Sideline Guy: Back in Salem

As I write this, I’m sitting in the interview room for the Stagg Bowl teams — yes, in case you thought you were dreaming, it’s the same teams as the previous five years. I’ll spare you the formal introductions except to tell you that I’m Frank Rossi, your “Sideline Guy” for Saturday’s online broadcast of the Stagg Bowl.

Oddly enough, we entered the Taliaferro Complex in Salem with a feeling of deja vu as about four inches of snow fell since last night. The forecast is for another potential clipper to produce precipitation sometime Saturday — but it’s unlikely we’ll see even close to the 21″ of snow we encountered last year.

So, you say you’re bored by this matchup again? Well, the cream rose to the top again, and we’re going to be treated to an excellent game — the 2010 matchup on paper looks as close as any of the prior five Stagg Bowl matchups between these teams. Yet, there are a number of back stories surrounding this year’s Stagg Bowl.

First, who will be quarterback? Okay, we had that question with Kurt Rocco’s injury last year, sure. However, this year, BOTH teams have that question facing them. It isn’t just of question of who is starting, though. The formations both teams have would enable play by multiple quarterbacks — for instance, Cecil Shorts ran the Wildcat for a few downs last week when Mount Union defeated Bethel. Will we know who will start as quarterback by Saturday at, say, 2 p.m.? Odds are against that — these coaches play this very close to their chest historically. However, there is an additional intrigue surrounding this game because of this question.

Second, there are many stories still to be told by fans of both teams that simply could not make it to the game last year. This wasn’t by choice — Mother Nature decided to force their hands. For instance, the Whitewater band and cheerleaders, weather permitting, will actually get to enjoy the game without having to resort to the warmth of a chicken wing franchise.

Also, for the first time, we do not know the winner of the Gagliardi Trophy quite yet. That announcement will be live at 7 .p.m EST, and all of the final four finalists will be on hand (again, weather permitting). We also will air the entire ceremony, including a pre-announcement show and a post-announcement interview and reaction streamed online so tune in and enjoy this excellent ceremony.

Every year, we have different angles, regardless of the teams. Remember that the players change every year (and the rosters, in their entirety, every four years). For those people who feel upset that the rest of the season is predictable, remember that this game has been very unpredictable. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the weekend, and travel safely to Salem if you can make it.