For some reason during the months between April and October, the amnesia always sets in. I manage to forget that college basketball is the greatest sport on earth. And then it hits, usually just before Thanksgiving — BAM! The wake-up call.
Fortunately this year we didn’t have to wait that long. The season’s first shocker is already upon us, and most teams haven’t even played their first game.
Yes. Gardner-Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs. And their victory far eclipses what Appalachian State was able to accomplish on the gridiron against Michigan this fall. To wit:
– Gardner-Webb finished 9-21 last season and in 7th place in the Atlantic Sun. A lot of big media outlets are already making the mistake of referring to them as a mid-major. They most certainly are not. The Atlantic Sun sucks. It has teams called Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate. This is near the bottom of the barrel nationally. Thus, a low major. But by God, if indeed the Atlantic Sun sucks, sucking never looked so beautiful. (Please ignore any obvious sexual connotation).
On the other hand, Appalachian State was a two-time defending champion in Division I-AA football, so was much more capable of beating Michigan on paper.
– While Appalachian State pulled off a nailbiting thriller, this one was never in doubt. The Runnin’ Bulldogs ran out to a 14-0 lead out of the gates, and were never seriously threatened in the entire contest. At Rupp Arena, no less. For further perspective: Gardner-Webb had a greater margin of victory against Kentucky (16 points) than it did against Alabama A&M (14 points) in the first-round game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
– More Gardner-Webb minutiae: The Bulldogs’ home, Paul Porter Arena, seats 2,474. And the next opportunity for fans to cram into that venue will come on Nov. 13 against the vaunted squad from North Greenville. That’s a college, not a high school. Though, interestingly enough, when Gardner-Webb was founded in 1905 it was as a collegiate prep school. And did you know Gardner-Webb was a junior college until 1971? And wasn’t a D-I school until 2000? And that Kentucky is the winningest college basketball program in D-I history? And that we have six more months of upsets to go?
God bless Gardner-Webb. And God bless college basketball.