Preston: Crank out those bobbleheads!

There should be a genuine amount of excitement in the Raleigh-Durham area this college football season. No, not because Duke notched their first win since the Roosevelt presidency. I'm talking about the Heisman trophy and the Wolfpack quarterback that has more than a legitimate of winning the bronze statue.

Philip Rivers is just tearing it up this season.  Now, I don't know how he rates out as a potential pro, especially since he's probably slower than Coach Amato.  But things like that have never been taken into consideration by Heisman voters in the past.  I speak here of Gino Torretta, Rashan Salaam and Andre Ware. 

By the way, check out Heisman.com and look at the 1989 voting to see some of the football immortals Ware had to beat out for the award (Major Harris finished in the top five.  I mean, Major Harris?!  Didn't that end up as a movie with Damon Wayans?).

What I do know is that the numbers Rivers has put up so far this year are more inflated than Anna Nicole Smith.  Statistically, he is better than Ken Dorsey, Byron Leftwich, Seneca Wallace, Chris Simms and Rex Grossman, all still Heisman contenders in the minds of voters, although Grossman's hopes have fallen faster than those of ESU's Joe Kane in "The Program."  
 
Rivers is coming off a fairly solid performance against Texas Tech, going 20-32 for 301 yards, but no touchdowns.  Yet, he is third in the nation with a QB rating of 182.76, which is roughly the number you get on the varsity level in NCAA Football 2003 on the Playstation 2.  Rivers is third in the nation with 1,254 passing yards through five games (that's 250.8 yards per game).  He is 12th in the nation in touchdown passes (nine) and completion percentage (65.5%).

To top it all off, he is tied for fifth in the nation with five rushing touchdowns.  Did I say he was slow?  I meant shifty!

My point is that for the first time in ages, if ever, North Carolina State University has truly had a player that can be hyped for a trip to the Yale Club in New York City.  Now we just need to convince Coach Amato that he should be hyped, because most of the fun of a season like the one Rivers is experiencing is the corny Heisman "campaign" that goes with it. 

The athletic department could be sending out "A Rivers Runs Through It" buttons to voters.  They could be getting those bobbleheads cranked out.  They could be painting a giant number "17" on the Bell Tower.   Purchasing space in Times Square for a billboard. 

Or they could let him really solidify his case by just letting him concentrate on winning the ACC and earning a berth in a BCS bowl.

On second thought, that sounds good to me.

THINKING OUT LOUD:

Congratulations to Kay Yow on being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  There isn't a more deserving coach in all of basketball, period.  Legendary career, remarkable numbers and a great person.  Good combination. 

Is it safe to say we can now go through our collective silverware drawer, find a fork and stick it in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.  All-time sack leader Greg Gathers and NCAA leading rusher Tony Hollings both gone for the year. 

Best new car for 2003: The new Nissan 350Z.  Just an unbelievable vehicle. 

Who does Bobby Bowden talk to when he decides to put on his headset?  Don't you just assume the other coaches are on a completely different frequency so they aren't interrupted by him during the game.

I stand corrected from a previous column.  It was pointed out to me that MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson) did more with a mullet than A.C. Slater.  It is true that there was never a "Saved by the Bell" episode that featured Slater taking an eraser and a pom-pom and turning it into plutonium. 

Just read a great post on the N.C. State message board debating the best sports book in Vegas.  My humble opinion: Bellagio and Caesar's are pretty close.

Why don't we have a live pack of wolves at home games?  Wouldn't that be cool and terribly, terribly dangerous, all at the same time.  Of course, the intimidation factor would go through the roof.  

Is Jerry Stackhouse the most overrated player in the NBA?  He can't go left, won't defend and gets a majority of his points from the free throw line because his one move is putting his head down and driving wildly to the basket.  I would have traded him, too.

UNC starting left DE Issac Mooring fell and broke two bones in his right hand at his apartment off campus on Saturday morning.  Who just falls in their apartment and breaks their hand?  Has this ever happened to anybody?

What happened to Ralph Friedgen?  Wasn't he a genius, like, ten months ago?  I guess a 2-2 record will do that to you. 

N.C. State may have had some pretty weak opponents the first few weeks of the season, but we're pretty much dominating them (even Texas Tech).  Can't be said for FSU (c'mon, Louisville?).

For my money, I'll take Howard's Rock over any college football pre-game tradition in the nation.  Sorry, it had to be said.

T.A. McLendon is on pace to score 20 touchdowns this season (and he didn't even play against Navy).  That's not bad for a freshman, huh?  I haven't been this excited about a freshman running back since Tremayne Stephens.

Michael Preston is the former Sports Editor of Technician and has followed the Wolfpack closely since his college days, but from above the Mason-Dixon line. He is currently the P.R. Director for Nazareth Speedway.


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