Wide Right: Slow, Fat Kids
by Jeff Cockey, 12/3/02

"Wide Right" is a column that will focus on the current sports season. The problem is that, much like Florida State kickers, I am not always accurate. This in mind, the column will sometimes stray and cover areas that donít reflect current sports, or frankly sports period. In my writing, you may detect a slight slant in favor of the Hokies, the Sox, the Skins, the Pats, the Caps, Adam Sandler (simply the funniest man alive), Anna Kournikova, football on TV, shots of Gena Lee, and the twins.

I may also get caught bad-mouthing anything to do with the University of Maryland, the Yankees, the Cowboys, baseball in general, John Madden Ė okay most sports announcers -- the Yankees, astro-turf, the Yankees, Lee Corso, any movie without Shannon Tweed, the Yankees, and Texas Longhorn fans.

Now letís get started.

Ok. Let me just see if I understand this correctly, because at least according to my wife, I donít know everything about everything. It has been awhile since I awoke in my 3rd floor dorm room in Lee Hall and peered out the window, trying to decide whether or not to roll out of my warm bed and cross the wind-blown drill field Ö but I am pretty sure that I still know a thing or two about college football.

It is about 20 degrees, with just under a foot of snow on the ground in Boston. This is why I got on a plane and decided to write this column while sitting by the beach in sunny Florida. Iím here in the Sunshine State, spending the Thanksgiving weekend surrounded by family, and the idea for this column hits me. You see, I am blessed with a family comprised of two UVa grads and a Maryland grad. So I will give you a moment to pity me . . .

Needless to say, this has led to many heated discussions like "Whoís better, the ACC or the Big East?" and "How overrated are the Maryland Twerps if the Gator Bowl refuses to invite them to Jacksonville?" These debates were a simple victory for me. However, considering the combined ACC brain power here, I was left intellectually exhausted from having to explain the definition of any words containing more than 3 syllables, and I needed to nap.

As I sit here on my fatherís couch in sunny Florida watching the Wake Forest v. Maryland game, it dawns on me that I canít be too hard on these ACC fans because frankly, they really donít know any better. Maryland has had one good season since the Nixon administration and UVa employs coaches that rely on the sideline trip-technique to win games. By the way, the Hoos could very well be the most overrated team in the ACC right now. Donít let this fool you though Ė next year they will be a handful.

Is it possible for a team to have a ten win season and NOT go to a BCS bowl? Is it possible for a team to have a ten win season and lose their conference title to a team that has 4 losses? Evidently these things ARE possible . . . in the ACC. You see, the powerhouse that is the ACC is sending a Florida State team with 4 losses to the BCS. Shouldnít there be a rule against this? Should an elite bowl game really take a sub-par conference champion? Kind of reminds me of when Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett.

Iím reminded of the days of picking a kickball team during elementary school recess, where there was always that one slow, fat kid. We all remember that guy. The guy that nobody chose until there was no one left to pick Ė and even then the captain of the team would look past the poor, slow, fat kid, in the hopes that someone else Ė anyone else Ė wanted to play. But once you realize that you are stuck with him, you pick him. And make him the catcher.

The captain in this scenario is the BCS, and the slow, fat kid: Florida State. The BCS has to pick them, they donít want to pick them Ė but the slow, fat kids have to play too. Thus, we will watch an undeserving ACC champion lose big to a team that actually deserves to be in that game. How exciting. Seems to me that Notre Dame should take the ACCís BCS spot.

As Iím sure youíll agree, every elementary school had one of those slow, fat kids. Believe it or not, the ACC has several of them! Some from the ACC might argue this point but frankly they would be wrong, (and it wouldnít be the first time). Letís discuss the supposed second place team in the ACC: UVa. Pardon me for going off on a tangent here, but have you ever heard of wearing a coat and tie to a football game? A tie Ė to a football game. I thought there was an unwritten rule among men that you donít wear anything that requires dry cleaning to a football game. What if one spills a drop of his red wine on his tie during the tailgate? What if one of the fans gets a little rowdy because his fellow tailgater took the last of the brie? Do they remove their ties before they settle their differences with a heated round of croquet? "Loser makes the cheese run!"

UVa is the second-place team in the ACC. (By the way this should be telling, since the Big East's 4th-place Hokies just embarrassed Jeffersonís best.) The Cavs and Maryland have the same in-conference record but Maryland lost head-to-head and thus, UVa gets the nod over the Twerps, producing the second slow, fat kid of the ACC.

Does UVa get invited to the ACCís second-place bowl game? Nope, the Gator Bowl doesnít want them . . . so that must mean that the third-place team in the ACC is going to go to the Gator Bowl. Letís look at that scenario. The Maryland Twerps are the ACCís third-place team (and we had such high hopes for the Big Manís Turtles). Surely they will be selected to go to the Gator Bowl. Ahhhhh . . . nope. The Gator Bowl doesnít even deem the ACCís third-place team worthy of their invite. So letís go to the ACCís fourth-place team. Finally we find a team that the Gator Bowl can invite. Obviously NC State is not worthy of playing in the Gator Bowl, but really who was left for them to choose? The ACC is filled with slow, fat kids. Itís a lose Ė lose situation. They had to take one of them and they obviously felt that UVa and Maryland didnít have what it takes to play in the big leagues. I canít say that I blame them. I think Maryland demonstrated that last year when the BCS was forced to pit them against Florida. What an embarrassment for the Orange Bowl. I think something like three people watched that game.

Well, you can be sure that Marylandís lackluster performance in that game was remembered by the Gator bowl this year. They didnít want to pick the same slow, fat kid that the Orange made the mistake of choosing. So that leaves NC State in the Gator and Maryland and UVa looking around as all of the other kids get picked, wondering which one of them will be the slowest, and the fattest.

Do you realize that the ACCís number one team (Florida State) is ranked lower than the Big Eastís #4 team, the Hokies? This should tell you something. The Big East is a better conference this year than the ACC, hands down. Itís like comparing Brett Fava-Rah to any pro quarterback out of the University of Florida. Like comparing Elle McPherson to Anna Nicole. Mike Vick to, well, anyone.

Just as an aside here, I think it is tragic that Brooke Burke is leaving "Wild On E!" But letís save that for another column . . .

Now letís take a look at this: the Big East has 4 teams ranked in the top 25, including the national champion. The ACC has several teams that no bowl wants. I have to give my family credit though. They, while knowing that their conference is inferior, have a knack for sticking to their story no matter how ridiculous it seems.

My question to you is, do you think the ACC will win any of their bowl games? Maybe one. Even that slow, fat kid kicks a home run every once in awhile.


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