An all access look at signing day at an NAIA program
Not all signing days are created equal with the robust fanfare and 1,000 people press conferences. Some programs are a little more low key in how they celebrate the end of one recruiting cycle and the beginning of another.
Take the guys at Culver-Stockton College (NAIA - MO) for example. On signing day they inked 30 kids (with many more likely to come before the start of fall camp), with some of them even coming into the football offices to officially sign on the dotted line. You won't see that kind of personal experience from the big programs.
No camera flashes were needed to finalize the hard work that the staff had put in over the past year on this class, and this video is a great look at what signing day looked like across the small college landscape.
Penn State has a sweet hype video for the coaching staff
Leave it to the program James Franklin is at to come up with a hype video for the coaching staff. Excellent videos like this seem to follow Franklin wherever he goes.
I really like this idea, and can't wait to check out some spin-offs from small colleges.
Want to buy Kentucky season tickets in 2015 and beyond? It'll cost you
Kentucky is renovating Commonwealth Stadium into a major-league football venue, and along with that comes major-league ticket prices.
The Wildcats will charge at least $320 for season tickets beginning in 2015, an eight-game home schedule according to Kyle Tucker of the Louisville Courier-Journal. That's par for the course. If you want a suite, though, it'll cost at least $75,000. Suites along the new south end zone will come at a price tag of $60,000, with a $15,000 donation due at reservation. That's up from $50,000 and $10,000, respectively, for Commonwealth Stadium's current suites.
Kentucky is also installing a loge area that will seat 300 fans, divided into boxes holding four-to-six people. Those can be had for the low, low price of $10,000 per season (plus ticket price) and a $2,500 donation, err "capital gift", due at signing. If you want to upgrade to a six-person loge, the price escalates to $15,000 and $3,750 apiece.
Another 1,800 seats will be built at the mezzanine and field levels. Mezzanine seats can be had for $1,500 a seat plus ticket price, and field level seats go for $1,250 a pop plus ticket price.
It'll be up to Mark Stoops to field a team worthy of major-league prices playing in its major-league stadium.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon: 'I'm a man! I'm 60!'
The Tampa Bay Rays needed to find a way to sell season tickets - as all baseball teams are trying to do in this time of year - and they wanted to wish manager Joe Maddon a happy 60th birthday. Somehow, they managed to do both in the same video... by impersonating Mike Gundy.
Maddon doesn't even attempt to approach Gundy's decibel level from the rant (no link necessary, you know which rant I'm talking about), which is par for the course. Maddon is the Phil Jackson Zen master of Major League Baseball.
it's a testament to the impact Gundy made on that day way back in September 2007 that MLB franchises are cashing in on the cultural capital of a college football press conference from seven years ago.
The MAC has (sort of) released its 2014 schedule
The 2014 college football season kicks off 198 days from today, and the Mid-American Conference does not yet have its 2014 schedule.
The slate will be released sometime between today and August 28, but that day is not today. However, the MAC has released its set of home/away opponents for each of its 13 members. As a reminder, Bowling Green defeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship, while Ball State, Buffalo and Ohio all made bowl appearances. Eastern Michigan (Chris Creighton), Bowling Green (Dino Babers), Massachusetts (Mark Whipple) and Miami, Ohio (Chuck Martin) will all break in new head coaches.
Listed below are the 2014 opponents for each MAC school (*crossover opponent):
Home: Bowling Green, Miami (OH), UMass, Eastern Michigan*
Away: Buffalo, Kent State, Ohio, Ball State*
Home: Buffalo, Kent State, Ball State*, Western Michigan*
Away: Akron, Ohio, UMass, Toledo*
Home: Akron, Kent State, Miami (OH), Central Michigan*
Away: Bowling Green, Ohio, UMass, Eastern Michigan*
Home: Akron, Ohio, UMass, Toledo*
Away: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois*
Home: Kent State, Ohio, UMass, Western Michigan*
Away: Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan*, Northern Illinois*
Home: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois*
Away: Kent State, Miami (OH), *Central Michigan, Western Michigan*
Home: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Ball State*, Eastern Michigan*
Away: Akron, Kent State, Miami (OH), Toledo*
Home: Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Akron*
Away: Central Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green*, UMass*
Home: Ball State, Western Michigan, Miami (OH)*, Ohio*
Away: Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Buffalo*
Home: Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Buffalo*
Away: Ball State, Western Michigan, Akron*, UMass*
Home: Central Michigan, Toledo, Kent State*, Miami (OH)*
Away: Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ohio*
Home: Ball State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green*, UMass*
Away: Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Kent State*
Home: Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio*
Away: Ball State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green*, Miami (OH)*
Video: Tennessee's signing day was a celebration
Fittingly, Tennessee's look behind the scenes of signing day seems more like a celebration than an all access look. That's what you get when you sign a class ranked in the top ten by nearly every major recruiting site.
Also, in case you missed it during signing day coverage, the staff took their "Brick by Brick" motto to the next level with actual bricks in the staff room to represent each signed letter that came in, and even the printer was dressed up in the equivalent a suit for the big day.
Seems like a very exciting time to be in Knoxville, so this is definitely a very fitting way to celebrate the staff's hard work over the last year and half.
Miami takes a definitive look at Al Golden's first three years at The U
Al Golden's tenure as Miami's head coach started under a black cloud, figuratively. So it's only fitting that "Raising Canes: An Unprecedented Journey" - The U's blow-by-blow account of Golden's first three seasons coached simultaneously through the darkest period of NCAA-related uncertainty in the program's history - starts with a black cloud.
The now-infamous Nevin Shapiro story hit before Golden coached his first game at Miami. Golden says he remembers vividly being asked in August 2011 whether he thought there would even be a Hurricanes football team in 2012. The benefit of hindsight allows us to smirk at that question today, but at the time that fear was as legitimate as raincloud on a summer afternoon.
According to Golden, the turning point, or rather the turning point before the turning point, was receiving commitments from key 2012 South Florida recruits Duke Johnson and Tracy Howard. Johnson and Howard signing with Miami signaled to other Miami-area prospects that it was okay for them to sign with the Hurricanes, and a sign to Miami's coaches that the program was not going to crater.
The first high point comes in October of last fall, when athletics director Blake James informed the team that, after two years of empty Decembers, they would indeed be eligible for the ACC Championship and a postseason bowl game. Miami finished the season 9-4 with an appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl, the program's first since 2010.
The second high point was just last week, when Miami signed its first sanction-free class in the Golden era. By now, Miami is ready to move on from Hurricane Shapiro, and no one in green and orange is more excited about that than Golden and his staff.
"We're entering a phase where we can go thrive and we can go recruit," Golden said, "and I can't tell you how refreshing it's been to go out and talk about what a great place the University of Miami is."
Video: This has to be some of Illinois' best recruiting material
Heading into the 2013 season USC (40), LSU (39), and Miami (38) were the most represented college programs with players in the NFL, according to an SI piece. Ohio State was the only Big Ten team in the top ten with 27 former players in the league.
Today, Illinois released this video boasting that 26 of their former players are currently on NFL rosters. Going by 2013's numbers (which have undoubtedly changed significantly) 26 would put Illinois tied for 12th with Florida, right behind Ohio State, and Oregon. With Beckman and his staff in the thick of the rebuilding process for the Illini, that has to be particularly impressive to young recruits who are considering taking their talents to Champaign.
Here's a look at those 26 players during their heyday wearing the orange and blue.