Y’all know that I went to Middle Tennessee State University, and put in four good years on their baseball team. Like in so many other colleges, baseball wasn’t the #1 sport. Not even close. That was football.
I was a Blue Raider myself, and I went to my share of games at Floyd Stadium. Probably to a lot more games than the football players came to baseball games lol. It was a thing you did, usually with a chick. It could be fun, especially as it never got too cold in Murfreesboro. I’m not sure I’d have gone to a football game if you had to sit knee-deep in snow like they have to in schools up north.
I played football in high school, but didn’t really love it. (Ok, I did love blocking drills, even if I was the only quarterback taking them. Maybe I was an O lineman trapped in a quarterback’s body. With quarterback looks lol.) If I thought football was so incredibly cool, I wouldn’t have stopped playing it. I was a good back-up quarterback (when I got to play), but I know that probably wouldn’t have gotten me the college education I got for playing shortstop.
I still follow MT football some. We had a decent season this year, decent enough to get us to the New Orleans Bowl this past Saturday night. It was my one chance to see MT football on the TV this year, so I rushed home from work to catch it. (Getting out of a store fast on a Saturday two weeks before Christmas is a job for that O lineman I got inside me lol.)
I could have taken my time. The game sucked. Unless you were rooting for Appalachian State. Then it was great. I stayed with it to the bitter end, although now I wonder why. The thing was pretty much over at halftime. (There’s a highlights video on YouTube y’all might want to look at if you missed the game. 2 minutes of it is less painful than 3 1/2 hours.)
It was real simple: their defense had our offense’s number. I started feeling bad for our quarterback Brent Stockstill. He was getting knocked around like loose change in the clothes dryer. It was his last game for MT, so it must have sucked for him. It must have sucked even more because his dad’s the MT coach and it was his last game playing for his dad. (Brent somehow got to stay at MT for six years, and, no, I don’t think he was getting his masters’ degree. So he was there when I was there. I ran into him a few times in the Murphy Center and he seemed like a cool dude. Maybe Coach Stockstill kept his son from getting too full of himself.)
The only MT player who did anything he could be proud of Saturday night was safety Reed Blankenship. He got 2 picks in the first half. (They start at 1:10 on the highlights video.) I kinda thought he might get something going, but he didn’t. Nobody got anything going, and, as soon as they did, the Appalachian State defense put an end to it. It looked like a real frustrating game to play in.
Meanwhile, our defense let us down, although I’m not sure they could have done too much more against that good an offense. I gotta hand it to Zac Thomas, he played a great game. And he took one hell of a late hit in the 3rd. The kind of hit that would make a lot of quarterbacks puke and leave the game. You also gotta hand it to the trick plays they pulled off. It’s pretty dang cool to score a touchdown when your quarterback is your receiver in the end zone. (Look at the highlights that start at 0:23. It’s worth watching.)
So it was a little like the World Series: the better team won and I was on the other team’s side. Nothing too new if you went to MT, but, still, if your school gets to a bowl game, you want them to win. I know there’s a lot of college football to go this year (dang there are a lot of bowl games), and I live a few miles from the Rose Bowl, but it’s different when your school is playing.
And I will say this for MT: our baseball team was a lot better than our football team.
At least when I was on it lol.
Oh yeah, a note for you Yankees: I always hear Californians pronouncing “Appalachian” like “AppalAYchian.” That’s wrong. In North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee (and the rest of Appalachia), we pronounce it “AppalAHchian.” The sportscasters on ESPN got it right. Y’all should too.