Friday, September 18, 2009

World, Meet Jacory Harris

As a Penn State fan and graduate, I'm supposed to hate the University of Miami. At least, that's what I'm told by my father and scores of older Penn State fans. Miami represents the cocky, arrogant, selfish athlete, or so I'm told.

But the funny thing is, I've never had any problems with Miami. None. Maybe it's because I'm too young to remember No. 1 Miami showing up in fatigues, proclaiming themselves champions before they took the field against the underdog Nittany Lions. Of course, we all know Penn State picked off Vinny Testaverde five times and won the game.

The funny thing is, I was 2 years old at the time, meaning that's not something that registers in my memory at all. No, to me, Miami represents the university that has produced some of the most freakish athletes ever to strap on the helmet. Many of those guys I can't help but like, guys like Jerome Brown, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Sean Taylor, Jon Beason, Edgerrin James, Santana Moss, just to name a few. Players like that make me marvel at the type of athletes, the type of frighteningly good football players that school has produced.

On top of that, in two of the most memorable national championships matchups in recent memory, Miami took on teams that I truly despise, teams that I hate way, way more than I ever would Miami. The first came in the 2002 Rose Bowl, when Miami took on, and defeated, Nebraska, a team I hate with every fiber of my being. I vividly remember 1994, and I'll hate Nebraska forever because of that. Penn State was the best team that year. I know it, you know it and everyone else knows it. They had the best quarterback in the nation (Kerry Collins), the best running back (Ki-Jana Carter), the best tight end (Kyle Brady), the best wide receiver (Bobby Engram) and the best offensive line. They were unstoppable and undefeated. Yet not national champions, because the voters gave it to an inferior Nebraska team. Bullshit.

Anyway, I wanted Miami to destroy Nebraska, and the Hurricanes did just that.

How can I hate a team that completely embarrassed Nebraska, exposing them for the frauds they are? Short answer, I can't.

The very next year, Miami was taking on another team I can't stand, matching up with Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl for the title. The last thing I wanted to see was Maurice Clarrett's fat ass and Jim Tressel's lying, cheating, scumbag face win a national championship. Unfortunately, this time Miami couldn't pull it out. And this happened:

All of this is just a long of saying that I don't hate Miami. In fact, I actually kind of like the Hurricanes. And frankly, I think college football is better off when Miami is good. That's why I've been excited by the first two performances by the Hurricanes this season, especially the play of sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris.

Heading into this season, there was a lot of talk of Miami beginning to turn things around, but expectations were tempered. The class of the ACC was supposed to be Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, with Miami making strides this season and perhaps contending next year. Rumor had it that Miami could very well have a good team and start 0-4 because their schedule was so brutal, starting out with Florida State in Tallahassee, then Georgia Tech at home, at Va. Tech and home vs. Oklahoma. Brutal start.

But a funny thing happened. Instead of waiting around for next year, Miami went out and topped the Seminoles on the road in one of the most entertaining games I've ever seen.

The main reason Miami was able to upset Florida State 38-34 was the play of Jacory Harris, who threw for 386 yards and two touchdowns on 21 of 34 passing, looking more like a senior than a sophomore with his calm, cool demeanor.

Then last night, Harris did one better, completing 20 of 25 for 270 yards and three touchdowns against the Yellow Jackets in a 33-17 rout.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jacory Harris is for real. There is no doubt about it. In two games so far this young season, against two teams that were supposed to be the class of ACC, the sophomore signal-caller has thrown for 656 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 69.5 percent of his passes. This is only the beginning. Jacory Harris is the real deal.

Harris is not just a freakish athlete playing quarterback. He's a quarterback who just so happens to be a great athlete. He's more Donovan McNabb than Mike Vick. Make no mistake about it, Jacory Harris is a passer. Don't be surprised to hear him in the Heisman Trophy conversation, if not this year, definitely next. In the meantime, watch him take complete command of the Miami offense, as a sophomore, and enjoy the show. Oh, and good luck trying to stop him.

BallHype: hype it up!

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