As if claims of a “command center” being used to cheat didn’t cause enough drama surrounding the Arizona State Sun Devils this week, a player worthy of national praise being nationally overlooked certainly added to it.
On Wednesday, ESPN released its midseason All-American team list, riddled with obvious mentions such as Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
However, one name was mysteriously left off of the Worldwide Leader’s group: Sun Devils placekicker, Zane Gonzalez.
Instead, Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson was selected to the team. Carlson has connected on 13 of 14 field goal attempts this season. Gonzalez has made 19 of 20, including an NCAA-high of six from 50 yards or more away.
Sun Devil Nation reacted accordingly, and rationally, to the snub.
Even the official Sun Devil Athletics account had something to say, channeling its inner Kanye West.
Of course, the factual evidence presents a pretty good case for Gonzalez, too.
The day after the social media fracas, ESPN delivered its reasoning for choosing Carlson over Gonzalez, citing the “impact” of Carlson’s points “on a struggling Auburn offense” and even a 20-yard run he had during the Tigers’ 51-14 victory over Arkansas State.
As you could imagine, Sun Devil fans were not having it.
I present the moon, ESPN Explanation pic.twitter.com/gGElF7Im5m— Jedi ASU (@JediASU) October 20, 2016
@BDenny29 I mean if you want to put it that way without Zane we lose to UTSA, UCLA, and possibly Cal. That's a pretty big impact— John Mendoza (@JohnMendozaASU) October 20, 2016
@BDenny29 but he had a 20 yard run in a blowout! *rolls eyes aggressively*— Zac Pacleb (@ZacPacleb) October 20, 2016
Wisely, the writer who made the mistake is taking a moment to allow the outrage to subside before returning to Twitter.
@JediASU writer who made the pick hasn't tweeted since before the team was published— Brad Denny (@BDenny29) October 20, 2016
One thing is clear: Those yonder the Mississippi have learned that Sun Devil Nation is not one to tick off.
You may keep a Heisman Trophy Award out of the hands of a Stanford running back, but keeping the Groza Award from Tempe’s Legatron is a mistake that doesn’t sound like a wise decision.