Friday, October 27, 2006

Black Saturday

While the rest of my friends sit, transfixed, at the broadcast of The World's Largest...uh...Juice and Cookies...Party on Saturday, I'll be enjoying my own border war. A game that has not disappointed, Appalachian State vs. Furman.

It's hard to describe your passion for I-AA football to your typical College Football drone, but I promise if they made one trip to Kidd Brewer Stadium for this game, they would understand. To condense it, here's the App State Press Release on the recent history.

The biggest reason I wanted to mention this game, is I could post this video. Ever see a sports moment on TV that you wish you could have seen in person? I don't have many, but this is one of them. Just to set the stage, the TD Furman scores on this clip gives them a 15-14 lead with 7 seconds left to play. Hoping to go up by a field goal, Furman Coach Bobby Lamb opts for the two-point conversion. What ensued was one of the most improbable endings to a football game I had ever witnessed:

One of my fellow Mountaineers was kind enough to preserve some other clips of the play (including the Fox Sports call, and Chris Berman's Top 10 Plays) here. Look under 2002.

Alas, I haven't seen these teams play in person since 1998. Primarily because it's always on TV, and also because I try to spread my trips to Boone out so my majestic Hunter Green Blazer does not turn on me by spontaneously combusting on I-85.

Here's hoping to another great game, and a 23rd consecutive home win for the Mountaineers.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Semi-annual Free Pass Not Yet Issued to Big 12 - Journalist Stunned

The Big 12's suspiciously good fortune in this bogus BCS system has rankled me for some time. It probably all goes back to 1990 (the nexis of my college football experience) when the then Big 8's Colorado got 5 downs to beat Missouri, and a questionable clipping call, levelled against Notre Dame, in the Orange Bowl...erasing the game winning Irish touchdown.

This allowed the Buffaloes to share the National Crown with an undefeated Georgia Tech squad that had demolished Nebraska (the 2nd place team in the Big 8) 45-21 in The Citrus Bowl earlier that day. Not to mention the fact that I haven't heard of a modern team before, or since, winning a National Title with a loss and a tie (obviously not possible anymore) to their name.

Since then, The Big 12 has had a team win a share of the National Title by campaigning to the media (Nebraska '97), and two teams play for the title without even winning their conference crown - '01 Nebraska and '03 Oklahoma. Shocking to no one, neither won the BCS Title Game.

That's why when I happen to come across an article decrying the lack of respect given the conference by the recent BCS Poll, I do something I rarely do - fire off a terse response to the writer:

Date: Oct 16, 2006 11:47 AM
Subject: Let's Review The "Big" 12...

The Big 3, Little 9's Last 4 Trips to the National Title Game: 1 Win and 3 Bad Losses. You're right, Big 3, Little 9 (Henceforth, "B3L9") teams can score...against other B3L9 teams. Arguably the two biggest out-of-conference games of the year netted the two likely participants in the B3L9 Title Game (Their elite?) a grand total of 17 points. (USC-Nebraska, Texas-Ohio State)

That's how the B3L9 measures up to the top BCS teams. 2 TD's Better than Notre Dame? Maybe...but you're talking about a team that had to scrape and claw to beat woeful Michigan State. They will be exposed again.

You can complain all you want about Auburn, but the fact remains that they have beaten LSU and Florida without much offense. That is much more impressive than hanging 63 on Baylor...who scored fewer points against Army. They got caught looking ahead, and a coach like Houston Nutt will make you pay for that.

Meanwhile, B3L9 Teams like Kansas have to figure out how they lost to a bad MAC team in Toledo, how Texas Tech's mighty offense scored 3 points on a middling TCU team, or how Oklahoma State lost to a Houston team currently on a 3 game losing streak. Yes, the SEC has Mississippi State, but the B3L9 has several teams that inspire about as much confidence in their fan-bases as Starkville's Bulldogs.

Why is that? Well, I personally think it's because the B3L9 is down. You can call it whatever you like. Don't worry, the time will come again where a B3L9 team gets blown out in their final regular season game, keeping them out of the B3L9 Title Game, is dismantled by a lesser team in said Title Game, and still gets to play for the National Championship, or gets to play ahead of a 12-0 SEC team, only to fail to show up for the Orange Bowl. It is because of that history that any B3L9 apologist whining about "their" 1-loss team being excluded makes my skin crawl. They deserved it last year, they don't this time...nor did they in '01, '03, or '04...

Atlanta, GA

I'll let you know if I hear back from the guy. It's doubtful, though. As good of an argument as I feel I made, I wouldn't be surprised if his ill-conceived piece received numerous missives like mine.