Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grid Gab

Let's talk football for a moment, shall we?

Some things you may not know about the Big South Conference:

-VMI leads the nation in rushing offense (384.0 ypg).
-Liberty's nine-game winning streak is the longest in the nation.
-Coastal Carolina has become the first team in Conference history to hold three straight opponents under ten points.
-Gardner-Webb has become the first team in Big South history to hold four straight opponents under 100 rushing yards.

Back to VMI for a second...Head Coach Sparky Woods admitted during the Big South's weekly teleconference that the rushing yard mark may be a bit inflated from performances against lower-level teams, but nonetheless, you have to be impressed by Tim Maypray (pictured) of the Keydets, who is now the first player in Conference history with a 50-yard rush in four consecutive games.

As for Liberty...the Flames are ranked 20 and 21 in the two major FCS polls, and Choice Hotels Big South Offensive Player of the Week Rashad Jennings (pictured) also earned National Offensive Player of the Week honors from The Sports Network. Collecting honors seemed to fit the Flames this week, with their dramatic win over Youngstown State: Liberty also had the New Balance Defensive Player of the Week for the Big South (Nick Hursky) and the Freshman of the Week (Matt Bevins).

In case you're keeping track, the other weekly Conference award went to Gardner-Webb's Ryan Gates for Special Teams Player of the Week.

For more information on all these facts and figures, go to BigSouthSports.com and open up either the Weekly Football Report or the Players of the Week rundown. You can also listen to the Football Teleconference there.

Liberty goes to Coastal Carolina (see it on MASN or SportSouth) and Gardner-Webb visits Charleston Southern. Meanwhile, VMI has its hands full with highly-ranked Richmond and Presbyterian hosts North Greenville...Stony Brook has an open date, followed by a gauntlet of Conference games (Coach Chuck Priore has referred to it as their "second season"). All the games this week are being streamed live on The EDGE, so check them out!

That's all for today--more later this week...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Block? Shameless Plug Time!

It's a rainy Friday in Charlotte...
Seems like there are a million things to say but for the life of me I can't think of what they all are--okay, so try the video and get me on the other side (19 streaming events to run through this week, lots of stuff on The EDGE)...

Oh hey, here's something cool and new--the BigSouthSports.com MOBILE STORE!
No, it's not a store that moves...it's a way to get Big South Conference and member school logos for your cell phone or other mobile device! Get the logo wallpaper you want for only $1.99--all ten schools plus three Conference logo variations are available. Of course, the traditional merchandise online store is still up and running if you want to wear those logos yourself.

I know what you're thinking--three entries last week, just one this week, and it's only plugging stuff. Hmm...you may be right about that, so I'll try to make it up with some more insightful pieces next week!

Have a great weekend--enjoy all the fantastic games coming up!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

What to do, what to do...

First, here's a link to check out (I'll wait)--go to the Red Zone of the Kansas City Star for a blog entry spotlighting Big South alumni Tyler Thigpen and Brian Johnston!!!

Now a quick game of TriBond for you: Crusoe sidekick, Ice Cube movie, casual dress.

What do they have in common?

FRIDAY, of course...and just because it's Friday, that doesn't mean your brain has to shut down--give it something to do (shameless plug style)!

--Review the Big South Anniversary "Best of the Best" and CAST YOUR VOTE for your choice of the best overall (and if you feel strongly enough, keep voting each day...but only once per day, please).

--Plan a trip centered on a Big South Championship event, starting by checking the full year schedule posted at BigSouthSports.com.

--Subscribe to The EDGE so you can watch video streaming of the games and championships you can't see in person.

--Grab The Vortex to customize your spaces with the Big South Conference--it's MUCH more than just another "widget." Copy it from SHOUT, put it in your Facebook applications, on your iGoogle page, your own blog (via available HTML), or any and all spots that will accomodate widgets.

--Reward yourself with some Big South gear--create your own custom piece by choosing your favorite school, color, and combining with the Big South logo to make a shirt (or other garment) that's all you!

--Prepare for the days ahead with the one and only "On The EDGE" Video Viewers Guide, available right here...

There you go, from the home of the Big South, TGIF (The Good Idea Factory).
No? Look, just because we don't have Guy Fieri doing our spots...oh well, have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Morning, Web-O-Rama! (Part Two)

So you were reading yesterday's Big South Web-O-Rama and said, "Hey, that's only half the Conference!" That's why we're back to finish the job today--plus a bonus item from one of yesterday's schools...

In His Own Words...
Presbyterian College Football Head Coach
Bobby Bentley has his own blog on PC's website. You'll discover it's not a fully-functional blog with applications and shortcuts, more like a running article/text page, but it is frequently updated and filled with insights on what Coach Bentley is thinking. Following a crushing defeat against Elon, he offers plenty of striking candor: "After having some success in our first year I think some were thinking we have arrived. This past week humbled us all....As a leader we must rally the team this week. The mark of a man is not when he is on top of the mountain but when he is in the valley."

Hockey, Hold the Ice...
Web-O-Rama likes to occasionally shine a little spotlight on sports not typical of the Big South, like
lacrosse and ice hockey, but now let's try some hockey without skates: Radford field hockey! The Highlanders got out to a rough start this season, but have now recorded two straight shutouts. Their next games will be against Stanford this Friday the 19th and North Carolina Sunday the 21st.

Reigning Cat(amount)s and (Bull)dogs...
The old joke asks us, "Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?" Don't worry about that nonsense, just focus on the
Parkway Series instead. This longtime out-of-conference rivalry between UNC Asheville and Western Carolina has begun its annual showdown with a volleyball victory by the Bulldogs. The teams meet again in many sports this year, and believe me, they're keeping score. The programs also track volunteer involvement and give a point in the standings for that as well. Good luck, UNC Asheville, get that win for regional pride and for the Big South!

This is Our House (and Our Park and Our Field, etc.)...
VMI, a school unquestionably rich in
history and tradition, offers a nice photo gallery of all its athletic facilities, with links to additional information about each one. The group naturally includes all the usual suspects, like the home of VMI Keydets football, but also offers a glimpse at off-campus sites, like the Virginia Horse Center, used for cross country.

That's a Wrap...
You may not spend much time thinking about taping ankles, but trainers have to practice to refine their craft, too. Here's a peek into some of that practice inside the training rooms at the Winthrop Coliseum...and look for the vintage Big South logo on the wall in those photos!

The promised BONUS item: High Point on Good Morning America!
That's right, tune in to ABC's Good Morning America this Saturday between 8-9 am (or set your DVR, sleepy-head) for a special look at what's going on at HPU: a feature touching on the school's "amazing transformation" and "astounding growth." Things are looking good at the High Point campus, as this national exposure comes on the heels of topping a list of "Up and Coming" colleges. If you miss it Saturday, here's hoping that ABC makes footage available on the GMA page.

Don't forget to check out Stony Brook University, associate member in football, as well.

That's it for Web-O-Rama this time...IN OTHER NEWS:
--Coastal Carolina alumnus Tyler Thigpen will get the start at QB Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs! Coach Herm Edwards' move puts the Chanticleers and the Big South in a fairly exclusive club: only 32 men will have the honor of taking the field as a starting quarterback in the NFL this week. KC's had a tough start, so Thigpen's next steps will be keeping the job and leading his team to victories, neither of which is a given in the turmoil of pro ball.

--UNC Asheville's Kenny George is likely out for the season following foot surgery. This is a story you've probably seen repeated by a number of national news sources by now and echoed by college basketball blogs like Rivals.com. Because of his height, the Bulldogs' "KG" has gotten lots of notoriety, cheers & jeers, labels & insults, and so on his whole career...from us he will get well wishes for a swift recovery. Good player, good kid--we enjoy watching Kenny play the game...after all, he did lead the nation in field goal percentage last year!

Big South SHOUT-outs to both those guys--Tyler for luck in the games ahead and Kenny for recovery and better luck avoiding injuries in the future...I'm outta here...catch you later.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Web-O-Rama Returns, Part One

Time for another trip around the wide world of the Big South Conference to see what you may have missed from the web homes of its members...

Buccaneer Cheer...
Big fan of Charleston Southern? How about being a Cheerleader for a Day? Okay, it's not for regular fans, it's an actual instructional clinic for cheerleaders, but if you (or someone among your friends and family) cheers--or wants to--this could be a great opportunity to learn some tips and have some fun at the same time, done in conjunction with the October 4th football game against Gardner-Webb. The CSU unit should be a good cheer group to learn from--it won a national competition back in March.

Chants Encounters...
Coastal Carolina baseball has been a strong program for years, but the Chanticleers have succeeded off the field as well. Look through the photo gallery of their recent visit to the young players of the Grand Strand Miracle League of Myrtle Beach. Bravo, guys--thanks for your community contributions!

Dawg Days at GWU...
Looking beyond the athletic page for a moment, we see that Gardner-Webb University has something special coming up for prospective students in the form of "Dawg Days". The first is September 27th, with four more coming up this academic calendar. Registered students get the full tour and review of life at Gardner-Webb, plus a southern BBQ lunch and a t-shirt as part of the day. So book a date and put Boiling Springs on your high school student's "college tour" loop!

Lacrosse Purposes...
High Point University will soon have a new sport on the scene: women's lacrosse. The Panthers will begin competition in the 2010-11 season, with next year spent in recruiting and building the program. The Big South Conference does not have lacrosse as one of its sports at this time, but interest is growing out there: PC already has WLAX and Liberty is also adding it soon.

It IS an Election Year, After All...
The folks at Liberty University are trying to drum up support for write-in votes in the annual Capital One Mascot Challenge. You have to go through the voting process for the main mascots in the competition, but then you get an opportunity to enter in your support for anyone not in the poll. LU is pushing for Sparky--and claims the Flames' favorite Eagle was tops among the write-in candidates as of last week's numbers.

More to come in Friday's Web-O-Rama!

Friday, September 12, 2008

On The EDGE Again

Where's SHOUT been the last few days?
Busy week, folks, gotta tell ya, but not so busy that we can't stop for a little "On The EDGE" video programming guide--check out the embedded video for what's shaking on the Conference video streaming over the next week.

No, no football this time--schedule oddity has everyone on the road this time...several options for volleyball and soccer are available, though! Check it all out on The EDGE...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Video Promo Time!

See what's "On The EDGE" for 9/5-9/11...

Yeah, that's me at my desk...maybe one day we'll have our own studio, but until then it's not bad for a quick one-take update on the online game schedule...the promo can also be seen at BigSouthSports.com in the OnDemand videos. Other free content you can find there includes our 25th Anniversary Video Library, Weekly Football Coaches Teleconferences, and Weekly Royal Purple Football Round-Ups.

We have a huge number of past games available from the OnDemand section as well, but you have to have a subscription for access to those!

That's it--have a great weekend everybody: good luck to your teams and best wishes for safety with travel and the weather!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hanna Update

Here's the Thursday update on the schedule shake-up from "Hanna"...

First off, as of this writing, Hanna is at tropical storm strength, becoming more disorganized but nonetheless bringing its share of heavy rain and high winds. The track projections still have it pointed right at the Carolinas for Friday-Saturday, so adjustments are being made:

Charleston Southern's football game against Wofford will still be played Saturday, but it will now be in Spartanburg rather than Charleston; game time is 6pm. The game will be video streamed, but by the Wofford TerrierVision folks, rather than our CSU crew on behalf of The Edge. So if you want to see the game stream, you have to visit TerrierVision for the info.

Coastal Carolina's football game against Colgate has been moved from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon at 1pm. The game will still be video streamed on The Big South EDGE.

Coastal Carolina's weekend women's soccer tournament has been canceled due to weather concerns. Games had been set to stream from Coastal Carolina on Friday and Sunday but have been pulled from the schedule.

Those are the schedule headlines for now...be sure to check with your schools and with BigSouthSports.com for updates!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prevailing Winds

On paper, the upcoming weekend promises to be a good one--but there is caution in the wind (literally).

To the first point, all seven Big South football schools have home games scheduled for Saturday, with all seven intended for video streaming on The Big South EDGE. Add to that streaming mix a pair of volleyball games each for Winthrop and High Point that day--and men's soccer for UNC Asheville, and that makes a dozen offerings from ten different schools: unprecedented even in the busy video streaming history of the Big South Conference. Naturally there will be plenty of additional campus events, athletic and otherwise, across the Conference, on this first weekend after Labor Day.

So what's my problem?
The weather.
Too many question marks about potential hurricane impact, schedule changes, general disruption, and widespread anxiety--not to mention the very real possibility of danger to people and property at the same time.

Put another way, Charleston Southern in a week went from playing the Hurricanes of Miami to watching the hurricanes off the coast.

I grew up in Florida, so I know from hurricane threats, but things have changed over the years from once-relaxed attitudes to trepidation-inspired actions for three legitimate reasons: they are named Hugo, Andrew, and Katrina.

A quick storm history lesson...

1-Hugo: any tropical system threatening the Carolinas will always draw thoughts of this destruction engine from the late 80s, with the high-water marks still shown with awe in Charleston and the inland wrath of the storm remembered soberly in Charlotte (and everywhere in between).

2-Andrew: the devastation to South Florida in the early 90s from this hurricane shattered jaded attitudes about storm preparedness among many and drastically altered perspectives on building construction, insurance, and other formerly routine matters.

3-Katrina: a few years ago, as we all vividly remember, there were the fears for the worst for New Orleans--then a brief and deceptive sigh of relief when it seemed the storm had passed...only to see the levees give way, setting new standards for the horrors of a storm's aftermath.

There have been many other named storms over the years, but in the last two decades, I would contend these three have done more to shape our perception of these swirling wraiths of water and wind. Perhaps the worst thing of all is the sheer unpredictability of hurricanes. Obviously you must err on the side of caution because lives are at stake, but any storm can defy predictions, change directions, or basically do whatever else it darn well pleases (part of the fallout from naming the storms is giving them personalities--it offers us "someone" to blame, but the storm simply doesn't care).

Bottom line: we must hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and evaluate everything when the winds calm and the rains stop. Wanting to play the games is all well and good, but safety for everyone will be the top priority.

Developments will be changing rapidly on this for the remainder of the week--even as I began typing this post, Coastal Carolina notified us that the weekend women's soccer tournament planned there has been called off (including the games planned to be streamed Friday, CCU vs. GSU, and Sunday, CCU vs. Longwood). So stay tuned to BigSouthSports.com for updates as the weekend approaches--and "Hanna" along with it...

I'm not trying to be a downer today, I'm just putting the warning out there--be ready for shifts in schedules and understand the reasons. Obviously I would've preferred an upbeat football review, a salute to the four-goal-game performance of Daniel Revivo from Winthrop (8/31), or another plug for that super-cool Vortex, but consider this post our public service announcement for the day...keep your eyes and ears open out there, and stay safe!