1925 COLLEGE FOOTBALL YEAR-IN-REVIEW

The final season of Urban Dane's collegiate career was both great and a failure. Great because he continued to wow opponents and fans with his spinning, whirling, leaping and enervating running style. A failure because his team had graduated most of the players who had made them so strong for Dane's first three seasons and Lincoln limped to a 2-4-2 record despite outscoring their opponents 113-67 (largely thanks to their two wins being a 51-3 win over Michigan Lutheran and 35-7 over Grant College of Indiana). They had a scoreless tie with College of Omaha and a 7-7 tie with Central Ohio. Their losses came to Western Iowa (9-7), Detroit City (24-13), Pierpont (14-0) and Chicago Poly - avenging their loss of the previous season by eking out a 3-0 win. Then Dane, to the astonishment of everyone, announced that he was going to leave school immediately after Lincoln's final game to turn professional and tour with, of all teams, the Chicago Wildcats alongside the Barrell brothers.

With Dane thrilling the nation with his individual exploits, but his team a non-factor, the usual question of "who's the champion" once again came to the forefront. Three teams went unbeaten and untied with one team unbeaten with one tie. But the team - according to Thomas Potentas - who should have been the champions was Detroit City College. The club that shutdown Dane and the Presidents finished 8-0-0 and allowed only 22 points (13 of those to Lincoln - 12 of 'em by Dane himself) meaning their defense was as stout as anyone's in the nation. And they didn't play a cupcake schedule. Coastal California was 13-0-0, a record padded by several patsies, and Rainier College with an 11-0-1 mark, also had some lightweights on their ledger. Grafton, like DCC 8-0-0, and featuring a trio of All-Americans was probably the team with the next-best claim on the throne.

On the All-American front, things had been thrown into a bit of a mess by the April 1925 death of Daniel Mott. The loss of the "Godfather of Football" meant that there was no longer a widely accepted expert on hand to name the nation's top players. Mott, as he aged, had taken some criticism for often stocking his All-America squads with an Eastern bias (he was in New York and never saw the likes of Northern California play). For 1925, Mott's name was appropriated by the Omni Scouting Bureau's Thomas Potentas, who had begun taking an interest in sports beyond baseball. The OSB (or OSA as it was known in pro baseball), was the official scouting bureau for FABL and Potentas was angling to do the same for both hockey and football, now that those sports had launched and maintained successful professional leagues as well. Thus it was that the "Mott's All-American Team" became in 1925 and for many years thereafter, the Thomas Potentas All-American Team.

Heading the All-American squad for a third straight season was, naturally, Urban Dane. Joining the "Great Dane" on the team were several other future pros, headed up by the QB of the nation's best team, Garland Goddard of Detroit City College. Bulldog Henderson of Rainier College and his team mate Sammy Pitts, tackles Freeman Bender (College of Omaha) and Royce Crabbe (Pittsburgh State) and end Benny Chandler of Grafton would all play professionally. This signaled that the top players were gradually becoming more accepting of the possibility of continuing their football careers beyond their collegiate years despite the still antagonistic stance of most of the college coaches.

Mott's All-American Team for 1925:

QB Garland Goddard (JR) Detroit City College
HB Urban Dane (SR) Lincoln
HB Jimmy Bergman (SR) Grafton
HB Glenn "Bulldog" Henderson (SR) Rainier College
FB Sammy Pitts (SR) Rainier College
E Miller Lamb (SO) Detroit City College
T Freeman Bender (SR) College of Omaha
G Waldo Pope (SR) Grafton
C Hal Stone (SR) Sadler
G Herschel Carter (JR) Central Ohio
T Royce Crabbe (SR) Pittsburgh State
E Benny Chandler (SR) Grafton

1924 COLLEGE FOOTBALL YEAR-IN-REVIEW

The 1924 season was one of the best the sport had ever seen. No fewer than seven teams could have made a good case for themselves as the national champions. Ultimately the AIAA's long-standing policy of not awarding titles, but retroactively recognizing legitimate claims leaves Thomas Potentas as part of his 1938 review of college gridiron history the lone man bold enough to award the title - and he hands it the St. Blane Fighting Saints. It's hard to argue with Potentas; the Fighting Saints went 10-0-0, won the East-West Game over a very strong Redwood squad and placed three of their four backfield members on the First-Team All-American squad. Still, there are adherents of Pierpont (11-0-0), Coastal California (11-0-0), Western Florida (10-0-0), Huntington State (9-0-0), Alabama Baptist (8-0-1) and Lincoln (8-0-0) who would beg to differ.

St. Blane, according to Potentas, was the best team in the country because of their outstanding backfield (the fourth member would likely have been a First-Team All-American in any season in which Lincoln's superb junior back Urban Dane wasn't playing) and because they played solid teams like Rome State (25-7 on 10/18), Sadler (38-10 on 10/25), Georgia Baptist (49-7 on 11/1) back-to-back-to-back and also played other quality opponents, which was not the case for most, arguably all, of their co-candidates. What is unquestioned is the quality of the four backfield members: quarterback Casper Wilson, an undersized ball of energy who was the leader of the quartet; halfbacks Ben Montgomery and Roger Cass, and fullback Frank Oliver. All were outstanding. All four would go into coaching, though all four would also briefly play professional football as well.

The aforementioned Urban Dane was still the best player on any team that year. He led the nation in yards from scrimmage and drew massive crowds wherever he played in leading Lincoln College to an 8-0-0 mark. Dane was again the difference in several contests - including one played in Chicago against Chicago Poly on November 8th. Poly, coached by the legendary John Thomas Wesley, featured a stellar back of its own in Danny Barrell, brother of professional footballers Joe and Jack as well as several pro baseballers (Dan would himself become one down the road). Dane got the better of Barrell, as he normally did, and Lincoln needed every ounce of his talent to eke out a 10-9 victory that concluded with the normally stoic Coach Wesley snapping his clipboard over his knee at the gun.

Mott's All-American Team for 1924:

QB Casper Wilson (SR) St. Blane
HB Urban Dane (JR) Lincoln
HB Ben Montgomery (SR) St. Blane
FB Frank Oliver (SR) St. Blane
E Jim Hewitt (SR) Redwood
T Freeman Bender (JR) College of Omaha
G Waldo Pope (JR) Grafton
C Fred Dartin (SR) Northern California
G Cy Cline (SR) Chicago Poly
T Rufus Gill (SR) Pierpont
E Buck Cook (SR) George Fox