I unequivocally root for underdogs, especially in sports. Always have, always will. Not sure if it is because I am a fan of the ultimate underdog, the Chicago Cubs (or in my usual shorthand with The Bringer of Pain, the sCrUBS) or if I have stuck with them this long because of my underlying love of underdogs.
I even love this Shoe Shine Boy turned superhero who is always there for the trouble-prone Polly Pureheart. (Of course, I disavow any love for the crappy live action Underdog that came out a year or two ago. Hollywood needs to stop destroying all of my childhood, such as Bullwinkle, Wild, Wild West and The Karate Kid. If you make a MacGuyver movie with Justin Bieber as our Swiss Army Knife and duct tape wielding hero… wait a minute, forget I said anything. I don’t want anyone to get an idea.)
In any other college football season, I would be donning some crazy green and yellow outfit in supporting Oregon. What’s not to love? High-powered offense (complete with wacky, offbeat signs to signal plays), not a traditional power and ridiculously outrageous uniforms. The problem is this ‘underdog’ was out-underdogged by two other teams, TCU and Boise State. So I found myself rooting against Oregon every week since they vaulted to the top. Sadly, I didn’t even make this connection until the last week of the season. More proof the BCS is a tragedy.
TCU and Boise both get criticized for playing in weak conferences. Pundits rail weekly that if they were in the SEC, they’d lose 2 or 3 games at least. I find this to be a lackluster argument, because it is simplifies a complicated question: What would happen if TCU or Boise were SEC members?
Everyone plays this answer out as if this individual team would be mystically dropped into the SEC for one year, but that’s not vaild. If they were in the conference, they’d be in the conference. Meaning they would develop comparable facilities and recruit the same talented players as Florida, Alabama, etc. Gary Patterson and Chris Peterson have already shown they are excellent tacticians, can recruit to less than ideal locations/conferences and can get the most out of the talent in the players on their team. Why wouldn’t this continue?
That is like saying Babe Ruth couldn’t play in this day and age. If you had a time machine and brought him to today and put him in a major league lineup, would he play well? Probably not. But, if he was born today and had the advantages of today’s athletes (knowledge of nutrition, weight training, ability to focus on baseball year-round instead of having to get a ‘real’ job in the offseason, to name a few) my guess is he would mash just like back in the day. Same thing with Dick Butkus, George Mikan and many other stars of bygone eras. If they were born today, many would probably still be superstars.
Talent is talent, no matter when it saw the light of day or what conference it resides in. So give an underdog a chance. You might find that David really was Goliath.