Thursday, April 07, 2011

April 7th, And Lehigh Spring Football Is In Full Swing

(Photo Credit: Matt Smith/The Express-Times)

These days, some form of sports entertainment is always going on. The Super Bowl.  The men's and women's NCAA tournaments in basketball.  Baseball's opening day.  Even arena ball's season has kicked off with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.

It doesn't excuse my missing the start of spring practice for Lehigh football - you know, what this blog is supposedly about - but it is, in large part, one of the big reasons.

Now deep into six practices, Lehigh's spring is well under way towards creating the team which Mountain Hawk fans will be cheering for in the fall.  It's about shaking off the rust from the offseason so far, developing the gameplans, starting lineups, and teamwork necessary for an eleven game season (and, hopefully, beyond).

Based on the huge (and somewhat unexpected) success of last year, you might think that, at some level, the players might come into spring practice with a bit of the edge off, maybe a little bit loose.  Based on all reports - including my communication with head coach Andy Coen - that appears to be anything but the case. (more)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Final Four Run = Football in VCU's Future?

The power of the Final Four run by the Rams cannot be underestimated for that school, and the Colonial Athletic Association, the conference which is the home of the Rams in all sports.

As I've argued previously, at a bare minimum it has to make a wider pool of schools at least mull over the idea of moving their schools to the CAA.

But what's extremely interesting to think about is the affect that the Rams' run might have on them sponsoring a football team.

What's known is the CAA and Virginia Commonwealth will benefit in a variety of ways by their run - either through NCAA financial shares, based on NCAA Tournament wins, or through increased "exposure" and the donor money that (sometimes) comes through a title run.

With the money and "exposure" - and some old-fashioned jealousy - I think the groundwork is in place for Ram football to start CAA play sooner rather than later.  (more)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Reflections on the NCAA Tournament, Butler, Bucknell and the CAA

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos, Pool/The Kansas City Star)

In all honesty, I blame myself for making my wife disillusioned with the Butler Bulldogs.

All week I had been talking "Butler"-this, "Butler"-that around my house.  Crooning about the small school that could, the private school with decent academics that graduates its athletes.  I even went with the "Rocky" references, of all things, comparing UConn's introductions to Appollo Cree's parade into the Spectrum.  Forget the fact I spent a lot of years in Connecticut.  I wanted Butler to win, bad, and so did my wife.

With about eight minutes to play, the love of my life could stand no more.  "They're throwing the game!", she said as F Matt Howard missed his umpteenth point-blank shot.  "How can you miss that many shots?  They're losing on purpose!"

I lasted only a little longer than she did in the 53-41 defeat, but Butler's disappointing finish should not obscure some of the great aspects of this tournament for the "little guys".  I think I did manage to convince her that Butler did not lose the game on purpose - and that the announcers crying about a defensive battle in the championship game really missed the brilliance of Jim Calhoun's strategy of disrupting the Bulldogs' offense.(more)
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