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Burn the Horse
08-01-2008, 04:24 PM
Old article, but I found it on a facebook group for state of Alabama college football. Thought it was a good read and worth posting.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Big Two want no part of Trojans

By Josh Moon

TROY -- There has been some talk recently about the state's Big Two scheduling Troy. You can put a cork in that crazy talk now.

If any of the people who play a role in filling out the schedules at Auburn and Alabama were watching ESPN2 on Tuesday night, the Trojans might as well forget about seeing the inside of Bryant-Denny or Jordan-Hare Stadiums.

This isn't some small-school program that Troy's got going here. This is a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine. It's an offensive juggernaut. It's got talent up and down the roster.

Just ask Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders aren't exactly chopped liver out there, and Troy beat those boys like they stole something, 45-7.

What I'm saying here is Troy's a threat -- an in-state threat. And neither Auburn nor Alabama want any part of it.

The Trojans are 8-3. They've won seven of their last eight and played Georgia a heckuva lot closer than the mighty, mighty Tigers did.

I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to point out that the Trojans also put an absolute whipping on that Louisiana-Monroe team that beat 'Bama last Saturday. LaMo's in the Sun Belt Conference with Troy, and the Trojans spanked that conference foe 24-7 back on Sept. 29. (I'm still trying to determine if LaMo head coach Charlie Weatherbie compared the loss to any catastrophic events, such as the Black Plague or the War of 1812. I'm sure he did.)

The reality here is that Troy is an unnecessary danger to UA and AU.

There's everything to lose by scheduling the Trojans and nothing to gain. If you're Alabama or Auburn and you beat Troy, everybody goes home and forgets it. But if you lose, you get raked over the coals for months and you aid an up-and-coming recruiting foe.

And make no mistake about it, Troy is an up-and-comer. In the past few years, the Trojans have knocked off a couple of Big XII teams and run roughshod through the Sun Belt. They took Florida State to the wire, virtually ensuring that Larry Blakeney and Bobby Bowden would never shake hands at midfield again, and they've played more than a few top teams into the "are you kidding me?" moments of games.

Maybe all of this shouldn't be a surprise. I mean, if you take a good hard look at the attributes of this program, you realize that it was only a matter of time before it started to make a lot of noise.

You've got a former Auburn assistant who was around for some of the Tigers' greatest successes. So he knew how to win when he got here. And long before the Trojans went big-time, Blakeney and staff were churning out championship seasons. So he's known how to recruit in this state for a long time.

And that recruiting thing brings us to the biggest reason Auburn and Alabama want no part of the Trojans. It's one thing to be beaten by a so-called "small school." It's quite another to be beaten by a "small school" that's using players you didn't want.

That's exactly what Blakeney is doing. He takes the "you're too small for D-I" kids, the "you're just not athletic enough to play offense on this level" kids, the "have you given any thought to playing DB?" kids.

He takes those kids, makes sure that chip on their shoulders is a tree trunk and then turns them loose.

"Yeah, we've got something to prove every time we step on that field," said Troy wideout Jerrell Jernigan, who played high school ball at Eufaula. "Coach Blakeney took all of us because they told us we were too small or whatever. I think we're doing OK here. Speed kills, and we've got all the speed in the world."

Jernigan, who was one of the top offensive players in the state last year at Eufaula, didn't even get a phone call from the Auburn coaches. The official reason he was given for that oversight: "Too small."

"Whatever," Jernigan said after his five-catch, 74-yard performance against Middle Tennessee. "I might not be the biggest guy on the field, but I'll always be one of the quickest. And that's what's gonna hurt you."

Actually, it won't hurt Auburn or Alabama. And every player on the Troy roster knows it.

"They'll never play us because they're scared to play us," Jernigan said. "It means more to us. We want to prove how wrong they were to overlook us and doubt us. They don't want any part of that."

That might be true -- the Trojans might never get the chance to face AU or UA on the field. But if they keep building this program at the current rate, they won't have to. They'll have all the vindication they could ever need rolled up in their national perception.

Josh Moon is a sports writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached at jmoon@gannett.com

Possum
08-01-2008, 11:31 PM
I actually have this article framed and on my desk.