Friday, December 14, 2007

The Obvious App State Punchline

"Jeez ... guess their win over Michigan in the Big House really WASN'T a fluke. Maybe it really was wrong to drop the Wolverines from No. 5 to 'also (NOT) receiving votes.' "

Indeed ... the team which won our hearts and captured our imaginations with that season-opening win over the guys who wear the helmets with the funky wings-and-stripes configuration capped a season which won our hearts and captured our imaginations with the championship win over the second most-famous team (the Div. I-AA version) to wear the helmets with the funky wings-and-stripes configuration.

And, even though that landmark, 34-32 win over the Wolverines occurred three months ago, America remains divided about where to rank that upset on "The Big List of Upsets."

To complicate matters, this nation seems unwilling/unable to reach a compromise when it comes to how exactly to pronounce "Appalachian."
In one camp, they are favoring the "APP-puh-LAY-chin" pronunciation -- while the other school of thought is that "APP-puh-LATCH-inn" is preferred usage.

Those of us who chair the Super Smart-Ass Committee opt for a pronunciation of "APP-puh-LAY-chee-yun" because (guess what) ... Webster's Dictionary recognizes all three.

Still, following the victory over Michigan, we don't know if headline writers for the Daily Bugle or the Gazette or the Evening Standard used 72-point splashed across the top of the page for this dandy:

That's a play on words, boys n' girls ... something which ya gotta learn on the streets, not in the pages of Webster's or by watchin' ESPN's "College LameDay."
As we've learned, dictionaries and Herb Kirkstreit have not clearly defined the viability of the App State program, not to mention the delicious talents of soph. QB Armanti Edwards.

Then again, if it's a program which is NOT named "LSU" or "USC" or "Florida" or "Ohio State" ... and it's a player who is NOT on the roster for LSU or USC or Florida or Ohio State, well ... that program or that player might not receive more than five seconds of casual mention -- which seems like a complete cop-out from the boys which are "cummin' to your sitttt-tayyyy!"

That's the thought which crossed America's mind more than once, now that we're here in the final minutes of App State's blowout win over Delaware in this Football Championship Subdivision title game.
We have no way of knowing if the headline in tomorrow's Daily Bugle, Gazette or Evening Standard will be: "A THREE-PEAT FOR APP STATE? APP-SOLUTELY!" now that the 'Neers have followed up championships won in '05 and '06 with this title.
(Revisiting the punchline: "Guess it wasn't a total shocker vs. Michigan" ... which most of us knew at the time -- that is, those of us who didn't have a vote in the AP poll and who didn't dump Michigan from No. 5 in the nation to No. 186 ... Michigan probably shoulda been No. 13 or No. 14 in the initial poll, anyway, based on the pipsqueak nature of the Big Eleven Conference ...)

Luckily for America, every coll. FB Sat. is an exercise in ignoring the Big Eleven games on EXPM while we channel surf for something else (even though we might be a coll. FB diehard, we'll watch an infomercial on Channel 53 before we'll ever cozy up to Joe Tiller's Purdue Bumblingmaidens marching to another ho-hum, 7-5 season).

The Winter X Games Network thinks it's throwing us a bone with these I-AA playoffs ... "We're the only outfit broadcasting this game, so when we undo our fly, you will swallow what we tell you to swallow ..."
That was apparent in the first quarter tonight when Winter X Football had a cut-away to Rece Davis in the studio telling us what was coming up at halftime and, right on cue ... the mini-montage of footage re: Rich Rodriguez possibly taking the Michigan job interfered with all but the final three yards of Devon Moore's 46-yard TD sprint.

Dammit, Disneyland Football ... that was a 46-yard TD which America -- specifically the Americans in Devon Moore's family -- can never see live again.

Alas, the Disneyland Football Channel is totally absorbed by the football coaches who coach college football while short-changing the college football players who actually play college football.
Such as Armanti Edwards.

To Disneyland's credit, these Div. I-AA playoffs receive adequate coverage, even though our "in-depth" glimpse at guys who've played for 14 weeks is less than what we learn about the Little League World Series kids during that 10-day tournament.

While we may not know much about Armanti Edwards (his turn-ons, his turn-offs), we do know what we saw with our own two eyes last week -- when Edwards had exactly 200 yards rushing five minutes into the second quarter while leading his team (is anyone calling them "Armanti's Army"?) to a 28-7 lead.

That's food for thought: 200 yards (on 18 carries) five minutes into the second quarter (200 yds. in 20 mins.).
Dude was on pace for a 600-yard rushing performance -- if only he could've stayed hungry enough.

In many ways, Edwards looked to us as though he was ziggin' n' zaggin' to avoid the same spiders which chase him in his nightmares (that is, if Armanti Edwards is actually afraid of spiders ... because it was clear that he was not afraid of the Richmond Spiders who pursued him).

Kid finished with 31 carries for 313 yards and 4 TDs while completing 14 of 16 for 182 yds. and 3 TDs.
A.E. was out of his mind -- which is why it was worth tuning in again tonight ... to see if he could electrify us once again ... this time, against the Fightin' Blue Hens of Delaware.

Arm-Ed made most of the plays he had to make tonight -- although while watching him in action, one couldn't help but rewind to 1994 when S.I. published that cover photo of Alcorn State QB Steve McNair with the accompanying caption: HAND HIM THE HEISMAN.
It was a delicious P.R. ploy ... S.I. believing that nobody had ever seen highlights of McNair on TV, shakin' n' bakin' in the open field (what they nowadays call "in space") as three fatso Prairie View A&M d-linemen waddled after him.

To be fair, '94 was a fairly lousy Heisman year, given the winner (Rashaan Salaam), the runner-up (Ki-Jana Carter) and the three QBs who finished behind McNair in the final balloting's Top 10 (Kerry Collins, Jay Barker, Eric Zeier).

Since the Heisman Trophy is not predicated on future NFL potential (or so it is rumored), it makes ya wonder why Armanti Edwards WASN'T a finalist this year.
While he did miss four games, he managed to rush for more than 1,400 yards -- and he threw the ball capably and crisply.

If we concede that including Edwards in the Heisman ceremony constitutes "a reach," then how do we explain away the snub for Dennis Dixon?
Riiiiiiiight ... "if we invite the Oregon QB, then we have to pay for a ticket for his personal assistant who will be needed to carry the trophy since Dennis will be on his crutches, blah blah blah ..."

Those crusty old codgers and useless geezers who sit on the board of the Downtown Athletic Club and the collection of numbnuts who own a ballot in the Heisman Trophy process sometimes make mistakes (such as in '01 when they accidentally gave Julius Peppers' Heisman to Eric Crouch).
What (most, not all) people fail to realize is that Oregon's best black QB since Akili Smith was comparable to Tim Tebow in passing efficiency and, when you get right down to it, Dixon was better at running the ball.

Moreover, Dixon had a big-time running back (Jonathan Stewart) to hand off to, so, unlike Tebow, Double-D was not his team's entire running game.
It will be argued that Tebow faced teams in the team-speed-oriented SEC -- speed-oriented teams which possess great team speed to offset the team-speed of their team-speed-oriented opponents -- but, again, we must ask ... if we made the QB swap and forced Tebow to play for the Ducks and Dixon to QB the Gators, how would that look?

Since all of these variables create too great a hallucinogen for the voters, they did the predictable thing -- they gave an invite to Colt Brennan.
"Shhhhhhhh" ... no one tell June Jones, but his dorky, sidearmed-throwin' QB is undeniably "a system QB" -- a point which was made abundantly clear when Brennan was injured and somebody named "Tyler Graunke" (it might as well have been your Aunt Phyllis or your buddy, Skeeter) ripped up Nevada for more than 300 yards.
"Shhhhhhhh" ... Colt Brennan was accidentally allowed to sit in the seat that Timmy Chang shoulda been sittin' in at the DAC.

Anybody who's watched more than 15 minutes of coll. FB (and who hasn't had his/her mind polluted by Jerk Jerkstreit's winning smile) can see that Armanti Edwards is a better player AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL than Colt Brennan, if for no other reason than the fact that Armanti Edwards played tougher competition than Hawaii did -- and tougher than what McNair faced 13 years ago.

Bottom line: We'll peel away a lot of Heisman mystique on New Year's Day when Tebow attempts to conquer a Michigan defense which Edwards and Dixon tormented in back-to-back weekends in Sept.

Does is matter that the game's in Florida and not Ann Arbor?

That's NOT a question which that old fart Corso is qualified to answer ever since he squirted an entire tube of Fixodent all over his prune danish and tripped over the over-hype machine by drunkenly informing America that he hadn't seen a quarterback do what Tebow's accomplished since the days of somebody at the Naval Academy named Roger Staubach.

That's the way it HAS to be said, "somebody at the Naval Academy named Roger Staubach."

By the way, Gramps was making the exact same comparisions during Michael Vick's sensational freshman year in '99 and probably during Vince Young's fabulous year of '05.

"Somebody from the Naval Academy named Roger Staubach ... "

Sure, we all loved Roger The Dodger, but someone's gotta tell Gramps that Staubach doesn't fit the age 18-to-34 demographic because Rodge played his college ball 44 years ago.

And, true dat, Tebow's a real crackerjack, but, he's no Paul Hornung, a player so prolific that he won the Heisman while quarterbacking a 2-8 Notre Dame team which was probably lousy enough to go 0-10 had it not been for Hornung (a song which'll sound very familiar when Jimmy Clausen is winning his two Heismans which Beano had designated for Ron Powlus more than a decade earlier).

No doubt ... Tebow's good, but he ain't Dee Dowis good (in terms of running the pure-option offense, conquering a full classload and providing exemplary soldiering as a member of the United States Air Force Academy).

To ESPN's credit, America was informed (during a tale-of-the-tape after the Heisman had been handed out) that Tebow: "Is the first Heisman winner to wear #15."

Naturally, any time the discussion turns to jersey numbers, this Planet is ready to leap into action. Too many Americans, it seems, lose their all-time rosters and can't remember who's wearin' which jersey number when he greatness is achieved.

In fact, a lot of Americans haven't drawn the parallel that Armanti Edwards is the best left-handed throwin' #14 we've seen since the days when David Greene was the southpaw-slingin' #14 for Georgia a few years ago (however, Armanti might NOT be the best black lefty QB who wears #14 w/ black-n'-gold as school colors that we've ever seen ... because to admit such would be to omit from our memory the images of black southpaw QB #14 John Charles wearing the black-n'-gold of Mountain View High while lightin' it up for the Spartans in the late '80s before enjoying reasonable success at Portland State).

"The Number 15 Paradigm," though, intrigues us -- since many of us can only dial as far back as the beginning of the millennium when Oklahoma Sooner safety J.T. Thatcher became the only #15 to ever win the Mosi Tatupu Award for special-teams excellence and bravery until, sadly, that award (presented annually by the Maui Touchdown Club from 1997 thru 2004) was discontinued (no one's sure why).

Somebody someday should have the guts to ask Wes Welker, Deltha O'Neal and Chris McAlister where they have their Tatupu trophies showcased in their homes.

Back at the Number 15 Research Facility, we remember that Bart Starr, Earl Morrall and Jeff Hostetler are the only QBs to wear #15 while winning Super Bowls (Vince Ferragamo came close), but a lot of us cannot tell ya which number those guys wore in college.

It's important for our research because we never want to forget those two Purdue QBs who wore #15 and were Heisman-worthy (Mike Phipps was a close second to #36 Steve Owens in '69 and Drew Brees was a distant third to #16 Chris Weinke and #14 Josh Heupel in '00).

We still don't know what to do with those star QBs who wore #15 in college (Elvis Grbac when he was handin' off to #6 Tyrone Wheatley or lookin' deep for #21 Desmond Howard ... Mike Tomczak when he was flippin' a swing pass to #41 Keith Byars or zippin' a deep post to #2 Cris Carter) and opted for #18 in the NFL ... or that kid who wore #25 as a college QB at New Mexico (Stoney Case) and chose #15 when he was a pro QB for the Cardinals.

What we do know is that Number 15 is back in style, y'all ... especially when we take into consideration the fact that it's the jersey number worn by not only Tebow, but by Brennan and LSU's Matt Flynn, not to mention 2009 Heisman favorite, Kellen Lewis, the freshman QB at Indiana (geez, it's too bad that Lee Corso's brain died a whole bunch of years ago and he can't do anything other than parrot that Bill Lynch was once one of his assistant coaches).

As long as we're telling and re-telling the Complete History of Number 15, this is probably as good a time as any to remember that #15 was what Ed Brown wore when he QB'ed the USF Dons to that 9-0 record in '51.

While everybody bitches about the unfairness of Heisman balloting and bowl games vs. playoffs, it's important to remember that A) Ed Brown died just before this '07 football season and B) That USF team never got a chance to prove it was the greatest of all-time, thanks to deep-fried, Southern-style bigotry which prevented teams with black players (USF had two ... Ollie Matson and Burl Toler) from playing in bowl games against teams from Dixie in which some of the players were dating their sisters and cousins.

Fifty-six years later, it ain't all THAT different ...

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