Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weekend Madness Quick Hits!

Here are your headlines for the Halloween weekend, taking us from October to November:

That's right, it's the first of the fall championships, with men's and women's cross country set to race their way to Big South Conference titles on Halloween in High Point!

Yeah, I already mentioned Halloween twice, but I'm going back in one more time--and with good reason: Coastal Carolina is visiting Clemson, and we're in for a trick-or-treat special from the two teams...Clemson in the all orange and Coastal in the all black! That should be something to see (and you can even watch the game if you have ESPN360 access).

In Big South Conference play for football, Stony Brook (3-0) and Gardner-Webb (2-0) remain undefeated--but that's only going to last until Saturday, when one has to fall. They meet in Boiling Springs to decide which one might have a claim on first place (on which Liberty, also 2-0, will want a say as well, but those big match-ups come later).

Women's soccer ends its regular season this weekend, and the Big South Championship starts next Thursday, November 5th, at Charleston's Blackbaud Stadium. Ten teams are competing for eight slots right now, which will cut to four after the quartet of games on 11/5, then two with the semis on 11/6, and conclude with one winner on Sunday, November 8th to claim the crown.

Lots of other stuff going on too, but those are your headlines--should set the stage for a really good weekend of competition--enjoy...oh, and don't forget to adjust your clocks!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Hello to one and all across the SHOUT blogosphere--it's been a while, hasn't it?

Sorry about that...sometimes life just has a knack at getting in the way. Most of that is my own fault for preferring to have SHOUT often lengthier and more crafted than, say, updates on Facebook or Twitter (so a "fail whale" for me perhaps), but part is just the craziness of this time of year and all that goes with it----so let's run the gauntlet as quickly as we can:

Volleyball, for starters: as I write this, UNC Asheville is 6-0 in Conference. Yup. The Bulldogs have got it going on for Coach Julie Torbett, and the Justice Center squad is laying down the law...but it's not a runaway, not with Winthrop at 5-1, Liberty at 5-2, and Coastal at 4-2. Oh, and did I mention Asheville and Winthrop tangle tonight? No? Well now I did--so be sure to check it out on the Big South Network!

Men's Soccer, as our second stop: Winthrop hasn't lost yet in the Big South--the Eagles own a 3-0-1 mark in Conference, but matching them at three wins is High Point. Both HPU and WU have games on the home pitch Saturday, so we'll soon know who's got the seat up front as we drive into the stretch run to the November Conference Championship.

Women's Soccer, as an appropriate next step: much like the men's race, two teams have hit the three-win mark ahead of the others--undefeated Liberty at 3-0-1 and also Radford at 3-1. They don't have the only say in what's coming down the line, though, since there's a jam of four teams with two wins apiece right behind (CSU, GWU, CCU, VMI) and a full slate of games on the weekend schedule.

Football, you've been waiting for me to get to, I understand: still too early to do much handicapping, but here's the deal...three teams have won their respective first Conference showdowns (GWU, CCU, and SBU), two have come up empty so far (PC once and VMI twice--the only team more than one game into Conference), and the remaining pair has yet to face Big South opposition this season (CSU and LU). But IT'S ON this weekend, folks! There are three Conference games scheduled: SBU at VMI (great rushing attacks in that one), Coastal Carolina at Liberty (a lot of titles between these two over the years), and CSU at GWU (each receiving some votes in the poll, so this game gives somebody more legitimacy). PC is idle, so they get the picture--you can't say I favored or jinxed anybody here!

Those first two games mentioned are each available on the Big South Network, but the third is as far as the sports tier on your cable/satellite, as SportSouth will be carrying the Buccaneers at Runnin' Bulldogs from Boiling Springs. Coverage begins at 11:30am (!) and features Mark Bryant (yours truly) on play-by-play and multi-sport star Brian Jordan as analyst (cool, huh?) get your Saturday football frenzy started early and started right--with the Big South on SportSouth!

Other sports...the cross country schedule is on the run, fall golf events are teeing off here and there, and other spring sports like softball and baseball have been holding their offseason practices and games...but what lots of Big South fans are waiting for happens to be...

Basketball, which tipped off the preseason officially with Media Day this week. You heard me--hoops approacheth! On the men's side, Radford is the prohibitive favorite--would you argue with Art Parakhouski? That's him in red in the picture, by the way--he's 6-11 and expected to be dominant in the post again this year. On the women's side, Liberty has to share the preseason nod for a change, with High Point getting a share of the predicted top slot. There will be a lot more on the wild world of b-ball in the days and weeks ahead. Practice is cranking up and games start within the next month, so your wait is nearly over, you hardwood crazies you...

Speaking of basketball--let's talk preseason preview:

If you would like some additional assessment, here's our contribution to the season outlook series for "Rush the Court" (at this link).

Was the preview not enough video for you today? Okay, we've got more--here's this week's Big South Network Guide:

Okay, that's it people...go about your business--and be sure to check out some of the Big South's busy sports schedule this weekend and beyond...really good stuff going on out there, and these student-athletes would love to have your support! Have fun...SHOUT--out!