At this point, if you haven’t seen a preview for The Express, the story of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, well, you’re just not watching any college football. Universal has hit the target demographic hard in anticipation of the film's Oct. 10 release.
But most importantly, The Express finally gives us Dennis Quaid in a sports movie. Oh, wait, he was in Any Given Sunday, Breaking Away, Everybody’s All-American, Our Winning Season, The Rookie, Tough Enough (and played some hoops in In Good Company)? Never mind then.
Still, in honor of The Express’ upcoming release, The Tenth Power hones in on the best college football movies, a list on which Davis’ story will surely merit a spot because: 1) There aren’t a lot of college football movies and 2) A lot of them are horrible.
1. Rudy: Whether you love or loathe Notre Dame, there’s no debating this is the best of the bunch. The story of the Irish walk-on also showed us the transition between Sean Astin: Goonie and Sean Astin: Hobbit.
2. The Program: It’s the film that gave us Joe Kane, a Bo Schembechler cameo, the infamous scene where players lie on the street while cars fly by and Steve Lattimer's the ripe-with-unintentional-comedy ‘roid rage sequences.
3. We Are Marshall: The story of the 1970 Marshall plane crash was a riveting portrayl of how the Thundering Herd picked up the pieces after tragedy -- and it may be the only Matthew McConaughey film of the last decade that didn't feature a shirtless scene.
4. Forrest Gump: OK, it’s not technically a football movie, but the guy could flat-out return kicks, earning All-America honors for the Crimson Tide. But considering what his mom did to get him into public school, you have to wonder what it took to secure Forrest's scholarship to Alabama. Yikes.
5. Revenge of the Nerds: Again, not really a football movie, but between the “Liquid Heat” prank, the Adams Atoms players sporting cheerleader outfits and John Goodman as coach, there's enough football in it for me.
6. Everybody’s All-American: From SI scribe Frank Deford's annals came the story of Hesiman-winning running back Gavin Grey and asks the question: How does a star deal with life after his career is over? You'll find yourself more captivated by Timothy Hutton’s hair metamorphosis and the Dan Conner and Newman cameos.
7. Jim Thorpe – All-American: Starring Oscar winner Burt Lancaster (ask your grandparents), Thorpe looks at a legend whose life begins to unravel after his career ends ... wait, didn’t I just write about this flick? Oh, this one is in black and white.
9. Necessary Roughness: Admit it, the reason you went to see this had nothing to do with Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula (who opened the film with his version of the Brett Favre Wrangler commercial)or with Sinbad. Kathy Ireland, who made her name posing for some swimsuit issue that I have sworn to my wife I’m not familiar with, was the real draw.
10. The Bear: It was a made-for-TV movie, but it lands a spot on this list for the Gary Busey factor. On re-enacting the scene in which Bryant wrestled a bear, earning his nickname, Busey said: “I was allergic to the bear saliva, so I broke out in welts. They wrapped me in Saran Wrap and put me back in. I recommend it highly as a diet.” The man is magic.