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Posts from May 2011

Tuesday’s Daily Briefing: The FAU 2010-11 season is in the books

The baseball team was the last team still alive representing FAU, but after it missed out on being invited to the NCAA Regionals, its season is over and so is the 2010-11 season for the Owls’ sports teams.

You can bet preparation is already underway for the 2011-12 season in the never-ending cycle of college sports.

We’ll be taking an end-of-the-year look back at the 2010-11 season soon, but also we’ll be looking ahead to the fall and beyond as we promise to keep you up to date on FAU sports this summer.

And don’t worry, the beginning of August when football players begin their pre-season training camp will be here before we know it. 

Owl Links

FAUOwlAccess.com

Here’s our report on the NCAA’s announcement of the tournament field that didn’t include the Owls.

Monday's Daily Briefing: FAU's chance at making NCAAs? Slim and slimmer.

Cue Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber when he wants to know what shot he has at a shot at a relationship with Mary Swanson and you’ll have an idea of what the FAU baseball team feels like when it watches today’s NCAA Selection Show.

 

At 12:30 p.m. it will be official, but the show will still be worth watching on ESPN.

 

And, as Lloyd said, there is a chance. I remember in 2004, when Florida has sent its team home for the summer after not making the 8-team SEC Tournament. However, when the field was announced the Gators were playing in the Regionals at Coral Gables, along with FAU.

 

I’m not going to say it will happen. But it can happen.

 

What are the Owls’ chances?

 

Here’s a look at the final projections by some well-respected college baseball reporters and websites from around the nation.

 

Spolier Alert: None have the Owls making the field, although a few have FAU being one of the last teams left out.

Final Projections:

 

Sunday's Daily Briefing: Loss to UALR could be final blow of 2011 season

Today was supposed to be a day of watching results from many of the conference baseball tournaments around the nation to see if the results would help FAU’s chance at getting off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.

 

Well, I believe FAU's 5-3 loss to UALR on Saturday made anything that happens today meaningless.

 

The loss came against a Trojans’ team that had already assured itself of playing FIU in today’s title game and went into the game with main objective to not use any pitchers that they might need against the Panthers. Well, the UALR rejects on the mound frustrated Owls’ hitters for most of the day.

 

Does a team that can’t hit mid-week guys from the eighth-seeded team in the Sun Belt Conference deserve an NCAA bid? That’s for the members of the NCAA selection committee to decide, but my gut feeling is they have made their decision and no matter what happens today, it's not going to be one the Owls are going to like.

 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here’s our coverage of the loss to UALR.
Saturday’s Daily Briefing: FAU fans need to be pulling for FIU

There are going to be some mixed emotions for Owl Nation.

 

How else to explain when the best thing for FAU is for Florida International to win the Sun Belt Conference title.

 

Owl Nation giving a collective “Go Panthers?” How could it be?

 

Well it’s simple really. FIU is already safely in the NCAA Tournament, but if UALR should win Sunday’s championship game in the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament, the Trojans will take one of the coveted spots in the field with an automatic bid, while FIU will have to settle for an at-large berth.

 

For true Owls fans the thought of UALR, the eighth-seed in the tournament, celebrating a victory over FIU would certainly be rewarding. However, the Owls have a better shot at making the Regionals themselves with an FIU victory.

 

So forget about the FIU star player challenging FAU fans to a fight, forget about the art work on the FAU bus supplied by FIU students and the Panthers assistant football coach, who called for FAU pounded into the dirt on his Twitter account.

 

It’s all forgotten – at least for a few days.

 

Now, go out there and cheer for FIU.

 

It can’t be that hard.

 

Can it?

 

Owl Links

FAUOwlAccess.com

With the baseball team taking a day off in Monroe, La. we turned to football with the story of Jensen Beach OL and FAU recruit Curtis Csonka, who is related to former Dolphin great Larry Csonka.

Friday’s Daily Briefing: Sun Belt wants to play 9 conference games in future

We’ve been up to our heads in baseball coverage, but there was the matter of the annual spring Sun Belt Conference meetings which just concluded.

 
The conference office gave an update on the more important matters, including improving the instant replay system for football and proposing an extra conference football game beginning in 2015.
 
Of immediate interest is that the Sun Belt’s replay system is getting a boost. Gone are the stationary convenience store-security cameras you saw at Lockhart Stadium which, oddly enough, rarely produced a video image that was overturned.
 
This fall, the Sun Belt will provide two “HD capable goal line pan-tilt-zoom camera systems” which sounds like an improvement.
 
Also, In the future FAU and all other league members will add a Sun Belt game in 2015, playing each of the other nine members of the conference and having three non-conference games. The problem is that FAU has said it may need to play three “money” games to finance the construction of the football stadium. If no return games are required, there won’t be any attractive games on the schedule, and it will be tough to grow the season ticket base with home games of just Sun Belt opponents.
 
It’s a long way off, and frankly, I think the Sun Belt’s Athletic Directors will reverse course and go back to eight games, but it's something to keep an eye on.
 
Here is the entire release sent out by the Sun Belt on Thursday night…
 
Sun Belt Conference Moving Forward Following Annual Spring Meetings
SANDESTIN, Fla. – With a commitment to excellence being the striking theme the Sun Belt Conference concluded its annual spring meetings in Sandestin, Florida on Wednesday.
 
Over the course of the four day meetings officials and coaches discussed important matters to the league and met with various groups. 
 
“I thought this was a tremendous meeting,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters.  “There was a great focus on national issues and while discussion was tense, it was honest and always with the aim of improving the conference.  I thank the Sun Belt Conference Presidents and Chancellors for their continued involvement.  I also must thank the student-athletes that we were fortunate to have here with us for Tuesday’s Honors Banquet.  Our student-athletes serve as a constant reminder of how great intercollegiate athletics is and what our mission is.”
 
“I continue to be very proud of our student-athletes,” said Sun Belt Conference President Dr. Jack Hawkins of Troy. “From an academic standpoint we are doing incredible work as evidence by the improvement in league-wide APR scores.  From a competitive standpoint we continue to excel as evidence by our success on the field.”
 
The Sun Belt Conference’s annual meetings include the senior staff of the conference office along with each member school’s Chief Executive Officer, Faculty Athletic Representative, Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator, Head Football Coach, Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Head Women’s Basketball Coach. 
 
Prominent topics of discussion included increased television exposure for the Sun Belt Conference, officiating, Sun Belt Conference scheduling, services that the conference provides to its member institutions and championships.
 
Sun Belt Conference Television Exposure
The Sun Belt Conference is committed to a strong television package on the national and regional levels.  Proof of this comes in the fact that since the 2005-06 season the league has gone from having 30 broadcast events through its television partners to 72 partner events in the 2010-11 season.  As a whole Sun Belt Conference member institutions made 160 total television appearances this season.
 
Representatives from ESPN as well as the league’s regional television partners, Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST), were in attendance at the annual league meetings.  These television executives spent time with the league’s leadership and expressed commitment to furthering the league’s television product and exposure.
 
Sun Belt Conference Officiating
Also in attendance at the annual league meeting were Sun Belt Conference officials’ coordinators Don Lucas (football), Mike Wood (men’s basketball) and Sally Bell (women’s basketball).  Each coordinator met with their respective coaches group as well as league athletic directors.
 
Currently the Sun Belt Conference uses XOS in football for official reviews and instant replay system takes in five inputs at once for review by the officials.  The conference provides all of the following to each school: one set top box to take in and record all five inputs, XOS instant replay software, remote control for replay system, monitors, goal line cameras, training for instant replay system and an instant replay system support.  Starting in the 2011 football season the following upgrades are being made conference wide: install two new HD capable goal line pan-tilt-zoom camera systems and Install two new SDI/Analog HD monitors.
 
The XOS instant replay system for basketball operates with a unit sitting courtside on the scorer’s table.  XOS replay is capable of taking the TV production feed, in-house production feed or simply the coaches camera feed allowing for complete flexibility.  There is a second, fixed camera in each facility which provides a shot/game clock image which is inserted into the video allowing for accurate determinations of timing infractions and the technician simply uses a handheld push-button to mark points that could potentially be reviewed.  If at any time a referee would like to review a play, the technician cues that mark and operates the system using controls that are much like a VCR or DVR.
 
Included among the Sun Belt Conference’s roster of officials are those who have worked both men’s and women’s Final Fours in basketball and bowl game officials in football.
 
Sun Belt Conference Scheduling
Another topic of conversation was the future of league scheduling as Denver departs the Sun Belt Conference after the 2011-12 season and South Alabama begins Sun Belt play in football in 2012. 
 
Representatives of Sun Belt Conference member institutions have already approved an eight game conference football that will be effective for the 2012 season.  Each of the 10 teams will play four home and four away games each season and will never miss a game against its natural rival.  League representatives approved on Wednesday a nine game conference schedule beginning in the 2015 season with each team playing each other.
 
Sun Belt Conference Services Provided
Officials from the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and GoDaddy.com Bowl were also present and expressed their excitement about being involved with the Sun Belt Conference now and in the future.  The Sun Belt Conference is a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Conference and a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
 
Alex Smith, the Associate Director for Academic and Membership Affairs at the NCAA, was also in attendance at the league meeting.  Smith’s involvement with the Sun Belt Conference membership was to bring national collegiate athletics issues into discussion as well as discuss new NCAA legislation.
 
In follow-up to the Sun Belt Conference’s strategic plan for men’s basketball that was announced in October, 2010 the league has enlisted the help of Winthrop Intelligence, a group committed to using database tools to help optimize financial decision making in budget planning, contract negotiations, trend analysis and benchmarking.  Winthrop Intelligence’s partnership with the Sun Belt Conference will focus on increasing ticket sales, attendance and donorship to the league’s men’s basketball programs.
 
Additionally Dominick Giambrone, Sun Belt Conference Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Education Services, met with league Faculty Athletic Representatives and Senior Woman Administrators on topics related to academics in collegiate athletics.  Discussion ranged from Academic Progress Rates, Graduation Success Rate and tutoring and mentorship.
 
“We met and reviewed 5-year trends and historical data regarding APR at length,” said Giambrone.  Specific focus was aimed at the number of both two and four year transfers as well as analyzing academic at-risk student-athletes.”
 
Sun Belt Conference Leadership
Dr. Jack Hawkins, chancellor of Troy University, will continue his two-year term as president of the Sun Belt Conference Executive Committee.  The slate of officers for 2011-12, in addition to Hawkins, is: Vice President – Gordon Moulton, president, South Alabama; Past President - Dr. Sidney McPhee, president, Middle Tennessee; At-Large Representative – Joel Anderson, chancellor, UALR; Athletics Directors Representative – Dean Lee, Arkansas State; Faculty Athletics Representative – James Brown, Western Kentucky; Senior Woman Administrators Representative – Cinnamon Sheffield, North Texas.
 
Sun Belt Conference Championships
 
The following 2013-2014 future championship sites were also determined:
 
Cross Country – Troy
Soccer – North Texas
Volleyball – Middle Tennessee
Tennis – South Alabama
Softball – North Texas
Indoor Track and Field – Middle Tennessee
 
The 2013 Sun Belt Conference Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships were also awarded to Louisiana-Lafayette.  Denver, which will be departing the Sun Belt Conference at the end of the 2011-12 season, was originally slated to host that championship.
 
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
We stayed up late to monitor FAU’s 9-6 loss to Troy in the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
 
Other linkage
Here’s the story on the game from the Dothan Eagle
Thursday's Daily Briefing: FAU vs. Troy a must win to impress NCAA selection committee

A couple days ago FAU coach John McCormack said he would reserve judgment about the new “pool system” being employed by the Sun Belt Conference for this year's tournament.

He's already found a major negative.

After losing Wednesday's Sun Belt opener to Western Kentucky, FAU has very little chance of advancing to the championship game and no longer controls it's own destiny. In year's past the Owls at least had the opportunity to play their way back into the mix through the loser's bracket.

“Now you are kind of at the mercy of what everyone else is doing - moreso than before,” McCormack said following the loss. “We could play lights out the next two games and go 2-0 and still not advance.”

FAU can still make it to the championship, but it needs a lot of help. To begin with, if Western Kentucky wins either of its next two games – and one of those games is against No. 8 seed UALR – the Owls won't be able to move on.

Even if FAU is able to rebound mentally from a loss McCormack said left players “distraught,” the Owls will still have some physical issues to deal with.

The back end of the Owls bullpen might not be available tonight it what may well be a must-win game for the Owls' NCAA Tournament chances.

Closer Hugh Adams and set-up man Andy Mee (photo Jeremy Stevens/ULMWarhawks.com) both pitched two innings on Wednesday. McCormack said Adams wouldn't be available tonight against top-seeded Troy, and Mee likely wouldn't be either.

“It really shortens the bullpen a little bit,” McCormack said.

One positive for FAU is that it might not need its bullpen. About a half hour after the Owls' loss on Wednesday, McCormack determined that Paul Davis would pitch against Troy. Davis, the Owls' ace and arguably the best pitcher in the conference, is coming off a complete-game shutout of Florida International.

He threw 143 pitches in that outing, though, making a deep run against Troy unlikely.

The Owls receive a bit of a break because Troy threw its ace, Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Tyler Ray, in the late-night loss to UALR on Wednesday. The rest of the Trojans' pitching staff has been hittable this season. Troy's loss night renders this an elimination game in the SBC Tournament.

Win or lose against Troy the Owls will still have one more game, facing UALR on Friday. McCormack continues to believe wins in those two games will solidify the Owls' spot in the NCAA tournament.

“We've got to win the next two games to get to 34 wins,” McCormack said. “We've got to win the next two to give ourselves a shot. We've got to win the next two to give the committee a chance to have some serious discussions about Florida Atlantic.”

Owl LinksArticles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess.com
FAU appeared to have won Wednesday's game against Western Kentucky twice, only to have it slip away. Here is our game story.

Other linkage:
Game stories from: Bowling Green Daily Advertiser | Sun-Sentinel | Monroe News-Star

Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: FAU football takes APR hit again

The NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Report wasn’t kind to FAU’s football program.

The Owls were assessed a penalty of three scholarships, which they have already absorbed.
 
You can guess that no one at FAU is particularly happy about this and here’s a statement from football coach Howard Schnellenberger.
 
“I’m disappointed that though our APR points improved over the last two years we lost scholarships, all were absorbed in 2010." Schnellenberger said. “We have studied the problem and have refocused our areas of concern. As you are aware, these numbers reflect the 2009-10 season and the early reports for the upcoming year have improved. This will prove to be a major step in the right direction.”
 
There’s really no way to sugar-coat this. FAU, which was penalized for the fourth consecutive season, must get better in this regard.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here’s our preview for FAU’s  game against Western Kentucky at the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
 
Other Linkage
The Sun-Sentinel also had a preview.
Davis, Adams, Church named to All-Sun Belt team

Florida Atlantic pitcher Paul Davis, relief pitcher Hugh Adams and second baseman Raymond Church were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team, the conference announced Tuesday night.

 
Shortstop Nick DelGuidice and outfielder Alex Hudak were named to the All-Sun Belt second team.
 
Here is a complete list of award winners:
 
2011 All-Sun Belt First Team
SP - Paul Davis, Florida Atlantic
SP - Tyler Ray, Troy
RP - Hugh Adams, Florida Atlantic
C - Matt Rice, WKU
1B - Joey Rapp, Louisiana-Monroe
2B - Raymond Church, Florida Atlantic
SS - Adam Bryant, Troy
3B - Tyler Hannah, Troy
3B - Jeremy Patton, FIU
OF - Todd Baumgartner, Arkansas State
OF - Pablo Bermudez, FIU
OF - Kes Carter, WKU
DH - Nick Rountree, UALR
UTIL - Tyson Workman, Troy
 
2011 All-Sun Belt Second Team
SP - Phil Haig, FIU
SP - Tanner Perkins, WKU
RP - Nate Hill, Troy
C - Brent Tanner, South Alabama
1B - Mike Martinez, FIU
2B - T.J. Rivera, Troy
SS - Nick DelGuidice, Florida Atlantic
3B - Hank LaRue, Middle Tennessee
OF - Jared Andreoli, WKU
OF - Alex Hudak, Florida Atlantic
OF - Will Skinner, Middle Tennessee
DH - Lance Marvel, Louisiana-Lafayette
UTIL - Brad Hook - South Alabama
 
Sun Belt Co-Players of the Year
Pablo Bermudez, FIU
Adam Bryant, Troy
 
Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year
Tyler Ray, Troy
 
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Justin Hageman, WKU
 
Ron Maestri Coach of the Year
Bobby Pierce, Troy
Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Davis may come back earlier than thought

After FAU ace pitcher Paul Davis threw 143 pitches vs. FIU on Friday, it was thought Davis would come back as usual on the following Friday in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

 
There was just one problem, by finishing with a No. 5 seed, FAU doesn’t have a game on Friday,
 
FAU’s game Saturday is against No. 8 seed UALR while its game on Thursday is vs. top-seeded Troy. Guess which game the Owls would like to have Davis on the mound for?
 
However, FAU coach John McCormack said the decision will ultimately be up to Davis and how he feels.
 
“We haven’t made a decision on that and won’t until we talk to Paul,” McCormack said from Monroe, La. “I told him “if you feel up to it, we’d like to use you against Troy, but if you need more time, let’s take some more time.’ If he feels strong we may use him, but we’ll have to see how he feels.”
 
Throwing Davis, who was named the Sun Belt’s Pitcher of the Week, against the Trojans would give FAU a chance at picking up another RPI victory, while the Owls could have an idea if they are playing in the championship game by the time Saturday’s game against UALR.
 
Knowing Davis, he’s going to do everything he physically can to throw against Troy.

Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
 
Very interesting story on the freedom catcher Mike Albaladejo has to call pitches during games.
 
 
FAU P Paul Davis named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week

After one of top performances by an FAU pitcher in years on Friday vs. FIU, it’s no surprise Paul Davis was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Pitcher of the Week.

The conference made the announcement Monday.
 
Davis threw a shutout in a 2-0 victory vs. the Panthers, knocking them out of first place. It was his second complete game victory vs. FIU this season,
 
Davis had nine strikeouts and threw 143 pitches,  the most by a Sun Belt pitcher this year.
Davis improved to 10-1 and earned his second Pitcher of the Week Award this season after winning the award in March.
 
In cas you missed it here's our video of Davis' gem with the final outs.
 
Here’s the complete release from the Sun Belt Conference.
Monday's Daily Briefing: Owls holding on to spot in Regionals?

Florida Atlantic really should be happy with a 2-2 week against Miami and FIU, which were both ranked in some polls.

However, after beating the Canes on Tuesday, the bar was raised and suddenly going 3-1 was possible.
All the Owls had to do was win 2-of-3 from FIU. But the Panthers, one of the hottest teams in college baseball, were too much for the Owls. FAU could only manage to win one game against FIU, although it did snap the Panthers’ unbeaten streak and kept FIU from winning the regular-season title.
 
Will the series loss keep FAU out of the NCAA Regionals. It doesn’t appear so. SEBaseball.com’s Regional Projections updated on Sunday had FAU as a No. 3 seed in the Tempe, Ariz. Regional and the Owls’ pseudo-RPI from Boyd’s World is still a respectable No. 42.
 
My guess is that FAU may have to win at least two games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to keep from falling out. The Owls helped their case last week.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
 
Here’s a look at how the seeds line up at the Sun Belt Tournament.
Sunday's Daily Briefing: Owls have favorable draw in SBC Tourney

After losing to FIU After losing to  FIU 7-3 on Saturday in the regular-season finale the Owls fell to the 5th seed in this week's Sun Belt Tournament.

 
Actually, while "fell" is technically accurate, FAU really didn’t lose too much ground on Saturday.
 
Even with a victory over FIU, FAU would have been a No. 4 seed and would play in the same pool as the No. 5 seed and there isn't much difference between those two seeds.
 
That's one of the quirks of the Sun Belt's interesting new format for its tournament.
 
Simply put, there are two groups of four teams that play in a round-robin with the winners of each group facing off on Sunday in the championship game.
 
FAU is in the pool with top-seeded Troy, Western Kentucky and UALR. The other pool has red-hot FIU, Louisiana-Lafayette , South Alabama and Arkansas State, a dangerous No. 7 seed because of its strong pitching.
 
The Owls’ draw is quite fortunate.
 
Each team plays at least three games which means the two teams in the title game will be playing their fourth game. Also, each team gets an off-day during pool play,
 
And that’s where it gets interesting, because when each team gets its off day could be an advantage of a disadvantage.
 
For instance, the No. 1 team, Troy, has its off day on Saturday – a huge advantage as it gets to rest before the championship game if it is indeed playing that day.
 
The No. 2 seed, FIU, has no such luxury, in fact it is very much the opposite. FIU is scheduled to play the last game of the day on Saturday at 8 p.m.. I’ve covered enough baseball tournaments to know they rarely stay on schedule giving the possibility that the No. 2 seed will be playing deep into the night just a few hours before the title game.
 
No wonder FIU wasn't celebrating after beating FAU in a series for the first time since 2003. By not winning the Sun Belt title, the Golden Panthers paved themselves a tough road in the tournament.
 
So, Owl fans, maybe Saturday wasn't a total loss.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here's our coverage of the series finale in Miami
 
Other Linkage
The Miami Herald was in the pressbox again for the fourth consecutive FAU game, covering the other team of course, but at least they were there.
 
Saturday’s Daily Briefing: FAU could have say in Sun Belt title race

If the baseball gods aren’t too busy planning for the scheduled rapture, perhaps they can cooperate in setting up a big final day of the regular-season.

 
Here’s the scenario: If Troy loses to South Alabama today, FIU can win the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship, provided it beats FAU.
 
The Troy-South Alabama game starts at 5 p.m. while the Owls and Panthers get it going at 7 p.m. in a game televised by CSS meaning FIU will know if it has a chance at winning the title.
 
Let’s face facts. It would be sweet for Troy to lose and the Owls snatch the title from their Miami-Dade rival.
 
The players certainly sounded like they enjoy playing – and beating – FIU.
 
“They are our rival and when we play these guys it’s really intense,” Owls senior outfielder Colby Gratton (pictured) said after Saturday's 2-0 victory that evened the series at 1. “Every time we come out and play these guys we expect to win. I’ve been here four years and we’ve never lost a series to them. They are a good squad - but we’re better.”
 
In the grand scheme of things today’s game is big for FAU because the Owls are trying to give their RPI a late surge. But deep, down inside they know it’s also big because they could keep FIU from celebrating a title tonight.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here’s our coverage of FAU’s big 2-0 victory. Get a recap, video highlights, our breakdown and a photo gallery by clicking here.
 
Other linkage
The Miami Herald was also at the game. …This article mentions some Jets and Dolphins will be training at FAU next week.
Friday's Daily Briefing: FAU playing the Trump card

After breaking away from the reception line to take his own scouting tour of Trump International Golf Course, FAU running back Alfred Morris returned shaking his head in amazement.

“This place is really nice,” Morris said.

He is, of course, right – it's amazing what they are doing with landfills these days.

FAU held its annual fundraising golf tournament at the dump that Trump turned into a world class golf course on Thursday. If you have the opportunity to play the course – take it. Gorgeous.

Morris (top photo) and offensive lineman Max Karrick (bottom photo) were the two football player representatives who greeted the approximately 50 foursomes as they entered the clubhouse for the tournament.

“It's really become a prestigious event in the community, primarily because a lot of people can't play at Trump because it's hard to get on,” FAU athletic director Craig Angelos said.

The tournament is among the top fundraisers of the year for the Owls. Angelos said it brings more than $100,000 to FAU's scholarship fund.

Here are a couple of other nuggets from the afternoon:

Angelos still hasn't presented a contract extension offer to Mike Jarvis. Angelos and the FAU administration are working on finalizing the overall athletic budget, and says the school can't talk salary with Jarvis until the department determines how much money it will have. He hopes to present an offer next week – sound familiar?

One of the items for bid in the action was a Tennessee Titans jersey autographed by Rusty Smith. There was also an Ole Miss helmet signed by Eli Manning. Any FAU fan shouldn't have trouble finding a nice place in their home to display the Smith jersey. The Manning helmet? Hey, if it brings in money, why not?

Howard Schnellenberger is still the one person tournament participants go out of their way to find. Though he didn't play, Schnellenberger shook hands with everyone in arms reach, posed for pictures, and entertained with more than 50 years worth of football stories. Schnellenberger remains the program's top fundraiser – and there isn't even a close second.

Put together a photo gallery from the tournament. Lots of smiles – and interesting swings. Blue Martini made the trek north dispensing three different kinds of tasty martinis. And thanks to the guys from Three J's Cigar Emporium on the 17th. They attend every year. If you are an FAU fan who likes golf, make an effort to play next year. It's a pretty good time.

Owl Links: Articles of interest to FAU fans
FAUOwlAccess
Not the start to the series FAU baseball was looking for, though they sure did make it interesting in the ninth. Here is the story, analysis and video from Thursday night's loss to FIU.

Other linkage:
The Miami Herald was the only other media outlet in attendance last night. The Herald, which also covered the Owls' victory over Miami, has now covered two FAU games this week. They have now attended more FAU baseball games than any other professional news outlet not named FAUOwlAccess.com. Think about that...
 

Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Owl fans should be ready for rude treatment at FIU

I’m not sure how many FAU fans are heading down to FIU this weekend, but watch your back if you do.

 
It’s hostile territory down on Tamiami Trail and there are more than just a few incidents between the two schools that leads one to think that Owl fans won’t exactly be welcomed with open arms.
 
Who could forget FAU fans taking over U.S. Century Bank Arena in February and celebrating the Owls winning the East Division title with a victory over the Panthers?
 
Of course, it was a short celebration. Almost as soon as the game was over, the scoreboard went dark, the lights were turned off and FIU security goons were pushing FAU fans out the door.
 
And what did they see when they were ushered out into the night? That a bus that had brought down some FAU fans had been “redecorated” by what probably were FIU students (see photo).
 
At least when FIU's sports teams venture to Boca Raton, the good-natured verbal ribbing is directed toward the coaches and the players (or their know-it-all-father) who should expect to get an earful from fans.
 
But to make it tough on the other team’s fans? That seems a bit much – although kudos are in order to the artwork of the male anatomy drawn on the window. Who knew FIU had such a good art program?
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here is our preview of the FAU-FIU series, which has big implications for the Owls’ post-season chances. …FAU basketball announced its signing class and here are the capsules on the new Owls.
 
Other linkage
The Sun-Sentinel had this report on the signing class. …Here’s the preview of the baseball series from the Sun-Sentinel
Four players sign with FAU basketball team

UPDATED: 5:08 p.m.

Florida Atlantic basketball got their man. Actually they got their men – all four of them.

The quarter of players we first reported committed to FAU - Omari Grier, Kelvin Penn, Julien Sargent and Dragan Sekelja - have all signed their paperwork and will be attending school in Boca Raton next fall.

FAU announced the signings this afternoon.

Three of the four have the potential to make an impact next season. Sargent, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center who is transferring from Miami-Dade college, will give the Owls bulk in the paint, something they've lacked in recent years. He'll likely be called upon to fill the rebounding void left by the graduated Brett Royster.

At 6-foot-7, Penn (photo, shooting) appears to have the motor of Jordan McCoy, but the engine is in a wider body. He could develop into an inside scoring threat with guard-type moves. A Washington state native, Penn comes to the Sunshine State after spending a year at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia.

Grier, who hails from Philadelphia, is a shooter pure and simple. His playing time as a freshman could be linked to Grant Gantt's ability to relocate the touch on his 3-point shot.

Sekelja is transferring from Baylor, where he played for two years. The 6-foot-11 center and Croatian native will have to sit out a year but will still have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in the 2012-13 season

 

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Meiers unlikely hero for FAU in victory against Hurricanes

Back in the fall, anyone given an FAU roster and asked to pick the pitcher who would beat Miami in a game that could essentially determine the Owls' post-season fate would have gone through a lot of names before guessing “Jake Meiers.”

On Tuesday, Meiers was the right choice.

Pounding the strikes zone with a fastball that didn't really get near 90, a curve ball that was as sharp as it's been all season and a change-up that kept the Canes off balance all night, Meiers exuded calm in dealing with what can be an explosive Miami offense.

Meiers wasn't dominant in the 7-4 victory, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while walking two. He simple didn't panic. Miami had at least one runner in scoring position in six of the seven innings he pitched.

The two runs he allowed in the fourth were a direct result of a botched double play by the Owls, and even through Miami did pull within one in the inning, Meiers prevented a big inning. The Canes had runners on second and third with one out when Meiers struck out Shane Rowland, then induced a fly ball from Zeke Devoss.

There's a truism in baseball that asserts a player can have a long career as a soft tossing lefthander, but there is no such thing as a crafty righty.

Meiers bucked that rule on Tuesday, throwing 65 of his 100 pitches for strikes. And he kept the ball in the ballpark – which was no small task with the wind screaming out to right centerfield.

“Meiers in particular pitched well,” said Miami coach Jim Morris, who moments prior had witnessed his Hurricanes lose their first season series to FAU since 1984. “He hit spots and took advantage of the strike zone to stay ahead of our hitters. Our hitters made no adjustments to him. ...He made some pitches when he needed to.

A healthy Owls pitching staff would likely have relegated Meiers to scrap innings out of the bullpen this season. However, injuries and illnesses to Kevin Alexander, Cody Barnes, Bo Logan and Dalton Wentz have forced FAU coach John McCormack to rely on the lanky sophomore.

On Tuesday Meiers did everything he could to show he belongs in the rotation – and that the Owls are an NCAA tournament-worthy team.

Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
We made the first of four scheduled trips to Miami-Dade County this week to bring FAU fans the story and video highlights from the Owls' victory over the Canes. 
 
Other linkage
Here is the Miami Herald's account of the game.

FAU announces seat selection process underway for new football stadium

Just got this release from FAU Athletics so though we would pass it along since there are plenty of questions from Owls season ticket holders...

FAU Stadium Seat Selection Process Underway
           
Florida Atlantic University’s athletics department has begun the 2011 football season seat selection process for the new on-campus football stadium. Friday, May 6 was the deadline to have seats paid in full to be a part of the early selection process.
There is still time to be a part of the “Early Owl Special.” Fans who purchase a at least two tickets, at a minimum of $135 each, by Tuesday, May 31, also will have the opportunity to upgrade, and names on the ticket account will be engraved and displayed in the stadium on the “Early Recognition Wall.”
A priority points system has been established to recognize fans who have been long-time supporters of the University and its athletics department. Points are awarded to alumni, past season-ticket holders, as well as for those who have given monetary donations and other philanthropic gifts. Those who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to FAU athletes will be rewarded with an earlier selection time. Points carry over from one year to the next and are totaled annually.
Fans who have purchased a 2011 season football ticket and already paid in-full will be contacted by Tuesday, May 31 with their seat selection day and time, in which they will be able to choose their seat online at http://fau.io-media.com/ or by phone.
The 30,000-seat stadium seat is the centerpiece of FAU’s Innovation Village, located in the north central area of FAU’s Boca Raton campus. The stadium, a $70 million project, is slated to feature 6,000 premium seats, including 24 suites, 26 loge boxes, 1,000 premier club seats and 4,000 priority club seats, and the latest, state-of-the art amenities.
The 2011 football season will host five home games to be played for the first time on FAU's Boca Raton campus. The home season opener is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 15.
A complete list of the priority point system is located at www.faustadium.com. For more information on the stadium, visit www.faustadium.com. To observe the stadium construction progress on line, view the stadium web camera at click here. To purchase season tickets, contact Scott Erdmann at 561-297-0579 or serdmann@fau.edu.

 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: FIU's streak falls short of FAU's NCAA record of 34 straight wins
Florida Atlantic’s final four games of the regular-season could have huge implications as the Owls try to get a late boost for their NCAA Regional resume.
 
FAU’s Final Four begins tonight against Miami in Coral Gables and continues in Miami-Dade County with three games at FIU beginning on Thursday.
 
We detail the importance of the game at Miami in our preview. The games at FIU are almost as big as the Owls are still mathematically alive for the Sun Belt title.
 
It’s always big when FAU and FIU play each other – even when the Sun Belt matches the Owls and Golden Panthers up a whopping six times.
 
However, the series lost one of its storylines on Sunday. As you may have known, FIU reeled off a fairly impressive 15-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s game vs. Arkansas State. It certainly appeared FIU was ready to bring in the nation’s longest winning streak into Thursday’s game vs. FAU, before it tied the Red Wolves 8-8 in a game that lasted just eight innings couldn’t be decided because of ASU’s travel plans.
 
The streak was snapped (ties don't count) as is FAU's shot at ending the streak.
 
Why, you may ask,  would that be so big?
 
Longtime FAU fans, please forgive me for a brief history lesson, but guess which school is listed in the NCAA Division I record book for the longest all-time winning streak? That’s right. It’s FAU, which in 1999 tied the 34-consecutive victories Texas reeled off 1977.
 
Although the Blue Wave's streak is just more than 10 years old I feel it's worth worth mentioning, because frankly, it’s hardly mentioned anymore. There is no banner at FAU Stadium commemorating such as the one Miami’s football team has at the Orange Bowl when the Hurricanes won 58-consecutive home games. Before it is simply forgotten, I feel its prudent to bring it up because FAU has many more fans than it did in 1999 and there are likely many who are unaware FAU holds such a distinguished place in NCAA history.
 
Now of course, FIU's winning streak of 15 games wasn't even halfway to what the Owls accomplished in that breakthrough year for the program, but it still would have been an interesting subplot for this weekend.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here is our preview of Tuesday’s game at UM.
Monday’s Daily Briefing: Baylor 7-footer Sekelja signs paperwork to transfer to Florida Atlantic

Can you picture FAU guards Ray Taylor and Greg Gantt on the perimeter with a 7-foot post-player from a Big 12 program down low?

 
It looks like it’s going to happen because Florida Atlantic has apparently landed the services of Baylor center Dragan Sekelja.
 
Last night, Sekelja, a 7-footer from Croatia, told our Chuck King he has signed the paperwork necessary to make his transfer to FAU official.
 
You may remember when we broke the story last month that Sekelja came to FAU on a visit and verbally committed to the Owls.
 
At that time Sekelja said while he wanted to come to FAU, he needed to talk the decision over with his parents. The talk must have gone well as Sekelja is indeed planning to come to Boca Raton.
 
Last week, Baylor announced Sekelja was indeed transferring and now we know where.
 
Sekelja will likely have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, which he can use as a redshirt year, but will be eligible to play in the 2012-13 season as a junior.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
We were at FAU Stadium for the completion of Saturday’s suspended game and Sunday’s regularly-schedule game against UALR. The Owls won the first game, but lost the second. Here’s our report including a recap, video highlights and our breakdown.
 
Other linkage
The Pre-Snap Read chimes in on FAU, ranking them at No. 106 in the nation.
Sunday's Daily Briefing: FAU softball falls in Sun Belt title game

There must have been a great deal of interest in the FAU softball team as many fans were banging on the pressbox door on Saturday during the baseball game vs. UALR to know how the Owls were doing against ULL in the Championship Game of the Sun Belt Tournament.

Well, there was a reason there weren’t many updates given over the PA system as the Owls lost to ULL 8-0 in five innings.

 The Owls (34-25) are a long-shot to make the NCAA Regionals will find out if they earned an at-large bid tonight.

No matter what happens it was a good season for the Owls who played well down the stretch and defeated ULL for the first time earlier in the season when they swept the Ragin’ Cajuns.

 The Owls return some quality players next season such as Carly Speerin and Heather Barnes, who was named to the All-Tournament team as well as senior Rose Gressley. FAU will also play host to the Sun Belt Tournament next May.

Owl Links

FAUOwlAccess.com

FAU’s game vs. UALR was suspended in the middle of the seventh inning with FAU leading 9-7 and will resume at noon Sunday. Here’s our story.

 Other Linkage

Here’s a report on the softball game from The (Lafayette) Daily Advertiser.

Saturday's Daily Briefing: FAU softball team playing for Sun Belt title

Florida Atlantic's baseball team is battling for its post-season fate today, but it’s probably not the biggest game on a diamond involving a team from FAU.

 
The softball team has a pretty big game down in  Lafayette, La. when it will face the Ragin’ Cajuns at 4 p.m. for the Sun Belt Conference Championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals.
 
The Owls improved to 34-24 on the season with a mercy-rule 11-0 victory vs. Troy in six innings on Friday.
 
Just for those who accuse us of jumping on the softball bandwagon, we did alert our readers the Owls pulled off some pretty big victories a few weeks ago when they swept ULL for the first time in school history.
 
Those games look absolutely huge as the Ragin’ Cajuns will be looking for payback and the Owls will want to show that sweep wasn’t a fluke.
 
The game will be televised, but in an unfortunate decision, will be shown at 7 p.m. on CSS on a tape-delayed basis in what is sure to be a suspense-filled game for those who don’t have a phone, own a computer or have a Facebook account.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
We were at the ballpark late into the night Friday to provide coverage of FAU’s 3-1 victory vs. UALR. Check out our recap, video highlights, stats and analysis on the game by clicking here.
 
Friday's Daily Briefing: FAU can't afford to lose series to UALR

With a game against Miami next week before what is shaping up to be a huge three-game series at FIU to close the regular season, it would be easy for FAU to look past this weekend’s series against UALR.

 
That would be a huge mistake. The stakes are just too high.
 
After losing two-out-of-three at Western Kentucky last weekend, the Owls dropped out of some NCAA tournament projections.
 
Here are a few projections by national web sites
 
 
Of course, the best way to get back in on the right side of the bubble is to win some games next week against the Hurricanes and the suddenly hot Golden Panthers. However, if the Owls don’t take care of business this weekend vs. the Trojans, it may not matter what FAU does next week in lovely Miami-Dade County.
 
Really the Owls need a sweep to take a step in making up for losing the series last week. Taking two-out-of-three would be acceptable, but anything less than that and it’s doubtful the Owls will be headed back to the NCAA Regionals.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here is our preview of this weekend's series vs. UALR
Other linkage
FAU softball keeps it going in the Sun Belt Tournament with a 3-1 victory vs. South Alabama. ...The Sun-Sentinel also has a preview of the series.
 
Thursday's Daily Briefing: A closer look at economic impact of FAU stadium

The old saying is there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

That certainly applies in a recent announcement by FAU touting there could be $1.8 million generated into the local economy on game days because of the new football stadium.

For starters, FAU said the figure was “according to the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination."  That statement gives the impression that the Palm Beach County Sports Commission independently came up with an economic impact and let FAU know its findings.

As it turns out, the findings were actually FAU’s.

How did we learn about this?

Call it a reporter’s intuition, but we wanted to know just how the sports commission arrived at “their” number, so we did what we thought was prudent and called the sports commission.

The response was strange. We were told we would have to get the numbers from FAU.

Of course, when we called FAU the response was even more unexpected.

We were told that the Palm Beach County Sports Commission actually didn’t do the number-crunching, but simply provided a formula to calculate how much people are likely to spend at a typical event in the area.

FAU plugged in some attendance estimates and - Voila! -  had its projected economic impact.

Here's what FAU came up with projected spending of $143 per person from out of town and $72 for a local with no hotel stay...

1,000 adults x 2 night hotel stay x avg. spending of $143 =$286,000
500 youth x 2 night hotel stay x avg. spending of $72 = $72,000
18,500 in attendance (no hotel stay) x $72 =$1,332,000

The formula calls for a youth hotel stay @ $72 too. So, regardless whether there's an out of town youth (hotel stay) or a no hotel stay participant the formula still calls for $72 average spending.

Totals: $286,000 adults + $72,000 youth + $1,332,000 participants = $1,690,000

That is not an excerpt. That is the “study” in its entirety. Do not accuse FAU officials of wasting time and money on a meaningless study. This whole process must have taken all of five minutes.

But on to the numbers, which were all I was interested in three days ago before trying to look at an ecomic impact report became an investigative journalism project. Aside from $1.69 million being rounded up to $1.8 million (what’s $110,000 between friends?) to me the 20,000 in attendance is a conservative estimate. FAU also didn’t factor in the price of tickets, which would be a substantial increase in the economic impact.

FAU may have actually short-changed itself, but the only way to find out is to do a thorough in-depth study. I would suggest this time FAU actually use the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, instead of just saying it did.  

Owl Links

FAUOwlAccess.com

We took a look at FAU's early recruiting efforts as the May evaluation period heats up.

 

Wednesday's Daily Briefing: Football recruits take home state track medals

The Florida High School Athletic Association completed its track and field state meets this past weekend. A few of the results should please FAU fans.

Incoming wide receiver Derek Moise earned a state championship medal as part of Miami-Booker T. Washington's 4x400 relay team, which won the Class 2A meet two weekends ago.

Moise ran the the second leg of the relay in 48 seconds (photo handing off the baton). The team completed the race in 3:17.

“After my leg the race was pretty much over,” Moise said.

Moise also took fourth in the individual 400 meters, once again breaking the 49 second barrier.

“I've been running 49s all year,” Moise said. “I've been try to get to 48. I finally did it.”

Last weekend cornerback D.J. Frye-Smith and his Hialeah-American mates finished second in the Class 4A 4x100 – which was actually a bit of a disappointment.

Frye-Smith said American, which had been ranked No.1 in the state in some polls, became the first Florida school ever to run a sub-41 second race and not win, and only the fifth team ever to accomplish the feat. He explained that a poor baton exchange ultimately doomed American to the runner-up spot.

“It's good, but first place would have been a whole lot better,” Frye-Smith said.

Both Frye-Smith and Moise managed to attend at least one of the spring scrimmages.

“I like the way the program is heading,” Frye-Smith said. “I see a lot of great things about this football team. I love the coaches, they are great.”

Incoming wide receiver Stephan Clark from Sebastian River reached the Class 3A meet and finished sixth in the long jump with a 6.89 meter effort.

And while we're looking at state meets, a couple wrestlers deserve belated congratulations.

Incoming lineman Mike Marsaille took fourth place in the heavyweight division of the Class 2A meet. Estero lineman Mo Farah also qualified for the Class 3A meet.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess
FAU baseball got back to its winning ways with a victory over FGCU. Here's the story.

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: McCormack lets Sun Belt know about blown call

Two days after being victimized by one of the most visible blown calls he may ever see, FAU coach John McCormack still fumed about the calls and demeanor of umpire David Schenaider.

Schenaider's obvious blown call in a crucial situation on Saturday contributed significantly to the Owls' 6-2 loss at Western Kentucky. One other close call and three non-balk calls by Schenaider added to McCormack's ire.

“He's not a good umpire - I don't know what to tell you,” McCormack said.

On Monday McCormack prepared to take the action available to him, saying he wasn't going to hold back when he filed his weekly review of the umpiring with the Sun Belt Conference.

“I'm going to strongly word that it was a terrible call,” McCormack said.

The glaring mistake occurred in the seventh inning of Saturday's loss to Western Kentucky.

With the Owls leading 2-1, Ivan Hartle smacked a line drive to right. A run scored easily, but when Hartle tried to extend his double, the throw to third beat him by about 10 feet. FAU third baseman Sean Bukovich applied the tag well in front of the base and kept his glove on Hartle's body throughout the slide.

Bukovich had to bite his glove to keep from yelling. Replay repeated showed Hartle out by a body length, leaving anyone watching to wonder what Schenaider was watching.

McCormack felt Schenaider  was out of position to make the call and made his decision without taking the time to process what he'd seen. Schenaider further irked McCormack by not owning up to the missed call the following day.

“The sad thing about it is he knows what he did,” McCormack said. “I thought on Sunday he would at least man up to it, but he didn't say a thing.”

The play turned out to be crucial because Paul Davis retired the next batter, which would have been the final out of the inning. Instead, WKU made the most of its extended at-bat by scoring four more runs before committing their fourth and final out of the inning.

The CSS announcing team criticized the call repeatedly times during the game and McCormack said replays of the missed call appeared on local news broadcasts that night.

If Schenaider wanted to see the call, there was ample opportunity.

Will McCormack's complaints do any good? It's hard to say. In general, nothing seems to come from complaints about officiating in part because often there isn't tangible proof of the play. This case is different. There is ample video evidence available that will allow some league official to clearly see how bad the call was.

At the very least Schenaider should be banned from working the post-season tournament. Ideally, he wouldn't work another Sun Belt game this season.

In this instance the Sun Belt needs to respond to McCormack's complaint, but it may not happen quickly. A Sun Belt official said the conference is focusing on this week's softball tournament and track meet.

 As for McCormack, he isn't expecting much.

“You never hear back from them, so I don't know if they even get read,” McCormack said.

Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
FAU baseball is back on the field against FGCU on Tuesday for a game that suddenly has added importance. Here is the story.

Other linkage
This is the Sun Sentinel's advance for the Sun Belt softball tournament.

Monday’s Daily Briefing: Key member of FAU Athletic Department leaving for Kansas

Florida Atlantic’s athletic department is losing a key member at an important time.

FAU Associate Athletic Director Terry Mohajir is leaving to become the Associate Athletic Director for Development and Marketing at Kansas.
 
Mohajir is an alum of KU, was on the Jayhawks’ football coaching staff from 1993-96 and worked in the Kansas ticket office and promotions department from 1996-97.
 
Mohajir also worked as the assistant athletic director for external relations at UMKC
 
At FAU, Mohajir was essentially the No. 2 man in the department behind athletic director Craig Angelos and was an instrumental part of the department’s day-to-day operations.
 
Mohajir came to FAU in 2004 and has been in charge of fund-raising for the athletic department and played a big role in planning the business model for FAU’s new on-campus football stadium.
 
However, Mohajir wil be walking into a sticky situation in Lawrence after the ticket department was rocked by scandal and a criminal probe that has several former athletic department officials facing time in prison.
 
There’s never good timing in these things, but it’s not a good thing that FAU loses its top fund-raiser just months before it opens its long-awaited on-campus football stadium.
 
Mohajir, who saw the big picture on many things and seemed to always want to elevate FAU’s athletic department, will be difficult to replace.
 
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
FAU baseball lost to Western Kentucky on Sunday, seriously impacting their hopes at winning the Sun Belt title.
 
Other linkage
Baseball coverage from the College Heights Herald
 
 
Sunday’s Daily Briefing: This video of Owls and Hilltoppers wasn’t so funny

We’ve made a few mentions this week of the video we shot last season of the Hilltoppers and Owls having fun during a rain delay.

 
The video from Saturday’s game between the Hilltoppers and Owls wasn’t quite so funny.
 
The game in Bowling Green, Ky. was televised on CSS, which was probably a bad thing for the Sun Belt umpiring crew of Ray Miller, Mark Humphreys and David Schenaider.
 
In case you missed it, with one out in the seventh inning WKU’s Ivan Hartle slapped a drive that plated a runner from first to make it a 2-2 game and tried to make it to third for the triple. Although Hartle was clearly out on the play he was ruled safe by Schenaider, who was doing his best impersonation of Jim Joyce (pictured).
 
After Jake Meiers struck out the next batter, the Owls should have been out of the inning, but with only two outs WKU was still alive – and they took full advantage of the situation by pounding out four consecutive hits. By the time the carnage was over WKU led 6-2 and the game was essentially over.
 
However, the criticisim for Schenaider’s gaffe was just beginning as the announcers on the Sun Belt Conference Game of the Week took him to task for blowing the call, and deservedly so.
 
I agree with announcers, it was a shame the outcome of the game was affected by an umpire’s call. Let’s hope it doesn’t affect the Owls’ post-season chances as well.
 
Owl Links
 
FAUOwlAccess.com
Here’s our recap of the 6-2 loss to Western Kentucky.
 
Other linkage
 
Here are recaps from the Bowling Green Daily News and the College Heights Herald
 
Saturday's Daily Briefing: Look for Davis to remain Saturday starter until the post-season

Ryan Garton rebounded nicely from a poor outing last weekend against Troy, allowing two runs in six innings and earning the win in FAU baseball's series opening game at Western Kentucky on Friday.

Today, the Owls send their ace, Paul Davis, to the mound in an attempt to clinch the series. There's no question Davis has been the Owls' best hurler this year, posting an 8-1 record and a 2.72 ERA. While Garton has been inconsistent, Davis has struggled in only one outing this year – and that came while he fought an illness.

Most college coaches design their weekend (conference) rotation so their top starter pitches the opening game. For FAU, this is the second consecutive season its ace deals on Saturday. Last season Mike Gipson proved to be the Owls' top gun, posting a 8-2 record with a 3.70 ERA.

FAU coach John McCormack sees similarities between Davis and Gipson, who is now member of the New York Yankees organization.

“They are both really competitive,” McCormack said. “They are both really confident. They are both emotional - a good way.”

I looked at how Davis' emotion affects the Owls in the preview for this weekend's series.

Davis' success has McCormack revisiting an internal debate from 2010. At times last season McCormack toyed with the idea of giving Gipson the ball on Fridays, but didn't choose to make that switch until the NCAA regional.

It sounds like Davis should bre prepared for the change a week sooner. Earlier this week McCormack told me he'd likely start Davis in the first game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament in an effort to have him available in some capacity should the Owls reach the tournament's championship game.

For the remainder of the regular season, though, look for the rotation of Garton and Davis, followed by Sunday starter R. J. Alvarez, to remain stable.

Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com

As mentioned above, FAU took the first game from Western Kentucky. Here's the story.

Other Linkage

Here's coverage from The Bowling Green Daily News and the College Heights Herald.

Friday’s Daily Briefing: Reigning FAU should turn down any rain delay challenge from WKU

I’ve been doing a lot of looking up the chances for rain this weekend in Kentucky the last day or two and it has nothing to do with picking out a “mudder” in case it’s a sloppy track at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

 
Instead I’m trying to see if it will be raining this weekend in Bowling Green, Ky. for the three-game series between FAU and Western Kentucky. And indeed there is a 40 percent chance or precipitation in Bowling Green on Saturday.
 
Does anyone remember what happened last time the Hilltoppers and Owls met and it rained?
 
Here’s a refresher…
 
 
In case you are wondering, yes, that's amost 100,000 views on the FAUOwlAccess.com YouTube Channel alone as "Rain Delay Theater" attracted national attention.
 
If there is another rain delay this weekend I implore the FAU baseball team to turn down overtures for a rematch with the Hilltoppers. The Owls won and should retire from any future dance-offs whether there is rain involved or not and retire undefeated.
 
Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
 
We took a look at Owls pitcher Paul Davis as part of our series preview.
 
Other linkage
 
Former FAU WR Wilfred Rivera is doing well as coach of Cape Coral’s girls track and field team.
 
Thursday’s Daily Briefing: Atlantic Ocean in plain view from FAU’s football stadium

 
Photographer J.C. Ridley, a frequent contributor to FAUOwlAccess.com, has proof that FAU’s new football stadium can indeed boast it has an ocean view.
 
On a recent stadium tour he was permitted to go to the top level of the stadium and snapped a photo of offensive lineman Max Karrick. While it’s always good to see our friend Max, who looks intimidating in his construction helmet, it’s what is behind him that caught our attention.
 
The photo from Ridley’s blog on OwlPix.com shows a certain large body of water behind Karrick proving why the school is named Florida Atlantic University. Now if FAU leaders would just re-visit the idea of calling the teams the Blue Wave, it might be on to something.
 
Here’s looking forward to many hours staring out the ocean while watching Football in Paradise starting on Oct. 15.
 
Owl Links
 
FAUOwlAccess.com
 
Here’s our story on the generous $2 million donation from the Schmidt Family Foundation for the new stadium.
Wednesday’s Daily Briefing: Housler about character as well as catches

In the weeks before the NFL Draft, we here at FAUOwlAccess.com ramped up for the extra traffic our site would get in case an FAU player would be drafted.

 
That included placing individual pages for the four players we believed would have the best shot at being selected in the draft –  LB Michael Lockley , WR Lestar Jean , QB Jeff Van Camp , TE Rob Housler.
 
Our strategy paid off when Housler selected by Cardinals and Arizona fans flocked to our site to learn more about Housler by accessing his stats, workout numbers and a breakdown of his pro prospects.
 
But stats don’t tell the whole story of Housler, (picture by Ralph Notaro).
 
Another aspect that likely led to Housler being drafted was his character.
 
Housler handled the 2009 season with the utmost maturity, when he decided to redshirt his senior season rather than split time with seniors Jamari Grant and Jason Harmon. I'd say that decision worked out pretty good for him – and FAU.
 
As some may know, Housler wasn’t your typical college student. He was married and had a son last year. The phrase you hear from the draft gurus on TV is “high-character guy” and believe me, character does matter to NFL teams. Just ask QB Ryan Mallett.
 
There is more to Housler than his stats and 40-time, and I hope the Cardinals fans who are flocking to find out more about their new tight end will take a look at this story about Housler from last summer when Housler talked with me about his son, who was born premature.
 
After reading this I hope the Cardinals fans will see their team drafted not only a pretty good football player, but a solid individual as well.
 
Owl Links
 
FAUOwlAccess.com
 
We sat down for an exclusive interview with FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger as he broke down spring practice with us for this story.
 
Other linkage
 
Softball player Heather Barnes attracts attention in her hometown of Avon Park.
 

 

Tuesday's Daily Briefing: Dolphins, Steelers and Falcons may still be interested in Van Camp

Like two of his former teammates, Jeff Van Camp had similar reasons to believe he'd get the call on Saturday in the final round of the NFL draft.

For Van Camp, like Michael Lockley and Lestar Jean, the day ended in similar disappointment.

The former FAU quarterback said his agent heard from representatives of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins during the final hours of the draft.

“They were saying they just wanted to make sure I was healthy,” Van Camp said. “Then it didn't happen. I was like, ahh man, it's a bummer.”

Van Camp watched much of the draft from his home in Florida's panhandle, but midway through Saturday's coverage he decided to try to get his mind off the situation by going outside and throwing a football.

Right up until the end of the draft, Van Camp believed some team would call his name – figuring the Dolphins would be the team to punch his ticket.

“I knew they needed a quarterback and I know I had a good workout for them,” Van Camp reasoned.

Now, like Jean and Lockley, Van Camp will need to wait for movement in the NFL's labor dispute before learning the next chapter in his football career. Yet another reason to hope the NFL players and owners can figure this thing out quickly.

Owl Links
FAUOwlAccess.com
We received a first-hand update on the progress toward a new contract for basketball coach Mike Jarvis by talking with FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos and the coach. ...Also check out FAU's new commerical for the "Get Ready" ad campaign

Other linkage

The Orlando Sentinel has the Owls at No. 104 in its daily countdown of FBS teams.

FAU SS DelGuidice named SBC Player of the Week

FAU shortstop Nick DelGuidice, who capped an impressive week at the plate with his second career grand slam in Sunday’s 7-1 victory vs. Troy,  was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.

 
DelGuidice hit .500 in three games vs. league-leading Troy as the Owls took the series.
 
It’s the second time this season DelGuidice has won the award.
 
 
 
 
Check out the commercial to sell tickets for FAU's first season in new football stadium

A few weeks ago, FAU unveiled its "Get Ready! 'Cause Here We Come" advertising campaign for selling tickets for the opening of the on-campus football stadium for some advertising execs and media members.

Now you can see one of the commercials for yourself.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Monday's Daily Briefing: Trades may have kept FAU LB Lockley from being drafted

FAU fans who wanted to see linebacker Michael Lockley drafted can curse the Miami Dolphins for trading Justin Smiley to the Jacksonville Jaguars last May and two Jacksonville draft day deals this past weekend.

The Jags surrendered yesterday's seventh round pick for Smiley, which the Dolphins ultimately passed to Green Bay. In trading up to take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the tenth overall pick, Jacksonville gave Washington their first and second round picks.

On Friday Jacksonville moved up in the third round to select Lehigh lineman William Rackey with the 76th pick, a move that cost them their sixth round pick.

Why does this matter? The Jaguars had been considering taking Lockley in the sixth or seventh round. After Friday, Jacksonville no longer had either pick. As a result, the Jags never drafted a linebacker – a spot that was considered a position of need. Jacksonville only selected five players this weekend.

During the later rounds of Saturday's draft Lockley says a representative from the Jaguars called him to explain the situation.

“There's not much more that I can do about this than I can do about some of the losses we had at FAU,” Lockley said.

In the weeks leading up to the draft the Jaguars spent nearly six hours interviewing Lockley at FAU.

The San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans also called Lockley during the seventh round, but neither team pulled the trigger.

Lockley (photo, being congratulated by Willie Floyd after his block sealed a victory vs. UAB) will now have to wait until the lockout is over before he can sign a free agent contract with an NFL team.

Accompanied by his immediate family, his girlfriend and another friend, Lockley said he watched the draft coverage from start to finish on Saturday.

“It was kind of heartbreaking sitting up there watching,” Lockley said. “Right now you just can't let it get you down. You have to go out and make a team any way you can. ...Whatever team gets me, they are going to get one of the best linebackers they never thought of.”

Owl Links

FAUOwlAccess.com

FAU won the series from Troy with a 7-1 victory on Sunday. Here's our report. ...We also attended the basketball team's banquet and had this report, including news that FAU may have a home game against Miami next season.

Other linkage

The University Press was also at the game.

FAU basketball expecting home game against Miami this season

A home game against Miami could be on Florida Atlantic's 2011-12 basketball schedule, FAU coach Mike Jarvis told a gathering of about 100 people at the Owls' basketball banquet on Sunday.

Jarvis said the paperwork has been sent to the Hurricanes to be signed. The deal, though, was agreed  upon before Miami hired Larranaga to be its new coach, so it's not a 100 percent lock.

The game would likely be played on Dec. 3, giving FAU its first on-campus football-basketball doubleheader. FAU football hosts Louisiana-Monroe that day.

“For FAU to get Miami to come and play us is huge,” Jarvis said. “They have the contract. Hopefully they will sign it and send it back this week.”

Jarvis gave a preview of the entire schedule, saying that Marquette or West Virginia will likely be the third guarantee game next season. FAUOwlAccess.com had previously reported that the Owls will also play Florida and Kansas. The Florida game will be part of the Orange Bowl Classic tournament.

FAU will once again play an early season tournament on the west coast, this one featuring Washington, Portland and Georgia St.
 
Siena, and George Mason will come to Boca Raton as part of a home-and-home series. FAU will play at American, Hofstra and Harvard.

Should the Miami and Marquette/West Virginia games come to fruition, FAU will look for only two more games to fill its non-conference schedule.

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza in Delray hosted the banquet – and by the way, they make a pretty feakin' good pie.

After dining on good food, Jarvis and friends of the program presented the players with the watches that accompany an NIT berth (photo, right) and the customary awards. Here's the rundown:

  • Defensive Player of the Year: Brett Royster
  • Most Improved: Jordan McCoy
  • Scholar Athlete: Justin Davis
  • Sixth Man: Alex Tucker
  • Rookie of the Year: Dennis Mavin
  • Unsung Hero: Greg Gantt
  • MVP: Ray Taylor (top photo)


Jarvis' reasoning for selecting Taylor as the MVP?

“He deserved it, because if he doesn't bring his game it makes us have to do a lot of different things,” Jarvis said.

Royster, a graduating senior, offered a humorous comparison between this year's basketball banquet and the one from his freshman year.

“I don't think we had banquet my freshman year,” he said. “It was a good experience, just seeing everybody and getting together like this. It was a good way to end the year.”

Some other interesting notes from the banquet:

  • Demonte Simpson and Darren Stewart have been granted their release and have officially left the program.
  • Royster is expecting to have some NBA tryouts following the draft.
  • Jarvis is trying to raise money to help forward Kore White tour Asia over the summer with a team sponsored by Athletes in Action. To donate, contact the basketball office at (561) 297-0097.


It was a great event for the program and its biggest supporters and I'm glad we were considered important enough to be invited.

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