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The [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Thursday. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some fine offerings from our internationally acclaimed sports staff.

For example, here's a slice of what the world's greatest college football correspondent, our very own Mike Luce, writes today in The College Football Report: Bring On The Skillets, Barrels and War Axes:

"For a storied conference including the likes of legendary programs like Ohio State and Michigan, to adopt a school like Nebraska speaks volumes about the ongoing arms race in college football.

"Not that we carry a grudge against the Big Ten (okay, maybe we do), but we do think it's too bad the conference had to raid a powerhouse program in a far-flung state to compete with the other elite leagues.

"Adding Nebraska to the Big Ten, while in the financial interests of both, reveals an unpleasant result of consolidation: forced "rivalries" with little or nothing at stake. We despair at the prospect of "super conferences" because the traditions and rivalries associated with college football - what makes the game great - would lose significance if not altogether disappear.

"Iowa has played for the rights to trophies with two rivals since 1935 and 1977: fellow Big Ten member Minnesota and in-state foe Iowa State, respectively. The Hawkeyes and Gophers duke it out over the coveted Floyd of Rosedale while the Hawkeyes contest for the Cy-Hawk Trophy with the Cyclones. Recent ill-advised redesigns notwithstanding, we think battles over skillets, barrels, war axes and other memorabilia (Minnesota and Iowa play for rights to a bronze "prize hog") are an integral part of the game. Contrast these clashes with "rivalries" between the likes of Nebraska and Iowa, who have played only six times since 1946: the former are time-honored traditions while the latter feels like a PR scheme."


Go read the whole thing and you'll get a bit of sports media criticism as well.


And I can assure you that you can know absolutely nothing about college football and still enjoy Mike's talent, creativity, knowledge and craft.

That's one of the things I love about our writers. I've often said the same about our horse racing columnist, Tom Chambers. Our folks are a joy to read even if you don't normally follow the topics they do. And once you start reading them, you just may start following . . . college football, horse racing or whatever else we present to you.


Another example is our fantasy sports columnist Dan O'Shea. You don't have to play fantasy sports to learn an awful lot about the games, teams and leagues just from reading Dan.

Today, Dan picks his Top 20 Tight Ends . . . and passes along a list of Stars Guaranteed to Fail that includes a notable Bear.


Our sports section has burgeoned for a number of (somewhat random) reasons, but obviously we also care deeply about other issues here, including politics. Today we offer up a piece culled from a Woodstock Institute e-mail that landed in our inbox called Illinoisans Can't Afford To Wait For A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director.


The rest of the Beachwood will return on Thursday. Thanks for reading.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Day after day.


Posted on August 31, 2011

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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