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Episode 087: Getting educated on the Ivy League

Can Harvard prevent Penn from making Ivy League history? Photo: The Harvard Crimson/Richard F. Taylor

Jonathan Tannenwald from Philly.com

Can Harvard prevent Penn from making Ivy League history? Photo: The Harvard Crimson/Richard F. Taylor

Over the past couple of years the issue of concussions has become a major concern in the football world, both at the amateur and the professional level. The Ivy League will be operating under new concussion-curbing policy this season which includes limits on the number of full-pad/contact practices that can take place throughout the season. Educating the student-athletes on signs of concussions and the proper tackling technique and more will also be a primary focus for each Ivy League member. Anything that can help ensure the long-term safety and health of young football players is a good thing in my book, but Jonathan Tannenwald form Philly.com does raise a good question. Can football exist without concussions?

Quite honestly, I am not sure. I do support any initiative to take out the kind of hits that are designed to show up on SportsCenter. I admit, the big hit is fun to watch but it is never fun to watch a player get up form the hit and wobble back to the huddle or sideline, only to fall to his knees halfway. Perhaps this is a topic we can dive a little deeper in to some other time. Today, the focus is on the Ivy League.

Tannenwald joined me to talk about the Ivy League a little bit, while we both took a break from watching Roy Halladay pitch a gem in Houston. It is a league he enjoys following, and as a Penn grad I can understand why, so I was happy to have him on to talk about his Penn Quakers and their run for Ivy League history. Penn is looking to become the first Ivy League member to win three consecutive championships with an unblemished record. Think about that for a moment. Three straight league championships without losing a conference game? You would have to go back pretty far to find the last time that was done at the FBS level.

Of course, if you are talking about the Ivy League you must also bring up Harvard, who figures to be Penn’s biggest challenge in the conference. The Game between Harvard and Yale will always grab the attention of the nation as one of the oldest and best rivalries in college football, and not just when a Yale coach makes a stupid decision to execute a fake punt on fourth and 22 from their own 25-yard line. While Harvard-Yale is the marquee match-up and rivalry in the Ivy League, the Penn-Harvard game could end up being the Ivy League championship game, and it will be on national television.

In non-Ivy League news, Tannenwald also posted a great commentary on Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, something I think every college football fan should take a minute or two to read. Of course, Tannenwald (Soft Pretzel Logic) and his Philly.com sports cohorts are gearing up for massive coverage of Temple’s home game against Penn State this weekend. I’ll be there as well, covering the game for Examiner.com and Bleacher Report. You could make it a college football double-header on Saturday by checking out Penn State-Temple at noon and heading in to the city for Penn’s season opener against Lehigh in Franklin Field.

Not me though. I have tickets to the Phillies-Cardinals game that night across the street. By the way, the Phillies held on for a 1-0 victory on Wednesday, reducing the magic number to four.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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