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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

Don't stop cheering for the football team

Editor's note: This column was submitted Friday, before the Idaho game, so the stats cited are for the first four Aggie football games.

By Marty Archibald

October 2, 2006 | To say the Aggies' football team is bad is a gross understatement. They are laughably horrible. But that doesn't mean that support for the team should stop.

Sure they are 0-4, but look at all the positives. They scored seven points in the first game. Fifty percent of the time, the Aggies score every time they intercept the ball. They are 100 percent on their extra point attempts. They average 1.8 points a game, nearly 2 points a game. To the rest of the world, 2 points in a football game is awesome.

That is about it for the good, but there is plenty of bad.

The Aggies have only gained 718 offensive yards through four games. Compare that to their opponents' total of 1759 yards. The problems are pretty much summed up right there. The Aggies just don't have trouble moving the ball it is as if they are adverse to the idea. Goal line fumbles and inopportune penalties haven't helped either. It is great that the Aggies can block a field goal, but perhaps it would be more beneficial to direct their efforts towards blocking the attempts made by the other team. Oh, and the offense has failed to score a single point.

As bad as it has been on the field, off the field issues have been just as bad, if not worse. Several drug related charges and sex assault charges have plagued the team. Thus far, four players have been dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons. A handful of players have been cited with first offenses. Under the policy employed by coach Brent Guy, they would be dismissed for another violation of team rules.

Even with all the on the field and off the field troubles fan support for Aggie football should not wane. When did sports start being about winning and losing and not entertainment? One thing you can say about the Aggies is that they are very entertaining, in a train wreck sort of way. You don't want to watch, but you can't keep your eyes away, afraid of what you might miss. A dropped pass when nobody is within 20 yards of the receiver, Aggies tripping over their feet, a botched tackle, and the list goes on, you never know what you might see. Plays like those don't regularly occur. For the Aggies, they are so commonplace you'd think they are in the playbook.

These Aggies are somewhat of an oddity, they should be cherished. If you aren't a fan of sloppy football you need not worry, there are plenty of good plays to go around. The Aggies opponents make numerous great plays every game.

The Aggies off-field troubles shouldn't stop fan support either. If everyone stopped supporting various forms of entertainment due to the performers' transgressions, movies wouldn't be watched, music would go unheard and games would go unplayed. Other forms of entertainment are supported, so why should this team be any different?

Only a handful of players have committed first offenses, one more and they are gone, as a few players have already found out. The whole team should not be shunned and neither should those that committed mistakes. In an area where the idea of repentance is so highly valued, we shouldn't be so quick to turn our backs. If you still have troubles letting go of the off the field mistakes by a few players, remember, you aren't cheering for the players, you're cheering for your team. And until the players start lighting up on the field or their girlfriends are allowed on the sidelines with them, the cheers should not stop.

The Aggies should also be commended for the national recognition they have brought upon the school. Their off the field shenanigans isn't what is in the headline. That firestorm is only a local story. Sadly, the types of offenses that a few Aggies have committed are commonplace in sports today. Those stories don't get national coverage when you have a Texas player facing gun charges, a lacrosse scandal at Duke, the Maurice Clarett saga and back-up punters allegedly stabbing starters in the leg.

The Aggies have gotten their national recognition from their on-field play. There are 119 Divison 1-A college football teams. You can't find a ranking of those teams that doesn't have the Aggies somewhere in the bottom five. The teams in the middle don't even get mentioned, but the Aggies do. On the bright side, The Aggies don't have to worry about the back-up punter stabbing the starter. There are plenty of punts to go around and there should be plenty of cheers.

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