College Football History

College Football: 11 True Stories That Should Be Made Into Movies

T.J. McaloonContributorJune 15, 2011

College Football: 11 True Stories That Should Be Made Into Movies

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates the Buckeyes 31-26 victory against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Pho
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Sometimes they say that art imitates life. Sometimes you'll see something in the movies and think, "No way that could happen in real life."

    Then again, you'll see something happening in real life and go, "Holy this is awesome! They should make a movie out of this story!"

    Well, that is what we are here today to do.

    Now before you go clicking through these slides, please note that this is not a top 10 list of movies that should be made now. This is a list of 11 college football stories that could make a compelling story for a Hollywood producer and director.

    Also, this list does not include movies that have already been made about college football stories, such as: Rudy, We Are Marshall, the 30 for 30 specials, and Forrest Gump (what, he really didn't play for Alabama?). 

    There are plenty of stories that have been left off of this list that you will let us know about in the comment section.

    But for now, give a click through, and we hope you enjoy these 11 stories that should make for a great sports movie.

11. The Ohio State Scandal

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30:  Head Coach Jim Tressel shows off a football helmet with military camouflage to the media during a press conference before the start of Spring practices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at The Ohio State University on March 30,
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Let's start off with the most recent of scandals to hit the college football landscape.

    The Ohio State program (which will come up more than once on this piece) came to its highest point, under the now former head coach Jim Tressell, in 2002 when it captured the Bowl Championship Series National Title.

    From there, allegations of players selling game-worn jerseys for tattoos and other perks, to players with multiple run-ins with the law, have put this once proud program under the careful watch of the NCAA.

    Where will this story end?

    Could it be with the NCAA imposing a penalty like USC received: stripping away its BCS National Title? Or will it end with the program getting cleaned up and rising once again under a new coach and with its first national title in 10 years?

    Only time will tell how this movie will be played out.

10. The Texas Longhorns Announce the Texas Longhorn Network

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    AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 15:  University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr., center, Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonskon, left, and Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, right, announce the athletics programs will continue competing in the Bi
    Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

    Hey, a Texas slide by someone who is a Texas Featured Columnist must be a conspiracy!

    To quote the Simpsons, "Willie hears you ...Willie doesn't care."

    Anyway, this story does not seem big right now, as it is still in the beginning stages of this network. However, this move by the University of Texas will start a domino effect that will change the way colleges do business—not just for football, but for all sports.

    The Texas Longhorns now have an exclusive deal with ESPN. That means: Not only will their football games be shown by the worldwide leader in sports (in America and also across the world), but their secondary and non-popular sports will be shown just as much!

    Are you a fan of crew, field hockey, or volleyball? Well, put on your burnt orange, because UT and ESPN have you covered!

    The deal is going to do much more for their ability to recruit than any national title could have done. Now a potential kid in high school who wants to be seen on television is going to think of UT because of this deal.

    Greed is Good may replace Hook em' Horns on the 40 acres.

9. The 2002 BCS National Title Game

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    This game is known for having a great Miami team coming off another great season winning 34-straight games.

    This team was littered with NFL players, such as: Willis McGahee, Ken Dorsey, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, William Joseph, Jerome McDougle, Antrel Rolle, Kelly Jennings, and the late Sean Taylor.

    The Ohio State team was a team out of the Big Ten with a then no-named coach in Jim Tressell. The Buckeyes had rattled off a surprising 13-0 regular season, with six of their 13 wins coming by seven points or fewer.

    The game seemed to be a blow out and a culmination of another great Hurricanes season, much like their past teams in the '80s.

    But in football, there is just a one-game playoff, and any team can win just one game.

    That's exactly what this Ohio State team did in upsetting the heavily favored Miami team in overtime. This, of course, after a dramatic and controversial pass interference call in overtime (pictured above) that helped the Buckeyes win their first (and only) BCS title.

8. The 2007 Boise State Broncos Shocking the BCS

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  (L-R) Jeremy Childs #9, Jerad Rabb #1 and Jared Zabransky #5 of the Boise State Broncos celebrates the Rabb touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Before the game started, Las Vegas had the Oklahoma Sooners as a 7.5-point favorite. Then all the talk stopped and the game started and that little team from Idaho stood up to the Big 12 champs and opened up a 14-7 lead.

    Then a 21-10 lead for the Broncos into halftime.

    People across America thought there was no way this team could keep up this lead.

    The score was 28-10 midway into the third quarter—this little team could actually do it! 

    Then the fourth quarter started and it looked as if the great story was coming to an end as OU, after scoring to make it 28-17, scored 18 more points, taking its first lead of the game late in the fourth quarter.

    What resulted was a storybook finish for Boise State as the Broncos scored with time running out on a hook and lateral play that stunned the Oklahoma sideline and the thousands in attendance to send it into overtime. Then after scoring a touchdown on their first overtime possession, they pulled off the Statue of Liberty play, forgoing the extra point (which would have been the safe play) to win the game.

    This was a storybook ending for the football team out of Idaho overcoming the odds to shock the world, putting in motion that every team in college football needs to be taken seriously as a national champion.

7. Penn State Football Player Adam Taliaferro Walks After Being Paralyzed

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    On September 23, 2000, a young freshman named Adam Taliaferro suited up against Big Ten rival Ohio State. Never in a million years did he think that his life would be forever changed during that game.

    He suffered a severe spinal injury while making a tackle against Ohio State, leaving him motionless on the field. Several doctors predicted Taliaferro would never walk again, but just five months after the injury, having undergone spinal fusion surgery, that's exactly what he did.

    That next season Taliaferro led his team out of the tunnel and onto the field before a Nittany Lions home game before a sellout crowd of more than 106,000 fans. The cheer and moment was moving and brought those on the field to tears.

    Taliaferro, now 23, began taking a full course load in the 2001 fall semester while continuing his rehabilitation, and over the past three and a half years has recovered 85-90 percent of the physical abilities he had before fracturing his C-5 vertebrae.

6. Katie Hnida, the Female Kicker at Colorado and Her Struggles

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    Katie Hnida was a walk-on at the University of Colorado who earned a spot on the football team as the back-up kicker.

    That right there should be enough for a feel-good movie of a woman breaking into an all-boys sport, thus showing girls can do anything a guy can do.

    But that wouldn't be what her story was really about.

    While there, Hnida was the subject of sexual harassment from other male players on the team.

    "I was treated much more like a piece of meat there," she said in a story in The Albuquerque Tribune, "because I'm a pretty feminine gal and they didn't respect that about me."

    Hnida never got into a game under then-Colorado head coach Gary Barnett. Hinda told the newspaper she was "called names that are not repeatable" many times during the 1999 season—her final one at the school.

    She transferred away from the Colorado program in 2002 to the University of New Mexico where she finished her college career, becoming the first woman to play in Division I-A football on December 25 against UCLA.

5. Mark Herzlich Beats Cancer to Rejoin Boston College Teammates

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Mark Herzlich #94, Damik Scafe #55 and Codi Boek #13 of the Boston College Eagles walk out to the field for the home opening game against the Weber State Wildcats on September 4, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill,
    Elsa/Getty Images

    In 2008, Mark Herzlich was one of the best defensive college football players in the country. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference's defensive player of the year and was considered a "lock" as a high-draft pick for the NFL when he would leave school.

    Then he got some of the worst news anyone could ever receive.

    He had cancer, and the outlook was not good. 

    Doctors said he had a 70 percent chance of surviving Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that required the insertion of a 12-inch titanium rod to reinforce his left leg. But Herzlich also received more devastating news March 12, 2009.

    "They told me that not only would I never play football again, but I'd never run again," Herzlich said.

    Seven months of chemotherapy and an additional five weeks of radiation took away his explosive burst that made him such a feared defender. To help with the debilitating disease, Herzlich always thought of running out of the tunnel in Boston College's football field with his teammates again. It was what motivated him to return to glory.

    That day came at the beginning of the 2010 football season.

    In September 2009 Herzlich was pronounced cancer-free. 

4. Joe Paterno, the Best Coach to Ever Walk the Sidelines in College Football

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Head Coach Joe Paterno watches his team play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    In the fall of 1966 there was this young guy with jet black hair and thick black glasses that took over the football program an Penn State University.

    His first year with Penn State he went five wins and five losses. That next year he posted his first winning record, going 8-2-1 (17-17 against Florida State in the Gator Bowl). Then followed his first perfect season with 11 wins and his first bowl victory over Kansas in the Orange Bowl. 

    That offseason the professional ranks came calling for Joe Pa, as the Pittsburgh Steelers offered Paterno their head coaching job. He turned them down, returning to Penn State for another perfect season and Orange Bowl victory. 

    Since then it's been 45 years, and Joe Paterno is still the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

    Here's some fun facts just to show how long Paterno has been in office:

    There have been 886 coaching changes in Division I-A football.

    There have been 13 presidential administrations. 

    He is the only coach to have won all four of the traditional New Year's Day games (Sugar, Rose, Cotton, and Orange Bowls).

    He leads all coaches—active or retired—in wins with 401 and counting. 

3. Doug Flutie Shows That Anyone Can Be a Football Player

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    Doug Flutie was never confused for a football player anywhere he walked, whether it be when he was at Boston College or even anywhere today.

    Standing only five feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds, he led his Boston College Eagles team into the Orange Bowl in Miami to face the defending NCAA champions, the Miami Hurricanes.

    The game went back and forth, with Flutie leading scoring drive after scoring drive, while Miami's quarterback, Bernie Kosar, would answer with his explosive Hurricanes.

    Flutie himself was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate, but not a serious threat to win as it was Kosar's trophy to lose. However, with one play, one throw, one Hail Mary, everything for Doug Flutie would change.

    The play was called the "55 Flood Tip."

    With less than 10 seconds left the ball was snapped. Flutie rolled out as the protection broke down around him. He launched a prayer into the Miami night, as 35-mile-per-hour wind blew against him, and after already throwing the ball 45 times before this last throw, Flutie hurled the ball 63 yards to a crowd of Hurricane and Eagle players. 

    The ball fell past the first wave of players and landed into the arms of a Boston College player, resulting in a 45-41 victory for the underdog Eagles.

    The kid who was only recruited by Boston College, the kid who everyone told was too small to play not only quarterback, but football, had just defeated the defending national champions.

    After the game, Flutie went on to win the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, the UPI Player of the Year Award and the Maxwell Award.

2. Maurice Clarett: Once a Promising Career, Now Trying to Pick Up the Pieces

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    TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 3:  Freshman running back Maurice Clarett #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes takes in the BCS Championship victory over the University of Miami Hurricanes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on January 3, 2003  in Tempe, Arizo
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Hey, Ohio State made this list for the third time! 

    But this one is more of the personal story of what could end up as one of the best redemption stories in football. Yes, this is the common story of a great college player that has the world in front of him only to ruin it with bad off-the-field decisions. 

    Backtrack to that fall of 2002.

    Clarett is a young freshman on an Ohio State team that is being coached by a second-year coach in Jim Tressell. Clarett is recruited heavily out of high school but because Tressell started coaching out in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, Clarette verbally commits to Ohio State and immediately gives them a running game the team hasn't seen since the days of Eddie George. 

    His first year, Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns. These numbers were a big reason why the Buckeyes were 13-0 and won the national title that year. 

    But then the offseason happened and Clarett would never suit up for the Buckeyes again. 

    He was suspended for the 2003 academic year after he was charged for filing a false police report about having personal items stolen from him. 

    From there he left school, entered the NFL draft and was cut in training camp. Then he took a turn for the worse, getting arrested multiple times and spending three and a half years in jail. 

    Now, he's out of jail and is currently playing in the United Football League, trying to pick the pieces up and regain what talent he had on a football field. 

    What could have been an amazing career at Ohio State turned out to be a one-hit wonder and a sad story.

1. The Army Navy Game, No Matter What Is Going on These Two Teams Still Play

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11: The color guard marches off the field before a game between the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Knights on December 11, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Midshipmen won 31-17. (Photo by Hunte
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    These two teams have the most storied past of any team in College Football. The first game between these two military institutes was played in 1890 with Navy winning 24-0. 

    And the following year Joe Paterno would take over as an assistant at Penn State, HI YO! 

    But since the first game these two teams would meet on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the next 111 years! No matter what is going on around their military branches these cadets of Army and midshipmen of Navy meet on the football field to play for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. 

    With their historical past, there are the games in the late 1800's where the first ever football helmet is said to have been worn. The games were not played in 1917 and 18 due to World War I. But the games were not postponed due to any other American War. 

    These games helped take the minds off of those who were away, and helped tie a country together with their game after the bombings on September 11th. 

    Finally, the Army Navy game in 1945 was labeled as the "Game of the Century." 

    For the record, Navy has the advantage over Army as they lead the series 55 wins 49 losses and 7 ties.

    Like this and would want more? Go to my Podcast page: The T.J. McAloon and the Sports Half Hour

    Follow me on twitter! @tjmcaloon

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