Around the Nation Week 5

Sport provides us all sorts of special memories.

It might be putting a football in the crib of a newborn, or watching a little girl kicking a soccer ball or diving into a swimming pool for the first time.

Maybe you remember playing softball with your buddies or the Friday night lights at the local high school football stadium.

Precious memories, how they linger.

This is a good week to get a bit nostalgic.

Yankee Stadium, America’s most famous sports venue, hosted its last game Sunday night. The House that Ruth Built was the site of memorable events too numerous to list.

These are the grounds where Babe Ruth hit his 60th homerun in 1927 and Roger Maris his 61st in 61.

This is the place where popes prayed, where Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and Muhammad Ali fought, where Gehrig bade farewell. This is the place where Notre Dame and Army battled when both programs mattered.

This is the field where Reggie-Reggie-Reggie became Mr. October, the Mick won the Triple Crown, and the Colts beat the Giants in the NFL’s greatest game.

These are the grounds where Derek Jeter told the President of the United States “we pitch from the top of the mound at Yankee Stadium” and George W. Bush fired a strike while wearing a flak jacket to open the 2001 World Series just weeks after 9-11.

Yankee Stadium is gone and we won’t see another of its ilk in our lifetimes.

As college football fans, treasure the memories and appreciate the Big House, Sanford Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Death Valley, the Swamp, Neyland Stadium, Notre Dame Stadium, the Yale Bowl, and all the other great venues on our campuses.

They are our living history.

Let’s move on to teams making modern-day memories.

The race for the national title continues to shape up as USC versus the top team that emerges from the SEC or Big 12. Oklahoma and Missouri have the easiest paths because their schedules are lighter than all the SEC contenders, but it’s still very early.

Don’t discount an overlooked Penn State team sneaking into the BCS title picture.

With Ohio State looking vulnerable, the Lions could be favored in the rest of their games. Wouldn’t that be a nice way for Joe Paterno to answer his critics?

Enjoy the games.

Around the Nation

Top-ranked USC plays a Thursday night game at Oregon State. The Beavers upended the Trojans the last time the two met in Corvallis.

Arkansas travels to Texas in a game that was washed out a couple weeks ago. The Longhorns are rounding into form, but this tradition-rich series is usually close.

In the Big Ten, unbeaten Wisconsin goes to Michigan, and Illinois travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.

TCU whipped Oklahoma three seasons ago in the last meeting between the two, so the Sooners will have payback on the mind. Virginia Tech travels to Nebraska for a nice intersectional matchup.

Around the South

Alabama at Georgia is the biggest game of the weekend.

Last season the Dogs won an overtime thriller in Tuscaloosa, so the Tide will try to return the favor between the Hedges.

Tennessee travels to Auburn, Miss State to LSU, and Ole Miss to Florida in other big league games.

Maryland is at Clemson in a big ACC pairing, but most of the league’s teams are playing out-of-conference competition this week.

In C-USA, Marshall takes on West Virginia of the Big East in a Mountaineer State feud.

See you at kickoff!

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