Monday, January 31, 2011

Urban Meyer joins ESPN

Associated Press

Urban Meyer is joining ESPN as an analyst less than two months after he surprised the college football world by resigning from his plum job as Florida’s coach.
Meyer will call one game a week during the regular season and also serve as a studio analyst, the network said Monday. He’ll start with Wednesday’s signing day coverage.
When he resigned Dec. 8, the 46-year-old Meyer said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He insisted on a conference call his new job wouldn’t get in the way of that, with minimal commitment during the offseason and travel only over the weekend in-season.
“It’s a great opportunity to stay around the game,” he said.
Meyer led Florida to two national titles before resigning in December 2009, citing health concerns. That lasted just a day; a year later, though, he left for good.
He and his family visited ESPN’s studios in Connecticut over the holidays. Meyer, who hasn’t ruled out returning to coaching someday, said he hoped he would like it.
“I not only liked it, I loved it,” he said.
Meyer served as a guest analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the BCS title game. He considered doing nothing with football for a year, but he said: “I don’t sit around very well.”

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The NCAA has selected Sally Walker as one of its four regional softball umpiring advisors.
A Waynesburg native, Walker is athletics director at Urbana (Ill.) University High School. She served as an NCAA umpire from 1995-2009, working four College World Series, five Division I Super Regionals and 11 Division I Regionals. She also worked as an assignor for the NFCA leadoff Classic and is currently the Missouri Valley Conference Coordinator of Umpires.
In 2007, Walker was selected for the Illinois Coaches Association Umpire Hall of Fame in recognition of her work as a high school girls softball umpire. She umpired in an Illinois state championship game for five consecutive years.
On the college level, Walker has umpired regular-season games in the Big Ten, Big 12, Missouri Valley Conference and the Southeastern Conference.
Walker played softball in high school at Waynesburg and in college at West Virginia.

In football
Not many area athletes have had the opportunity to play for an NCAA national championship, but former Canon-McMillan standout Alex Pihakis did this season.
Pihakis is a redshirt freshman defensive lineman for Delaware, which advanced to the Football Championships Series (formerly Division I-AA) national title game. The Blue Hens (12-3) lost to Eastern Washington 20-19 in the championship game in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Pihakis (6-0, 241) played in five games for Delaware and made two tackles, including one for a loss.

In basketball
Emily Correal, a former Observer-Reporter Girls Basketball Player of the Year, scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for William & Mary in an 89-75 loss to James Madison in a Colonial Athletic Association game Jan. 6. The 25 points are a career high for Correal, a sophomore who was a standout in high school at Peters Township.

Andrea Dalton, a senior forward from Washington, is the leading scorer for Pitt-Johnstown’s women’s team.
A Trinity graduate, Dalton is averaging 18.8 points per game, which ranks third in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and 24th in NCAA Division II.
Dalton also leads UPJ in rebounding (8.3) and free-throw percentage (81.8) with the latter ranking fourth in the conference. She recently had a 21-point, 14-rebound performance in UPJ’s 79-67 victory over Ohio Valley.

In track & field
In her first event after having ankle surgery in the summer, IUP’s Brianna Liebold won the long jump competition at in the Al Hall Freedom Games at Edinboro.
Liebold’s jump of 18-10 3/4 inches was the longest in nation in the indoor season for NCAA Division II. Liebold also finished third in the 200 meters (26.87).

In wrestling
West Virginia’s Matt Ryan, a redshirt junior from Eighty Four, has a 14-4 overall record, including an 8-2 mark in dual meets. Ryan, who opened the year with nine consecutive victories, has started every dual meet for the Mountaineers at 184 pounds.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Will Cal on CW be worth seeing?

California University announced this week that it will have two men's-women's basketball doubleheaders televised live this season on Pittsburgh's WPCW. The first is Saturday when the Vulcans host Lock Haven in PSAC West Division contests.

WPCW televised live all of the Vulcans' regular-season home football games last fall. As for basketball, California didn't have much wiggle room with dates, having to settle for two Saturdays. The latter will be Feb. 19 against Gannon, the final regular-season games at Cal's Hamer Hall. California will move into a new on-campus convocation center next season.

The games against Lock Haven shape up to be mere exhibitions for Cal. While Lock Haven's women's team sports a respectable 2-3 division record and 9-7 overall mark, Cal (4-1, 13-4) is chasing the West Division title.

The men's game shapes up as one that will challenge WPCW announcers Stan Savran and Paul Alexander to keep viewers interested. Lock Haven is 0-5 in the PSAC West and 1-15 overall, and is coming off a 111-38 loss at Clarion. In that game, Clarion led 57-11 at halftime and had a 46-0 edge in points off turnovers. Lock Haven forced only four Clarion turnovers and shot 29 percent from the field. Clarion led by 73 points with more than six minutes remaining.

The bad part is the 73-point loss isn't Lock Haven's largest margin of defeat. The Bald Eagles lost by 106 points -- that's right, 106 points! -- to West Liberty (154-48), the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division II. Lock Haven also shot 29 percent from the field in that game and gave up 21 three-pointers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wilcox is PAC Player of Week

Bethany College sophomore forward Nick Wilcox, a Peters Township graduate, has been named the Presidents' Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week.

The 6-3 Wilcox is a Venetia native. In his only game of last week, Wilcox had a double-double with 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and three blocked shots in Bethany's 71-66 road win over Thomas More, which was unbeaten in PAC play. It was Wilcox's second double-double of the season.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Downturn in bowl viewership

Are there simply too many bowl games? There were a record 35 games over 24 days and many of the games featured uncompetitive matchups. The average margin of victory was 15.3 points, the highest in a bowl season since 1997. That made for lousy television ratings.

College football's bowl TV ratings were down 9 percent, according to an analysis of Nielsen Media Research data by the Birmingham News.

Twenty-three of the 33 returning bowls drew fewer viewers than a year ago, including the Champ Sports Bowl (West Virginia vs. North Carolina State). Among the 23 with a decline, 13 plummeted by at least 20 percent.

Two of the bowls that had an increase in viewership were the Outback (Penn State vs. Florida) and BBVA Compass (Pitt vs. Kentucky)

The data is for 34 games. Nielsen did not have rating numbers for the TicketCity Bowl because the game was on ESPNU.

This was the first year of ESPN's four-year deal to broadcast all Bowl Championship Series games and the move to cable impacted ratings. The five BCS games were down an average of 12 percent from last season and tied with 2007 for the BCS' lowest average rating. The move to cable cut off about 15 million homes that don't have cable or satellite.

This despite the BCS National Championship Game – Auburn's win over Oregon – being the highest-rated show in cable TV history. The BCS title game was watched by just more than 27.3 million viewers, which is about 5.5 million more than the previous all-time cable high - a 2009 MNF game between Green Bay and Minnesota. That's a huge number for ESPN. It smashed their previous best for college football.

However, as ratings for the title game were down 14 percent from last year's game between Texas and Alabama that aired on ABC. And the 2011 version of the BCS National Title Game was the fifth-lowest rated out of 13 national championship games.

There were ratings winners. The Outback Bowl featuring Florida and Penn State drew more than the Orange or Fiesta. The Insight Bowl, which was previously telecast by the NFL Network, moved to ESPN and saw a ratings spike of 460 percent.

You can click on each chart for a larger view.

Monday, January 10, 2011

3 Pitt players leaving early, declare for NFL draft

Three members of the Pitt football team will forgo their remaining eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. Junior receiver Jon Baldwin, junior fullback Henry Hynoski and sophomore tailback Dion Lewis announced their decisions to turn pro Monday.

Baldwin, a two-time first-team All-Big East pick, had 53 catches and five touchdowns this past season. His 2,337 career receiving yards rank sixth all-time at Pitt.

Hynoski was Pitt’s starting fullback each of the past two seasons. He carried the ball only 12 times this season for 33 yards but caught 25 passes.

Lewis rushed for 2,860 yards in only two seasons, eclipsing former standout LeSean McCoy’s school record for rushing yards as a freshman and sophomore. (McCoy had 2,816 yards from 2007-08.) Lewis ranks fourth overall on the Panthers’ career rushing list.

Labels: ,

Waynesburg-W&J time changes

Because of the Steelers' playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend, Washington & Jefferson College has moved up its men's-women's Presidents' Athletic Conference basketball doubleheader Saturday against Waynesburg by two hours.

The Presidents and Yellow Jackets will play the women's game at Henry Memorial Center at noon, followed by the men's game at 2 p.m.