Everyone knows about Notre Dame's legendary status as the most optimistic fan base in college football. From Lou Holtz picking the Domers in every game to their fans truly believing they're on the cusp of winning a national title—to be honest it has become a novelty that college football can't do without.
They're steadfast in their beliefs, they hang together in packs, stick up for one another, and will attack en masse any and all who attempt to oppose or even correct them.
I'd like to reach out and give them a pound, a nice little fist bump because they're the fans who love their team no matter how bad they are. They don't boo, show up late, or leave early. They love those Golden Domers and they don't necessarily need a decent or recent reason to. It's great.
However, all good things must come to an end, and sadly enough I feel that there is a fan base that has risen up to overtake that number one spot.
The new number one belongs to the fans of one Appalachian State University from Boone, North Carolina.
That's right. App State has risen up and slain yet another of college football's titans. First Michigan in the Big House, now Notre Dame at the alter of delusional team adulation.
App State you say? Not crazed 'Bama fan or Big Ten guy who swears there isn't a talent gap? Not Arizona fan who thinks Stoops will finally get them on track or Syracuse fan who still thinks the Orangemen are just a year away from Jim Brown or at least the McNabb days?
No, it has to be App. The tiny little mountain school has risen up to a level of optimism of such epic proportions that its tough to see where the myth that is Appalachian State even begins.
Sure if you're in Ohio, Idaho, California, or Maryland, somewhere out of the reach of the "other" Mountaineers you still see them as a feel good story. The Michigan game exposed them to the world, their three national titles are cute. Everything is all warm and fuzzy when its still at arm's length.
If you're in any of the states surrounding App, it's a completely different story. By the way that'd be Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina for those of you who still didn't know that App was in North Carolina.
Living in Charlotte, which has a plethora of newly unearthed Mountaineer fans, the mindless drivel spewed by their fan base is a daily obstacle that sensible folks encounter.
There have been some clever arguments kicked around by App fans, including teams in DI-A being scared of them and the idea that they should be a top-25 team, but recently two legitimate arguments posed by fans almost made me drive my car into a ditch.
There are Appalachian State fans out there that believe:
1) Armanti Edwards is better than Tim Tebow and Pat White.
2) Appalachian State is going to walk out of Tiger Stadium with the pelt of Mike VI slung over its shoulder to use as a rug.
Pause for a second to wrap your brain around those two ideas.
Tim Tebow, the reigning Heisman winner, SEC quarterback who battles NFL caliber defenders on a game-by-game basis.
Pat White, the most dangerous quarterback in the nation, one of the fastest players nationwide, Fiesta Bowl MVP.
Doesn't matter the accolades the two have amassed because Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State is better than both of them. They can't hold his jock.
I'm not making this stuff up people.
Edwards is generously listed at 6'0" 178 pounds. Very generously. That listing would make him several pounds lighter than the 185ish pound Pat White.
Obviously beaten down by the Michigan defense, Edwards struggled mightily throughout the season as App struggled all year, dropping two games before going on to win the title.
Keep in mind this is against the hulking mammoths of Wofford, Georgia Southern, Elon, and Western Carolina—just to name a few of the grinders he was going through.
Edwards, at a division one FBS program would spend more time in the training room than Gilbert Brown spent at the dinner table. Whether it's the Big East, the ACC, or SEC the caliber of player would send the spindly legged quarterback to the cold tub, if not the hospital, quite quickly.
Yes he beat Michigan, but could he stand to play Michigan every week? Please don't kid yourself into thinking that he can.
Throwing fuel on the argument is this crazy idea that if he had Florida's talent he could better Tebow's season from 2007. People actually think this—again, I'm just the messenger. I let the people speak and I listen.
Edwards is a really good I-AA quarterback. He's amazing to watch scoot around the field, but in Tim Tebow, barring injury, we're witnessing one of the greatest college football players of all time. Tebow is an animal that the sport has never seen before and he keeps getting better.
Another branch of this testament to Edwards' greatness is the idea that Edwards might pick up and take his show to the NFL after the season as a junior.
Yes people from Appalachian State are actually worried Edwards might bolt for the pros after he performs yet another unbelievable upset, single handedly pimp slapping around all of Division I-A to steal the Heisman from all the FBS worthy candidates. But then again, when you're better than Tebow and White, that's how you roll I guess.
As ridiculously blind as the first point was, this second point is what truly forced Notre Dame out of their number one spot: The idea of LSU losing to Appalachian State. Just saying it gives me a headache because my brain can't even wrap itself around the concept.
Oh I know people said App didn't stand a chance in 2007 going up to the Big House. Folks said they were crazy for buying tickets and making the journey to Ann Arbor. I understand that last year the Mountaineers did the impossible.
To that I have one thing to say: this is 2008.
So let's state the obvious—first, you're not going to sneak up on LSU the way you snuck up on Michigan, and when they woke up it was too late. The last thing the Bayou Bengals need is the embarrassment of allowing App to make a game of this first ever FCS and FBS champions meeting.
Appalachian State is on the Tiger's radar, and they're a massive aircraft carrier of a blip, not a tiny two man gun boat blip.
A large contingent of fans base their reasoning on this statement: "We have Armanti Edwards, but LSU doesn't know who their quarterback is."
If Les Miles put Nick Nolte, Kerri Strug, and Danny DeVito in a bag and shook it up, whoever he pulled out could start against App State for a game. That is how inconsequential the quarterback is in the App vs LSU equation.
LSU's massive front lines have just as much speed as many of App's skill players, they're in a different stratosphere talent wise, and this gap is going to be revealed quite quickly as the Tigers quickly start to roll the boys from Boone.
Of course using the backward logic of Mountaineers fans this will be anything but a blowout. Here's the reasoning in short:
App beat Michigan::Michigan beat Florida::Florida only lost to LSU by four
ergo App should be close enough to win the game late.
Makes since right?
Yeah, not to me either.
The Michigan game was nice, it was a great 15 minutes of fame. The blocked field goal did more for the school in 20 seconds than the rest of the university has accomplished in school history.
Applications are up, donations are up, and attendance is the highest ever. Slow clap for that guys, it's impressive. The dream has been running since September 2007 and was intensified by the third title, but 5:00 pm on August 30th the Mountaineers get roused from their fairytale slumber.