TQ - Was the ASU win good for the game?

Posted Sep 3, 2007

Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good for the world of college football?

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Pete Fiutak           

Q: Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good or bad for college football?

A: There was cheering, high-fiving, and general merriment after Corey Lynch came up with the blocked kick to seal Michigan's fate, and it didn't all come from the Appalachian State fans.

Oh sure, the Rocky stories are always great in sports, but sometimes there's more to it than just a little guy beating a Goliath. Who was happiest about the ASU win? The coaches and athletic directors of all the major programs across America, because now they can point to this one game as why it's O.K. to schedule D-IAA/FCS teams.

Many will still whine and cry when someone schedules a Gardner-Webb or Montana State instead of a top 25-caliber D-I/FBS team, but you'll instantly hear someone point out that "anything can happen" after the ASU win, and you'll always hear athletic departments selling the lousy scheduled game to their fans based on this win.

Now, coaches can use this win as to why their teams have to focus, and that only means more blowouts and more brutally ugly games. For every Nicholls State win over Rice, there are 25 Maryland vs. Villanovas, Cincinnati vs. SE Missouri States, and Indiana over Indiana States.

So yeah, it was really cool that Appalachian State pulled it off, and it was certainly one of the most entertaining games you'll ever see. But in the end, it was probably a bad thing for the college football world.

Richard Cirminiello

: Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good or bad for college football?

A: From the moment Corey Lynch blocked Jason Gingell’s 37-yard field goal attempt to seal Appalachian State’s unimaginable upset, it was good for college football even if Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten pay a steep price.  Short term, it’s a feel-good story that draws increased exposure to the sport and has far-reaching crossover appeal to an audience that might never pay attention to games on Saturdays.  Long-term, there are two messages that come out of such outcomes that resonate into the locker rooms of both heavy favorites and decided dogs: For the haves, there’s now tangible proof that you better come to play every Saturday, regardless of the opponent.  For the have-nots, the psychological barrier associated with slaying a power program has been lifted.  Remember the Appalachian State game.  While the Mountaineers’ 34-32 win won’t set off a rash of March Madness-style Cinderella stories, just the fact that the impossible is actually possible is good for the game and good for the fans.  In an era of 12-game schedules dotted with paycheck patsies, even hints of parity or potential upsets benefit everyone associated with college football.     

Matthew Zemek

Q: Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good or bad for college football?

A:Appy State's win is unquestionably good for college football, but for reasons that go beyond the obvious.

Sure, this was a special moment for the little guy, and the young Mountaineers, kings of I-AA/FCS for the past two years, will remember their conquest of an iconic college football program for the rest of their lives.

This is part of the magic of college sports, a magic that flows from the emotional volatility and on-field unpredictability of these contests.

But this is good for college football in another sense as well: it forces all of us who love the sport to deal with an issue that deserves a good, hard look. The issue: when do a coach's failings overtake his accomplishments?

I won't claim to have definitive answers here, but I'll say this much: no one should ever make knee-jerk reactions when it comes to a human being's job. Maybe you think Lloyd Carr deserves to be fired on the spot after this loss. I happen to think he should be untouchable for at least two seasons (including this one). It wouldn't be the first time a boatload of people disagreed with me.

The point, though, is this: we have not figured out, as a college football community, how (or when) to apply some reasonably consistent standards by which we place the jobs of coaches in jeopardy and pronounce these men to be "on the hot seat." Just what is the tipping point? I don't know. Does one loss to Appy State overwhelm the three Rose Bowls Michigan has reached in the past four seasons? I have my view, and others will have their views. The bottom line, though, is that we lack definitive measuring sticks in this discussion. Hopefully, the Appy State shocker will make fans, journalists, and--most importantly--athletic directors more thoughtful when they consider whether a coach is worth his job or not. If we don't treat human beings with integrity and honor, college football--like any other economic enterprise or social institution--isn't worth my time, and it shouldn't be worth yours.

John Harris

Q: Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good or bad for college football?

A: I LOVE the little guy in college football.  Always have.  Always will.  But, at first glance at the question, I thought that the win would be bad because it would trigger more D1A teams to schedule D1AA teams, and may now feel justified in finding more D1AA opponents.  For as great as this win was, the 65-6 win is more the norm when the D1AA team enters a D1A stadium as a $400,000 sacrificial lamb.  But, when you think about it, this was pretty much standard practice anyway, so this singular win isn’t going to force athletic directors to completely change their scheduling philosophy.  Where are those ADs going to go now if they’re ‘scared’ of D1AA teams?  Pop Warner football has a weight limit, so the D1AA teams are always going to be a scheduling ‘option’.  With that being the only ‘bad’ to come out of this game, I thought this win was tremendous for college football.  The provincial college football world needs to know that good football is played anywhere and everywhere and at any level.  The big, bad Big Ten got taken down by the Southern Conference?  Who’d have thunk it?  That’s why it was so awesome.  Imagine being a player or coach at ASU today or an alum, student or fan – they’ve got a memory for a lifetime.  Michigan would’ve gotten a tune-up win – the Mountaineers made history.  That’ll NEVER be a bad thing.  Trust me, it’s hot, hot, hot!!!

Michael Bradley

Q: Was the Appalachian State win over Michigan good or bad for college football?

A: It was an absolutely good thing for the sport, because it showed what a lot of us in the Big Ten sphere knew for a long time: The conference has an inflated view of itself and lacks the athletes necessary to hang with the southern schools, even if they are I-AA teams. We learned that last year when Ohio State was pile-driven by Florida, but this rams it home. While the Big Ten fights to get its TV network on cable stations around the country, it had instead better concentrate on getting faster players, in order to compete. Otherwise, it will be consigned to the scrap heap of the BCS and will become a regional anachronism living in the past. The days of trying to overpower rivals are over. You are either fast, or you are dead. Yesterday, Michigan was dead. Now we’ll see if the Wolverines can learn anything from it.