One of the fringe benefits of the college football season for members of the press is the fun of perusing the propaganda sent out by college publicity men who feel they have a hot candidate for the Heisman Trophy or All-America honors. Whereas fans tend to remember previous seasons for exciting games or superb plays, publicity people (a/k/a SIDs, for Sports Information Directors) recall such things as the University of Pittsburgh's great Hugh Green campaign of 1980. Green was Pitt's All-Everything defensive end, but what the SIDs speak of reverently is the four-color poster that Pitt's sports information people mailed to 2,500 members of the press, the one with the refrain: HUGH GREEN IS THE NAME/-PLAYING DEFENSE IS THE GAME/AND WINNING THE HEISMAN IS THE AIM.
Green didn't win the Heisman, but he made such an impressive run for it for a defensive lineman that other SIDs are eagerly following Pitt's example. Even before this season began, the University of Richmond launched a Heisman barrage on behalf of its star running back by mailing Barry Redden T shirts to 200 selected journalists. And San Jose State began pushing Tailback Gerald Willhite with a glossy four-page brochure called "See the Light...Vote Willhite." While chances were remote that either of those players would ever win the Heisman, San Jose State pointed out that Willhite is Gale Sayers' second cousin. What more could anybody want?
More recently, Duke has begun promoting the All-America prospects of Wide Receiver Cedric Jones with a sheaf of stats and interviews ("When I was growing up, my grandmother used to say I was a special child....") labeled "Confidential Report" as though it were an FBI dossier, the idea being that Jones is extremely dangerous to rival secondaries. Another ACC receiver, Clemson's Perry Tuttle, is pictured on a mock record-album cover that features ersatz song titles meant to highlight his exploits; the notes under "Dawgin' Around" recount Tuttle's eight receptions for 92 yards last season against Georgia.
Hot on the heels of its Hugh Green campaign, Pitt is now beating the drums for Quarterback Dan Marino with a brochure containing breathless accolades ("amazing...incredible...the best"), a statistical breakdown of every one of his college games, testimonials from awed rivals, plus such tidbits as the fact that he was born on Sept. 5, 1961, is the son of Dan and Veronica Marino, was 10th in NCAA passing as a freshman and has turned in the second, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 19th best single-game passing performances in Panther history. Tucked away in the five jam-packed pages of material is an invitation to contact Pitt football SID Joyce Aschenbrenner for what, under the circumstances, seems an order impossible to fill: "More information on Pitt Quarterback Dan Marino."
IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL...
What if Utah Jazz Guard Carl Nicks asked the Philadelphia 76ers' Steve Mix for tickets to an NBA game in New York and got turned down? Easy, says Detroit Free Press columnist Mike Downey. The whole thing would wind up in Variety under this headline: SIXERS' MIX NIXES KNICKS' TIX FOR NICKS.
The Wall Street Journal last week took note of what it said was a dramatic increase in "heretofore unrecognized syndromes," by which it meant such ailments as "Celtics fever" (an irregular heartbeat that afflicts fans of Boston's NBA team when it falls behind), "Space Invaders wrist" (attributable to too much time spent playing video games), "jogger's nipples" (chafing caused by running bra-less), "cyclist's palsy" (a numbness of the hands brought on by pressing too hard on handlebars of racing bicycles) and "scrum strep" (a bacterial infection transmitted by rugby players during their huddle-like scrums).
The Journal noted that those unusual and highly specific maladies were reported, sometimes tongue in cheek, in the correspondence section of the august New England Journal of Medicine. Although the ailments also include the now well-known "Chinese restaurant syndrome," a term referring to ill effects believed to be caused by the monosodium glutamate often used in the preparation of Chinese food, most are associated with sports and recreation, witness such other examples as "hooker's elbow," a soreness induced by the repeated jerking of the arm in ice fishing, and "disco felon," an infection in the middle digit caused by finger snapping during disco dancing.
And you probably were only worried about contracting tennis elbow and athlete's foot.
THE FARGO-MOORHEAD BLITZ