Novermber 2, 2005
sports. michigandaily. com
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
The ball was in the air, and Brandon Harrison's
eyes went wide.
The true freshman free safety thought he had
found just the right belated birthday present for
his father. Harrison was in Michigan's fall foot-
ball camp during August, so he missed celebrat-
ing at home in his native Dayton, Ohio. The father
and son had a phone conversation last Friday on
the eve of the Wolverines' game against the Wild-
cats, during which Eric Harrison had made a spe-
"My dad was like, 'If you get an interception, take
it back to the end zone for me,' " Brandon said. "I was
like, 'Yeah, I'm going to do this for my dad.' "
So when Northwestern quarterback Brett
Basanez tossed an errant pass for receiver Shaun
Herbert in the first quarter last Saturday in Evan-
ston, Harrison pounced.
"I dropped into the post, saw the quarterback
throwing, and I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, I think
I can catch it,' " Harrison said. "So I come across,
catch it, and I'm running. The first thing that hits
my mind is, 'Take it to the end zone for Dad.' "
Harrison knifed through Northwestern's offen-
sive players, who, at that point, were placed in the
awkward position of having to tackle an opposing
ball carrier. The defensive back was determined
to put six points on the board, but some Wildcats
disrupted Harrison's potential birthday gift 36
yards into the impressive runback.
"I'm running, I'm running, I'm running, and
somebody goes towards my knees and I jump up
in the air," Harrison said. "As soon as I'm going
towards the ground, somebody comes over the top
of me and just pokes the ball out. My elbow was
like five inches from hitting the ground before
the ball came out.
"I think I was just overly excited, because for a
freshman to get an interception in a big game like
that, especially against Basanez - that was his
second interception of the season - it was real
exciting," Harrison said.
Though the play was ultimately disappointing
for Harrison, the safety ended the contest with
three tackles and two pass breakups to go along
with a pick for the second week in a row. He also
intercepted Iowa quarterback Drew Tate in the
Wolverines' game in Iowa City last week. This
time, though, Harrison learned a lesson.
"(Next time). I'm going to hold onto the ball,"
Harrison said. "If I see anybody coming around,
I'm putting both hands on the ball and tucking it."
Sex cruises, loud
PAs and AC/DC
- no thanks NFL
couple weeks ago, I was
reading about how Dan
Patrick of ESPN asked a
few NFL broadcasting colleagues
about college football overshadow-
ing the professional ranks. Pre-
dictably, Mike Dikta
and Michael Irvin
didn't agree, but that's
because they can't pos-
sibly say that the sport
they cover is being
surpassed by the league
that supplies its players.
It's true though.
- college football isk
much more entertaining
to watch and, overall, M
is better than the NFL VEN
this season and prob- The
Freshman Brandon Harrison couldn't give his dad the birthday present he wanted - a touchdown.
While Eric Harrison was pleased by his son's
play on Saturday night, he was slightly miffed
that such a wonderful birthday present got away.
"(My dad) said I had a great game," Brandon
Harrison said. "But he said it would've been nice
if I would've taken it (to the house)."
Harrison prefers to view the play in an optimis-
tic light. But Michigan coach Lloyd Carr can't say
S"LIlonked atit.like a sack,"Harrison said with a
smile. "It backed (the Wildcats) up, but they still
had the ball."
A lighthearted Carr explained that he was
pleased with his young safety's effort and perfor-
mance against Northwestern, "except for (Harri-
son) fumbling the football."
Still, it was just Harrison's third start at Michi-
gan. The speedy defensive back was thrust into
the lineup after injuries to both of the Wolver-
ines' original starting safeties, Willis Barringer
and Brandent Englemon. Harrison's development
has been even more impressive considering the
fact that he came to Michigan as a cornerback.
It wasn't until fall camp that Carr and defensive
backs coach Ron English decided to move the
Chaminade-Julienne High School product to the
last line of the Wolverines' defense.
But with the move from the outside checked off
his "to do" list, Harrison must add another chore:
He's got some shopping to do for Dad.
ably every other year.y
Think about it. Approximately
halfway through the NFL season,
what kind of storylines have we
seen thus far? Well, we have the
Saints owner Tom Benson being an
absolute jerk in his city's time of
crisis. Even though he is prohib-
ited from talking about moving to
another city, many of his actions
show that he is at least thinking
about the idea. He insists that the
Superdome is unusable and there-
fore the lease is terminated, which
would allow him to find another
city. The NFL disagrees - the
Superdome has minimal damage at
this point, and is ready to use.
But the best storyline from this
season is also probably one that
doesn't come from the field. Nope,
it comes from the high tide of the
'seven seas" so to speak.
During their bye week, 17 Min-
nesota Viking players decided to
take a little jaunt on one of Min-
nesota's 11,000 lakes - instead of
thinking about why they were 1-3
despite being the favorites in the
NFC North. But as we've heard,
they weren't fishing or just enjoying
some great fall weather in beautiful
Minnesota. No, they were doing the
nasty on the stern and bow of two
I'm not a moralizer, and players can
do what they want, but come on. This
is one of Minnesota's most populous
lakes, and they brought strippers and
who knows what else into broad day-
light. Randy Moss was supposedly
the problem on the team. Now they're
2-5 and have lost starting quarterback
Daunte Culpepper. But at least they're
Now we can look at what college
football has offered..
Once again, the BCS looks to be in
a little bit of trouble, but at least that
problem has to do mostly with the
actual game of football, not strippers
named Candy, Barbie and Peach.
Southern Cal, Texas, Virginia
Tech, Alabama and UCLA are sup-
plying late-season drama to go with
outstanding individual play all the
way from Reggie Bush to Marcus
Vick. Every week, media and fans
can argue about who the best in the
nation are. In the NFL, well, people
can argue if it's possible to take
away a playoff spot from the winner
of the putrid NFC North.
Closer to home, Michigan hasn't
exactly had the type of season fans
wanted. Three early-season losses
guaranteed that. But the games
have all been exciting, save the
Eastern Michigan contest. Five of
the six Big Ten games went down
to the last possession, providing
great entertainment almost every
week. You'd be a liar if you didn't
feel a tingling feeling after Mario
Manningham caught Chad
pass against Penn State
Don't get me wrong I
love the NFL; it's fun to
watch - and I still do. But
it's not as exciting. You
could argue that there's
too much parity, and that
maybe the NFL is having
a down season because of
T injuries (see the aforemen-
ONI tioned Culpepper, Ahman
lls Green, Deuce McAllister,
etc). I mean, it seems as
if there is one dominant team (the
Colts) and then a bunch of maybes.
I can listen to that argument, but I
don't believe it.
You could argue that pro players
are more talented; yeah, they are.
But that doesn't mean the games are
superior to watch. Pro games can
be too predictable because of that
high level. With the ability differ-
ent at each position, college games
can add excitement and down-to-the
wire games seen less frequently in
What if I gave you the choice
of a Colts-Patriots game or Michi-
gan-Ohio State, I think almost any
person, fan or not, would choose the
latter. The atmosphere is unparal-
leled in college. Besides, what are
the chances you'll see the Indianapo-
lis and New England have another
showdown in the playoffs? Pretty
This gets me to my last point as
to why college is much better than
the pros. Watching the NFL in per-
son is, at times, awful. Seriously,
I like it on TV much more. It feels
cheesier than professional wrestling
when watching in the stadium.
There are too many gimmicks,
whether it be annoying announcers
(I blame that on that Godforsaken
Pistons announcer Mason), pumped
in AC/DC music between plays, or
jumbotrons telling you what compa-
ny brought you the replay. It's just
too set up for my liking - telling
people what company brought you
I love that Michigan lets the band
provide the music and doesn't have
Pepsi and whatever other company
constantly informing the fans what's
going on. But some colleges have
fallen pretty to what the NFL does.
. Northwestern and Iowa - and if
any of you made the trip to either
of these places you know what I'm
talking about - had games that felt
as if they were at Ford Field. The
announcers did their best to be infu-
riating with their calls and music to
greet the players. But I'm hoping and
thinking that these schools are in the
minority. I know that Ohio State and
Notre Dame don't do that
It's that simple. Contrary to what
for dimwits like Mike "Cialis" Ditka
and Michael "Fur Coat" Irvin think,
the NFL can't hold a candle to col-
- Matt Venegoni still loves the
Vikes. Skol Vikings. He can be
reached at email@example.com
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