Morris: Card stunts shuffle back into popularity

September 22, 2013 

CARD STUNTS once were commonplace on college football Saturdays around the country. They continue today on a regular basis at California and Illinois home games, but they are making a comeback at N.C. State games in Raleigh.

N.C. State produced the third such card show since 2006 between the first and second quarter of the Wolfpack’s Thursday night game against Clemson. Eight sections of the East stands first produced a massive Wolfpack head logo by holding up cards, then flipped them to spell out this year’s marketing slogan for the football program: “This Is Our State.”

“It’s been extremely well received,” said Chris Alston, N.C. State’s assistant athletics director for marketing. “The first time we did it, it was such a surprise to (the fans). But it went over so well, we were asked by fans if we were going to do another one.”

N.C. State’s first card stunt occurred for a 2008 Thursday night game against Florida State, and the next one happened for a 2010 Thursday night game against Cincinnati.

To pull off the complicated stunt, N.C. State has employed, a Florida-based company whose card shows have been featured in three Super Bowl halftime shows, two World Series games, dozens of NASCAR races and the Today Show, according to its website.

N.C. State develops the concept it wants to display and sends a seating chart to, which figures out which color of cards need to be placed on what seats. Thirty volunteers spend about five hours the day before the game taping each card to a specific seat.

At the end of the first quarter, ushers in the eight sections urge everyone to remain in their seats. Then eight members of the N.C. State ROTC lead one section each, with assistance from the public address announcer, as the cards are held over each fan’s head, then flipped.

The show cost N.C. State $19,000, although the ACC paid a portion of that to help promote its Thursday night games on TV.

Not all card shows have gone as planned over the years. For the 2004 Harvard-Yale football game, a group of Yale students distributed cards into the Harvard section of fans. When the Harvard fans held up the cards, they read “WE SUCK.”

NCAA tournament

Five teams were eliminated in round four of the NCAA football tournament, leaving the field with 35 teams that could still reach the BCS National Championship game.

Those eliminated this week include: N.C. State (by a loss to Clemson), Michigan State (lost to Notre Dame), West Virginia (lost to Maryland), Arizona State (lost to Stanford), and Arkansas (lost to Rutgers).

Normally, an SEC team can sustain one loss and remain in the tournament field, but because Arkansas’ first loss of the season came at the hands of Rutgers, the Razorbacks were eliminated.

Tick tock

As a follow-up to last week’s look at elapsed times of games in college football compared to those in the NFL, it is worth examining one more week of games.

There were 13 NFL games played a week ago, but two were delayed by storms and another went into overtime. The 10 other games were completed in an average time of 3:10.

The nine games involving SEC teams on Saturday averaged 3:24, with Alabama’s win against Colorado State lasting exactly three hours, and the LSU-Auburn going for 3:43.

Stat bonanza

Because there were so many lopsided games over the weekend, there were many statistical oddities that jumped out of box scores. ... Baylor became the first team since LSU in 1930 to score 60 or more points in its first three games. The Bears have beaten Wofford, 69-3, Buffalo 70-13 and Louisiana Monroe 70-7. In 1930, LSU opened the season with wins over South Dakota Wesleyan 76-0, Louisiana Tech 71-0 and Southwest Louisiana 85-0.

Florida A&M was inept in its 76-0 loss to No. 4 Ohio State. The Rattlers managed two first downs, 50 yards rushing on 23 attempts and 30 yards passing. Even more futile was Florida International’s offense in its 72-0 loss to No. 7 Louisville. The Golden Panthers also counted two first downs to go with 3 yards rushing on 34 attempts and 27 yards passing on four completions.

Wofford normally does not attempt many passes, but a rain storm during Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Gardner-Webb in Spartanburg hindered the Terriers passing attack even further. Wofford completed one pass to its receiver for 5 yards and one pass to a Gardner-Webb defender. Otherwise, there were five incomplete passes.