So my boys and I went to Food Lion and stocked up for the greatest "loss to a Div-II team party" of all-time (back then Marshall was Div-II). It was kind of like preparing for a Cuban military takeover of Florida. Unbelievable, but true.
As we walked down the aisles dumping twelve pack after twelve pack into our cart, we heard something amazing over the loudspeaker. State had scored to pull within a score with seconds remaining. We went to the cashier and paid for the libations. Yea! We almost beat crappy Marshall. I can imagine the same sense of pride and accomplishment if the U.S. had almost won the battle of Grenada.
We walked across the parking lot to the car and heard a strange smattering of cheers. Then the cheers grew to a distant roar. We looked at each other. Suddenly a guy with no shirt and lots of back hair came running across Gorman Crossings yelling, "We won! We won!"
My friends and I jumped in the car and turned on the radio. Somehow Sebastian Savage (the greatest name in college football history) had managed to recover the onside kick and State won.
Woo-hoo. After a celebration dance that was a sad mix of M.C. Hammer and wounded sea lion, it was determined that what was to be the greatest "loss to a D-II team party" immediately transitioned into the greatest "comeback of the century" kegger of all-time. I mean, this was to be of astronomical proportions. It would be one for the record books. So we jammed up to the liquor store beside Neptune's Galley and bought ten kegs.
We lived on Brent Road. So having big parties was like wearing underwear, not that big a deal. But we were determined to make a statement. By 10 o'clock we had hundreds of our best friends at the house, a host of impromptu strippers and a barnyard animal in our pad. The police came twice. Once to keep the peace, the second time to find out who our DJ was.
Around 11 o'clock, I decided it was time to call a cab. I had a great idea. When he showed up, I told him I wanted a ride to Missouri. I wasn't picky where in Missouri, just Missouri. Time to road trip! Fortunately, there was only enough wadded up cash in my wallet to get me to the 7-11 (and the cabbie didn't take Discover). When I got back with my Big Gulp and Twizzlers, my jaw dropped.
On our front lawn, there was a midget in spandex doing handsprings. There was a bonfire the size of Rhode Island raging dangerously close to my roommate's car (which I'm fairly certain we didn't have permit for). That's when the thought hit me… this might just be a touch excessive.
Which brings me to last weekend's slate of games. Andre Brown was flagged for excessive celebration when he saluted after a touchdown. Are you kidding me? Saluting is excessive celebration? On Military Appreciation Day? I'm glad these refs aren't working at the Pentagon, they'd think it was Animal House. At least that penalty didn't effect the outcome of our game.
However, later in the day, the University of Washington wasn't so lucky. Their quarterback, Jake Locker, scored a touchdown with no time remaining to bring the Huskies to within an easy extra point away from tying the game against heavily-favored (and ranked) BYU. The crowd went wild. Lockler jumped up and tossed the ball in the air and joined his teammates to celebrate. That's when everything changed.
One of the Footlocker employees masquerading as a referee threw a flag. For excessive celebration. 15-yard penalty. The same penalty for unnecessary roughness or clipping. Not a petty 5 yarder or even a slightly stiffer 10-yard penalty. The NCAA has decided to throw the book at joy. If it were up to the NCAA, a shoplifter would get 25-to-life while a thief would get a suspended sentence.
So instead of a chip-shot extra point, the ball was moved back to make it a 35-yard kick. That is the difference between Patrick and Don Swayze. The kick was blocked and the Huskies lost. The ref later claimed that it wasn't a "judgment call", that he had to throw the flag. It's the rule. That claim is ridiculous on 900 different levels. He didn't have to throw that flag anymore than I have to go back to the buffet for the fourth time because I paid for the "all you can eat" lunch special.
That horrible call cost the Huskies the game. And could ultimately cost their embattled coach, Tyrone Willingham, his job. What could have been a huge win for a struggling program became yet another pathetic reminder that the NCAA is not about the game, it's about them. They are the Vladmir Putin of organizational sports. They are an arrogant, backward, incompetent group of fools that we are cursed to have overseeing a legion of good kids that have more integrity and intelligence than those in charge of protecting them. The fox isn't just guarding the henhouse, it's in charge of setting the rules inside the henhouse, too. But until somebody is strong enough to shake up their corrupt cage, we'll just have to continue to bite the strap while saying, "thank you, sir, may I have another." Wrong. Just plain wrong.
My last column apparently touched a chord with some of the UNC fans who like to come to this site to learn about football. I was roundly criticized for writing an article that was meant to rile the homebase and get State fans up in arms.
Duh. Considering the article was titled, "Preach to the choir," that's a pretty spot-on assessment. This is why I despise UNC fans. Not only are they stunted when it comes to football, they just can't see the forest through the gloryhole. But why take my word for it? Check out this brilliant find by DznrWlf on the premium football board.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Yes I could have, but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun to read.
Stay safe and stay tuned…