Day One ...The success of this column will lie in its execution. I must be prepared mentally and physically. I will give 110 percent at all times. I have my notepad handy, my laptop on standby, the pillows are fluffed, the fridge stocked and the diet soda on ice. (Hey, I am working you know ... yeah, yeah, I can hear the jokes.)
It's 19 straight days of football on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. I'll be watching a game each day. Insane? That's what we'll find out. Come along and join me on the couch.
Which is a good place to start. My couch. I've had it about 10 years, purchased at Ikea, made of the finest Italian leather. Dark blue, although a friend insists it's more of an aqua green. Most importantly, it's comfy. In fact, it's so comfy I need to be careful about dozing off during these games. Which is why it's imperative to give 110 percent at all times.
|Day 1: Scorecard|
A quick rundown of Dave's night watching Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech:
Food consumed: One frozen mini pepperoni pizza.
Diet sodas: 2
Salsa: Imus Ranch Southwest Salsa (medium). One of my personal favorites; not too chunky, a little sweet. Plus, all profits support the Imus ranch for kids with cancer in New Mexico. Grade: 3 stars out of four.
Michael Vick references: 4
Shots of Vick on the sidelines: 4
Marcus Vick references: 1
Cheerleader shots: 1
Inappropriate cheerleader shots: 0
Commercials featuring girls in bikinis: 2
Best commercial: Ortiz, Pedro and Schilling, "We're going to Disneyworld" with Pedro dancing and singing, "I'm going to Disneyworld, I'm going to Disneyworld."
Best play: Georgia Tech linebacker Gary Guyton, on punt return coverage, absolutely destroying the Hokies' Justin Hamilton with a vicious bell-ringing block.
Best name from the past: Eddie Lee Ivory
Celebrity sighting: Moses Malone, whose son Michael is a backup wide receiver for Virginia Tech.
Times dozed off: 1 ... midway through the third quarter. (Sorry, I failed to execute there for a few moments.)
The first game is an ACC battle between No. 22 Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. I wonder if any players on either team are actually majoring in technology. I wonder if Jill Arrington will be at this game. I wonder if Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit draw straws on who gets to sit next to her in the pregame planning sessions. I wonder if Curt Schilling will show up to do a sideline interview -- he seems to be popping up everywhere else today.
ESPN opens with a quick montage of former quarterback stars Michael Vick of Virginia Tech and Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech. Mike Tirico is doing the game with Corso and Herbstreit, certainly one of the best broadcast teams going. Jill is on the sidelines! After a studio debate on Steve Spurrier returning to Florida, 19 days of football is under way! I'm eating pizza! The Red Sox are World Series champions!
The first quarter is a dud, 0-0. It's like Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen are playing. Luckily, Vick saves the day. I vowed to keep track of Vick references during the broadcast -- and what do you know, a few minutes into the first quarter, there's Vick himself on the Virginia Tech sideline, wearing of all things, a Yankee hat and jacket. Seems appropriate -- both are overrated.
Random comment: I love Georgia Tech's golden yellow uniforms. Might have to move them past Michigan's as the best in college football.
Random comment II: Should I consider placing bets in these games? I mean, I don't want to suggest football is only interesting if you bet on the game or are Donovan McNabb's mother handing out chunky soup to all the guys, but ...
My least favorite moment of the game comes -- shockingly! -- during the halftime interview with Arrington and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer after the Hokies played a sloppy second quarter to fall behind 17-7.
Beamer blames the score on the fact that "we failed to execute."
Look, I know I promised yesterday not to mock the sideline reports. But, I asked for Vince Lombardi's permission for this. For once, wouldn't you love a football coach to admit that, really, he just called the wrong plays: "You know, Jill, the real problem was my crappy play calling, especially that sweep on fourth-and-1 which lost about seven yards. That play really sucked."
I mean, can you imagine if we all just blamed a "failure to execute."
|FOOTBALL IN AMERICA|
Anyway, it turned out to be quite a spectacular finish, as Virginia Tech rallied for 25 points in the final quarter, including an 80-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 left and a 51-yard TD pass with 3:10 left when Georgia Tech failed to properly execute a corner blitz, for a 34-20 victory. The Yellow Jackets fell to 4-3, and Corso intimated that with the crushing defeat and a tough upcoming schedule, their streak of seven straight bowl games is in jeopardy.
As for Beamer, I'm sure he praised his team's ability to execute in the fourth quarter.
Final game score: Four and a half potatoes out of five.
E-mail of the day
I always get a kick out of writers who make mention of the spectral presence of females and their commercial-depicted hatred of football. So does my fiancée, who probably knows more about a corner blitz than you do. I'm marrying a girl who blocks off her weekends with me to watch the teams we enjoy or other games that present interesting situations. We actually enjoy spending all our time together and don't view each other as athletic adversaries. Even better: All of her friends like football, too. So do mine. Actually, all our friends are friends. We have similar interests. We all mock prime-time television's detergent commercials' concepts of gender roles and interests. Unless you've found a woman who relishes football, then you've settled. Just like those mentions of football-hating women settled into triteness and stereotype. Enjoy the fortnight-and-almost-a-half. I know we will.
-- Jason Martin
David Schoenfield is an editor for Page 2 in his day job. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.