Heard it From Hoard: Column 88I didn't see it, but my broadcasting partner Jim Kelly spotted someone wearing a "Pike for Heisman" t-shirt at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. My friends at DuBois Bookstore can probably make a bundle if they get them on the shelves soon. Look, I know that Tony is not going to win the Heisman. Barring injuries to Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Jahvid Best, a dark horse candidate doesn't stand a chance. But wouldn't it be great to see "Pistol" Pike (as Mardy Gilyard calls him) at least get listed among the candidates on Heisman Watch lists? After two games, Pike is 44-for-57 (77%) for 591 yards with 6 TD passes and 1 INT. If you use the NFL quarterback rating system (which I prefer because we know that 100 is outstanding), Tony's rating is 137.4. I'm fairly certain that Mel Kiper is going to need a drool bucket when he watches recent video of Pike in action. Perhaps what Tony needs is a clever "Pike for Heisman" campaign. Schools have been doing it for years, going back to when Notre Dame's Joe Theismann changed the pronunciation of his last name from "Theez-man" to rhyme with Heisman. It almost worked - he was the runner-up to Stanford's Jim Plunkett in 1970. In 2001, the University of Oregon paid a reported $250,000 to put a 100 foot tall billboard of QB Joey Harrington in Times Square. He finished fourth. Here's my idea for Pike's campaign: A poster titled "The Evolution of a Quarterback." Remember the evolutionary chart that you saw in science class that shows an ape gradually morphing into a man? That's what I have in mind for my Pike poster. Imagine the following images from left to right. In year one Tony sits in a classroom while grayshirting. In year two, he watches from the sideline while redshirting. In year three, he practices but see's no game action. In year four, he throws 11 passes in mop-up duty. In year five, he finally gets the opportunity to start and leads UC to the Orange Bowl. In year six, Pike is the best quarterback in the BIG EAST and among the best in the country. So there you go DAAP School of Design students - get to work. If your professor is a Bearcat football fan, you might even get an A. Like I said, I know that Tony's almost certainly not going to win the Heisman, but three quarterbacks from the MAC (Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, and Chad Pennington) have finished in the Top 10 since 1999. If Tony keeps this up, that's certainly not out of the question. And if Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross can finish 3rd (1987 . . . look it up), I suppose anything is possible. * * * * * Kudos to Mike Waddell and all of the marketing folks at UC for putting on quite a show on Opening Night at The Nipp. Let's see, we had 5,000 Brian Kelly Bobbleheads, three skydivers landing on the field before kickoff, two F-16 Fighting Falcons roaring overhead during the national anthem, exploding red fireworks when the team took the field, and the unveiling of a huge "2008 Big East Champions" sign between the first and second quarters. Still, the coolest thing I saw happened about two hours before kickoff when the Bearcats formed their traditional prayer circle at midfield (don't get excited Louisville - no one stepped on your logo). As the players and coaches held hands around the C-Paw, Mitch Stone stood right in the middle. He's the 12-year-old cancer patient that the team has adopted through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. After the prayer ended, several of the guys spent a few moments with Mitch before heading to the locker room. It's a magnificent program, and UC should be extremely proud to be the first major college football team to adopt a child through FOJ. * * * * * I'm looking forward to visiting my 42nd state this weekend when the Bearcats play at Oregon State. The school is located in Corvallis, but the team will stay in the state capital of Salem. I'll be in charge of Friday night plans for the radio crew since I have a connection in Salem - Boston Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie who's spent parts of the last three years with me in Pawtucket. I'll get the scoop on where we should eat and enjoy a beverage. It should be a fun trip and a tremendous game.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad.