If you grew up like me, you probably have an affinity for the “Back to the Future” series; thus today is a special day.
There was something enthralling about watching Marty McFly and Doc Brown navigate time and space, and you’d be kidding yourself if you said you didn’t want a DeLorean Time Machine.
And that’s what makes “Back to the Future Day” so special for so many. When McFly traveled to October 21st, 2015 it seemed like a million years in the future, just like 1985 seems like a million years in the past now.
What Doc Brown’s DeLorean taught us, though, was that time can fly in a flash. In a blink of an eye you can be in the future or past. All you need to do is get that thing up to 88 miles per hour.
Can the same be said for college football?
Let’s see if the old DeLorean still has some time-travel juice left in it…
Running Into The Future
Do you remember a time (all the way back in the early 2000’s) when USC’s Reggie Bush was arguably the greatest running back of his generation and one of the greatest college football backs of all-time? Sure, his Heisman win and time at USC was marred by scandal at the end of the day—and yes, his NFL career has been underwhelming.
But wins on the record or not, Bush still gave us moments like this:
You’ve heard of “The Bush Push“? Well I prefer to remember what I call “The Bush Stop-Start-Cutback”, because it’s easily one of the greatest feats of football athleticism of the past.
But, of course, there’s also the present to consider—and there’s currently a running back at LSU who’s doing his best to provide us moments that we’ll all remember when we look back on 2015 years into the future: Leonard Fournette.
Years from now, college football fans will look back at Fournette’s highlights in the same way many of us currently look to the past to enjoy Bush’s. They’ll remember these tremendous runs against Auburn, among many others:
And in that way Fournette is currently the present, but he’s also the future.
Rangers: Mission 4:10
Not to toot my own horn, but in the past I may have been a clairvoyant. It was September 1st, 2007 and a good buddy and I were settling into our seats at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines season-opening clash against FCS opponent Appalachian State.
As the teams warmed up—this was before my coaching and sports writing days, mind you—I leaned over to my friend and told him that I believed Appalachian State would win. This was a laughable prediction at the time considering everything Michigan had going for it. The Wolverines were ranked preseason No. 5 in the nation and boasted players such as offensive tackle Jake Long, running back Mike Hart and wide receiver Mario Manningham. Lloyd Carr was also still coaching Michigan at the time, so for all intents and purposes the deck was stacked against Appalachian State, and that’s an understatement.
Still, I stuck with my gut feeling. I watched the Mountaineers warm-up and they looked like a team with fire in their eyes. They were running around, hyped up for the big game and didn’t appear fazed at all by the spectacle that is a home game at The Big House.
A few hours later it turns out my prediction was right; unfortunately for the Wolverines.
Michigan had a chance to win the game, but a blocked field goal with seconds left on the clock took that game from a near-escape to “one of the greatest upsets in sports history”:
Flash forward to 2015, and we see Michigan once again on the wrong side of a last-second special teams miracle.
Yes, this was in no-way an upset considering the fact that Michigan State was ranked No. 7 heading into this game while the Wolverines were No. 12. Still, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines should have won this game, much like Carr’s.
With seconds left, Michigan State had very little chance of winning the game if Michigan could get the punt off. Of course, unless you’ve been under a rock you know what happened to the aforementioned punt by now. It was a play that Michigan State head coach nicknamed Rangers: Mission 4:10.
Mission accomplished, MSU:
College football has an odd way of repeating itself.
Years after Reggie Bush gave us highlights for a lifetime, Leonard Fournette is currently doing that for LSU.
Years after Appalachian State ripped the heart out of a Michigan team with a last-second special teams play, Michigan State found a way to repeat history in its own way, and create yet another memory.
Thankfully because of modern technology we don’t need Doc Brown or a DeLorean to revisit college football’s past, and one day who knows how fans will be reliving these glorious college football moments from 2015.
They will look back, though, in the same way we look back on Bush’s runs or Appalachian State’s upset against Michigan.
They will look back and remember the past, because the future is now.