By John Jeansonne, page 92.
Have Gridiron, Will Travel
To prove again that college football is
more than point spreads and wire service
polls, Newsday's John Jeansonne visited 11
campuses in 10 states - plus the District
of Columbia - took in six games and filed
eight reports this fall. These are his
The Beat Goes On
Providence, R.I. - "And now," the
public-address announcer called excitedly,
"the cleverest band in the world! - the
Columbia University Marching 400!"
On the field, the Columbia band was
neither marching nor 400. It stood, 21
strong, huddled together to keep warm in a
minus-8-degree wind chill. That was the
clever part. Columbia's football opponent,
Brown, was said to offer seminars in
"applied Leggo," [sic] as the Columbia
band "forms Brown's academic structure."
The band wasn't forming anything, of
The Columbia band claimed Brown is known
for "Charlie Brown, university president,
and Werner von Brown, university
pyrotechnics director." Then Brown,
admitting it had gotten a variance on
minimum academic requirements "so we could
have a band," sent its musicians onto the
field and did a salute to Jessica Hahn,
forming a big red A.
The game, featuring one team bent on
finishing second among the Ivies and another
team willing to throw itself on a ticking
bomb to end its national-record 40-game
losing streak, couldn't have been better
theater. Each play - each snap - was
excruciatingly vital, every yard of severe
worth to Columbia, which refused to take
notice of the biting wind and threw the ball
with striking efficiency. Columbia
eventually lost by three points, on a
fourth-down Brown option play with less than
a minute on the clock, after Columbia
apparently had stopped the drive on a Brown
fumble the play before.
"Break our backs, break our knees," goes
an old Columbia chant, "we have better SATs."
(After this, he starts talking about other schools)