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August 25th, 2011

MatSci & Engineering ‘Football Game of the Week’: The preseason

Published on August 25th, 2011 | By: Eileen De Guire

2005 Poinsettia Bowl: The U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen position themselves defensively in preparation for a play by the Colorado State Rams. Credit: Journalist 2nd Class Zack Baddorf; from Wikipedia

I spent most autumn Saturdays between 2003 and 2006 watching college football on TV. Specifically, the University of Notre Dame games on NBC. The reason was simple—a chunk of my daughter’s financial aid flowed from TV revenues. I figured the least I could do was watch.

College football brings undergrads together and bonds alumni into perpetuity. It builds traditions and the ties that bind. Big football programs bring in lots of revenue. Successful big football programs can improve the overall quality of the incoming class. Really?

Really. A study published in the Southern Economic Journal (read it online at Entrepreneur) showed that college applications increased at NCAA Division I schools with successful football (and men’s basketball) programs to the tune of two to eight percent for the top 20 football schools and that the extra applications included students with high and low SAT scores. The larger pool with its incremental increase of smart kids, means admissions offices potentially can improve the composition of the incoming class if the leatherheads are having a good season.

This is also the time of year when the US News and World Report releases its yearly Best Colleges Rankings, shining a spotlight on schools from a non-athletic angle.

With a new flock of high school seniors and their parents Post-it-noting the latest USN&WR rankings while watching the Prospective University game, we think it’s high time that football worked specifically for materials science and engineering programs across the country.

Starting next week, Ceramic Tech Today will feature a “MSE Game of the Week,” and tell you a little bit about the MSE programs at the opposing schools. Ahead, we’ve selected NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 games and tried to mix up leagues and geographies. All schools have undergraduate materials programs, most with some faculty specializing in ceramic materials.

This year I will be watching Ohio State football for the same reason I watched ND football (different daughter, though). And, despite having immediate family connections to Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Case Western Reserve, I am quite sure I can be impartial as the season unfolds.

I hope you enjoy this season’s gridiron matches and will follow along with CTT.

Go Illini!


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