Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Cover models

Thank you all for gathering here tonight. We've got a great show for you. Abbey Road Live is here. Bucky Bernstein, a world renowned Elvis impersonator, is here. Separate Ways -- that tribute to Journey we all know so well -- is here.

Cover bands as far as the eye can see.

But we know why you're really here. You're ready for the 22nd annual Covey Awards, a salute to the best and worst of ACC football media guide front pages. (If you're not here for that, please leave the Roanoke Civic Center now and go back to Big Ten country. This hackneyed awards show will proceed regardless).

Without further ado, the envelopes please:

Best "Home Improvement" redux: Boston College. Helloooooo, Al Borland! Oh, wait. That's new coach Frank Spaziani grinning on the cover? Never mind.

Best attempt to make a cliche sound inspiring: Boston College again. Our first multiple winner, folks! Unfortunately, splashing "THEY HAVE THE POWER TO SUCCEED BECAUSE THEY ARE CONVINCED THEY CAN" across the top did not convince voters that the Eagles indeed have such power. In the preseason poll, BC is playing pingpong in the Atlantic Division basement.

Most patriotic: N.C. State. Love the Wolfpack if you will, dear media guide reader, but by all means, love America first. So suggests the image of Old Glory in the center of the page.

Best attempt to make up for years of playing a guy at the wrong position: Virginia.

Vic Hall has more than just the No. 1 quarterback job heading into the fall. The former cornerback/special teams performer is also the lead image on the Wahoos' cover, with Will Barker, Denzel Burrell and Mikell Simpson in the background.

Most unlikely cover boy: Denzel Burrell. Forty-eight tackles last year, good for sixth on the team. But he was voted the most improved defensive player during spring drills, so maybe it's breakout time for him.

Most likely to reward Linus' faith: Virginia Tech. "On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children." Only this time it's Frank Beamer, fist in the air, rising out of a stack of oranges. The guy looks pretty darn confident. Are Hokie fans the children about to be blessed in 2009? Surely this patch has been sincere enough, hasn't it?

Best in show: Miami. Nice tribute to history here. The front features rings from all five of the Hurricanes' national championship seasons. The back highlights 10 Pro Bowl players currently in the NFL. And the Covey Awards committee is a sucker for the Sportsflicks-style multi-imaging. Extra points awarded for not mentioning the 12-13 record in the Randy Shannon era.

Best choo-choo train: Georgia Tech. They're "full steam ahead" this year. Get it? Sadly, there were no other nominees in this category. Any chance we can get Purdue in the ACC?

Best use of a Xerox machine: Maryland. No cover? No glossy, side-bound media guide? Just 21 double-sided photocopies stapled together in the upper-lefthand corner? I know Ralph Friedgen has been shedding pounds, but nobody said anything about shedding pages from a recruiting tool. Apparently, the Terps are cutting costs, going green and giving up. Or maybe they're just dropping me a hint that I need to bump my alumni donation over $9.38.

Most unenthusiastic fist-pump: Duke. It's good that the Blue Devils got a prominent image of coach David Cutcliffe on the cover this year, rectifying the league's biggest media-guide gaffe of 2008. But that fist-pump -- or hand signal, or whatever it is -- will inspire fans only to skip the game and play Yahtzee.

Best menagerie: Wake Forest. Eleven players on the cover. Not bad at all. See if you can't get a team photo next year, Deacs.

Sweatiest mass of humanity. Bud Thacker, Florida State. This man threatened the Covey Awards committee to give him something, so we came up with that.

Before we go, I'd like to thank Clemson and North Carolina for coming tonight. I'm certain they'll take home an award just as soon as they make their covers more mockable.

Speaking of covers and mockability, please get on your feet and enjoy the following rendition of "Wheel in the Sky."...

Weather Journal

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