Nuggets of Gold
Thursday, October 9, 2008
By Adam Gold
Adam Gold is
program director of the Triangle's "850
the Buzz" and host of "The G-spot with Adam Gold."
A MESSAGE TO ADAM GOLD
• DIG INTO ADAM GOLD'S ARCHIVES
Keep your eyes on the prize
By Adam Gold
All rights reserved.
“Give me liberty, or
give me death!” — Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.
Those words were credited
with bringing Virginia’s troops into the Revolutionary War. George
Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both there, at the St. John’s Church in
Richmond when Henry’s impassioned speech rallied the Virginia House of
Burgesses and brought a response of, “To arms! To arms!”
Never mind that Henry
really stole the line from a play, Cato: A Tragedy, in which Cato
uses the “liberty or death” decree in his decision to commit suicide rather
than live under the tyrannical rule of Julius Caesar.
In a way, it’s a bit
eerie that the season resumes for the East Carolina Pirates in Virginia,
just down the road a piece from the Richmond church that was witness to a
major event in American history.
And, who knows, it could
be Patrick’s great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great
grandson, Leonard Henry, who could be rallying East Carolina’s football team
with the exact same words. Because, no matter how great the team's start
was, no matter how impressive the wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia
happened to be, the goal should have always been the Liberty Bowl.
Regardless of the
euphoria that overtook Greenville following the 2-0 start, it was always a
long shot to go 13-0, which is what it would have taken to bust into the BCS
party. And, that’s assuming the Pirates were going to be capable of winning
in Raleigh (um, no), Charlottesville, Orlando, Birmingham and Hattiesburg,
and beat Tulsa for the conference title.
Think about it, no matter
how bad you think N.C. State and Virginia are this season, to think that ECU
was going to waltz into Carter-Finley and Scott Stadiums and cruise to
victory is the height of hubris.
Add to that, the trips to
UAB, where the Pirates have yet to win in three trips, and Southern Miss,
long the thorn in ECU’s cleat, and the odds against perfection were real.
Now, consider the nature
of college football – the sport in which USC could lose at home to Stanford
and Michigan could lose to Appalachian State in Ann Arbor, and you can sense
the recipe for unfulfilled fantasies.
It’s as hard as Organic
Chemistry to go undefeated in college football. Even those teams with
realistic chances at appearing in BCS games are less inclined than ever to
negotiate the season unbeaten. It’s just too tough.
The loss to State in
Raleigh may have shattered a few dreams but it didn’t ruin the season. In
fact, even the shockingly poor play and the subsequent loss to Houston
haven’t changed anything. The Pirates are still in control of their own fate
in Conference USA.
Regardless of the outcome
at Virginia, if ECU can win its remaining conference games, then it will
play for the conference championship. It’s really that simple.
Not as simple is figuring
out why Norman Whitley and Jonathan Williams have fewer combined carries
than Brandon Simmons despite seeming to be more productive.
At State, it seemed a bit
arrogant on the part of the play-calling to think that the Pirates could
just line it up and smash their way into the Wolfpack’s end zone. It was the
right decision to eschew the field goal, with a 4-point lead, midway through
the fourth quarter. The execution and imagination were just lacking.
As for what happened in
front of the fourth largest crowd in Dowdy-Ficklen history a week later…
If at all possible, let’s
try and forget each of the 621yards of offense the Cougars laid on ECU. Once
again, it doesn’t mean a thing because the original goal should not have
changed. For a team that has never won Conference USA, nor played in the
league’s championship game – and which in each of the past two seasons
inexplicably lost a game down the stretch that left many shaking their heads
– the aim all along was to end the season at the Liberty Bowl.
As Patrick Henry’s
good friend and drinking buddy, Thomas Paine said, that’s just Common
Note: My condolences to
the family of Scotty Wayne, the Southern Guilford senior with the
promising future as a Pirate
football player, who was killed in a Saturday morning car accident on
Interstate 85 in Davidson County.
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[ADAM GOLD ARCHIVES]
10/09/2008 03:27:11 AM