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SouthernPigskin.com State of North Carolina Columnist Stephen Cheek is looking forward to Saturday's showdown between Appalachian State and Elon.
By Stephen Cheek
SouthernPigskin.com State of North Carolina Columnist
There is a big game this weekend up on the mountain in Boone…too bad nobody knows it.
SouthernPigskin.com State of North Carolina Columnist Stephen Cheek is looking forward to Saturday’s showdown between Appalachian State and Elon.
I was thinking about what to write this week about football in North Carolina and I realized the game with the most impact on the national rankings on Saturday is Appalachian State versus Elon. Yes, I know Wake Forest at NCSU is a big game for many fans in North Carolina dating back to the days to the late 1800s when both schools battled for supremacy in Wake County football, not just to move up in the ACC standings. That game has definite bowl and ACC championship game implications, but up in Boone on Saturday #2 App St is playing #11 Elon. I don’t know about you, but if one puts those numbers next to any two teams, I pay attention. Put those numbers against any two teams in the FBS and that makes for some primetime national television. Now I know that isn’t the case for teams on the FCS level, but I figured there would be some good local coverage, some previews, maybe a little insight to be found about the game at a few local media outlets. So, I did a little research around the North Carolina papers and websites today…and I COULD NOT FIND A WORD about this weekend’s upcoming SoCon showdown. Not in the Raleigh paper, not in the Charlotte paper, not in the Winston-Salem paper or even the Boone or
Burlington papers where the schools are located. I figured I would check both Elon and App’s own homepages, because surely they have something written right? Nope, plenty of recaps of last week’s games, but no preview as of today (Monday). The SoCon official football site? Negative. Rivals or Scout? Nada. Okay, I understand it is a little bit lower profile game but I figured there would be something, written by somebody, printed somewhere. I was wrong.http://images.usatoday.com/sports/_photos/2007/09/03/moorex_thumb.jpg
What this fact brings up is how much football is played throughout the United States in relative obscurity. If the SoCon is the SEC of the FCS, then it stands to reason that SoCon schools get the most attention of all the lower tier programs. If that is the case however, based on my web surfing today, then the Division II and III programs around the nation might as well be playing in the dark. Using my own hometown Fayetteville, NC paper as an example, area high schools get more coverage than Appalachian, Elon or Western Carolina. To the Observer’s credit, there is substantial coverage of Fayetteville St, UNC-Pembroke and Campbell University which are lower level teams that all reside in the region. In the era of televised women’s basketball regular season games, this seems strange. Does the Appalachian St/Elon game really draw less attention than the CIAA women’s basketball season preview? I don’t think so. I think it is high time SoCon games like this weekend’s showdown up in Boone get some regional attention. How bout a statewide game of the week on local access or statewide pubic television? I refuse to believe that public television in NC would not receive a huge boost in viewership if they started televising a lower tier game of the week around the state. I understand that newspaper budget cuts are eliminating beat writers at all but the largest schools, but can the universities themselves not email recaps of games to area newspapers to grab the passive fan’s attention? Isn’t the job of school Sports Information Directors to get the word out and handle PR? I mean we have the three time national champions playing the Texas Tech of 1-AA. Offense vs Offense in a game that could have a 100 total and I might take the over. I guess others, including the universities themselves, just don’t see it that way and that’s too bad.
There is a big game this weekend up on the mountain in Boone, but unless you are already a fan of the Mountaineers or Phoenix you wouldn’t know it. While either team could potentially lose the game on Saturday, the lack of coverage insures all of us that can’t be at the game are the only ones guaranteed to lose. But hey, the Virginia Union women are going to have a great season this year on the hardwood. At least I have that!Old North State Power Poll
http://www.logoserver.com/college/NorthCarolinaTarHeels9.GIF1. North Carolina - Flexed muscle against GT and proved they are legit top 20 team. Maryland will be a test but if Heels play the way they did against GT they should win easily.
http://logoserver.com/college/WakeForestDemonDecons3.GIF2. Wake Forest - ‘Deacs returned to form against falling Cavaliers. How did these guys lose to Navy?
http://www.logoserver.com/college/NCStateWolfpack5.GIF3. NC State - It is rivalry month for the ‘Pack, with a chance to play bowl spoiler for the hated instate rivals. Duke? No problem…is Wake next?
http://www.logoserver.com/college/EastCarolinaPirates4.GIF4. East Carolina - Win in OT again against Marshall vaults the Pirates ahead Blue Devils. This was a game Pirates lost last year so congrats on getting over the hump.
http://www.logoserver.com/college/DukeBlueDevils2.GIF5. Duke - NCSU was just too much and Clemson, VT and UNC will be a tough trio to score two wins against for a bowl. I’m not saying they can’t…it will just be an uphill climb.
http://www.logoserver.com/college/AppalachianState.GIF6. Appalachian State - Cruised to 40 point win over hapless Mocs…and the SoCon showdown we have been waiting for in NC is here. It was a shootout last year, this year should be no exception.
http://www.logoserver.com/college/ElonPhoenix.GIF7. Elon - Showdown on the mountain is here…this is your chance Phoenix, but you will have to have a better showing than you did against Wofford.
http://graphics.fansonly.com/schools/unc/graphics/western-carolina-logo-150.gif8. Western Carolina - Elon, was just too much offense. Western will go start to finish in the 8 spot no matter what happens from here on out…but there still is the jug to play for.
http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=3085Old North State Pigskin is a blog focused on the North Carolina schools in the ACC and Southern Conference. It is written from a fan perspective, nothing more, nothing less. I am not a current or former coach, administrator or player of any university. I am not a professional journalist. While I am an alumnus of the University of North Carolina, I am also the son of a lifelong Duke football fan (believe it or not,) the son-in-law of an NC State alum, a great admirer of the Wake Forest program and I grew up following the Southern Conference. I just make observations as I see them…and have fun doing so. Comments, criticism, suggestions and corrections are all welcome at email@example.com. I hope you enjoy.Share your thoughts on the SouthernPigskin.com Message Boards or email Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stories written by SouthernPigskin.com columnists are done independently. Views do not always coincide with those of the remainder of the staff or the ownership of SouthernPigskin.com.