December 20, 2002
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Stagg Bowl

Less than 24 hours to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the championship game of Division III football. My alma mater, the Trinity Tigers, have the Herculean task of defeating the Mount Union Purple Raiders, by far the best college football program in the nation. How good are they? Here are the winningest teams of the 1990s:

Division I-A: Florida State, 109-13-1 (.890)
Division I-AA: Dayton, 92-17-0 (.844)
Division II: Pittsburg State, 103-18-2 (.846)
Division III: Mount Union, 120-7-1 (.941)

How good are they? They have two of the three longest winning streaks in college football: a 54-game streak from 1996 to 1999, and a 41-game streak that started immediately after that and is still going. That's 95 wins in their last 96 games. They have never lost a title game, and they've won 84 consecutive regular season games. Were it not for that one playoff loss in 1999, they'd have won the last six Division III titles.

All this in a program that's not allowed to give athletic scholarships. Pretty damned impressive.

Kickoff is tomorrow at noon Eastern time on ESPN2. The official web page of the Stagg Bowl is here. Full coverage of D3 football is here. They'll be webcasting the game if you're cable-free. The experts don't give my Tigers much of a chance, not that I can blame them given Mount Union's history. Mount Union has a good fan site here. The Tigers, alas, don't have such a page, but their official athletic department page has some good stuff.


Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 20, 2002 to Other sports | TrackBack

Rotsa ruck!! My D3 alma mater, Macalester College, was only 5-5 this year, and I shudder to think what either Trinity or Mt. Union would have done to them.

Posted by: Jack Cluth on December 21, 2002 8:02 AM

What years did you go to Trinity? I'm class of '90 myself. Go...what was our mascot again? Oh yeah--go Tigers!

Posted by: FHC on December 21, 2002 3:04 PM

I'm class of '88, so we certainly crossed paths. Drop me a note ( and we can compare notes.

Sadly, Mount Union pounded us. It was 41-7 in the fourth when I gave up. I'm sad to see them lose, but it's hard to claim that a 14-1 season and #2 in the nation is anything but a smashing success. Congrats to both teams, and better luck next year to Trinity.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 21, 2002 3:36 PM

Check your inbox for a note soon!
Sorry to hear that the Tigers lost. One of my keenest memories of the Tigers football team is that, in my senior year, Calgaard sold most of the bleachers in the stadium to a local high school. To my mind, that pretty much summed up his attidude towards the team. So, it's impressive that they are competitive--surely not because they get much encouragement from the head office.

Posted by: FHC on December 22, 2002 1:16 PM

Another Trinity football memory:

I was buying something at the Broadway HEB and I must of had something with me the identified me as a Trinity student. The cashier said something like "hey, Trinity must have a great football team this year--y'all beat Illinois!" I was understandably puzzled, so when I got back to the dorm I did a little checking. We hadn't beaten Illinois; we had beaten the University of Chicago.

Posted by: FHC on December 22, 2002 4:22 PM

Hey, now, the University of Chicago was once a powerhouse in the Big Ten. They last played Div I football in 1939, but who's counting? :-)

And of course, the first and most successful football coach at UChicago was...Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 23, 2002 10:16 AM

And the first Heiman Trophy winner was from the U of C. They were "The Monsters of the Midway" back in the 20's. Here's to the Maroons...

Posted by: FHC on December 23, 2002 11:55 AM

Yep, that was Jay Berwanger in 1935. He was also the first pick in the NFL draft, but declined to play pro football. Imagine that happening today!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 24, 2002 10:05 AM

Not a chance.

I gather that the U of C football team has been pretty darn competitive in recent years--even winning a divisional championship a couple of years ago. Not too bad for a school where the only scholarships are academic ones.

Posted by: FHC on December 24, 2002 2:56 PM