Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2010 – Round 6 #7- Tennessee- QB Rusty Smith

A NFL Draft selection who played college ball in the county I live in. FAU is the only university with a football team here, and they have only had a program for roughly a decade. Smith threw for over 3,600 yards as a sophomore and completed 32 touchdown passes. I can’t tell you much more about Smith, doesn’t even have a scouting report on him!


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


FAU Coach Howard Schnellenberger returns to Florida Field

The Boca Raton University makes it first ever trip to Gainesville. However it isn’t the first for the Owls’ Coach.

It was the 1980 season finale and Howard Schnellenberger’s unranked Miami Hurricanes had tacked on another touchdown for a 28-7 lead against No. 18 Florida. The Gators’ student section, frustrated and angry at its targets below, unleashed a final volley.

The fruit, used to sneak alcohol into the stadium, hit a UM cheerleader. Next, Schnellenberger’s 20-year-old son got plunked.

Then came a near-knockout blow. Assistant coach Christ Vagotis took one to the head, dropping him to a knee.

With one second remaining, Schnellenberger fired back.

“Field goal,” he yelled to his kicking unit.

Offensive coordinator Kim Helton, standing alongside Schnellenberger, couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Oh, coach. Don’t do it …don’t do it,” Helton pleaded.

Danny Miller’s field goal brought more venom, but Schnellenberger had made his point.

“They raised a ruckus when I kicked it, but that’s why I did it,” he said this week. “I wanted to be asked about it after the game.”

Rowdy Florida College football fans in 1980. Hard to believe? You got to remember that the Gators went winless in 1979 and some thought the Hurricanes were doomed after Coach Lou Saban left Miami for West Point early in 1979.(Funny how Sabans leave Miami early, as I pointed out in this post)

Today, Schnellenberger returns to Florida Field for only the fourth time since that infamous orange-inspired field goal when his Florida Atlantic Owls play the Gators, who are favored to win by 34 points.


Schnellenberger, whose Hurricanes were on their way to the Peach Bowl, the school’s first post-season game in 12 seasons, didn’t hesitate to call on Miller for a 35-yard attempt.


Schnellenberger’s Hurricanes weren’t as successful in their last two visits to Florida.

In 1982, the Gators snapped a four-game losing streak against UM, winning 17-14 on a late touchdown catch by running back James Jones.

In 1983, Schnellenberger started a freshman quarterback at Florida Field and lost 28-3.

Fortunately for UM, Bernie Kosar recovered from that inauspicious debut to lead the Hurricanes to 11 straight wins, including the 1984 Orange Bowl against Nebraska for the Hurricanes’ first national championship.

Schnellenberger’s last game at Florida came as Louisville’s coach in a 31-17 loss in 1992 to Steve Spurrier’s Gators.

I played ball against James Jones star of the 82 game. James Jones, who went on to play for the Detroit Lions, played high school football at Pompano Beach Ely High School.

This year I think Howard Schnellenberger is more worried about his heavy underdog Owls team getting out of Gainesville in one piece physically, rather than the threat of more oranges being thrown at him.


Sun Belt Conference Presidents- No more body bag games

They don’t like their schools being on the losing end of lopsided games. From the Palm Beach Post-

Sun Belt Conference presidents are tired of their football teams starting the season with lopsided defeats.

They have proposed a policy that would require Sun Belt teams to play more home games and fewer mismatches on the road games that make money but almost assure humiliating losses.

The proposal, which will likely be finalized this summer, calls for the eight Sun Belt football schools to play at least 11 home football games in a two-year period. That would cut down on road games against top Division I-A teams that often pay as much as $600,000 a game.

“I think what the presidents are seeing is there has to be a balance,” Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters said.

FAU raised $1.8 million in 2006 by playing four consecutive road games against teams from BCS conferences. The Owls (5-7) had seven road games and five home games, but started the season with four consecutive road losses by a combined score of 192-18.

This year’s schedule is less brutal, but includes road games at Oklahoma State (Sept. 8 ), Kentucky (Sept. 29) and Florida (Nov. 17).

“We would like to wean ourselves away from the need to rely on the payday games,” said FAU President Frank Brogan, who endorses the plan.

College football is like a business, they need a source of revenue(customers) in order to be still be in business. These schools find it profitable to be big school’s whipping boy of the week. I’d really be surprised if the Sun Belt Presidents end this practice. It will be an act of masochism if they do.

The University of Miami Football team was often hired for these types of games in the 1970′s. When they began beating up on the teams(Like Notre Dame) they were hired to lose to, alot of these schools stopped scheduling the Hurricanes.


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