LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — There are only five teams left in the Under Armour College Bass National Championship, and all of them are starting from scratch for the final on Saturday.
Two days of practice and two days of tournament fishing have come down to eight hours on the Arkansas River to decide who will be college bass fishing's national champion.
Before the takeoff on Saturday morning, ESPNOutdoors.com and CollegeBass.com chased down the final five and asked them one question: What would it mean for you to win the national championship today?
Virginia Tech University
Scott Wiley and Brett Thompson
Miles from V-Tech to Little Rock: 759
Thompson: "It would mean a whole lot to us as a club. We just got started here in March and we've fished a couple tournaments since then, and we've been working our way up. Every time we fish a tournament, we learn something new. To be able to go in and come out as the number one team, I think that would be awesome."
Wiley: "We just started tournament fishing this year. To win one would be awesome. There are a lot of anglers out here with a lot of experience — we're just reservoir fishermen from home. It would be something to go on the river, catch a limit and win this thing today."
University of Oklahoma
Chip Porché and Matt Pangrac
Miles from OU to Little Rock: 348
Porché: I probably couldn't put it words. After all the stuff that has happened this week and all the stuff we went through to get here — not just the boat wreck, but there's been a lot of stuff since that, too. I think most of it would go to my dad, even though Matt and I have done all the work on the water. His support has been awesome."
Pangrac: "I think it would be awesome for the Big 12 and our fishing club. We've always had the talent but a lot of tournaments haven't gone our way. It's just kind of cool to finally do what we know we're capable of doing. It's something that, as soon as you qualify for it, you start looking forward to it. I've been looking forward to this tournament for four months. It's cool to get a game plan and go out and execute on it, so hopefully we can do that for one more day."
University of Louisiana — Lafayette
Cody McCrary and William Carstens
Miles from UL — Lafayette to Little Rock: 429
Carstens: "It would mean the world to me. This would be my dream. I've been watching bass fishing ever since I was little and it's been a goal of mine to get here. It has meant so much to both of us to done what we've done the past two days and make it to the final day."
McCrary: "It would mean as much to me as just about any tournament I have ever fished. We're fishing against very strong competition from all across the country. Really, just to make it into the top five, just to get here, has been really awesome. And to win it on top of that would just be a dream come true."
Mississippi State University
Cal Clark and Sam Lawrence
Miles from Mississippi State to Little Rock: 307
Clark: "It would mean a lot. People think that because you're in college you can't make decisions on your own. We tried to get some help coming down here, and there were two guys that helped us out a lot. It would mean more to show everybody what we're capable of. My mom called me crying last night. She was at school watching, but she couldn't hear it, so my sister put the phone on her computer so my mom could hear us at the weigh-in."
Lawrence: "We'd like to win it for our parents who have been going out of their way to help us. They got us a lot of equipment and helped us out with gas — we can't afford to do these trips on our own. We're not sponsored, so everything comes out of pocket."
University of Iowa
John Haynes and Tyler Mehrl
Miles from Iowa to Little Rock: 647
Haynes: "It would mean a heck of a lot to win. I've never been in anything close to this big, so if I could win the first one, it would be awesome. We're really happy to be here today because we only brought in two keepers yesterday, so we'd really like to improve on that today and get the win."
Mehrl: "It would mean a lot to win — especially for the club as well as me personally. Our best fishing has been in the Big 10 Classic, where we have finished second and third before. And that is with eight teams — to win it out of 36 teams would be amazing."
The 2007 event will be televised on ESPNU on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. ET and Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. ET; and on ESPN2 on Nov. 2 at 5 a.m. ET. Weigh-ins will also be streamed live daily to ESPNoutdoors.com.