Wide Right: Gotta Love Those SEC Refs
by Jeff Cockey, 8/30/04

"Wide Right" is a column focusing 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 fly "wide right" 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 those twins.

I may also get caught bad-mouthing anything to do with the University of Maryland, the Yankees, the Cowboys, 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.

Letís get started.

Now, I am not one to complain or place blame squarely on the shoulders of others. . . ah who am I kidding, thatís what Iím best at. But in an effort to take this loss like a man I will push aside the urge to blame the ref that made the phantom pass interference call and changed the entire outcome of the game.

Was there any doubt in the mind of anyone, even the smug, too full of himself for his own good Reggie Bush, that Tech was coming away from that drive with a touchdown? We were on their twelve-yard line and Bryan Randall was having his way with the mighty "Men of Troy" (we will also accept Trojan Men or Fighting Prophylactics). That was the game changer, along with the 357 illegal formation calls dealing with the SECís incredibly anal, obsessive-compulsive problem with seven men on the line vs. six men on the line and the seventh man two millimeters off. Are you kidding me? That call alone killed at least three of our drives and at critical junctures to boot. Fortunately though, these are the types of things that you wonít be hearing from me in this column, due to my turning over of a new leaf and taking the loss like a man.

I scribbled notes for this game as I do all of our football outings, but I had to put down the pen and paper after the pass interference call because I needed both hands to cram as much antacid into my mouth as possible. Can you believe that we had as good a chance as any to beat the number one team in the nation? The 2004 Hokies have, like, eighty-six freshmen on the team. Bryan Randallís nickname in the locker room might as well be Grandpa. Heís the only guy on the team whoís potty trained. Yet with all of our inexperience and youth we basically showed the world that we can hang with anyone and, minus a call that I refuse to mention, beat anyone.

As an aside, that pass interference call brought me back to a stormy night not so long ago at the Indian River Mall Theater where I sat down with a bag of popcorn and Dr. Pepper to enjoy a little M. Night Shyamalan and "those we do not speak of." For the creatures of the woods to be so horrible that the people of the village are not to speak of them, they sure did do a lot of speaking of Ďem, and this column is pretty much going to take that same thematic approach.

Where was I? Ah yes, we are young and inexperienced yet we took the number one team, with two Heisman candidates, to the wire. And let me congratulate our fans. You guys were phenomenal. I have never heard Fed-Ex Field explode like that. Not that the Spurrier-led tribesmen ever warranted such pandemonium, but it was good, nonetheless, to finally hear cheers from the house that Danny built.

The hot as hell night featured many subplots, like the "Free Mike Williams" campaign that seemed to get more press than Kerryís swift-boat antics. I am surprised Jesse Jackson hasnít decided to spearhead this cause yet. I canít wait for the bumper stickers to come out so I can put it on my Accord in between my "Free Tibet" and my "the NCAA told you they were not going to let you play if you continued your quest to go pro you moron," bumper stickers. Letís all dry our eyes for poor Mikey, cause in a year weíll be watching him show off his brand new Yukon riding atop a set of blinginí deuce deuces on the new season of Cribs to some poor MTV cameraman that makes $12 an hour.

In addition, we had to deal with USCís other running back, who was suspended for a few games for breaking team rules. Like USC needed him. In fact I would have loved if he had played.

So the press decided to latch onto these two missing ingredients in the National Championsí recipe, and consistently used them as reasons USC might not have been performing up to par. Need I take this opportunity to remind you of our own little delinquent? You might recognize his name. He might, just might, have helped us win the game too, you know. Not at QB though, Randall is definitely the man, but I dare say MV2 gypped us out of a number one receiver this year. Not that we would have needed anyone else had "those we do not speak of" done their job correctly. But I am one to let bygones be bygones and move on.

Although a first game loss is very rare to us Hokie fans there were a heap of positives to drag away from this BCA:

  • Hey, the end zones were painted.
  • We got us some new duds.
  • Erin Andrews Ė the newest member of the ESPN commentating crew working the sideline as only she can.
  • The beginning of the college football season means a whole slew of new UnderArmor house protection commercials. Thatís always a plus.
  • Eric Green is an animal on a mission. A rule needs to be instated that deems all those who wear the jersey bearing the number 1 must have long hair. And none of that Soul Glow crap that Pedro Martinez decided to bring back from the dead. Just plain silly looking.
  • Itís always fun to have a kid named Hyman on your team. Not that I have any room to talk. And the kid came to play.
  • Holy crap, did we surpass our full-season-tight-end-completion total last night or was it just a sweet, sweet dream?
  • And finally, Bryan Randall. He continues to impress and amaze. Keep it up, B.

This column has been all over the place with no real vision or clear cut message of any kind, so let me leave you with this. In the midst of the Republican National Convention and on the eve of the closing ceremony of the umpteenth Olympiad, I for one feel blessed to live in a country that will soon return to regularly scheduled television programming. Oh and the new season of Last Comic Standing Ė "I buy all my hair products at PetCo." "I buy all my . . .Donít worry maíam itíll be over soon." "Thhhank- you."

And of course, the seasonís first edition of movie trivia . . . An oldie, but one of the best sports movies out there. Have fun with it.

"This young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him, I guess that's more than most 21-year-olds can handle."

As always questions, comments and insults are encouraged. [email protected].

TSL Pass Home

TSL Home