Revenge of the Nerds: How the 'smart schools' got good at football

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Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov is one of the elite athletes who has embraced his identity as a "nerd."

Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov is one of the elite athletes who has embraced his identity as a "nerd."

Pat Fitzgerald is adored at Northwestern, where he led the Wildcats to their first bowl win since 1949.

Pat Fitzgerald is adored at Northwestern, where he led the Wildcats to their first bowl win since 1949.

Amid excitement for the season, James Franklin and Vanderbilt are dealing with a player rape scandal.

Amid excitement for the season, James Franklin and Vanderbilt are dealing with a player rape scandal.

If that happens, "Nerd Nation" may become as much a part of the sport's vernacular as "Roll Tide."