Mighty Appalachian

Great comeback by the A’s on Sunday, one that shows they’re still playing hard for Bob Geren. Another excellent outing by Barry Zito for the Giants, one that shows what he’s capable of doing (thought he’s being paid to do it for six months, not one).

But let’s not talk baseball this morning. Let’s talk the aftermath of Appalachian State’s stunning win over Michigan on Saturday, perhaps the biggest upset in college football history and one of the Top Five Upsets of all time, period. I mean, it’s far more interesting than anything that’s going on with either of the local nine at the moment.

I caught ESPN’s day-after coverage of the upset last night, and was taken by how it devoted a long segment to all the negativity and anger going on in the aftermath of MIchigan’s loss, and a considerably lesser segment devoted to the aftermath in Boone, N.C. To me, that speaks a lot about how society has become. Rather than focus on the thrill and excitement of a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the choice was to focus more on the anger and shock of the Michigan loss. It’s a small, subtle thing, perhaps, but it speaks volumes about how the media covers sports in the 21st century, and perhaps even about what their audience finds desirable viewing.

Anyway, I hear athletes complain all the time about how the media and fans these days get more of a perverse pleasure in the failures of teams than they do a genuine pleasure from the success of others. It’s the culture of sports in a sports-talk era. Better to discuss what a pitcher did to lose a game than what a hitter did to win one.

After watching how ESPN gave considerably less enthusiastic play to Appalachian State’s stunner than they did to Michigan’s clunker, it’s hard to dispute that.


  • Brian in the 707

    I agree. It is definitely the biggest upset in the history of college football. In terms of all sports I would rank it up there with Jets over Colts in SB III, USA over Russia in hockey at Lake Placid in 1980, Chaminade defeating Ralph Sampson and Virginia in 1982, Villanova beating G’town in the NCAA Final in 1985, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, Pitt beating De La Salle in the 1991 NCS Championship at the Oakland Coliseum, George Mason’s run to the Final Four in 2006 and the Warriors over the Mavs earlier this year.

  • Jan K Oski

    You do Cal a great disservice when you downplay their victory over a top-20 team. Then, you fail to reflect on the obvious. A.S. has had a good program for several, and Coaches and sports writers alike could be wrong about the quality of Michigan. This is identical to Cal and the PAC-10 (2nd in victories in bowl games among all major conferences), but does the PAC get respect? Only, when the teams prove themselves on the national stage. If you see an angry bear with a yellow varsity jersey and blue pants outside your office, don’t fret! Now, go support your local teams!

  • Jay Andrews

    I agree that the A.S. victory over Michigan is one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports, if not the biggest in the history of college football. Sure is a shame that the CCT sports department didn’t see it that way. All my Sunday sports cover had was a little two-line teaser toward the bottom of the page referring to the upset. Is the CCT sports department so lacking in news judgment, creativity and motivation that they can’t give a historic upset appropriate play on the sports cover? It’s not like the game happened late at night when there was probably no time left to rearrange the cover to make room for A.S.-Michigan. One would assume that the people in charge of the section have a passion for sports and thrive on breaking news. Sadly, the sports cover looked like the CCT was too lazy to diverge from a game plan drawn up on Thursday and Friday. Is this the kind of effort readers can expect from a thin staff left unmotivated and disenfranchised by MediaNews ownership?