Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad
NORMAN, Okla. -- As you can imagine, this trip has put me more in touch with the college football world than I've ever been before.
The only surprising element of this immersion is that this extends beyond Division I. I say surprising because after covering Division III football for four years of college (and not just D-III football, bad D-III football), I never thought I'd be so connected with non-Division I pigskin.
But this trip has brought us to schools from Division I-III, and there is some wild stuff going on all over the place. Really, it's wild.
Although our Division II and III encounters are far less glamorous than their Big Ten and 12 counterparts, they have been some of my favorite stops on the trip because the atmosphere is so much more relaxed. Division I football players are so protected, we rarely get a chance to have fun with them.
For example, we attempted to cover Brandon Boehm, a starting wide receiver at D-III power Mt. Union; we also had quid pro quo tutorial with Xavier Oman of D-II Northwest Missoui State; and of course, who can forget our Newlywed Game with the starting linebackers at D-II Grand Valley State?
All three of these teams are still alive in their respective playoffs, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. I want to root for all of them because they were all so cooperative and easygoing, but they all can't win (obviously)
What has six thumbs and loves goofing off with Going Big? The Grand Valley State linebackers!
NMSU is set to play Chadron State this Saturday in a referendum on stud Division II running backs. You might recognize Chadron State because it boasts Danny Woodhead, the all-time NCAA rushing leader, but Omon ain't chopped liver. Though Woodhead has him beat for total career yards, Omon is the first player in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards in all four seasons.
Chadron State probably shouldn't be here, but they overcame a 29 point fourth-quarter deficit before defeating Abilene Christian 76-73 in triple overtime. I didn't see this game, but you can tell from the box score that it was absolutely bonkers. And when I read in the recap that Chadron State QB Joe McLain did a somersault into the end zone for the winning touchdown, it reached super-bonkers status. I'm sorry I missed this game, but I would LOVE to see film of it.
With the exception of the Big 12 title game, there is no game I'd rather watch this weekend than NMSU against Chadron State.
As for Grand Valley State, they won their 39th straight game on Saturday against North Dakota and look like a good bet for a third-straight D-II title.
In Division III, Mt. Union is cruising right along with two straight playoff wins, and they seem to be on a crash course with Wisconsin-Whitewater (yet another friend of Going Big!) towards the D-III title championship game in Salem, Va.
Thanks for indulging me on my non-Division I opus, and if you still need your fill of Division I content, check out today's video, which chronicles our visits to Oklahoma's post-practice interview session. It's called "Sooner Rematch."
(Note: If you're a Mac user having trouble viewing this video, click here to download a program called Flip4Mac that will allow you watch it.)