Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/2/11

The debate that seems to be the topic du jour in college football today: Who will, or who should, play LSU? Who is going to this bowl, or that bowl?

If it's not, you can bet the discussion is centered somewhere around the Penn State and Syracuse scandals. Maybe who’s hiring who and who’s firing. As a public, we all seem to thrive on the dirty, the scandals, the dark clouds. (I am as guilty as anyone else. No matter how satirical it may be, I write a weekly column here at Crystal Ball Run focusing on “The Ugly” of college football.)

Perfection is the goal of every college football team. As it should be.

Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida State, USC are all teams synonymous with having undefeated seasons. However, in 1951 there were five teams that completed undefeated seasons. Michigan State, Maryland, Northern Illinois and Princeton all had remarkable years. There was one team, though, that stands out above all others, in my eyes. Not for the nine wins that they went to war for, but for the war that was waged off the field. If you do not know their story, you should.

Meet - and remember - the Dons.

In the age of college football we now live in, it may be more difficult to not go to a bowl game than to stay at home.  For the players, they're nice rewards for all the hard work put in over the season and a chance to steal some time in the spotlight.

Sixty years ago, the San Francisco Dons, the best college football team in America, chose against playing in a bowl game.

The Dons finished the 1951 regular season 9-0. They clearly  were the best team in the country. How good? Ollie Matson, Gino Marchetti and Bob St. Clair, all future Hall of Famers, all played for that version of the Dons.

The University of San Francisco never was a superiorly strong football program. A bowl game, even then, would have meant a great deal to the Dons. It would have given the program a much-needed boost to its bottom line. It would have given a much-needed spotlight to an under-funded, under-appreciated group of players.

When Orange Bowl officials extended an invitation to the Dons, it was met with great excitement, as well as great reservation. In 1951, racial strife was running rampant across the country, including the college football world. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that the Orange Bowl invitation was contingent on the Dons not bringing along their two African-American teammates.

The Dons had a decision to make. It wasn't a tough one at all. The Dons turned their back on the money, the fame, the once-in-a-lifetime chance at becoming 10-0.

It turned out to be the Dons' final season.

What came of seemingly an indirect death penalty to the Dons, was awareness, and, better yet, change. More astute minds would rise from this situation, and as a result, teams with African American players would soon be invited to bowl games.

Some teams in college football stand the test of time. The Dons are example number one.


Be sure to follow Regie on Twitter @CFBROCKER and the entire Crystal Ball Run staff at @CrystalBallRun

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Tennessee desperate for big win over #19 Georgia

UCLA punter Adam Searl arrested on suspicion of rape

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Gostkowski is best kicker in NFL, according to peers

DeMarco Murray: Running more plays will mean more chances


Harrison Barnes unreasonably unhappy with Warriors offer

Jerry Jones defends Greg Hardy over controversial comments

Witten, Gronkowski engage in mutual admiration society

Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of nightclub incident charges

Tony Parker hopes to play 20 seasons with San Antonio Spurs

Pagano 'supremely confident' about chances vs. Pats

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Explaining the silence on Thabo Sefolosha’s police brutality trial

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of CFB

Joe Maddon's defensive calculus

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Looking at four NHL goaltenders who debuted for new teams

Get to know the four NL playoff teams

Are the Astros the new Royals?

‘Macarena’ used at practice to ready Rams defense for Rodgers

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker