Say the name Les Miles in a bar in Baton Rouge, La., and you are sure to start a conversation. Say Chuck Priore, however, and you might get a bunch of confused faces.
Why is that?
Well, Miles is the head coach of LSU football team that reached the national championship in January, while Priore is the head coach of a small school in Long Island called Stony Brook.
While Stony Brook may be lightyears apart in terms of national recognition, for one night it is being spoken about in the same sentence thanks to the game played on the diamond. Stony Brook shocked the world, to use the team's mantra, by eliminating the six-time national champion team in front of its own packed house at the legendary Alex Box Stadium.
The Seawolves of Stony Brook will now head to Omaha for the first time in school history with the chance to win the title.
That thought may sound unfathomable for most people familiar with the sport, but not to avid followers in the Northeast.
Matt Senk's squad had a total of seven players selected in the draft, and all of them were selected within the top 11 rounds, highlighted by Travis Jankowski with the 44th overall selection.
That reeks of legitimacy to me. Teams that have pro prospects all over the diamond (Willie Carmona, Maxx Tissenbaum, Pat Cantwell, Jankowski) do not magically appear in the Sweet 16.
The beauty of baseball is that Stony Brook was given the opportunity, despite playing in the mildly talented America East Conference, to continue to advance in the tournament, as opposed to football.
Stony Brook's football team—a solid team in its own right—would never be given the chance to play in a bowl game or to even play on the same field as an SEC team such as LSU.
Who's to say the Seawolves could not give them a run for their money?
The games are not won on paper, unfortunately. Players need to execute, and a team that is talented enough and given enough motivation can find the fortitude to take down a Goliath such as the Tigers of LSU.
Is this not the essence of sports? Anybody can make a name for him/herself with a fantastic performance, as Stony Brook's Frankie Vanderka did by tossing an absolute gem of a game.
Despite all of the data suggesting a playoff format should be in place, college football continues to keep the small schools in obscurity and punishing them for low enrollments.
As Stony Brook proved Sunday night, there is not necessarily a correlation between money spent and games won.
According to a tweet from Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Stony Brook (which spends $4,715 per baseball player) bests LSU ($21,275 per player) for first trip to College World Series."
The Seawolves will look to become the second team in history to win the World Series after being ranked No. 4 in the regionals, along with Fresno State in 2008.
Cinderella teams can exist, and everyone wants to see the chance of this in college football.
LSU will remain a national powerhouse—those six titles will not be erased—but Matt Senk is better than LSU coach Skip Bertman at least for Sunday night.
Now it's time to give a coach like Chuck Priare an opportunity to be spoken in the same breath as Les Miles. Why? Because sports would be nothing without an underdog.
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