Friday, June 25, 2010

Represent: Unofficial song of U.S. Soccer

It's not too surprising that soccer nut Rivers Cuomo and his band Weezer are the ones behind this song. Rivers has had a long love affair with soccer and has written songs on the subject of the World Cup before, this time however it may help to fuel an historic run.

The U.S. team was blaring the song in the locker room following their stunning 1-0 win over Algeria when President Clinton came in to talk to the guys.

Excitement abounds. Go U.S.! Beat Ghana!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Luke Harangody Moves to Next Level

Congratulations to Luke Harangody, former Big East player of the year and standout All-American basketball player at Notre Dame. Luke was drafted with the 52nd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by returning Eastern Conference champions the Boston Celtics.

While Luke was not pegged by pundits as a sure thing NBA star he will provide quality depth, athleticism, and shooting range to a Celtics club desperate to defy old age and its crippling effects on a professional basketball team.

We wish Luke nothing but the best of luck in the next stage of his career.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hokie Football Highlights

Here are some Tech football highlights, the top 10 plays as compiled by VTPhreak4evr.

I'll be back with more new stuff in the coming days, including a look at the new NCAA Football 11 demo for PS3. It's awesome.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Southern Conference: The Original Super Conference

As French novelist Alphonse Karr once pointed out, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Such is true in the world of college football.

Conference realignment is nothing new after recent years saw the Big East conference raided by the ACC, which in turn led to the Big East raiding other leagues to fill out their membership.

Now we appear to be at the beginning of the “super conference” era in college sports.

What most panicked observers are probably unaware of is that these bloated leagues weren’t forged in the nineties and early 2000’s, but in 1922.

That was when the Southern Conference was formed in Atlanta, Ga. with 14 universities joining together.

Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee were the charter members of the conference.

A year later six more schools joined the fray as Florida, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane and Vanderbilt signed on.

In following years, Sewanee, Virginia Military Institute and Duke also joined pushing the league total to 23 schools.

Obviously, this arrangement didn’t take and in 1933 thirteen schools split off to form the SEC and in 1953 seven more schools took off to found the ACC.

Now over a half-century later we sit squarely in the same scenario.

Universities from across the country are rescinding longtime partnerships, burning bridges and bolting for pastures perceived to be greener.

And that’s ultimately what it’s all about, green.

You’ll hear conferences put up appearances by lauding the good academic fits of new member institutions, but we all know the truth behind the matter.

Bigger leagues mean bigger television contracts, more conference championship games and more revenue generated than ever before.

This current process isn’t unlike watching one of those cheesy radio contests where they lock a contestant in a booth filled with money blown around by fans. Grab as much as you can in two minutes, no holds barred.

Just as in that scenario, college athletic departments appear poised to nab as much cash as they can and it’s no big deal if they make fools of themselves doing it.

Where will it end?

When the dust settles, the fans cease blowing and the money flutters to rest on the floor of the booth, conferences will no longer exist as we knew them and we’ll be left with behemoths of collegiate sports.

The Big 12 may exist but in a completely different form. We’ll have a Pac-10 bursting at the seams with 16 members and the always mathematically-challenged Big 10 will be comprised of 12 teams and maybe more.

Everyone’s alma mater will be impacted in this reshuffling scheme. The numbers of conference members will soon once again rival the old Southern conference.

The old SoCon was just ahead of the curve.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Conference Dominoes Begin To Fall

Let the chaos begin. Colorado and Nebraska were the first schools to announce conference moves in what is expected to be a summer riddled with realignment.

The Buffaloes are headed further west to the Pac-10, tentatively effective in 2012, while the Cornhuskers are headed east to the Big Ten, effective in July 2011.

Boise State, a school that has been a menace to BCS conference schools over the past decade, enhanced its image by moving from the WAC where it has dominated its conference foes to the much more competitive and balanced Mountain West. TCU, Utah, and now Boise State headline a conference pining to negotiate with the BCS for an automatic bid into one of its lucrative bowls.

Of course, Colorado, Nebraska, and Boise State are only the tip of the iceberg in what some are saying will be a titanic shift in collegiate athletics.

Notre Dame and Texas are the two institutions said to hold the keys for how the rest of the summer will shakeout. If either school makes a decision to move, or stay, it will impact the decisions of others.

Independence is at the forefront of the conversations about the Irish. Some say the Irish can no longer afford to stay independent because of potential lost revenues from what may evolve into four elite super conferences of 16 teams each. Of course, those people have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.

Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick, a '76 alum, knows better than to waltz into town and hastily sever hundreds of years of tradition forged by an independent identity.

The opportunity cost of alienating an extremely loyal fan base ripe with deep pockets does not outweigh any potential gained revenue from a newly formed super conference TV network.

And then there is Texas, a school with not only national championship-caliber football and basketball teams but a plethora of other 'olympic' sports, like baseball, track and field, tennis, and swimming.

Longhorns' fans know that their school is being coveted by several conferences including its current dwelling the Big XII, Pac-10, SEC, and Big Ten. Burnt Orange Nation would bring one of the most profitable brands in all of collegiate athletics to the most compelling (and profitable) bidder.

Some indications cite that Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State will all head to the Pac-10 to form a super conference of 16 teams (thanks in part to the newly added Buffaloes). Other speculation pits the Aggies of Texas A&M in the SEC.

Truth be told, no one save for the board of trustees at each of the involved institutions has any idea what will unfold.

Right now there is a lot of guess work and hedged bets being made by athletics directors everywhere.

For instance, Nebraska's AD Tom Osborne indicated that his school was too apprehensive about what might happen to sit back and watch things unfold. The 'Huskers issued a preemptive strike to do what it felt was its best opportunity to emerge unharmed from the impending raid of the Big XII.

When the smoke has cleared at the end of the summer the Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-10, MWC, and Big East will all look remarkably different from how they ended the spring.

Alas, any outcomes from conference realignment will not likely be seen on the fields of play until 2011. Consequently, I am reserving any judgment or excitement toward the supposed new super conferences until that time.

With the start of the college football season right around the corner this sports fan is appreciative of the parent that supports each conference: the NCAA.

At the end of the day collegiate athletics falls under one large entity, thankfully not individual conferences.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The World Cup

Despite talk of college conference reshuffling, Tom Izzo flirting with the NBA and the Earth's continued hemorrhaging of sweet crude into the Gulf of Mexico, the World Cup still looms large on the horizon.

It's the largest global event of any kind. In fact, SportsCenter just informed me an estimated $1.5 billion will be legally wagered worldwide on the Cup, a new record by far.

It's doubly exciting that the United States has a talented team that stands an excellent chance to advance out of group play.

I'm eagerly looking forward to Saturday's match with England, and while I don't think the U.S. will win, they've got a shot and the game should be competitive. It's a chance for American soccer to make a big statement to the world.

This Nike soccer commercial has been running since the Champions League final and it will absolutely get your blood boiling. It's at once seriously stirring and delightfully comical.

Enjoy the spot, and enjoy La Copa Del Mundo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flight of the iPad

Often times technological advancements lead to groundbreaking innovations. Take batteries and LCD displays for example. As refinements were made to batteries, enabling them to get smaller, and as the LCD display was created a revolutionary devices were born: cellphones, computers, portable maps (GPS units), etc.

Add the iPad to the list above.

While it may appear on the outside as yet another shameless Apple endorsement I promise it is not.

Today's musical renderings are supplied by Lang Lang as he tickles the ivories on his iPad in concert. Simply amazing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Irish Lax Team Falls 1 Short in OT Loss to Duke

AP Photo/Rob Carr

A strong defensive effort in what amounted to the fewest total goals scored in championship game history left Irish fans heartbroken in a 6-5 OT loss to Duke Monday afternoon in Baltimore.

Seen above, Irish senior netminder Scott Rodgers walks across the field dejected after giving up the game-winning goal 0:05 into OT. Not all was lost for Rodgers, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Lacrosse Championship.

Congratulations to Rodgers, his teammates and coaches, and of course the Duke Blue Devils on tremendous seasons. By maneuvering so deep into the national tournament the Irish established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in collegiate lacrosse. May they carry the momentum forward to a national title in the near future.

Go Irish!


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