Friday, October 30, 2009

NCAA: WVU freshman must sit 20 games

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The NCAA has benched West Virginia freshman forward Deniz Kilicli for the first 20 games of the basketball season after determining he violated an amateurism rule.
West Virginia said Friday that the NCAA determined Kilicli played on a Turkish team during the 2007-08 season that included a professional player, which isn’t allowed under NCAA rules.
Kilicli, a native of Istanbul, attended Mountain State Academy in Beckley in 2008-09.
Coach Bob Huggins declined to comment on the NCAA ruling.
No. 8 West Virginia opens exhibition play on Nov. 8.

College pregame notes

Washington & Jefferson

Ah, isn't it nice to go into a weekend when the outcome of a W&J football game is not in question. Face it, the PAC is weak this year, well, nearly every year. But the two best teams in the conference meet Saturday at Cameron Stadium. There should be more weekends like this for the Presidents. It's a testament to the talented players on this team that their average margin of victory hovers around three touchdowns . . . for the decade.

Thomas More is tough, physical, quick and athletic. W&J shares those qualities. These games tend to bring out the best in players. Last season, quarterback Bobby Swallow nearly single-handedly rallied W&J to a victory. But the 35-29 loss to the Saints made W&J forfeit possession of the PAC title.

The winner of this game will no doubt make the playoffs. The loser should also get in, but it's better not to leave that to someone else to decide. This game probably comes down to how well the Jacob Bloomhuff-led defense of W&J does in stopping the Cordario Collier-led offense of Thomas More.

This is one game you don't want to miss.

Opponent: Thomas More
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Cameron Stadium
Records: W&J is 7-0, 3-0 in the PAC. Thomas More is 7-0, 5-0 in the PAC.
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Television: None
Games remaining: at Bethany, Waynesburg


How things have turned for California Unviversity's football team. Many left the Vulcans for dead after a Week 2 loss to Bloomsburg. Just eight weeks later, Cal can make it to the State Game for the second straight season against an unexpected opponent in Shippensburg.

Much of it has to do with the development of quarterback Josh Portis, who has been sensational over the last seven games, all victories. He has thrown 21 touchdowns, tops in the conference, and has been intercepted just once in the last 27 quarters. Windell Brown's return to health has sparked the running game.

Even the defense is better, allowing just five touchdowns in the past three games. Trinity graduate Ben Jennings will try to dent that defense as a starting running back for the Lakers.

A win in this game and Cal will sew up the PSAC West Division title for the fifth straight season. The Vulcans will travel to Shippensburg for the State Game and most probably will enter the NCAA Division II playoffs after that.

Opponent: Mercyhurst
When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Adamson Stadium in California
Records: Cal is 7-2, 6-0 in the PSAC. Mercyhurst is 4-5, 3-3 in the PSAC.
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Television: FSN
Games remaining: at State Game


With the two most prolific quarterbacks in the conference getting together Saturday, the only thing that might stop these offenses is the end zone. Look for a shootout. Waynesburg is allowing an average of 32 points per game, Grove City 30.

Andrew DiDonato, a graduate of South Fayette, holds every oassing record worth having at Grove City. He leads the conference with an average of 280 total yards per game.

Brad Dawson is tops in passing yardage per game (275), touchdowns (19) and total passing yards (1,925).

Take the over.

Opponent: Grove City
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Thorn Field in Grove City
Records: Waynesburg is 4-3, 1-2 in the PAC. Grove City is 2-5, 1-2 in the PAC.
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.7
Television: None
Games remaining: Thiel, at W&J

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cal women favorite in PSAC West

Having its third head coach in as many seasons doesn't change the expectations for the California University women's basketball program. The Vulcans, coming off a 29-5 season that included a trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, are favored to win the PSAC West Division title, according to league's preseason coaches poll that was released Thursday.

California returns it's two leading scorers from last season, Brooque Williams (21.9 ppg) and Kayla Smith (16.0). They will be playing for new head coach Mark Swasey, who is no stranger to success. Swasey guided Franklin Pierce (N.H.) to 29 wins and the Division II championship game last season. Franklin Pierce defeated the Vulcans in the national quarterfinals.

Gannon was picked to finish second in the West followed by Indiana, Edinboro, Mercyhurst, Clarion, Slippery Rock and Lock Haven. California received five of eight first-pace votes. The East Division favorite is West Chester, which edged Millersville and Kutztown.

The Indiana men are the favorite in the West. The Crimson Hawks received five of eight first-place votes. Indiana has three preseason all-conference picks returning from a 22-8 team and is bolstered by the addition of 6-8 Akida McLain, a transfer who played in 40 games for Boston College.

California, hoping to bounce back from a 13-13 season, was picked to finish second followed by Gannon, Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst, Edinboro, Clarion and Lock Haven. Kutztown edged West Chester and Mansfield for the top spot in the East.

The preseason polls:

PSAC West Division Men
1. Indiana (5)
2. California (1)
3. Gannon (1)
4. Slippery Rock
5. Mercyhurst (1)
6. Edinboro
7. Clarion
8. Lock Haven

PSAC West Division Women
1. California (5)
2. Gannon (2)
3. Indiana
4. Edinboro (1)
5. Mercyhurst
6. Clarion
7. Slippery Rock
8. Lock Haven

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

W&J women picked to win PAC

Washington & Jefferson, with three returning starters from last year's NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament team, has been picked to finish first in the Presidents' Athletic Conference preseason poll of coaches, sports information directors and media.

W&J received 14 of 22 first-place votes and 179 points to edge defending PAC champion Thomas More by a single point. Thomas More, which won two games in the NCAA tournament last year, returns only one starter. The Saints received 10 first-place votes. No team other than W&J and Thomas More received a first-place vote.

"It is truly an honor to receive this type of recognition, especially in a conference as competitive as the PAC," said W&J coach Jina DeRubbo. "While the
honor of being picked first is great, we will still need to show up week in and week out in conference play."

Defending PAC champion Thomas More was picked to repeat as the men's champion. The Saints received 15 first-place votes and 147 points to edge W&J and Bethany. The Presidents received five first-place votes and Bethany had three. The other first-place vote went to Grove City.

The polls:
1. Thomas More (15) 147 points
2. Washington & Jefferson (4) 115
3. Bethany (3) 112
4. Grove City (1) 89
5. Westminster 88
6. Thiel 56
7. Waynesburg 37

1. Washington & Jefferson (14) 179 points
2. Thomas More (10) 178
3. Grove City 117
4. Westminster 96.5
5. Bethany 95
6. Waynesburg 91
7. Chatham 59.5
8. Thiel 48

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New baseball field at Waynesburg

The Waynesburg University baseball team will have a new home next spring.

Construction began earlier this month on a new baseball field for the Yellow Jackets. The complex will be located off Route 21 west of Waynesburg, next to the Waynesburg softball field.

The project will allow the Yellow Jackets to move from their previous facility, Madison Field, which they shared with Waynesburg High School, adult and youth baseball organizations and youth soccer teams. Sharing of the field has been a problem at Waynesburg for decades.

“I think I speak for the entire team when I say that we are elated to be able to come into parity with some other institutions that we compete against,” fifth-year head coach Mike Humiston said. “We have a facility that we can use to showcase the talents of players we have.

“I’m excited about it. I only go down there three, four times a day. If they would let me drive the grader or the backhoe or the dump truck, I’m definitely all in.”

The entire infield, including the base lines, will be made out of FieldTurf. The infield “grass” will be a traditional green color while the baselines will be colored to look like the infield dirt. The only parts on the infield featuring dirt will be the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box. For those familiar with the Frontier League, this is the same setup used by the Lake Erie Crushers.

The left-field line will run a little more than 320 feet, while the right-field line will be around 340 with center field at 400 feet. The field will feature a 12-foot high wall from left field to center and an eight-foot wall from center to right.

“I think every field has an air of uniqueness, and this is ours,” Humiston said. “With the way our field is laid out, this is going to set us apart.”

The turf instillation should be completed by the first week of November. The dugouts are expected to be built during the winter.

Last year, field issues and poor weather forced the Yellow Jackets to play their first three home games at Mylan Park in Morgantown, W.Va.

“The scheduling problems from last year caused us not only budgetary problems, but problems for our fans. We had to play a lot of games in Morgantown, and they couldn’t always go to see us,” Humiston said. “Now we’re just a mile and a half off campus, and we’re very excited about playing on it this season.”

The Jackets will debut the new facility March 25, when they host Presidents’ Athletic Conference rival Thiel.

The Waynesburg softball team is having its field upgraded with new bleachers and improvements to the infield. The tennis teams will also have new courts built right between the baseball and softball fields. They are expected to be completed by the 2010 seasons.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

California Hall of Fame inductees

California University inducted its 2009 class for the sports hall of fame this month. This group included front row, from left: J. Patrick Hobart 1968; Becky Siembak 2004; Joe Sarra 1960; and Chad Scott 1993. Back row from left: Bryan Hartung 2003; President Angelo Armenti, Jr.; Marty Uher; and Sameera Philyaw 2004.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

College pregame notes

Washington & Jefferson

The Presidents had two weeks to prepare for last week's game against Saint Vincent, but it was obvious their hearts and minds were somewhere else, most likely thinking about a showdown against Thomas More Oct. 31 W&J did not play well on a mud-soaked Chuck Noll Field, needing a defensive score to put the Bearcats away in the fourth quarter. It's the first time this season the Presidents appeared vulnerable.

But we can cut them some slack. It's difficult to be emotionally stoked for a winless team. Westminster is more talented and can turn another poor performance by W&J into a devastating loss. The Presidents' defense played well and the muddy field conditions hurt the offense. Look for the Presidents to play better against the Titans, even if Thomas More is still in their thoughts.

Opponent: Westminster
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Burry Stadium in New Wilmington
Records: W&J is 6-0, 2-0 in the PAC. Westminster is 3-4, 2-2 in the PAC.
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Television: None
Games remaining: at Westminster, Thomas More, at Bethany, Waynesburg


The Vulcans are coming off their most impressive showing of the season, a 38-14 victory over Edinboro. Tailback Windell Brown (ankle sprain) returned to the form he showed last season by rushing for a career-best 148 yards and scoring two touchdowns against the Fighting Scots. Quarterback Josh Portis continues his strong showing, and seems to be understanding his role in the offense better each week.

But the best part about the win over Edinboro was the strong play of the defense, which gave up a combined 59 points against Clarion and Indiana. Slippery Rock doesn't present the type of problems Edinboro does. The Rock's quarterback Rocco Colavecchio has passed for a lot of yards but has more interceptions than touchdowns. Slippery Rock's defense has given up 78 points over the last two games, both losses.

Cal has a chance to right the ship after opening the season with two losses and playing a poor first half before rallying to beat West Chester.

Opponent: Slippery Rock
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Where: Thompson Stadium in Slippery Rock
Records: Cal is 6-2, 5-0 in the PSAC. Slippery Rock is 5-3, 2-3 in the PSAC.
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Television: None
Games remaining: at Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst, PSAC game


Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, the defense is as bad as the offense is good. That's why they are a .500 team heading into a game against Bethany. The defense is giving up a whopping 416 yards per game, which is why the Yellow Jackets have lost two of the last three games. Injuries have been a problem, but every team has injuries at this point.

The frustrating part for Waynesburg is that the defensive failures leave little room for error from the offense. Quarterback Brad Dawson is having a strong year but even though he is helping the Yellow Jackets score 36 points per game, the defense is allowing 31.

Opponent: Bethany
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Wiley Stadium in Waynesburg
Records: Waynesburg is 3-3, 0-2 in the PAC. Bethany is 2-4, 1-3 in the PAC.
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.9
Television: None
Games remaining: Bethany, at Grove City, Thiel, at W&J

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Villanova tabbed as Big East favorite

Villanova, coming off its first Final Four appearance in 25 years, was the pick in the Big East Conference men's basketball preseason poll with West Virginia second and Connecticut third. They were the only schools to receive first-place votes from the 16 coaches.

The Big East held its annual preseason media day Wednesday in New York.

Villanova, which received 10 first-place votes from the league's coaches, boasts a deep backcourt led by senior Scottie Reynolds. West Virginia's No. 2 position is the highest in the preseason poll for the Mountaineers since they joined the league for the 1995-96 season. WVU, which had five first-place votes, has four starters returning.

Notre Dame senior forward Luke Harangody joined Georgetown great Patrick Ewing as the only players to be chosen Big East preseason player of the year more than once.

The 6-8 Harangody, who led the conference in scoring last season and was second in rebounding. He was the Big East player of the year as a sophomore and was the preseason choice last season.

Harangody averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds as a first-team all-conference pick last season. Joining him on the six-man preseason first team were seniors Deonta Vaughn of Cincinnati, Lazar Hayward of Marquette, Scottie Reynolds of Villanova and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia, and sophomore Greg Monroe of Georgetown.

Lance Stephenson of Cincinnati was selected preseason rookie of the year.

Connecticut, which also reached the Final Four last season, received one first-place vote. Louisville, the defending regular-season and tournament champion, was fourth followed by Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, St. John's, Marquette, Providence, South Florida, Rutgers and DePaul.

1 Villanova (10) 218
2 West Virginia (5) 215
3 Connecticut (1) 185
4 Louisville 179
5 Georgetown 161
6 Syracuse 152
7 Cincinnati 135
8 Notre Dame 132
9 Pitt 119
10 Seton Hall 110
11 St. John's 82
12 Marquette 78
13 Providence 52
14 USF 44
15 Rutgers 43
16 DePaul 15

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Officiating crew almost cost bettors

Big East Conference officials working last Saturday's Louisville-Connecticut football game wrongly allowed the Cardinals to attempt an extra-point kick with no time left on the clock. The move nearly proved costly to bettors in Las Vegas who were backing the Huskies.

Connecticut was 12 1/2-point favorite at kickoff and covering the spread after Jordan Todman scored on a two-yard run with 3:13 remaining, giving the Huskies a 38-19 lead.

Louisville drove down the field on its final possession and scored on a four-yard pass from Adam Froman to Blayne Donnell as time expired, cutting Connecticut's lead to 13 points at 38-25.

The officiating crew then wrongly allowed Ryan Payne to attempt the conversion kick. Much to the relief of those backing Connecticut, Payne missed the extra point, keeping the Huskies a pointspread winner.

Payne should not have been given the opportunity to kick because of Rule 8-3-2a:

If a touchdown is scored during a down in which time in the fourth period expires, the try shall not be attempted unless the point(s) would affect the outcome of the game.

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Athletic programs seeing red

Here's some interesting pieces from an Associated Press story about major college athletic department finances:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Most of the nation’s college athletic departments are still trying to get out of the red zone.
The NCAA’s latest report on revenues and expenses, released Tuesday, showed that fewer than 25 percent of all Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money in 2007-08, while the remaining 302 schools competing in Division I struggled to break even.
Twenty-five of 119 FBS schools reported overall profits, an increase from 19 in 2006.
The report’s author, Dan Fulks, the faculty representative at Transylvania University, described the results as a basic lesson in college sports’ class system.
“If you’re not selling a bunch of tickets and you don’t have a large alumni-booster base making contributions, and you’re not in the right conference, you have very little chance of showing net positive revenue,” Fulks said in a statement on the NCAA’s web site.
The NCAA collected data from 2004 through 2008 but did not identify individual schools or teams in the report.

... The greatest expenses, as usual, are scholarships, salaries and benefits.
Football coaches in the FBS now have a median annual salary of $1.095 million, according to the report. Men’s basketball coaches are making $822,000 while women’s basketball coaches are paid $277,000.

... Of the 119 FBS football teams, 68 (57.1 percent) finished the year in the black. Of the 119 FBS schools playing men’s basketball, 67 made a profit. But only one of those same 119 schools made money in women’s basketball in 2008.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Mid-season analysis

With the football season at the midway point, it's time to take a look at the three area football teams, how they've done and where they're going:


What most fans remember about this season is the opening two losses, the first to Saginaw Valley State and the following week against Bloomsburg. In those games, quarterback Josh Portis did not play well and tailback Windell Brown was lost with a sprained ankle.
Since the loss to Bloomsburg, Portis has played great, he has not thrown an interception in his last 120 attempts, a span covering 19 quarters. He has 19 touchdowns, four interceptions and 1,425 yards. Cal has won five in a row and appears to be headed back to the playoffs, except . . .
The West Division of the PSAC appears to be weak this year. Indiana is down and even Edinboro, with a 6-1 record, has not really dominated.
Somewhat lost with the offensive problems is the defense not playing up to expectations. The loss of nose tackle Sam Fikaris a few weeks ago hurt but the secondary has beem scorched for 184 yards per game and opposing quarterbacks are completing nearly 60 percent of the passes.
Brown needs to stay healthy because backup Freddy Bacco is a good complementary runner but not effective enough to carry the running game.
Cal will get a chance to play Bloomsburg again.

Opponent: Edinboro
When: 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Adamson Stadium in California
Records: California is 5-2, 4-0 in the PSAC. Edinboro is 6-1, 4-0 in the PSAC.
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Television: FSN
Games remaining: Edinboro, at Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst, PSAC game.

Washington & Jefferson

One might think that a team that has a rotation system at tailback and quarterback would struggle on offense. But that hasn't been the case for the Presidents. Gino Rometo and Steven Shumaker have made a very good 1-2 punch at quarterback. The Presidents are only fourth in the PAC in passing at 247 yards per game. But that stat is misleading because W&J is tied with Thomas More for the rushing lead at 184 per game.
Terrence McAllister, Derek Taylor and Brian Baldrige have combined for 791 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Almost lost in those numbers is how well the defense has played. Maybe the best game came two weeks ago when Grove City record-setting quarterback Dave DiDonato was held without a touchdown and intercepted twice. Defensive end Jacob Bloomhuff is having an outstanding season with nine quarterback sacks and seven tackles for losses. The secondary has produced seven interceptions.
Everything comes down to an Oct. 31 home game against Thomas More, which beat W&J last year to win the PAC title.
The Presidents can get into the NCAA Division III playoffs with one loss, as they did last season. The PAC is not especially strong and an emotional home game against Waynesburg is probably all that stands in the way of the Presidents and an undefeated season if they beat Thomas More.

Opponent: Saint Vincent
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Where: Saint Vincent
Records: W&J is 5-0, 2-0 in the PAC. Saint Vincent is 0-6.
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Television: None
Games remaining: at Saint Vincent, at Westminster, Thomas More, at Bethany, Waynesburg

Waynesburg University

Just when you thought Waynesburg was ready to make a big move up in the PAC, a game like last week's loss to Westminster popped up. The kickoff was pushed back 30 minutes because Waynesburg arrived late because of construction on the interstate.
It went downhill from there.
The Yellow Jackets' defense gave up 562 yards against the Titans, 220 more than Westminster had averaged through the season. Waynesburg's pass defense is last in the conference, scoring defense is eighth out of nine, and run defense is sixth. Opponents are gaining an average of nearly six yards per play.
Quarterback Brad Dawson is having an outstanding season, completing 57 percent of his passes for 1,529 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's been intercepted just three times. If it weren't for him, Waynesburg would be a sub-.500 team.
The backfield rotation of Jamelle Bowers, Justin Falcon and Billy Becker gives different looks but none is averaging more than 49 yards per game.
Josh Fisher is having a great year at wide receiver with six touchdown catches and Ray Hightower is one of the most underrated receivers in the conference.
Offense isn't the problem. The defense is. And if it continues to allow yardage at this rate, more games such as Westminster might be ahead.

Opponent: Geneva
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Wiley Stadium in Waynesburg
Records: Waynesburg is 3-2, 0-2 in the PAC. Geneva is 4-1.
On the air: WCYJ-FM 88.9
Television: None
Games remaining: Geneva, Bethany, at Grove City, Thiel, at W&J

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remember, it's only an exhibition...

Most NCAA Division II schools tip-off their basketball seasons with a series of exhibition games against Division I opponents. These games do not count on the official records for either team.

In recent years, the California men have played exhibitions against Maryland, Dayton and Southern Illinois, among others. Next month, the Vulcans will play Miami (Ohio) and Purdue. The California women will play James Madison.

This most interesting/challenging exhibition game for PSAC teams this year involves the IUP women, who will play defending national champion Connecticut on Nov. 10. Connecticut went 39-0 last year.

"It is certainly a tremendous honor for our program to have the chance to play the UConn Huskies," IUP coach Jeff Dow said. "Over the past 15 years, they have been as dominant as any program in the country. It will be a special opportunity for our players to compete against a program the magnitude and national stature of the University of Connecticut.''

The Huskies are led by the reigning national player of the year in Maya Moore.

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Bet on the Big East

According to a study done by Ed Gunther of The National Championship Issue, Big East Conference football teams covered the pointspread an average of 56.3% from 2000-2008. This is the best winning percentage of any conference.

Because of the 10% vigorish Las Vegas sportsbooks charge for wagering on college games, a bettor has to pick winners at a rate of 52.4% to break even. The only other conference to exceed that threshold was the Pacific 10, whose teams covered at a rate of 55.1%.

The best team against the spread was Boise State, covering 63% of the time, followed by Utah (59%), Iowa (58.9%), Oregon State (57.3%) and USC (56.8%). Connecticut was the best ofr the Big east schools, covering at a 55.8% clip.

The worst at covering the spread, among teams that were Division I-A members from 2000-08, was Indiana at only 34.7%.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bill Christy dies

If you have been to a sporting event in the past two decades, then Bill Christy probably had an effect on what you were watching. Christy spent three decades as either an official or official evaluator on the high school and college level. He was instrumental in providing officials to games, a mammoth task that he handled with unusual aplomb.
On Tuesday, Christy died of a heart attack at 67.
Christy lived in Monongahela and was a graduate of Beth-Center High School and California University. He spent much of his life working for the Department of Public Welfare but he made his mark in sports with officials. He evaluated officials in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences, and the NCAA at all levels.
Maybe his most important job was as assigner of officials to events, a task that took a great deal of time and organization. But he made it seem easy.
Christy began officiating high school events in the early 1970s and eventually moved on to evaluating and assigning. One of the bright spots in his career came in 1996, when he worked the NCAA softball championships in Akron.
He was an assigner for the Washington-Greene County basketball officials, Southwestern Pennsylvania volleyball and worked with the Harmon Creek Softball chapter.
A soft-spoken and quiet man, Christy shunned the spotlight. He was smart and confident in his abilities. He spoke often at the Tri-County Athletic Directors Association meetings to help the ADs better organize their officiating crews and explain changes that regularly occurred.
His wife Lorene died in May. They were the parents of twin daughters, Haverly and Tricia, and a son, Christopher Matthew.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time to knock out the whiteouts

Maybe I'm just too old-school, but I've seen enough of the whiteouts, blackouts, gold rushes and every other scheme concocted to get college football fans to dress alike. It's time to deliver a knockout to the fad.

It seems like every nationally televised game has these stupid gimmicks. It was neat when for the first time you saw 100,000 fans at Penn State's Beaver Stadium, pictured, wearing white t-shirts. But after you've seen it 10 or 15 times, the whiteout loses its visual impact. It might impress recruits but it doesn't add anything to the game.

In a recent six-day stretch, college football viewers witnessed a whiteout at Penn State and a gold rush at West Virginia. Then, one day later, Louisville encouraged their fans to shop at the Johnny Cash outlet and dress in all-black for a game against Pitt. It was an attempt to create an intimidating atmosphere. The Panthers were hardly intimidated, though they might have momentarily thought they slipped into a Darth Vader fan convention.

The trend of trying to get a game’s audience unified in a single color is hardly new. Heck, the craze wasn't even started in the United States. The old Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League are credited with starting the whiteout craze back in 1987.

But let's call these gimmicks what they are: a way of getting the fans to buy more school-related merchandise. Have a whiteout, sell more jerseys. You don't even need to have the color be one of your primary uniform colors. Georgia and Florida State each started having blackouts several years ago, though black jerseys were not worn by their football teams until the blackouts started. Jersey sells then skyrocketd at both schools.

When Florida State's Bobby Bowden was asked why the Seminoles were donning black jerseys for the first time, the veteran coach gave an honest answer: "Really, we're doing it for Nike."

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Friday, October 2, 2009

College Pregame Notes

California University

Opponent: Indiana
When: 1 p.m., Sunday
Where: Miller Stadium in Indiana
Records: California is 3-2, 2-0 in the PSAC. Indiana is 3-2, 0-2 in the PSAC.
On the air: WCAL-FM 91.9
Noteworthy: California’s offense appears to have righted itself after struggling in the first two games. Quarterback Josh Portis has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the last 2 1/2 games. … Tailback Freddie Bacco gave Cal its first 100-yard rusher of the season in last week’s 35-31 victory over Clarion, rushing for 114 yards. Windell Brown, who has missed nearly all season with a sprained ankle, is expected to play. The Vulcans also hope to get nose tackle Sam Fikaris back soon. … Mark Domonkos has replaced Kevin Hagerman as placekicker after Hagerman struggled in the early part of the season. … Cal head coach John Luckhardt is three wins from 200 in his career. … Indiana’s main threat is running back Tobias Robinson, who has gained 513 yards and scored three touchdowns. IUP has had trouble scoring, averaging 10 points in the last three games.

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Washington & Jefferson

Opponent: Geneva
When: 2 p.m., Saturday
Where: Cameron Stadium
Records: W&J is 4-0, 2-0 in the PAC. Geneva is 3-0.
Television: None
On the air: WJPA-AM 1450
Noteworthy: W&J has defeated Geneva four consecutive times and has a 35-19-2 lead in the all-time series. Geneva has not defeated W&J since a 19-0 victory at Reeves Field in 1983. … Geneva has defeated Frostburg, Saint Vincent and Thiel but this will be the Golden Tornadoes’ strongest test of the season. … Geneva lost to W&J last season, 43-14. … W&J has played 110 games in this decade and Presidents’ quarterbacks have thrown at least one touchdown pass 103 times. Since 2004, W&J has failed to throw a touchdown pass only three times: against Allegheny in 2004 and 2006, and Millsaps in 2008. … W&J will play its first day game of the season after four night games. Since 2003, W&J is 14-0 under the lights. … The Presidents play their 1,071st game (661-369-40) in history Saturday. They have only lost three times when scoring 31 or more points. All three have come in this decade: 59-42 to Bridgewater in a 2000 NCAA playoff game; 38-35 against in a 2005 overtime game; and 35-34 against North Carolina Wesleyan in a 2007 NCAA playoff game.

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