What if you walk into the Wake Forest football stadium Saturday and you see gold and black signs hanging everywhere, and 600 font letters on the endzone jumbotron with the words “Santino’s Italian Army.” You’ll think to yourself, hey, that reminds me of the 1970s when in Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh fans would hang those “Franco’s Italian Army” signs to hail Franco Harris.
What if on Saturday, feeling hungry, you go to the concession stand and notice there are no more hot dogs, nachos and dippin’ dots but rather a royal flush of Italian delights: meat lasagna, rigatoni and meatballs, and mushroom ravioli.
At every concession stand.
To honor our new quarterback, the Italian Stallion, the Great Santino Marucci.
What if you enter the stadium and see there’s a boxing match going on, the undercard event before the Wake v. Florida State football game? You see Rocky Balboa at age 67 boxing with the Demon Deacon and Rocky yells “Yo Santino” because he loves Santino Marucci now more than Adrian because the Great Santino is the latest Italian entertainer to hit the big stage and Adrian isn’t at the game.
What if you went into the locker room before the game and noticed a fiery Al Pacino giving the same speech as this one he gave during the movie “Any Given Sunday” but Pacino titles it “Any Given Saturday” for this game because it’s a Saturday 12 noon kickoff on ABC.
What if he starts yelling like a maniac “we gotta fight like hell for that one inch and the Great Santino is gonna give us that extra inch we need to win this ballgame today against the enemy, the bad guys, the team that has an Indian ride out on our field on a horse and drive a spear into the logo in the middle of our field. Nobody drives a spear into our logo. Not on any given Saturday and not this given Saturday.”
What if College GameDay, before kickoff, compares the mystery of who will start for Wake Forest at quarterback this weekend to two of the greatest mysteries in human history, namely who shot JR and where was Jimmy Hoffa buried.
What if during the half-time show the lights get dimmed, the field is made to look like the dance floor in “Saturday Night Fever,” and John Travolta rides in on the Deacon motorcycle, steps off in his 70s disco look, and starts dancing with the Wake Forest cheerleaders to “Night Fever” and “How Deep is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.
What if during the game Wake Forest abandons its creation, the delayed run pass option mesh (DRPOM), and instead embraces its new strategy, the zero yards and a cloud of dust (ZYAACOD) strategy, because Florida State prepared all week to stop the DRPOM.
What if Florida State gets so tired and bored stopping the ZYAACOD offensive scheme that for one play Wake switches to the old reliable DRPOM and hits Cam Hite for a 12 yard skinny post over the middle with 12 seconds to play to win the game, making the Great Santino, Sly, Pacino, Travolta, and freshman tight end Vinny Marino instant household names across Italy because it will be the highest ranked team – 4th – Wake Forest has ever beaten in football.
What if after the game, with the field all stormed up with students and lifelong Wake fans such as TJack, campus caterers wheel out a spontaneous pasta party, and back on campus all the fraternities throw spontaneous Italian theme parties and serve nothing but Italian beer in kegs and meatballs to be stabbed with toothpicks and dipped in Ragu Sauce.
What if after the game the Great Santino, the hero of the game for the second straight week, says at the press conference that he’s done with being a superstar at quarterback and now wants to show all he can do at safety and running back for the Demon Deacons. And Coach Clawson says “The Great Santino Is Our Hero.”
What if all this happens. What if Wake Forest beats Florida State. What if all Italians everywhere, including those in Italy, tune in to the game and then march down the streets of Venice and Rome chanting “The Great Santino is Our Hero.”
What if you see all this, and experience all this, and feel all this, and do all this, and eat all this – on Saturday.
What if Wake improves its record to five and three, then runs off wins against Duke, NC State, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.
What if they finish with six straight wins, go to the Italian Bowl, and the Great Santino makes an appearance on College GameDay and the entire crowd of tens of thousands claim to be card carrying members of “Santino’s Italian Army.”
What if Wake Forest Magazine makes the Great Santino the cover story on its next edition and copies sell out so they have to do another print run of tens of thousands more copies. What if the Quad gets rolled with thousands of strings of spaghetti noodles.
What would you do if all this comes true? Go to Italy? Roll the Quad? Take a ride on the Deacon Cycle? Eat three or four plates of rigatoni?
What if you went home and wrote a poem about The Great Santino and emailed it to the Old Gold & Black and they published it on Monday and the Great Santino texted you saying “thanks for joining Santino’s Italian Army.”
What if you told your friends you saw Rocky fight, Pacino coach, Travolta dance, and the Great Santino lead his team to another monumental victory.
What if your friends didn’t believe you, or didn’t care, or weren’t aware.
You wouldn’t care.
As long as Wake beat Florida State everything would be great.
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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