first time. Austin Hall picked off two passes and recovered a fumble, and Riley Ferguson threw two TD passes to Anthony Miller. – John Varlas, The Commercial Appeal4. Navy (5-1, 3-1 AAC): Quarterback Zach Abey was responsible for five turnovers in a 30-27 loss to Memphis, which knocked Navy out of the Top 25 after just one week's stay. The Midshipmen face another big challenge this weekend when they host No. 20 Central Florida.  – Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group5. Houston (4-2, 2-1 AAC): Houston blew a chance to sit alone atop the AAC West division, with a surprising 45-17 loss to Tulsa. Houston has gone from a team expected to challenge in the West to questions whether it can reach the necessary six wins for a fifth straight bowl appearance. – Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle6. SMU (4-2, 1-1 AAC): SMU had a bye week. The Mustangs saw Houston Continue Reading

Cincinnati Bearcats drop another spot in weekly AAC football power rankings

The Cincinnati Bearcats fell from No. 8 to No. 9 in this week's American Athletic Conference football power rankings, as voted on by league beat writers.UC lost 51-23 at home to then-No. 25 UCF last Saturday, a game terminated by inclement weather with four seconds left in the third quarter.A look at this week's rankings:1. USF (5-0, 2-0 AAC): The Bulls enter Saturday's homecoming game against Cincinnati on a 10-game win streak, second-longest nationally behind Clemson (11). USF is coming off a bye week during which its two top rushers – seniors D'Ernest Johnson and Darius Tice – wore protective boots for minor ailments. — Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times2. UCF (4-0, 2-0): QB McKenzie Milton had a career night with 374 yards and five touchdowns and the Knights scored on all eight of their possessions, in a 51-23 win at Cincinnati. This, despite the game being called after three quarters by inclement weather.  UCF improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1988, when the program was Division II. — Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel3. Navy (5-0, 3-0):  Quarterback Zach Abey directed a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes as Navy edged Air Force, 48-45. Abey tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Carmona with 15 seconds remaining. Navy is 5-0 for the first time since 2004. — Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group4. Houston (4-1, 2-0): Duke Catalon rushed for a career-high 177 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-22 win over SMU. All-America defensive tackle Ed Oliver played just a week after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee. The Cougars visit Tulsa on Saturday.  — Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle5. Memphis (4-1, 1-1): Riley Ferguson threw for 431 yards and seven touchdowns, tying a conference single-game record in a 70-31 win at UConn. Anthony Miller (15 catches, 224 yards) also tied a record with four receiving scores. Navy visits the Continue Reading

Where do Bearcats stand in weekly AAC football power rankings?

For the first time this season, there is change atop the American Athletic Conference football power rankings. Near the bottom, the University of Cincinnati remained 11th in the rankings compiled weekly by AAC beat writers.Central Florida, one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, was the unanimous pick for the top spot after previous No. 1 AAC team South Florida stumbled in a 28-24 loss at home to Houston.UCF debuted at No. 18 in the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, giving the Knights the inside track on the Group of Five spot in a New Year's Six bowl.Here’s how the AAC stacks up this week, per the conference panel of beat reporters:1. UCF (7-0, 4-0 AAC): The Knights set a school scoring record against FCS Austin Peay with a 73-33 rout. Quarterback McKenzie Milton hit 24 of 26 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Mike Hughes scored on a 91-yard kickoff return. UCF visits SMU this week.  – Shannon Green, Orlando Sentinel2. Memphis (7-1, 4-1 AAC): The final score of last Friday’s 56-26 victory over Tulane doesn’t quite indicate how well the Tigers performed. Memphis led the Green Wave 35-0 early in the second quarter. Genard Avery had 3.5 sacks as Memphis held the nation’s 12th-ranked rushing team to a season-low 122 yards. – John Varlas, Memphis Commercial Appeal3. USF (7-1, 4-1 AAC): The Bulls' nation-best 12-game win streak ended when Houston QB D'Eriq King scored on a 20-yard dash with 11 seconds remaining, in the Cougars' 28-24 upset. In their last two games, the Bulls have allowed 49 points and 594 yards in the second half. – Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times More: UC football: No margin for error in drive for bowl eligibility 4. Houston (5-3, 3-2 AAC): The Cougars picked up the signature win under first-year coach Major Applewhite, in a 28-24 upset at No. 17 South Florida. QB D'Eriq King Continue Reading

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Tulane Green Wave football: Scouting report and prediction

Enquirer beat reporter Tom Groeschen takes a look at the University of Cincinnati's football game Saturday against Tulane. - The matchup Cincinnati (2-6, 0-4 AAC East) vs. Tulane (3-5, 1-3 AAC West)Kickoff: 4 p.m. Saturday at Yulman Stadium (30,000), New OrleansTV/Radio: ESPN3/WLW-AM (700)- When UC runsUC produced a season-high 249 yards rushing in its last game, a 31-28 overtime loss to SMU on Oct. 21. Still, the Bearcats rank only 113th nationally in rushing offense. Redshirt freshman Gerrid Doaks leads the team with 351 yards rushing (5.3 per carry), with two TDs. Next are senior Mike Boone (239, 3.6, 2) and true freshman Michael Warren (215, 6.5, 1). UC looks for another big rushing day, against a Tulane defense that ranks 119th against the run. When UC passesThe up-and-down season of junior QB Hayden Moore continues. Moore threw for 189 yards and two TDs against SMU, but the Bearcats lost when Moore was intercepted on the final play of overtime. Junior WR Kahlil Lewis had 10 catches for 72 yards against SMU, while senior WR Devin Gray and sophomore WR Thomas Geddis each caught a TD pass. UC ranks 76th nationally in passing offense, with Tulane only 121st in passing defense. When Tulane runsThis is where UC could encounter real trouble. Tulane ranks 15th nationally in rushing with its shotgun spread attack, with plenty of zone read and zone blocking. UC ranks just 111th against the run. Tulane senior RB Dontrell Hilliard (6-0, 205) is third in the AAC with 768 yards rushing, averaging 5.8 per carry with nine TDs. Junior QB Jonathan Banks (6-3, 220) is also dangerous, with 305 yards rushing and four TDs. It should be another busy day for UC senior LB Jaylyin Minor, who leads the AAC with 10.0 tackles per game. When Tulane passesRun-heavy Tulane ranks only 121st nationally in passing offense. QB Banks throws for just 132 yards per game, but he does have nine TD passes and only two interceptions. The top receiver is junior Terren Continue Reading

Meet the college football coaches in the Amway Coaches Poll

August is here which means it's almost time to unveil the 2017 preseason Amway Coaches Poll.This year's voting panel includes the four active college football coaches who have won national titles -- Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Alabama's Nick Saban, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher. The preseason poll will be released at noon ET Thursday at Amway Coaches Poll, in its 27th season administered by USA TODAY Sports, features experience-rich coaches who bring up-close perspective with their votes every week. The panel of 65 coaches in the Bowl Subdivision is put together by the American Football Coaches Association. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the AFCA their willingness to participate. More: Who is Hugh Freeze? Conflicting views of former Ole Miss coach emerge The first regular-season Amway Coaches Poll, following this week’s preseason top 25, will be released Sept. 5 following Week 1 games. That is a Tuesday because of a Labor Day game. Subsequent polls are released Sundays, except for the final poll, which comes the day after the national championship game.“The Amway Coaches Poll, powered by USA TODAY Sports, has for over two decades represented the kickoff of college football," said Todd Berry, executive director for the AFCA. "The coaches volunteer to be voting members of the poll, and I know from my personal experience, take great pride weekly in acknowledging their feelings towards that week and how they rank our teams. We appreciate USA TODAY publishing our poll and the credibility that both the USA TODAY and the AFCA bring to the weekly excitement that is college football.” All voters are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2017 season: Major Applewhite, Houston; David Bailiff, Rice; David Beaty, Continue Reading

Super early preseason top 25 college football teams for the 2017 season

Even before the clock hits zero in the national championship game in Tampa on Monday, we already have begun thinking about 2017. Though the confetti hasn't even fallen yet on Alabama or Clemson, here’s an early look at which teams will be battling for the College Football Playoff and a championship next season.The list doesn’t begin with the Tide or the Tigers, though both teams will again be in the hunt. Instead, the top team in the USA TODAY Sports early top 25 for 2017 is Florida State, which has the coaching, talent and experience to return to the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision.The Seminoles stumbled out of the gate this past season before hitting another gear following a loss to Clemson in October. With valuable experience and as much talent as any team in the country, Florida State is the team to beat in the Atlantic Coast Conference and very deserving of the title of preseason No. 1 in August.Personnel hits are coming for the national championship runner-up, but that’s never derailed Alabama in the past. Quarterback Jalen Hurts will be even better, the offense should be more focused on the running game with a new coordinator and the defense will again rank among the nation’s best. Take note: Alabama and FSU meet in the opener.Like the Crimson Tide, the Buckeyes will need to reload after losing several underclassmen to the NFL draft. But there will be far fewer losses this offseason than a year ago, so look for Ohio State to be loaded with talent and experience, not to mention more streamlined and less predictable on offense after some staffing changes.The Wolverines will be right on the Buckeyes’ heels, as they were in 2016 — and as will be the case for as long as Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer are in charge. There is too much to like about Michigan to list here, but begin with the major assets: a wonderful defense despite a few losses in the back seven, a physical and punishing brand of offense, and a sense of Continue Reading