The Onion strikes again. I think it’s kind of funny that the Onion can put together a more credible set for its sports “coverage” than Fox can, but sometimes, that’s the way it goes.
College football as a whole was able to sustain itself quite nicely in 2008 despite the overall down economy. Some analysts even proclaimed college football to be “recession proof” thanks to full stadiums on college campuses throughout the country.
Despite the financial optimism around the sport, schools have begun to cut back, even in hotbeds like Florida where it is arguably the state’s most popular sport.
Florida State University introduced ticket packages for Tallahassee Community College students last year to buoy its flagging attendance. The University of Florida has decided not to boost ticket prices, a rare occurrence for defending national champions, and will look to scale back in some areas. The University of Miami will take buses to in-state road games instead of planes to save money as well.
In order to keep up with the state’s Big Three, the University of South Florida has announced that its football team will conduct all of its travel on a fleet of Vespa scooters. “This is our way of continuing to prove that we are a major school in the state,” said USF Athletics Director Doug Woolard. “We can cut back just as much and in some cases even more than the other big guys.”
The school conducted a study determining that purchasing the fleet would be equivalent to the airfare for the school’s road game at Indiana alone. “We expect good value from the investment thanks to the Vespa’s high production quality and superior fuel economy,” explained Woolard.
The Bulls will use the scooters to travel from its campus in Temple Terrace to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Buccaneers, as well as its road games to Indiana, Syracuse, UConn, and Pittsburgh.
Thanks to the Vespa’s speed topping out at 55 mph, it will take the team in excess of 23 hours one way to travel the 1,260 miles to get to its most remote destination in Storrs, Connecticut. Even so, the team is not worried about it.
“Man, I take all my courses online anyway, so I don’t care if we have to miss class” explained quarterback Matt Grothe. “I just wish they’d let me take my truck.”
The team will transport its equipment in a used semi truck that was retrofitted to run off of the pure, unbridled fury of head coach Jim Leavitt. The school is already creating a list of things that enrage him in order to make sure it will have plenty of angerfuel to complete the long trips to the northeast and midwest.
The funding for the modifications to the semi was provided in the form of a grant from media conglomerate Viacom. It hopes to one day power all of the broadcasts of its Comedy Central property off of the rants of Lewis Black alone.
In what is assuredly a big upset, Vanderbilt’s backup players were able to shut out Florida’s backup players 14-0 on a chilly night in Nashville, Tennessee. QB Chris Nickson, filling in for injured starter Mackenzi Adams, led the way for the Commodores’ reserves with two touchdown passes and 39 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
“We just decided to throw them out there and see what happened,” explained Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson. “They did a heck of a job against a group of players that had some guys who could probably start for us.”
The two schools’ starters played a little more than a half of football, resulting in a resounding 42-0 win for Florida. It could have been 49-0 as a controversial review of a goal line plunge by Florida WR Percy Harvin appeared to show him breaking the plane of the end zone before the ground caused him to fumble, but replay officials determined it to be a lost fumble and Vanderbilt possession.
Florida starting QB Tim Tebow exerted his will in a manner reminiscent of his Heisman-winning 2007 campaign, accounting for five touchdowns and leading the team with 88 rushing yards. He easily could have had seven touchdowns if he had been used in goal line scenarios as normal, but the Florida offensive staff chose to use Harvin instead. The win catapulted the Gators into the SEC Championship Game for the second time in head coach Urban Meyer’s four seasons.
Still, the Florida head coach did not seem pleased after the contest between the reserve players.
“I was real disappointed by their play out there,” said Meyer. “They did not play Florida football, and that’s why we got shut out. The twos and threes have a lot to think about going into this week’s practice.”
Despite the disappointment in the way the Gators fared in garbage time, the segment with the starters provided many positives. The Gators blocked two punts to once again give the offense several short field situations to work with. The defense got three-and-outs on the Commodores’ first three possessions, and it picked up a turnover with S Ahmad Black’s fifth interception of the season.
The shutout was a disappointment for the Florida backups, however, after scoring in each of Florida’s past three games. The 14 points allowed were also the most given up by the backups this season, surpassing the previous high of 10 allowed against Hawai’i. The main consolation for them is that Nickson has been a starter on and off throughout his career.
The overall Florida team remains on course to play for the national championship if it wins out from here.
LOS ANGELES, Ca. — Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown knew who wasn’t going to be his choice in this year’s balloting. However, his research into who was going to be his choice for the prestigious award led him to make a historic blunder.
A source close to the Heisman Trophy Trust confirmed that Brown has submitted his ballot, and his choice for first place was “Daniel McFadden,” a likely confusion of the names of two current leading candidates, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. The source additionally stated that the given school was “University of California, Berkeley,” which happens to be the home of Daniel Little “Dan” McFadden, a Nobel Prize-winning econometrician.
Brown said on several national media outlets that he did not believe an underclassman should win the Heisman Trophy and therefore would not be voting for Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. When contacted, Brown explained that he attempted to do research into the other leading candidates using the Internet, the first time he had tried to use a computer to help fill out his ballot. “I’m not very good with these computer things,” Brown said.
A search for “Daniel McFadden” on leading search engine Google will lead the user to several websites about the real Daniel McFadden. When contacted, McFadden stated that he was unfamiliar with the award, though after hearing that it is an award related to colleges, he wanted it made clear that UC-Berkeley is his employer, while the University of Minnesota is his alma mater. McFadden shared the Nobel Prize in economics with Dr. James Heckman in 2000.
It is believed this is the first time that a Heisman vote has gone to someone who is not a student at an eligible university. It is not yet known whether Brown’s second and third place votes will stand.