Friday, September 28, 2007

Statement Saturday!

With three games against the Big East and one game against an SEC power, the ACC can make a statement and gain some respect… Of course this week’s games could also confirm what the “experts” have been saying about the ACC.

12:00 PM

North Carolina @ Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.
TV: R/LF (XM 192)
The Hokies continue their offensive resurgence against the Heel’s defense.

Duke @ Miami
Miami, Fla.
TV: (XM 191)
The Devil’s poor kicking game won’t matter in this one.

1:00 PM

Massachusetts @ Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ESPN 360 (XM 190)
Matt Ryan continues to pad his stats as BC continues their month-long vacation.

3:30 PM

Maryland @ Rutgers
Piscataway, N.J.
TV: ABC (XM 191)
Can the Terps recover from last week’s collapse at Wake Forest? Probably not.

Clemson @ Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ABC (XM 192)
Despite their 0-2 conference record, the Jackets are the best team the Tigers have faced this season. This one will come down to turnovers. Look for the Tigers to win a close one.

Louisville @ NC State
Raleigh, N.C.
TV: ESPNU (XM 193)
The good news for the Pack is that Louisville is coming off of consecutive losses to Kentucky and Syracuse. The good news for the Cardinals beleaguered defense is that they are facing NC State’s offense. The Pack doesn’t have the offensive weapons to keep up with Louisville… Hopefully NC State won’t give up 40+ points for the second straight week.

5:00 PM

Alabama @ Florida State
Jacksonville, Fla.
TV: CBS (XM 190)
ACC ISP Sports Radio Network
Bobby Bowden grew up cheering for the Tide. Is he trying to psyche them out, or is he really in awe of facing ‘Bama? FSU’s has too many questions on offense. Their defense will need to keep the Tide out of the end zone for the ‘Noles to have a chance.

7:00 PM

Pittsburgh @ Virginia

Charlottesville, Va.
TV: ESPNU (XM 193)
After four games, I don’t know if anyone knows for sure how good Virginia is. Pitt is struggling after consecutive losses to Michigan State and the UConn team that blew Duke off of the field. Look for the Hoo’s to do just enough to win… This has got to be driving the Groh must go crowd crazy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Streaming ACC Talk Radio

Sports fans in the Triangle are familiar with the local sports radio scene, and some very good sports talk on both 850am and 620am. Word now that starting October 3rd, they will begin streaming live over the net. This is great news for ACC fans outside the triangle, or those inside where AM reception is sometimes iffy. My guess is that only the local shows, and not network shows will be available on the streams. While I don't listen much outside basketball season, I think most of these guys are great broadcasters and well worth the listen, especially before big games, or when there are developing stories and you just can't get enough talk about it.

The line-ups are at

I could go the rest of my life without hearing Jim Rome's show again. I actually like him and he knows his stuff, but the style he's chosen for the show just irritates me too much. But the local guys, including Adam Gold, Chris Clark, Gordon Miller, Morgan Patrick, and Joe Ovies are all really good.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pack BBall injuries mounting

On top of Pack hoops loses Thomas
now word that freshman point guard Javier Gonzalez has had surgery to repair a thumb ligament damaged in a skills drill diving for a ball, and will be out 12 weeks.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

… and apparently so do the Wolfpack and Tarheels.

Saturday ACC Wrap-up

Virginia 28, Georgia Tech 23
Look who’s in the running for the Coastal Division Title… OK so UNC and Duke account for two of Virginia’s three conference wins, but the Hoo’s are guaranteed a share of first place in the division until at least October 20 when they travel to College Park.
Cavaliers rally to win after blowing early lead
Tech graveyard kills ACC hopes

USF 37, North Carolina 10
Cheer up Tarheel fans, basketball practice starts on October 12.
Heels taken down by South Florida
No. 23 USF Dominates N. Carolina 37-10

Clemson 42, NC State 20
608 yards given up on defense? 100 yard interception return for two points on a two point conversion try? Look on the bright side Wolfpack fans… see note above on Carolina game.
Tigers find offense, steamroll Pack
Tigers blow out N.C. State

Boston College 37, Army 17
The Eagles begin their month long vacation for league play and Matt Ryan pads his Heisman stats.
No. 14 Boston College beats up on Army 37-17 to remain unbeaten
Army Falls at No. 14/12 Boston College

Navy 46, Duke 43
Navy outscores the Devils 28-7 on the second half to complete comeback… Could a team of the best players from Duke, Carolina and State compete in the conference? Have the tents already been set up at Krzyzewskiville?
Navy's late field goal sinks Duke
Bullen's Last Second Field Goal Lifts Navy Over Duke 46-43

Virginia Tech 44, William & Mary 3
Neither William nor Mary show up as the Hokies tune up for Carolina. The Hokies travel to Death Valley on October 6.
Virginia Tech wins big over William & Mary, 44-3
Fast Start Helps 17th-ranked Hokies Cruise Past Tribe, 44-3

Wake Forest 31, Maryland 24 (OT)
Wake scores the last 28 points of the game, including a tying touchdown with three seconds left in regulation to stun Maryland.
Wake Forest Overcomes 21-Point Deficit To Defeat Maryland, 31-24, In Overtime
Terps Blink, and It's Gone

Fall Weddings Suck

Don't you just hate fall weddings? Just look at what I'll be missing. The wedding starts at 3:00 about 45 minutes from the house... Maybe I'll get to see the first half of the noon games. If the reception doesn't drag too long, I might catch the second half of the Wake - Maryland game. Thank goodness for DVR.

Here's what I'll be missing...

Georgia Tech @ Virginia
Charlottesville, Va.
TV: ESPNU (XM 191)

North Carolina @ USF
Tampa, Fla.

Clemson @ NC State
Raleigh, N.C.
TV: R/LF (XM 193)

Army @ Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ESPN Classic (XM 190)

Duke @ Navy
Annapolis, Md.
TV: CSTV (XM 192)

William & Mary @ Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.
TV: ACC Select (XM 231)

Maryland @ Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: ESPNU (XM 191)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why is BC 3-0 in the Conference?

No, I’m not questioning the ability of this year’s BC squad… They look like a threat to play in Jacksonville in December. What I am questioning is one of the ACC’s frontrunners starting the season with three straight conference games. There’s no question that TV has a lot to do with the Eagles’ opening schedule. They were the ABC regional game the first 2 weeks and this past week they were one of ESPN’s Saturday night games. Call me a traditionalist, but I prefer to see teams play a few non-conference games before starting their conference battles. More importantly, I would love to see the last weekend of conference play mean something.

If you were an ACC coach how would you prefer to start your season? A couple of divisional games that could determine if you will have a shot at the conference title, or a warm-up against any Southern Conference team not residing in Boone? Think about it, if BC had dropped their first 2 games, they would be playing the rest of the season to secure another bid to the bowl game on the blue carpet.

On the other hand, look at the Big Ten’s scheduling. Conference play does not start until this weekend. Michigan got off to as poor of a start as possible, but they still have a good shot at winning the Big Ten championship and playing in the Rose Bowl.

I know Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State all have their traditional end of season games against their in-state SEC rivals, but don't ACC fans deserve an late-season Bowden Bowl with a little more on the line than family bragging rights? How about a Georgia Tech-Miami match-up to determine the Coastal Division champion?

ACC undefeated against the Big Ten

Ok, so it’s only Duke’s win over Northwestern, but post-expansion ACC football has to have something to hang its hat on. Congratulations to the Blue Devils for finally ending their losing streak… now let’s see if they can win a conference game. Just in case you were wondering, here is the ACC’s record against other conferences.

Big East – 0-2
Big Ten – 1-0
Big Twelve – 1-2
Colonial - 2-0
C-USA - 2-2
Independents – 2-0
MAC – 1-0
Mtn West – 0-1
Ohio Valley – 1-0
SEC – 0-1
Sunbelt – 3-0
Southern – 2-0

By my count, the ACC is 2-5 verses the other BCS conferences.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

MASN and Time-Warner

If you live in the RDU area you had probably never heard of MASN until recently. They are a cable sports network, and they are in a very public fight with Time-Warner. These things are happening more and more of late. We've talked a bit about Time-Warner and ESPNs deal over ESPNU at

ESPNU coming soon

Neat article from MVN on the somewhat different approach MASN is taking to get on cable:

Mom always said, “Don’t Play Ball with MASN”.

I have a few pet peeves. Long walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, children. One of the strongest ones is being cajoled into acting as a stooge for corporate interests. I know, call me crazy, but such things don’t really float my boat. Right now the Number 1 offender in this category is the Nats own TV station MASN.

You see where I live in North Carolina, Time Warner Cable doesn’t show MASN. This is nothing beyond your typical money fight between two large entities. MASN wants to charge X dollars to TWC AND be on the standard tier to maximize potential eyeballs and therefore potential ad dollars. TWC either wants MASN to ask for less money or be put onto a pay tier, to recoup the costs. Ideally, I’d be on MASN’s side because we are talking about two corporations trying to maximize profits. Neither side is particularly noble in that regard so I’d side with the group giving me what I want, namely baseball games. However MASN ruins that with their whole “Play Ball Now” campaign. More...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pack hoops loses Thomas

Guess there are two ways to look at this, a loss for this years recruiting class, or a bonus in next years....

Pack's Thomas to miss hoops season

N.C. State freshman Johnny Thomas will miss the upcoming basketball season after undergoing knee surgery last week, N.C. State announced today.

Thomas underwent diagnostic arthroscopic surgery last week and will have more surgery at a later date.

Thomas, a 6-5 guard/forward from Morehead City, suffered the injury last week.

"It's a tough break for Johnny and really a tough break for our team," State coach Sidney Lowe said in a statement. "We were confident that Johnny was going to contribute this season. He will still be involved in everything we do as he goes though his rehab, and hopefully all goes well and he will be ready to go next season."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mario finally Super

Houston gets what it expected from No. 1

Mario Williams smiled broadly, clutched his football and breezed into the room.

After a year of carrying the burden of Houston's seemingly inexplicable decision to draft him, the 6-foot-6 player seemed to stand a little taller when it was time to talk about Sunday's game.

Last year's top pick, out of N.C. State, finally had his breakout game, returning a fumble for a touchdown and finishing with five tackles, including two sacks, to help Houston to a 20-3 win against Kansas City on Sunday. Full Story...

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Saturday, Sept 8

Oklahoma 51, Miami 13
12:00 PM
Norman, Okla.
TV: ABC (XM 191)

Virginia 24, Duke 13
12:00 PM
Charlottesville, Va.
TV: R/LF (XM 192)
R/LF Affiliates

Nebraska 20, Wake Forest 17
12:00 PM
Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: ESPN (XM 190)
ACC ISP Sports Radio Network

Clemson 49, ULM 26
1:00 PM
Clemson, S.C.

Georgia Tech 69, Samford 14
1:30 PM
Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ESPNU (XM 232)

Boston College 37, NC State 17
2:30 PM
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Florida State 34, UAB 24
5:00 PM
Tallahassee, Fla.
TV: ESPNU (XM 190)

East Carolina 34, North Carolina 31
6:00 PM
Greenville, N.C.
TV: CSTV (XM 191)

Maryland 26, FIU 10
7:00 PM
Miami, Fla.
TV: ESPN360 (XM 192)
ESPN 360 Coverage

LSU 48, Virginia Tech 7
9:15 PM
Baton Rouge, La.
TV: ESPN (XM 190)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Clemson playing hoops already

Bahamas trip helps Clemson's basketball Tigers, new point guard Stitt bond

Clemson was also allowed to practice for 10 days before the trip, which might have been more valuable than the trip itself. It allowed Stitt to mesh with his new teammates and learn their tendencies before practice begins in mid-October.

“The trip is going to help us from that standpoint,” Purnell said. “There’s no question that if Demontez is going to play a great deal at the point guard position, just as he has to get used to those players, they need to get used to him. I thought the trip started us down that road.”

Friday, September 7, 2007

Competing Facilities

ACC Nation has a neat article up talking about the arms race between acc schools who compete for recruits partially based on their arenas and practice facilities.

For us, it’s not just RBC Center. It made a big impact after we had it in place for a year or two - we started going to the tournament every year,” Fowler said.

“And then getting our on-campus facility where the men’s basketball is housed has really made a big difference - it seems to have had as much influence almost as the RBC Center, because it’s a great facility, and they can practice when they want to, and it’s been a big improvement to the program. And I think it’s shown a lot of improvement on recruiting the past four years we’ve had it,” Fowler said.

“It’s been really good for us - and of course the expectations are higher, too, since we have those facilities. Once you have facilities and the pay for coaches and assistants and all those things that you need to have a competitive program, then coaches are held accountable for what they do,” Fowler said.

The impact of the arms race - if we can go back to that terminology for a moment - has been felt in that respect at N.C. State, which has replaced basketball coach Herb Sendek and football coach Chuck Amato in the past year after both programs started to fall into a pattern of not meeting those hefty expectations that Fowler talked about earlier. Full Story...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Clemson's Clarke Bynum dies

Couldn't dig up a picture, although if I really looked I could probably find my old ACC handbook with one. I remember him, just can't remember his face.

Former Clemson player Bynum dies at 47

Former Clemson basketball standout Clarke Bynum, who once helped thwart a plane hijacking, has died, the school said Tuesday. He was 47.

Bynum died Monday after a long battle with cancer, Clemson athletic spokesman Tim Bourret said. The 6-foot-7 Bynum averaged five points and two rebounds in four seasons with the Tigers from 1980-84. He was an All-Academic selection in the Atlantic Coast Conference in his senior season.

However, Bynum may be better known for subduing a man who attacked a pilot in the cockpit of a British Airways jet in December 2000.

The passenger managed to grab the controls, sending the plane into two nosedives. But Bynum and other passengers burst into the cockpit and wrestled the man down, restraining him until the flight with 398 people on board could land.

Found some more details on this amazing episode at

Born in Sumter, S. C. in about 1955, he grew up in Trinity United Methodist Church. Almost too busy to do so, he volunteered at the last minute for a two week teaching mission trip to Uganda. Through a scheduling error, he and close friend Gifford Shaw ended 28 Dec. 2000 up in the forward first class area close to the cockpit on (a 747...398 passengers) British Airways Flight 2069 to Nairobi, Kenya. They were 35,000 feet above the Sudan desert. During the flight, a Kenyan man entered the cockpit.

Some months earlier, Sumter attorney Dicky Jones had approached Clarke Bynum & Gifford Shaw about a mission trip to Uganda. Clarke had never been on such a trip and wasn't inclined to leave his family, anyhow. But his wife, Sissy, thought it would be a great opportunity. After several days of prayer, he decided to go. Many friends said they would pray for the trip, and there was much family prayer. Clarke remembers praying on Dec. 26th, "Lord, as a result of this trip to Africa, may my life never be the same!"

They drove from Sumter to Charlotte on the 27th to catch the 21 hour flight that would cover over 21, 000 miles. Because of a storm while approaching England, They were diverted from Gatwick airport to Heathrow...then bused back to Gatwick. But the doors to their flight had closed 5 minutes prior to their hurried arrival...missed flight! They had to be reticketed onto flight 2069 to Nairobi, Kenya & then on to Uganda. Clarke: "I felt great peace about this...we'll just go with the flow." Prior to the flight, they had a few hours in a hotel room, and Clarke wrote in his journal, "Well, Lord, the adventure goes on." They had purchased business class tickets, and Clarke headed for row 61...where he would have reasonable leg room for his 6 foot 7 inch frame. The attendant said, "No, you are in the 2nd level bubble (48 seats) on the second row back from the cockpit." A family of 4 was on the first row. Clarke asked Gifford to trade seats so that he (Clarke) could switch from the window seat to the minimally less crowded aisle seat. They had supper in flight...talked some...and generally felt at peace. It was getting dark, so they decided to get some sleep.

Clarke and Gifford, both devout Jesus believers, were jolted awake by a sudden nosedive of the large plane. The front-row father looked back at Clarke and said, "I just saw a man run into the cockpit!" There were awful screams for help coming from the cockpit cabin. Scared absolutely to death and frozen, Clarke turned to Gifford, "This is it; we're going to die!!" Clarke: "My emotions and mind were razor sharp. We'd either die by the plane just coming apart or smashing into the Sudan Desert." Gifford said, "We've got to do something, now; I'm going into that cockpit!" And, from his window seat, Gifford gave Clarke a shove. Clarke: "As I bolted forward, I thought that in a matter of seconds I'd be in Heaven [I'd accepted Jesus as Lord and savior as a child]...I had thoughts of my wife and 4 children." A graduate of Wilson Hall High School and Clemson University and the first McDonalds' All American college basketball player from South Carolina, Clarke scrambled for the cockpit. He turned the door knob...sensing danger...and jerked it open to find total bedlam...two fighting on the assailant...the Kenyan having the copilot around the throat (the pilot had been on a sleep break). Clarke reached long arms over the turmoil and grabbed the extremely strong Kenyan by the shoulders and pulled back with all of his might...Gifford and one other helping as Clarke & the Kenyan fell backwards. Clarke sensed the plane pulling upward out of the near-fatal nosedive at the last second! The Kenyan was about 6 feet tall & 200 pounds and cloaked in a black hood & jacket. As he restrained the man, the hood came off; & Clarke looked into the eyes of a man who had wanted to kill them all.

After applying the handcuffs from the pilot, Clarke looked at his own wrist watch; and it was 12:10 midnight EST. Reconstruction of events determined that the cockpit break-in was at 11:53 EST & that the plane fell 19,000 feet. The difference between living and dying was calculated as between 3-5 no more than 5 more seconds, the plane nosedive would have been irreversible. Clarke & Gifford were discussing whether or not to call go on with the trip or not. The plane landed 2 hours later, and they were debriefed at about 4AM EST. Shortly, they saw the news of the event splashed on CNN; & they called home several hours later. They headed home to Sumter the next day!

Gun Crazy

Some stories about lives that make a wrong turn are just very sad. I started to recount some of them, and just don't even want to dig up some of that stuff. But this one is just weird. Former Maryland player Lonny Baxter is going to jail.

Baxter loses contract in Spain after getting 60-day sentence

Apparently on a couple of different times, he purchased guns, had them sent FedEx to DC, and had someone else file paperwork on them. The actual crime was shipping them without declaring it was guns he was shipping.

2 months for just shipping guns seems like a lot, when Vick may only get a year, but then again, you have to take any crime, small or large, seriously when it involves firearms.

Even more bizarrely, this line of the story is just bizarre.

In August 2006, Baxter was arrested by the Secret Service for firing off a Glock handgun in the air near the White House. The gun was one of the four from the July shipment.

Agents investigating that case later uncovered the gun delivery. Baxter pleaded guilty to gun charges and was sentenced to two months in prison in that case.

More on this at OTB Sports.

Too early to move on to Hoops?

I won't pretend to be a big college football fan. With the exception of the Rivers era at State, I haven't LOVED college football since Famous Amos and Kelvin Bryant were at Carolina. But it is easy to get caught up in the atmosphere and hope that springs eternal before the start of each season. Wolfpack fans have been cautious but excited about a new coach, new style, and his winning history. With the loss to Central Florida, and the news that Tony Baker is done for the season, half the Wolfpack Nation will start looking to basketball season very soon, or pin their hopes on a new quarterback.

VaTech, Miami, Maryland and Carolina did what they were expected to do. FSU's dreams of a national title are already dead. You'd have to say the big loser this weekend is Al Groh's future job prospects, with UVA being embarrassed at Wyoming.

I still don't know what to think of the GaTech game. Notre Dame obviously isn't Notre Dame anymore, but wow, that was a spanking.

The big excitement, not just in this area, but around the country for Saturday came at the hands of the Appalachian State Mountaineers. I was at a wedding in Charleston and didn't watch any football at all. Heading in to the reception my cell phone rings. One of my friends, a big App supporter is calling as he heads away from Michigan Stadium. I had actually forgot they were playing and that he had driven the 600 miles from NC to Ann Arbor. I ask him the obligitory "How was the game", already hearing in my head his answer that they were in it for a bit, gave a good effort, the atmosphere was great, but it turned into a blowout. I honestly didn't believe him when he said App won. National media loved the story, it was front page of ESPN for 12 hours, and is just a fantastic story for App.

Not sure who is going to want to play these guys in the future.