I have all sorts of stuff to talk about - life changes, traveling, but right now I'm going to talk about radio broadcasts of college football games.
Interesting topic, no? It's only because on our what is typically 7 hours for most people but is 8.5 for the Gaal's drive back from Jacksonville, Florida, we listened to two football games on Sirius Satellite (best money ever spent, by the way, getting satellite radio).
First up was the Florida/Florida State game. Marty went to FSU and I have always not liked UF so cheering for the Seminoles is second nature. And this has been a good year to be a Seminole fan! I was a little worried because the broadcast was from a Gator radio station, but I have to give credit to them - they were not biased at all and pretty much just called the game. Either they were really good impartial broadcasters, or they were just wanting to get this season over with as soon as possible. They of course had more information about the Gator players, but they even spoke highly of the FSU QB. So that was surprising.
As a total side note - I have some radio broadcasting in my blood as my grandpa was an announcer for the New York Giants.
We actually missed the end of the game (not that it mattered with FSU's big lead and much better play) to stretch our legs at a state park in South Carolina just off the highway. Back in the car for the next showdown - Auburn/Alabama.
I went to Auburn my freshman year before transferring to the University of Central Florida. Sometimes I look back and think I should've stuck it out at AU, but I was 19 and homesick and the coach who had recruited me out of high school had actually left before school started to take a job at the University of Washington (he's still there and has won an NCAA Championships). I wouldn't have chosen the school but for how much I liked him, so it was not what I was expecting athletic-wise. And at the time this was a huge deal to me. But, I did really like my time at Auburn and will always be a fan.
It's one of those school's that has this huge in-state rivalry. From day one it's just ingrained that you hate all things having to do with the University of Alabama. It's not something you question - it's just like those old kitschy sayings on bumper stickers: I root for Auburn and whoever is playing Alabama.
The Iron Bowl is an enormous deal. When I was there it was also at Auburn and I remember walking to class on the Tuesday before the game between campers that were already set up tailgating for the game. It is no laughing matter.
The broadcast started at 3:30pm and was done by an Alabama radio team who were not impartial at all. To the point where Marty and I had trouble deciphering whether Auburn got a first down or even scored a touchdown. Of course we knew when Alabama did anything remotely well. When the score was briefly 21-7 the one announcer couldn't control his leanings and said, "Ok, that's more like it. One more score and we'll be sitting where we usually are."
But Auburn kept clawing back ("despite the nation's best defense!"). With 5 or 6 minutes to go in the 4th quarter Alabama's QB made a "Heisman-worthy play" and then they stopped Auburn in a 4th and one attempt which according to them sealed up the Alabama win. They were ahead by a touchdown at this point. I thought this was a little presumptious of them but huh.
Then Auburn tied it up. And you probably know the rest of the story, and if you don't, please watch this short video of the ending because it's awesome.
There was an official review to put :01 back on the clock which gave Alabama the chance to kick a field goal and win the game and not send it into overtime. Their kicker had missed 2 field goals and had another blocked already in the game, so they booted him and picked a red shirt freshman to get the job done.
This poor guy. The pressure to perform the biggest (and might I add, longest kick of his life) in Jordan-Hare Stadium must've been unreal. Even scarier - the Alabama fans are not against poison. But the radio announcers were very positive about this kid and felt that the tailwind would provide him with the extra 5 yards he needed over his lifetime best kick - from back in high school.
Driving through the streets of Cary very close to our house, listening intently to what's going to happen, telling Marty I'm going to need to run inside and get the game on if it goes into overtime so he's on Logan and luggage duty, this is what we heard:
"The kick is up - it's got the distance......(radio silence)....................................he's......up the sideline..................(radio silence).....................................................................................
Auburn touchdown. They win the game."
Whaaaaaa????? Marty and I were so confused! What just happened? Auburn won?! Was it a fake kick? Interception? You guys are terrible!!! OMG!!!
We were able to piece it together soon after, but the 2nd announcer I'm almost positive shut his mic off because he was never to be heard from again. The other guy was extremely subdued. Best radio broadcast ever.
War Damn Eagle.