Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Talk

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Normally I wouldn't be on here on a holiday, but the parents have taken over the TV and this seems to be the only thing I can do.

I'm not calling Jason Whitlock a turkey, but this article seems a little over the top to me. I understand his anger with the WWL. I get that way too. But to suggest that ESPN has ruined the Heisman trophy is wrong. I see them reporting on the best player at the biggest schools way more than nice stories like Nate Davis. Yes, I'm sure it's a business decision to draw as many eyes as possible. But if you really want to blame anyone for the Heisman being the joke that it is, you should point that finger at SID's at the schools of Heisman candidates. The kind that rent a billboard in Time Square and put up a picture of Joey Harrington. Those type of stunts have been around a lot longer that Chris Fowler or GameDay. And they've produced names like Gino Toretta, Chris Weinke, and Eric Crouch. At least when ESPN promotes a Big 12 quarterback, they are promoting a player the rest of the country can agree has talent and is in the most competitive conference in the country. BY FAR! As an aside, I remember the 1988 Heisman race between Troy Aikman and RodneyPete that was eventually won by Barry Sanders. All year long we had Aikman and Pete force fed to us. Even thought there was an amazing run/pass quarterback named Major Harris that was doing things no quarterback had ever done. Oddly enough, the only time we saw Sanders play all year was on an upstart network called ESPN. Other than that, Sanders won his Heisman based on video game-type stats.

Making a case for Nate Davis is a nice gesture, but the things he's doing weren't done against top competition. Not even close to what the Big 12 quarterbacks have faced. The thing that sticks out in my mind is the bowl game against Rutgers last year in which he seemed lost most of the game until the outcome wasn't in question. His final stats looked good, but Ball State was out of that game before the halftime gun sounded. Unfortunately for him, that was the last time we saw him play against a top 25 team. At least with ESPN, we can see those games now.

With Pat White reaching some considerable milestones last week, some talk has popped up about retiring his jersey. I'd like to go on record as being against this idea. Not that I don't want to honor White as the best football player West Virginia University has ever had. He is, and I do. I just think it would be a much better idea to create a ring of fame around the stadium honoring Mountaineer greats. His name should be immortalized beside other Mountaineer greats, but the number five and other numbers should be used as a way to let future players know they have something to live up to. Like the way Brad Hunt's #70 was passed along to John Ray. From one West Virginia born lineman to another. If a West Virginia quarterback wants to wear the #5, he should have to earn it. But it should be available. In my mind, that's the best way to honor White. By all means, if you're going to do that do it now. His name should be unveiled on the stadium wall at the end of the South Florida game. Give 60,000 fans the chance to say goodbye and thank you. Anything else doesn't do him justice.

How could I not update with this? 2008 Turkey Awards.

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