Inside My Head

(insert witty tagline here so people will think I’m cool)

Dear All Sports Media: STFU!

Posted by Kevin on December 31, 2007

liberty bowl

It started as soon as the matchup was announced…

Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders‘ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
Sports Media: Kevin Smith needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.

During the game…..

ESPN: We love Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is the greatest running back ever. He only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Wow. We just can’t get enough of Kevin Smith, and he only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Have we told you how much we love Kevin Smith?
ESPN: We love Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is the greatest running back ever. He only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Wow. We just can’t get enough of Kevin Smith, and he only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Have we told you how much we love Kevin Smith?
ESPN: We love Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is the greatest running back ever. He only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Wow. We just can’t get enough of Kevin Smith, and he only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Have we told you how much we love Kevin Smith?
ESPN: We love Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is the greatest running back ever. He only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Wow. We just can’t get enough of Kevin Smith, and he only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Have we told you how much we love Kevin Smith?
ESPN: We love Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is the greatest running back ever. He only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Wow. We just can’t get enough of Kevin Smith, and he only needs 181 yards against Mississippi State to break Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record.
ESPN: Have we told you how much we love Kevin Smith?

Once it was clear Kevin Smith would not get the record….

ESPN: Well… uhm… hey, isn’t it great that Kevin Smith is coming back for his senior year? His momma is so proud of him. Now he’ll get another shot at breaking Barry Sanders’ single season rushing record. Wow. Kevin Smith is just the greatest guy ever.
ESPN: blah, blah, Kevin Smith…. blah, blah… Kevin Smith.

Dear Sports Media, and especially ESPN:

SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP! (pardon my French there kids, but there’s just no polite way to say it)

Not to discredit what the kid has accomplished this year, but I am sick and tired of hearing about Kevin Smith. For the 12 games leading up to conference championship weekend, very few people outside the state of Florida and Conference USA even knew who he is. They certainly didn’t notice someone creeping up the all-time single season rushing list. Only when Central Florida wrapped up the C-USA championship and set their sites on the Liberty Bowl did anyone bother talking about him. And they never shut up about it.

Now… let’s take a closer look at Smith’s quest to eclipse Sanders and why I think it’s ridiculous to even talk about it.
In 1998, Barry Sanders had 345 carries for 2,628 yards in 11 games. In what was then the Big Eight conference. He did this against the likes of Texas A&M, Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Sanders eclipsed the 300-yard mark four times and averaged 238 yards rushing per game.

In contrast, Kevin Smith had 450 attempts in 2007 in 14 games for his 2,567 rushing yards. 105 more carries in three more games to come up short of what Sanders did in ’98. And Smith plays in arguably a much, much softer conference in C-USA than Sanders played in. Smith benefited from a conference championship game and a bowl game to pad his stats. In 1988 there were no conference championship games and bowl game stats did not count toward single season records. If they had, Sanders would have another 222 rushing yards added to his total to give him 2,850 on the season.

As much as the media is loving playing up to this kid for what he has accomplished this season, I feel they are also belittling just how great of an accomplishment Sanders put up in ’98. The simple fact that today’s players are playing in more games and all of them count toward season stats elevates what Sanders did in my mind.

Kevin Smith is good. Barry Sanders was superman. There is no comparison.

Now to the game….

I wonder if the Vegas experts didn’t get caught up in the Kevin Smith hype as well, putting UCF up as 3 point favorites. I would have made the game a toss up or given State a 1.5 point spread personally.

I didn’t know if Smith would break the 100-yard mark or not, but there was no doubt in my mind he would not get the 181 needed for the single season record. State’s defense is simply too good for that. If Darren McFadden couldn’t run for 100, why would you think Smith could get 181?

What did bother me was whether or not State’s offense would move the ball. They’ve been hot and cold all season and the five week down time could leave them sluggish once the game rolls around. I think UCF did a good job of preparing for us more than I think our offense just wasn’t ready to play. They did the same thing our defense did; they stacked the line and dared Wesley Carroll to beat them with his arm. It worked. When Carroll did drop back to pass, UCF pressured him into bad throws all game long.

But the matchup everyone talks about is State’s defense vs. Kevin Smith. State’s defense rose to the challenge and stuffed him more times than not. They did their job and when UCF was forced to pass, State’s defense bent but didn’t break and came up with big plays when it absolutely needed to.

The coaching staff finally made some adjustments to the play calling and State’s offense put together the game winning drive late in the 4th quarter after Kyle Israel threw his third interception. No, it wasn’t pretty but the win counts nonetheless. I don’t care how pretty or ugly a game is as long as we win.

And just in case you’re wondering, Smith needs something like 1700 yards next season to break the career rushing record. If he breaks that, I’ll give him some of the credit ESPN is trying to shower him with. Until then, enough talk.

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