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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Know Your Foe - Appalachian State

The 2007 Michigan football season gets underway this Saturday in a precedent-setting way for the Wolverines when they host Appalachian State. It’s the first time Michigan has ever played a Champion Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team, and it will be the first Michigan game on the fledgling Big Ten Network. The BTN can only be seen via Direct TV and Bob’s Cable System and Fireworks Emporium in Evansville, Indiana, so it’s likely to be the least viewed broadcast of a Michigan game ever. Nice way to start what’s hoped to be a championship season. But we at the MZone won’t let these things bring us down. With such an unfamiliar opponent, we believe there’s never been a more important installment the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – The history of Appalachian State begins as the story of two brothers, D. D. Dougherty and B. B. Daugherty. In 1899, the brothers, with land donated by their father D. B. Daugherty, erected a wood frame building in Boone, NC and founded a school named Watauga Academy. Four years later the North Carolina General Assembly made it a state school, and on March 9, 1903, the Appalachian Training School for Teachers was born.

The Daughterys remained in charge, with B. B. as superintendent and D. D. as principal. In 1925, the school was renamed Appalachian State Normal School, and then renamed Appalachian State Teachers College in 1929.

The school continued to grow, and added a graduate school in 1948. B. B. Daughtery remained president until 1955. In 1965, programs other than teaching were offered and, hence, yet another name change for the school happened in 1967, this time to Appalachian State University,

Location – Boone, North Carolina. Named for Daniel Boone who camped in the area numerous times. It’s located in the northwest corner of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Boone is a small town with a population just slightly less than the ASU enrollment of 15,000 students. Its location is unique among universities east of the Mississippi. At an elevation of 3,333 feet, Appalachian State has the highest elevation of any school east of the Mississippi. Because of this, the climate is much more like that seen in New England, rather than the South. A quiet mountain town throughout its history, Boone is currently experiencing growing pains due to the expansion of the university, with urban sprawl becoming an issue. The most famous Boone native is the late founding member and lead guitarist of Widespread Panic, Michael Houser.

Nickname - Mountaineers. Not much mystery on this one. The Blue Ridge Mountains. The 3,333 foot elevation. Random guys running around with muskets. That’s a lot like West Virginia, the more well-known Mountaineers. And though WVU incorporates mountains into their logo, I’d say AppState trumps West Virginia nickname-wise due to the higher elevation. And a tougher football schedule.

Of the nine schools that use Mountaineers as their moniker, ASU is the second most famous behind WVU. Surprisingly, the majority of them are in the East, with only one in the Rockies. There’s Berea College (Berea, KY), Eastern Oregon University (LaGrande, OR), Mansfield University (Mansfield, PA), Mount Saint Mary’s College (Emmitsburg, MD), Schreiner College (Kerrville, TX), Southern Vermont College (Bennington, VT), and Western State College (Gunnison, CO).

Mascot – Yosef. You’re not going to believe this. If you thought that the Hot Hot Hot video was embarrassing, wait until you hear the story of Yosef.

Yosef appears at every football game, wearing a scowl, a black and gold flannel shirt, suspenders, and carrying a musket which he fires after every AppState touchdown. But that’s not what makes the mascot embarrassing. It’s his name.

Yosef is mountain talk for “Yourself.” As in if you are a fan, friend or alumnus and have a heart of black and gold, you are Yosef. The mascot was born in 1942 when he appeared in the ASU yearbook as a freshman named Dan’l Boone Yoseff from Appalachian. The last F was dropped in 1947.

Yosef is a major part of the culture at Appalachian State. The booster group is the Yosef Club – their holiday newsletter was littered with sponsored ads saying “Have Yosef a Happy Holiday,” and their Web page begs to “Get Yosef Involved.” And one of the dorms on campus is Yosef Hollow.

Colors – Black and Gold. And it’s more of an Iowa black and gold, than a Purdue black and gold. So that means it really black and yellow. Remember that last year, Michigan brought in another southern team that wore black and gold, Vanderbilt. But they were truly gold and not yellow like ASU.

The Mountaineers football team uses the yellow/gold strictly as an accent color. Their home uniforms have black shirts and pants, along with their black helmets. On the road they wear white shirts with black pants. The yellow/gold only shows up as piping on the yoke and sleeves of the shirt, and as stripes on the helmet.

LogoA depiction of Yosef, with his head being part of a mountain. This is definitely the scariest logo of any opponent Michigan will face this year. Even scarier than this. It’s a good thing App doesn’t use this logo on their helmet. And even though they’ve been very successful on the field, they should consider putting it on their headgear. Not so much to intimidate their opponents, but because their current helmet is lame.

Wow, that’s creative. A big “A” with small script “Mountaineers” in the middle. ASU has had this exact design since 1995, and essentially the same design since 1989. But they haven’t always had such boring helmets. Check out the 1965 version with an admittedly old-looking Yosef:

Or how about this one from the early ‘70s:

Here Yosef is a bit younger, though he wouldn’t really appeal to the youth demographic. And let’s face it, in this day and age, there’s no way the NCAA would allow the corncob pipe.

So if ASU is hell-bent on having an “A” on their helmet, and hoping to appeal to today’s youth, all while staying free and clear of the NCAA, they should revert to something like what they wore in 1982:

This invokes the idea of mountains, makes the kids think of the X-TREME sports I hear so much about, and just makes me very relaxed and in the mood for an ice cream samich.

As always, all images of the helmets are from the incredible Helmet Project site, and the logo is from the equally wonderful SportsLogos.net.

Fight Song – Hi Hi Yikas. Oh. My. God. First there was Yosef. Then the Hot Hot Hot (LINK) video. Why does ASU keep doing this to themselves? Check out the words to their fight song:

Nobody like us,
We are the
Always a-winning
Always a-grinning
Always a-feeling fine
You bet, hey
Go Apps!
Fight Apps!
Go, fight, win Apps!

I have to admit, I have no idea what “Hi Hi Yikas” means, so we’ll move on. How about that second line? Nobody like us? I’m sure every English professor cringes when they hear the language butchered so badly. And why doesn’t anyone like them? Maybe it’s that bad attitude. Or maybe it’s that scary face of Yosef in their logo.

Then we have “Always a-winning, Always a-grinning, Always a-feeling fine.” OK, even though they’re Division I-AA, I mean Champion Subdivision, AppState has done a lot of winning lately, with back to back national championships (yes, they play a tournament in the Champion Subdivision. Hmmm….playoffs in college football, what a novel concept). And all that winning will lead to a lot of grinning. But, based on this song, I think the feeling fine has something to do with moonshine, more than I-AA, I mean Champion Subdivision, titles.

Note that the fight song is usually capped off with a Cartman-like “Kick Ass!” instead of “Win Apps!” What rebels.

And though the lyrics are a bit laughable, the tune, which is from a German folk song called Bergvagabunden (Mountain Vagabond), is quite catchy. I might even make it my ring tone for the weekend

Academics – Boy, these U. S. News Ranking of America's Best Colleges keep getting more and more confusing. Anyway, Appalachian State is ranked as the 10th best Master’s South category. Whatever the hell that means. For those of you who know or care about such things, Rollins College in Florida is the top in this category, followed by Elon and Stetson. I’ve heard of all of those. But I’ve never heard of the school ranked #9, right above AppSt: University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Maryland. Who was Mary Washington? Do they mean Martha Washington, because I’ve at least heard of her.

The average GPA for incoming freshman at ASU in 2006 was 3.73 and the average SAT score was 1131. The average ACT score was 21.

Athletics – As has been mentioned, the Mountaineers have an excellent recent history in football. They’ve won back to back I-AA, er Champion Subdivision titles, and advanced to the I-AA playoffs 14 of the past 21 seasons. The team plays at Kidd Brewer Stadium where they’ve won 27 in a row. Kidd Brewer, which is also known as The Rock, was the site of the second college football game on ESPN, in 1979 when AppState hosted Western Carolina.

The basketball team has appeared in two NCAA tournaments, and was an NIT participant this past season. And as Michigan fans know, the NIT is the REAL tournament. ASU has dominated the Commissioner’s Cup, which is given to the top men’s sports program in the Southern Conference, winning 27 of the past 30. The women’s program has taken home the Germann Cup, given to the top women’s program in the conference, the last two years.

Famous Alums – In all our years of doing KNOW YOUR FOE, we’ve never had difficulty coming up with famous alumni. Sure, some schools have more distinguished or famous degree holders than others, but every team that Michigan played last year had at least a couple of interesting names on the list.

But now we come to Appalachian State. Their most famous alumnus is….Steven J. Dubner, one of the authors of Freakonomics. But that’s it for recognizable names. Even their former athletes aren’t big names, with former Cowboy and current Ram lineback Dexter Coakley being the only recognizable name. Former NBA head coach Alvin Gentry went to ASU, as did current Kansas State head football coach Ron Prince. But that’s it. Oh, and then there’s her. And, needless to say, no U.S. Presidents call Appalachian State their alma mater.

The Game – This is a game Michigan can’t win. Oh, sure, they’ll score more points that AppState, but no matter what the final score is, no Wolverine fan is going to feel good. Win by 40 and what’s the big deal, so they beat a I-AA, sorry, Champion Subdivision team. What bullies. Struggle against the best Champion Subdivision team and win by a touchdown and watch the Wolverines fall in the polls. This is not the weakest team Michigan will play this year. This would probably not be the worst team in the Big Ten. But a victory, no matter the margin, won’t look good or even be satisfying. MICHIGAN 42, APPALACHIAN STATE 23.


nitz said...

I think that fight song was on the first Ramones album.

whetstonebuck said...

"I’d say AppState trumps West Virginia nickname-wise due to the higher elevation. And a tougher football schedule."

Funny stuff. Worth the price of admission. Thanks.

Killing My Liver said...

HAving been to Boone, on numerous snowboarding trips, ..... well, shit, I got nothing.
Looking forward to a great season.

Josiah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josiah said...

I've had the pleasure of supporting App State two years in a row in the Champions NAII (whatever the hell it is now) championship game here in Chattanooga, and they're one helluva fun team + fanbase. The only thing they like more than their football team, is their herb. Never thought I'd see the day they played Michigan.

Dave said...

Since you ask, Mary Washington was George's mother. George actually once said "All I am I owe to my mother." This is especially funny since she was apparently a raving bitch, so much so that George foisted her off on his sister in Fredericksburg rather than let her live at Mt. Vernon.

UMW has a handful of Michigan alumni on the faculty. We're happy we can still wear blue.

Temp430 said...

"This is a game Michigan can’t win." Exactly.

Dear AD Martin:

No more Div. I-AA teams. Please!

Ron said...

Maybe "Nobody like us" is referring to the fact that there is no other school quite the same as Appy State. Which is absolutely true given their mascot/fight-song combination.

j said...

Yost, great job fact finding. Where the hell were you when I needed to do my middle school reports. Your reporting could have helped me move from D's to C+'s.

ChicagoWolverine said...

So i'm watching the Big10 Network this morning.. They keep replaying the Michigan tosu game from last year. Damn we looked good that first drive.

i can't wait til tomorrow.


WingRG said...


if "the only thing they like more than their football team, is their herb" then i'm surprised they aren't playing UM on the same weekend as "Hash bash". Let's face it, this team would've been a worthy opponent for the spring game/scrimmage (not that my alma mater is openining up its schedule with a powerhouse)

just 26 more hours till kick off

beast in 'bama said...

First of all, it's good to seen Know Your Foe - and you, Benny - back on the MZone. Where the hell you found Bergvagabunden, I'll never know. I probably wouldn't want to, either, which is why it's good to have you back.

Let's see, App. State - where to start? "Have Yosef a Merry Little Christmas" springs to mind immediately. As does the song "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle for some reason... And I've actually read "Freakonomics."

But that fight song? Hi-Hi-y-ike-us might be mountain folk talk for How do you like us? That's the best I got.

surrounded in columbus said...

had the same reaction here in columbus. get home, find that BTN is channel 24 locally, flip it on to see what's on... oh, great. greatest games in big ten history and they have to show this one, time & again? you'd think, given the way both teams got clocked in their bowls, they'd have something to better to show. hell, even the 2002 game (after which both teams won their bowls) would be better than last year's over & over.

A2saint said...

Anybody think we'll see any of Ryan Mallett Saturday? If so how many quarters. I'd like to see the wonderkid play.

TitleIX said...

Ryan Mallett to start the second half....

Erik said...

Our good buddy Colin Cowherd is in the booth for the Washington-Syracuse game. Apparently, at least; I turned off the TV when I heard that.

MGoBlue93 said...

ESPN yanked the game when it got too boring; and did the rest of the nation a favor by sparing us from more of Colin in the booth. Perhaps the BTN doesn't look that bad when faced with the prospect of Cowherd coming into our living rooms. Wonder if Colin will man up if ESPN ever asks him to go to A2?????????

MGoBlue93 said...

Yost, I was watching the Friday Night Tailgate on the BTN and they had a segment called "Know Your Opponent". Now you've been ripped off by Cowherd and Jimmy D!

Peanuts5402 said...

I saw some guy wearing a Mary Washington shirt the other day. I thought it was the name of his girlfriend and he was wearing it around proudly.

RobW222 said...

Famous Appalachian alums: Franklin Graham (evangelist) and Charles Frazer (author of Cold Mountain)..

Ron.. we don't use the moniker Appy State....prefer ASU , App State, or just Appalachian....
Half the time we don't call ourselves Mountaineers, but "Apps", as in this example:
Halftime score 28-17, ASU leads.

Great research and article, Benny.. thanks
Rob W / ASU class of 81

JackRabbit6 said...

Love that spread you made... too bad it wasn't bigger. Good job ASU

Go Eagles

err... Georgia Southern...

lynsey said...

Some of your information is wrong. There is no dorm on ASU campus called Yosef Hollow. If you had done your research correctly, you would have known that Yosef Hollow is actually a community of dorms on the west said of campus. Oh and apparently ASU didn't have to worry about whether the logo was intimdating enough of it.. We still beat Michigan. How does it feel to be part of the biggest upset in football history???

syntax said...

Guess you shoulda done more research and made a better estimate, because you just got beat by a div I-AA school!

Catherine said...

Fee paid to ASU for being the sacrifice for Michigan's home opener.....$400,000.

Coming away with the upset....priceless!

Alex said...

thanks for the money (and the win)

you may not have ever heard of us but I think you'll remember us

John said...

One of the things that is most astonishing is that App turned the ball over THREE times in the second half. Simply couldn't be happier. Born in Michigan, OSU graduate. I'll call the UM Athletics office on Tuesday and request that they keep LLLLLLLoyd Carr on forever. Three consecutive L to OSU, three consecutive L in bowl games, now ASU.
the ESPN talking heads are stating that anyone who votes UM in the top 25 should have their voting rights recalled and that UM can never make it to the BCS.
Time to go online and buy a sweatshirt from my second favorite college, gotta go

Michelle said...

Talk about "embarrassing," Benny. It's been said, but it bears repeating: thanks so much for the win and the $400K. Love ya. By the way, I thought everyone knew who Mary Ball Washington was.

tayloradams1 said...

Dear Michigan fans,
My whole flight home from the game yesterday I wanted to pen a letter to your school newspaper but found this easier. What I wanted to write to the WHOLE school is a huge THANK YOU, I know you think I am about to hand it to about losing but I'm not. I am now you're biggest non-graduating fan ever!! From the time I reached the tailgate, our group was welcomed to Ann Arbor and was excited to ask about this little school AppSt8. When I got to the stadium, I was welcomed to the "Big House" multiple times and thanked everyone saying that. This is where I became a fan, I was the only App fan in my section, and everyone was unbelieveably cool to me. After the clock ran out, all the way back to the bus not a single UM fan said a negative thing, it was all "congrats" and "You guys came in here and did it right". I have never seen that kind of class in an opponent fan base EVER. I can only wish 2 things for you this year: 1. I hope you go undefeated the rest of the year. 2. That everyone in that stadium Sat. could come to Boone NC, put on their Michigan Football shirts and be treated with the class, kindness, and Southern hospitality you afforded me.

ASU11 said...

Make fun of Appalachian all you want, but we all know who got their asses STOMPED in the end.

....And the "Hi-Hi-yi-ike us" bit? It's "hike". You know, as in mountains? You hike on them.

Ashley said...

laugh it up...but who's yo daddy now...YOSEF! GO APP!!!

Ashley said...

Laugh it up, but who's yo daddy now...YOSEF! GO APP!!!

Greg said...

Michigan Fans,

I am with Mr. "TaylorAdams" above. The University of Michigan has some of the classiest supporters I have ever encountered. As my friends and I walked to the stadium from our hotel that morning, we were not met with a single negative comment from anyone donning the Maze and Blue. I even stopped to say, "Good luck today" to a group of fraternity brothers and heard a distant, "Wow, we'd never hear anything like that out of an OSU fan". As we weaved through the Michigan tailgate scene, we were stopped several times and treated with as much kindness and hospitality as any visiting team could hope for. After the game, I was again stopped several times and congratulated by Wolverine faithful on a game well played.

So again, Michigan fans, I give it up to you for your class and respect.

Greg A. / ASU Grad, class of 2007