Photos from GLVC football

Last Saturday I had the chance to check out UIndy football against Quincy in Great Lakes Valley Conference action. UIndy defeated the Hawks 26-20 on a chilly night. The Greyhounds are looking good in the conference.

Here are photos and video from the game I shot for the Southsider Voice.

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Tough Day for the Sun Belt

Why is Western Kentucky still here?

Why is Western Kentucky still here?

While the Big 10 has been berated by media folk (rightfully so) one league had an even worse week. The Sun Belt went 0-10 Saturday against schools ranging from LSU to Abilene Christian. Yikes!

It was not completely negative as Georgia Southern gave Georgia Tech a scare losing 42-38 in Atlanta. UL-Monroe was only down 10-0 at LSU after the first half, but the Tigers put the upset to bed with a 30-0 final score. After that… well…
Troy State fell to 0-3 as FCS Abilene Christian shocked it 38-35. That was the probably the most winnable game for the Trojans.

Arkansas State, Louisiana and South Alabama were handled by power conference schools. Idaho was uncompetitive at home against MAC weakling Western Michigan. Texas State surrendered 28 straight points to Navy at home before scoring its first touchdown. UTEP controlled New Mexico State the whole way and Georgia State did what Georgia State does against Air Force. The Panthers even turned to advertising for content on Twitter. Not good.

This doesn’t mean the Sun Belt Conference “sucks” as we like to label struggling leagues. There were disappointing performances to be sure but the Sun Belt is in a bad spot geographically speaking. While the MAC and Conference USA gets to pick at the struggling teams of the Big Ten and Big 12, the Sun Belt is stuck scheduling the SEC. That never ends up well.

The MAC didn’t do great this week either but when a Bowling Green defeats Indiana people tend to forget how badly Central Michigan, Ball State and Kent State played.Sensor Scans

With no big win among the conference other than ULM over Wake Forest in week 1 (not flashy) it’s hard to cover the stinky games up.

Southern Miss Stays Positive

What do you do when you’re getting blown out by No. 2 Alabama? Talk about the field goals your kicker is making and not about the extra points he never tried. The Golden Eagles lost 52-12 but did kick a field goal in each quarter. If that makes Southern Miss fans feel better.

Vanderbilt Hides Football

Forget about “Anchor Down” as Vanderbilt was losing to MAC doormat UMass on Saturday. The Commodores rallied to get their first win but not before reporting on how the school’s cross-country team did on Saturday. This resulted in this awesome exchange.

Vanderbilt might be able to “AnchorDown” against FCS Charleston Southern so fire up that 2-10 season Commodores. You’ll always have cross-country to turn to.

FCS Power Faceplants

No. 15 Sam Houston State was seen as a contender for the FCS playoffs but I’m sure that changed after Colorado State Pueblo destroyed it Saturday. Did I mention that Colorado State Pueblo was Division II? This is like an episode of “Defiance” being better than an episode of “Doctor Who.” It should not happen.

Division II knows how to "Bring the Thunder"

Division II knows how to “Bring the Thunder”

Even more surprising is how this game was never close. The ThunderWolves were up 14-0 after the first quarter and 27-0 at half. The 47-21 final was actually the result of mercy and garbage touchdowns by the Bearkats.

It’s going to be hard for Sam Houston State to come back from this one but maybe it was a learning experience for the Bearkats. One can only hope.

Epic D-2 Softball Photos

I just finished a story for the Southsider Voice newspaper on the University of Indianapolis softball team. My feature on the Greyhounds will come out Wednesday but I also wanted to showcase some of the photos I took from their games with Bellarmine.  UIndy and Bellarmine are both in the NCAA tournament starting Friday as the two programs have strong softball traditions. Good luck to both teams.

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Taking in an Indianapolis Greyhound Shootaround

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On Thursday I was able to do some first person reporting attending a shootaround for the Indianapolis Greyhounds. No. 4 Indianapolis is aiming for a title run in division II and is on a 10-game winning streak.

UIndy has only achieved a Great Lakes Valley Conference championship once in basketball in 1997 when it shared the conference crown with two other schools. It is currently in first place of the East division.

I took some photos of the shoot around before it wrapped up and want to thank SID Ryan Thorpe for letting me talk to the players. I’ll have a story on the team in the Southsider Voice newspaper soon. Hopefully, by Wednesday.

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Basketball Promotions Galore

Sensor scans returns as we do a tour of the hidden gems from the past week.

This is the trickiest time of the year for sports marketing specialists as athletic departmentsSensor Scans are trying to fill seats in their basketball games. If your team has no shot of making it to the tournament, has no basketball tradition, and it’s a polar vortex outside; then good luck attracting fans. Sadly, I just described half of the 349 division I programs.

Cincinnati has been extremely aggressive in its promotions. Even promising a chance to get your money back in a way.

The No. 19 Bearcats have not allowed 70 points in a game all year in its 19 games. Might be a great deal to take advantage of. With a 4-2 record against the RPI top 50, expect Cincinnati to make plenty of noise in the NCAA tournament. The fact they would resort to a deal like this to entice fans is shocking.

The Liberty Flames, a Christian school in Virginia, has turned to Frisbee dogs to help at the gate. I’m assuming the dogs are a better hit than the 7-10 Flames.

Want to go to a Kansas State women’s basketball game? I’m sure it won’t hurt your budget.

Free parking! If I have to pay for parking for a $1 event in Manhattan, Kansas I wouldn’t go to it anyway.

Marshall has this monster of a promo that includes the overused word “selfie.”

Doubt this would increase attendance as it reeks with desperation. When selfie comes into play it typically is a cry for help.

Southern Miss is all about its head coach Donnie Tyndall. So naming a town after him is supposed to pull me into a game?

If the Twitter doesn’t work, let’s try this cheesy video with a movie narration to boot.

The Golden Eagles even made this production so we can stalk Coach Tyndall around campus. If you are able to make it past 35 seconds of this sleeping pill I will be impressed.

Dumbest scheduling move ever

Nice job Memphis Tigers. You scheduled a division II program in mid-January, when you should playing high quality conference games. Instead you shelled out the cash to make LeMoyne-Owen (located in Memphis) a punching bag. Why? The game does little to help your RPI, impress pollsters and attract recruits. The Tigers have a 13-4 record but have few quality wins. Beating an overrated Louisville is pretty much it. Memphis did defeat Oklahoma State on a neutral site, just don’t mention the fact the two played previously in a 21-point destruction by OSU in the prior.

LeMoyne-Owen was the real winner as it got Sportscenter and showed off its unique nickname, the Magicians. LeMoyne-Owen even has a student oath and a Twitter account that’s hardly active.

That was tweeted on Thursday and nothing else was tweeted for another 48 hours. For an athletic department, that’s an eternity.

Auburn does win a title, in Mascots.

In one of the most fun contests on the college sports season, was the national mascot contest. Aubie the Tiger from Auburn won it for the 8th time. Think this doesn’t matter, think again.

Like winning the national title in football. If you consider mascots to be as important.

Like winning the national title in football. If you consider mascots to be as important.

Auburn is going to milk this for all it’s worth as they should. Forget that it is a contest involving a student in a tiger costume dancing to music with cheap props. This is Auburn beating out every other school including Alabama on a dance floor. This national title probably takes out 25 percent of the sting of losing the championship in football. Maybe 50?

California’s strange budget

The good news, California will be adding a sand volleyball team.

Sand volleyball is rapidly growing in NCAA, especially on the west coast, but that’s not the point here. Just a few years ago the Cal athletic department was struggling financially. So much so it cut its baseball team.
Seems improbable that Golden Bears would be in position today to add a sport without restoring baseball first. I’m sure Cal baseball alumni are scratching their heads at the moves of its athletic department.

The dumbest ESPN story of the year… as of January.

Mark Schlabach on ESPN.com is a good writer but apparently was forced into a filler story the past week. With not a lot going on after the title game he wrote a top 25 poll for 2014 just to get people talking. Nothing good can ever come out of college football poll eight and a half months before the start of the season. Say that one more time. Nothing good can ever come out of college football poll eight and a half months before the start of the season.

The poll itself is unimaginative as not a single mid-major program made the top 25. Heck, not a single squad out of the American Athletic Conference made it either. There’s your motivation Central Florida.

As great as college football is I’ve never liked when people try to make it a 365-day sport. This is why we inflate National Signing Day until everyone needs Tums or Pepto-Bismol. Find another sport for four months folks.

Losing to a D-II school equals a long year

This is a new Monday feature called “Sensor Scans” where we find the hidden gems and Easter eggs from the college sports week.

While some fan bases are hitting the panic button after unexpected losses Saturday (Florida, Southern Cal, and Texas) a few others are trying to pretend their football team does not exist.

Mississippi Valley State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) a FCS program dropped a home game to a division II program Delta State 24-14. It’s the equivalent of a college student losing a chess game to a six grader. Maybe losing at Wii Bowling to a senior citizen.

The Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State has done the ultimate shame a D-I program can do on a football field to its fans, alumni and community residents of Itta Bena. Adding extra insult, Delta State even has the unique nickname of the “Statesmen.” Nothing like saying “Dude, we were owned by the Statesmen!”

Mississippi Valley State should have been able to recruit any kid on Delta State’s roster. Talent should have been on their side. I was shocked from this highlight video that Delta State has the all-time series lead as the Statesmen now has a 4-1 advantage after Saturday.

A few questions from that video.

1. Why is the Delta State coach having a curfew? You just beat a division I school. Go nuts Statesmen. He even said “We’re going to bounce back from this.” You only say that if you lose a game. Heck he even spent time explaining why his team executed a fake punt. You’re an inferior team on paper so there’s no need to defend a trick play.

2. It appears that Delta wore Mississippi Valley down. How is that possible? A division I program should have more players on their roster and therefore more depth.

3. Is Katie Smith single?

It is true that Delta State is a very good division II program with great postseason success but come on Mississippi Valley State. You can’t get owned by them at home. At least only 2,139 saw the game. How can the Delta Devils come back from this? I wish I had an answer and I bet Mississippi Valley State coaches wish they had one too.

Ranking notes

The new AP top 25 poll is out with really no surprises. What did catch my eye is how the Miami Hurricanes were unranked prior to their win over Florida on Saturday. To go from unranked to 15 is an insane jump that makes me wonder if Miami boosters are paying the pollsters. Just kidding. Too soon?

Bowling Green State out of the MAC also stood out. The 2-0 Falcons are not ranked but did receive seven votes. For a team not many know about it is great to see them get some love from the pollsters. With more wins BGSU should crack the top 25.

FCS vs. the MAC
While Bowling Green is doing well some of its Mid-American Conference colleagues are not. Four MAC vs. FCS games took place on Saturday ending in a 2-2 draw. The MAC is just a notch above FCS and is vulnerable to any competent team. Akron slipped past James Madison 35-33 and Central Michigan rallied from 21-7 to beat New Hampshire 24-21. Central had to convert a 3rd and 15 to get into field goal range on its final drive.

The MAC schools who laid an egg include Western Michigan losing to Nicholls State 27-23. Nicholls State suffered injuries to key players including at quarterback and still won on the road. FCS Maine defeated UMass 24-14 in what should be no surprise as UMass was an FCS team two years ago.

Dogfight of the week
Best game from week 2 goes to Eastern Illinois beating Southern Illinois 40-37 in two overtimes. Eastern Illinois upset FBS San Diego State last week 40-19. Southern Illinois came close to beating Big Ten conference monopoly Illinois 42-34 last week too. These are two great FCS teams in Illinois. I don’t think either of them would have lost to Delta State. At home 24-14? Epic fail.