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Monthly Archives: January 2011

More Snow?

I feel like CT is in the middle of a 12-round heavyweight fight with mother nature….and we are losing.

Now, let me preface this: I like snow. I really do. I love shoveling it, I like watching it, and most of all, I really love having the day off from class.

But this is getting ridiculous. I mean, how many storms have we had? This is by far, the worst winter we have had since, well, I can remember.

If you notice, the winters have gotten progressively worse. A couple years back, you would be happy with one storm that brought maybe 6″ of snow, with a couple small storms in between. But this winter, we have hand multiple storms that have dropped more than a foot of snow.

What is different about this storm, however, is the ice. We are only supposed to get 6-10″ in Willimantic, with an added 2+” of ice.

We have gotten through snow fine. This storm will be a test of how New Englanders  deal with snow and ice, creating a lot more mess on the roads, sidewalks, and everywhere else.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Random Thoughts

 

The Pro-Bowl

So today, I put on the Pro-Bowl, hoping to see a great football game, from some of the best players in the league.

But what we were treated to, was a disaster.

The first half was all NFC. They were leading 42-0 at halftime. I will repeat that. 42-0, at halftime. The AFC was able to mount a small comeback, was was able to close the gap, but the NFC was still able to hold out, winning the game 55-41.

So in a nutshell, the game was horrendous. It was very lopsided, players looked like they didn’t care, and the stadium was emptied out half-way through the second half. Defenses couldn’t blitz, and couldn’t really do anything. At the snap, the defensive lineman pretty much just stood up, and did nothing.

So, my question is, how do you make the Pro-Bowl better?

An easy question, but a hard to answer. With no incentive, and nothing on the line, it is hard to players to find motivation to play a good game. Sure, everyone is competitive, but it was not prevalent on the field today.  They moved the week before the Super Bowl to start the hype of Super Bowl week, but it fell flat. No Super Bowl players were allowed to play, and the game wasn’t fun to watch.

With everything going right for the NFL (except the CBA), this is really one of the only negatives to the NFL. It is not a spectacle like it is in other sports, a showcase to spotlight the best players out there. The NFL needs to improve this, just for the fans sake. If they don’t, it lacks the spark for the beginning of the Super Bowl week, and will do the exact opposite of what the league’s executives want it to do.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in NFL

 

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NHL All-Star Format

Before the NHL lockout, which lasted close to a year and a half, I was an avid fan. I spent many nights during the summer watching my Avalanche play in the playoffs, and winning multiple Stanley Cups.

But since the lockout, my interest has dissolved. It just isn’t the same anymore. I can watch maybe one, maybe two, Colorado Avalanche games a year on national television. And on ESPN, hockey is thrown on the back-burner compared to the NBA, College Basketball, and many other sports.

But as of late, my interest has been peaked, and has come flooding back.

The reason for that; their All-Star weekend format.

In most sports, players are voted on by the public, making it basically a popularity contest. Especially in the NBA, you have the washed-up big names playing in the All-Star game, where the younger, more deserving players are at home, watching the game on the couch with some Cheetos. But with the NHL, its something different.

Sure, they have the players voted in, but that is where the similarities between the NHL and the rest of the sports end.

The fans vote in a pool of players. The friday before the All-Star game, the two coaches get to pick their own team from the pool of players, like a draft. Saturday night, the two teams compete against each other in the Skills Competition. Players get a chance to show off their speed, agility, and flashiness on the ice. The weekend ends with the NHL All-Star Game.

All I have to say is “Bravo.” The league executives have hit a home-run with this format.

It adds an added excitement to the now mundane-routine that are All-Star Games in professional sports. They have injected excitement, intrigue, and  showmanship that you don’t get in any other games.

I hope the other major sports take a page out of the NHL’s playbook, and look into improving the All-Star game for the players, and more importantly, the fans.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles, NHL

 

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The Dark Horizon in the NFL

Things couldn’t be going better for the National Football League. In a recent poll, they were ranked the most popular sport in America. The playoffs were exciting, with surprises like the Seahawks beating the Saints, and the Jets upseting the Pats, and the Super Bowl match-up pitches two of the most storied teams in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a combined nine Super Bowl victories.

Even so, the NFL has some dark days ahead of them. As of May 3rd, the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. As of now, there will be a work stoppage on May 4th. With no CBA, the league doesn’t exist. There are no contracts, no games, no workouts.

The owners and the NFLPA (Players Association) have to get together and negotiate a contract that fits both the owners and the players. The owners are trying to get an 18-game schedule, and a rookie pay scale (so a rookie player isn’t making 10x that of veteran players). The players just want to play football.

So the two sides just need to meet in the middle, and agree to terms.

Simple, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Through the most recent negotiations, the owners and players have both dug their trenches, and are ready for a long fight ahead.

The two sides just can’t seem to agree on anything. The owners want an 18-game schedule, to increase revenue and entertainment, as well as safety. The players don’t want an 18-game schedule, because it can lead to more injuries.  The owners want to maximize profit, and the players are afraid of safety.

This stalemate is leading like it will lead to a lockout, where the players can’t (and won’t) go practice, play games, and other football-related activities. If it lasts into the summer, there is a possibility that the teams can get ‘replacement’ players to play the games in-lue of professional athletes.

This stalemate has been prevalent on ESPN, Fox Sports, and numerous sports talk shows all across America. I was fortunate enough to call into one of those shows, on WEEI, 103.7, in Boston, and voice my opinion.

I don’t see why both sides can’t reach an agreement. I know, I am not behind the scenes with both sides, but just looking by looking at the numbers, it would be crazy for the NFL to lockout.

Think about it, the players will lose out on millions of dollars by not playing the game. The owners, I see it, will lose the most. Besides losing out on the multi-millions of dollars from television contracts, they will lose out on ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, and, most importantly, the respect from life-long fans.

If the owners try and get replacement players, they will lose even more money. They will pay all this money to get a stadium up-and-running, and no one will want to show up, basically burning the owners money.

But there could be one upside to this sticky situation, one that could be really hurt the NFL.

That is, the USFL. A place where former players and non-drafted college players go to show their stuff. Some are even picked up by NFL scouts, and have the opportunity to go pro. In the case of the lockout, some big name players may not want to take time off, and instead of waiting out the work-stoppage, and go to the USFL to play. By doing that, it will draw more interest to the small league. It has the potential to come out ‘smelling like roses,’ and becoming a league to rival the NFL.

I can’t stress enough again that this is my opinion. I don’t have all of the information the representatives have, but this is more of an outsiders view. It can be a very stressful offseason for players, owners, and fans. But as of now, we have the Pro-Bowl, and what looks to be an incredible Super Bowl to cap off one of the most unpredictable, and exciting, NFL seasons.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in NFL

 

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What Will Become of UConn Football?

The Fiesta Bowl was supposed to be a positive experience for the UConn Huskies football team. Just ten short years after upgrading to Division I-A football, UConn was playing their first BCS bowl game out in Glendale, Arizona. But instead of joy, the days surrounding the Fiesta Bowl were more of a rollercoaster ride for the Huskies.

Before the game, the UConn Huskies were riding high. After a rocky start to their season, the UConn Huskies won their final games of the season, including a close win over University of Southern Florida, 19-16, to clinch the Big East, and an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game, and the biggest game in the young UConn Huskies football history.

During the first half of the game, the Huskies played strong, keeping close with the high-powered Oklahoma Sooners, matching almost score for score, going into halftime behind 10-20, but within reach. But after halftime, it all went downhill.

From the start of the second half, the high-octane Sooner offense came out of the gates strong, outscoring the UConn Huskies 28-10 after the half, leading to UConn losing in a blowout 48-20 on a national stage, and UConn’s biggest game in football history. And after the game, junior Jordan Todman, one of the top rushers in all of Division I-A football, announced to the team that he was for-going his senior season to enter the NFL Draft in April.

But the loss wasn’t the biggest dagger in the heart of Huskies fans. The next day, Randy Edsall, the heart and soul of the Huskies football team for over a decade, announced that he was leaving UConn to go coach at Maryland, an ACC school. Even after adamantly stating he wouldn’t leave, he left the dog house.

To add insult to injury, reports came out about Edsall leaving the team in a not-so professional fashion. Players said that Randy Edsall wasn’t on the UConn plane home from Arizona to Storrs, but instead, flew to Maryland. It was also reported that Edsall didn’t confront the players, but instead sent texts and left messages to players saying he was leaving.

So in a 48-hour period, UConn went from being on Cloud-9, to getting blown out to Oklahoma, and losing their coach that has been a staple of UConn football for years. With the recent hire of Paul Pasqualoni as their head coach, the UConn football program is looking to return to a BCS Bowl, and grow even more as a program.

But with how the season ended for the Huskies, the team’s success will depend on how mentally tough the players are, and get past the end of last season, and look into the future

 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles

 

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Wow…my last first day of classes

Today was weird. It hit me that this was my last ‘first-day of classes’ of my undergrad degree. It has been almost four years since I entered Eastern. It has been a while, but it is finally drawing to a close. I’m excited. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I am ready to be done with Eastern. Is it May 22nd yet?

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Random Thoughts