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Archive for January 2, 2007

Jan. 2, 2006 — A show of solidarity

In last weekend’s editions of The Idaho Statesman, George Mason University bought an advertisement supporting the Boise State University football team.

George Mason had qualified its men’s basketball team to the 2006 Final Four, an accomplishment considered a Cinderella story by many, even though major college basketball has been weakened by a raft of players jumping from high school into the NBA.

Boise State was one of those mid-major football teams whose former claim to fame was playing its home games on a blue AstroTurf field. Television commentators always had to say, “Don’t adjust your set” during every home game. But after the Broncos went 12-0 and won the Western Athletic Conference, it earned enough points in the Bowl Championship Series poll to earn itself a major bowl bid.

And this is a BCS system which was originally conceived to favor the major conferences and Notre Dame, shutting out the Boise States of the world. But last night, Boise State held a halftime lead on Oklahoma, a team with seven previous national championships in football with some legendary teams.

BSU seemed to throw away the game in the final two minutes of play, but ran a fourth-down hook-and-lateral in the final 10 seconds of play to tie the game, then ran a misdirection Statue of Liberty in overtime to pull out a 43-42 win.

After game, the players’ attention wasn’t on their entourages or on NFL contracts. Instead, all Ian Johnson wanted to do was to propose to his girlfriend.

It’s the kind of thing that makes athletic competition what it is. Just ask George Mason.