Aside from all the wonderful, informative content it gives us (e.g. cat videos, the latest on Katy Perry's choice of hair color, policy debates on the gripping issues of the day for example, do Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver think that the Alien movie franchise is scarier than Halloween oeuvre?) it gives college football fans a whole lot more than that.
For those of us that aren't in the Lehigh Valley, it gives us a way to see everything online that you would be able to see on TV if your house happened to be a block from the Goosey Gander. Some of the content is free; some of it isn't. But the quality of the offerings has improved remarkably, even from just last year. That's why I think it's well worth a season pass for the Lehigh Stretch Internet package. (more)
If you want to watch or listen to Lehigh football as it happens, you have a multitude of options depending on what cable service you have, where you live, what broadband access you have and whether you have a 3G mobile phone.
If you live in Bethlehem or Service Electric is your cable provider, you're in luck. Service Electric 2 carries all of Lehigh's home games, and select away games are also carried by WFMZ Channel 69. Mike Zambelli, Steve Degler, and former Lehigh players Marty Horn and Mike Yadush are all a part of the broadcast team that carry the video of the games.
If you are on the road or don't have access to Service Electric 2 in the Valley - or, perhaps, you're out tailgating - then you can tune in ESPN Radio of the Lehigh Valley on AM 1230 or 1320 to catch expert commentary by Matt Kerr, and former players Kody Fedorcha and Marty Horn during the game. Before the game, the team of Matt Markus and Tom Fallon set the stage for each game, and the recap show is a must-listen during that postgame burger or that ride home. If you're around campus, FM 91.3 WLVR, which comes in crystal-clear, is another way to catch the game.
If you don't have Service Electric as your cable provider, you can still watch some live games on TV - the games on WFMZ Channel 69, or you can subscribe to the Fox College Sports channels, premium channels that are generally available on most cable systems across the country (and also on DirecTV). FCS carries some of those games live, but more frequently rebroadcasts them on delay a few games later.
If you subscribe to Lehigh's new Stretch Internet package, though, the world opens up to you.
For just $5 a month for the season, you get eight Lehigh football broadcasts, the entire Lehigh basketball home slate, and a multitude of other live sporting events with live video or live audio. And almost as importantly, they're later available on demand to allow you to time-shift your listen or your viewing of the game.
If you have a Droid or iPhone, it gets even better. Are you stuck driving to Lewisburg for hours, out of range of AM 1230 and 1320 but jonesing for your Lehigh football fix? Are you at Disney in line for Space Mountain, but you're dying to see if Lehigh just scored that go-ahead touchdown? Just tune your phone to Stretch Internet, put on the audio or video, and enjoy.
Granted, I tend to be just a tiny bit more rabid in my love of Lehigh sports, as you've probably guessed. But $5 a month is well worth it to me to get all the football and basketball all year live and on demand. If you have a Droid or iPhone, it's really worth it in my opinion.
In years past for the Friday Water Cooler, I had a list of media links to stories to get fans jacked up for the weekend's Lehigh matchup. Now, if you're on Facebook or Twitter, it's way easier to "Like" the Lehigh Football Nation Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @LFN to get the same information. Plus on the Facebook page you can comment and interact with other Lehigh fans. Less work for me, more fun for you - a tradeoff I like!
In addition, a programming note: I'm separating my Water Cooler and my Patriot League Picks into separate posts, something I should have done eons ago. So look for that a tiny bit later today.
If you have ESPN3 through your cable provider, Lehigh's first opponent, Villanova, will be facing off against FBS Temple at 5:00 PM EST in the second annual "Mayor's Cup". Last year, the first hints of Villanova's eventual dominance at the FCS level were in evidence as the Wildcats upset the Owls 27-24 with a last-second FG from PK Joe Marcoux. The game - featuring the defending national FCS champion, and a very solid mid-major FBS team - should be a great one.
Finally, while the announcement that Drake will be playing the first-ever college football exhibition game in Africa has enthralled the local media, the rest of the media contingent in Iowa has stayed strangely silent on the Mountain Hawks' trip to Des Moines.
The Drake student paper, the Times Delphic, had nothing. The Des Moines Register had a nice story on Africa, but nothing on South Mountain. And aside from a small mention from a YouTube video with the Drake game notes, head coach Chris Creighton only had a bit to say about the upcoming matchup:
"The Patriot League, Lehigh - those are the types of games we need to be playing outside our conference. Phenomenal school academically, and great football. When we went to their place a few years ago, even though it was a monsoon, it was phenomenal environment , football's a big deal there. And they do it right: they don't compromise the academics for the athletics. These days, those kind of programs are hard to find."The message boards, however, are a different story. The Pioneer Football League fan board and Drake Nation (sound familiar?) have some choice words on the game this weekend.
The defense will probably look different than the blogger expects. Injuries and position changes have changed DU's look and the matchups for Saturday. Drake's game notes may be somewhat inaccurate and/or misleading. See Rackley v. Asbell thread.
Nothing like a little trash talk to get the juices flowing.
Lehigh receiver Jake Drwal, from Omaha, will reportedly have 60-70 family and friends coming in on two chartered buses.
What a shame to have that many people disappointed on two buses. Hopefully they will have enough beer to make the sad trip home less eventful---ooops I meant soda pop.