Argos' miracle run leads to championship game
One month ago, the University of West Florida (UWF) football team was sweating out the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) playoff selection show. They had just beaten West Georgia to finish off their regular season and were hoping they'd done just enough to get in.
At that, they were making history. They are the first second-year program ever to make the NCAA playoffs, but history is full of largely forgotten sidebars.
It was instantly apparent the Argos weren't interested in being a historical footnote.
The original Argonauts of myth embodied the uniquely Greek quality - "Arete" or excellence.
Head Coach Pete Shinnick made it the mantra for this team, and so they embarked on their Odyssey, respecting all and fearing none.
On Saturday, UWF dispatched the mythical number one team in the nation - IUP, which brings them to this Saturday's national championship game.
The opponent, with a terrific run defense and a quarterback who throws for 350 yards a game, although, not without incident.
However, the Argos have come too far to be overly impressed by the next challenge.
In the navy nuance of classical Greek, "Arete" is also defined as making the most of your talents. These Argos have certainly done that.
Do it once more, and they will enter the realm of myth.
"I always wanted to play in a national championship, always wanted to do this, but I don't know how you can dream of this," said Argos' freshman quarterback Mike Beaudry.
"Fun. That's how it feels, fun," Shinnick said. "This group is a fun group. We can spend another week together. That's fun."
The Argos will leave Thursday morning to Kansas City this time to play against Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Channel 3 will be sending a crew with them. Steve Nissim begins his reports for the national championship Thursday evening.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday at 5 p.m.