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Leach's letter to the fans

On September 29th Washington State will take on Oregon at Seattle's CenturyLink field, and Mike Leach wants to make sure that the crimson and gray outnumber the green and yellow in the stands.

The Wazzu athletic program has been reaching out to season ticket holders and donors to make sure that their presence is felt in Seattle when they arrive, but just to be sure, Leach addressed a letter to fans to be sure that they understood the importance of their presence in Seattle.

The letter reads:

Dear Cougar fan,

On September 29 our football team will host the Oregon Ducks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. I can't wait to see our fans in the stadium for this game and for the entire 2012 season. As a team we are excited and focused on the upcoming season and are currently working to improve in every area of the game.

Since the Ducks are so close to Seattle, I have heard on multiple occasions that there will be just as many Oregon fans at the game as Cougar fans. I refuse to even fathom that notion. I have great confidence in our fans and I know on September 29 CenturyLink field will be full of Crimson and Gray.

This is our game, Seattle is our town, and you as a Cougar fan have exclusive access to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. Once tickets go on sale to the general public on August 4, we will not be able to control who buys after that date. I want to give you exclusive access right now to get online and get your seats secured. Bring your friend and family as we continue The Seattle Game tradition. Thank you for being on board as we build something great.

Sincerely,

Mike Leach
Head Coach

Hey, sometimes the pot needs to be stirred just a little bit.




Google+ hangout at Arizona

Athletic director Greg Byrne and Arizona put together a Google+ hangout yesterday inviting fans to talk about Arizona athletics.

A month or so ago Skip Holtz answered some fan questions via the Google+ platform, but Arizona's is believed to be the first to feature a Division 1 athletic director interacting with fans. As an added bonus (and also believed to be the first time) Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott joined the hangout while overseas in Dublin to talk about all the changes that the Pac 12 has seen over the past year, and all the exciting new changes on the horizon.




Holgo: The good stuff is just getting started

With West Virginia's addition to the Big 12 becoming official on Sunday, Dana Holgorsen is convinced that there are many good things to come, and we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

The conference money in the Big 12 will be better which will lead to upgrades in facilities, and the exposure on Saturday nights will also get even better which will lead to better recruiting. It all goes hand in hand.

“There’s no doubt from when I was here a year ago to where we’re at now that a lot has happened, a lot of positive things have happened and a lot of positive things are going to happen. It’s going to continue to get better and better. We’re obviously in a good spot and the more we’re in the Big 12, the more money that comes in and the more support that’s here, the better it’s going to get.”

“I get asked all the time if the Big 12 has helped in recruiting. It hasn’t helped yet, but once we play a season and fix a lot of things from a facility standpoint and our kids can actually turn on the TV on a Saturday night on FOX and see a huge production of West Virginia against Baylor, I think that will grab people’s attention. It will get better and better, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

With off season rumors of a black uniform getting added to the mix in 2012, Holgo admitted that the staff and the team took a long look at some black alternates, but settled on an all gray alternate instead.

“A lot of people out there wanted the black uniform. We looked at it, but it just didn’t flow very well. We felt like the gray was neutral enough to where it would flow and the response I think has been very good. And the players like it, they feel good so they better play good.”

Taking a look at yesterday's official release of the gray on gray look, we'd have to agree. Pretty sharp looking.

WVUgrayhelmet

grayWVuniform

 




When you sign the nation's top recruit...

When you just completed one of the most successful seasons in school history and your top recruit has an impressive freshman season, playing in all 13 games as a freshman, finishing second on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (8), it's only fair to feature him in a video that is aimed at bringing excitement to fans looking forward to 2012.

Another solid "It's great to be a Gamecock" season promo from South Carolina.




Stricklin: "We practice everday against an SEC team"

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin sat down with the NEMS Daily Journal to explain why the Bulldog's football schedule has not included a BCS opponent in over 3 years recently.

According to Stricklin, their scheduling philosophy is aimed towards making sure they have 7 home games scheduled and are bowl eligible at the end of the year. Dan Mullen added that he likes scheduling close non conference opponents to make travel easier on their fan base. Last years road games included games at Memphis and UAB, along with a neutral site game in Nashville against Wake Forest.

Unless strength of schedule is eventually weighed heavily into playoff selection or bowl berths, Stricklin says that he is happy with the way that they currently do things. According to the NCAA, Mississippi State had the 25th toughest schedule last season, with their opponents racking up a combined record of 74-57 (LSU had the toughest schedule in the country with an opponent record of 94-45). 

“We’ve had 16 straight sellouts and we have a waiting list for tickets, so whatever we’re doing right now seems to be working from a fan perspective, and we’ve been to two straight bowl games, so it’s working from trying to produce a consistent winner perspective.”

Taking a look at this seasons schedule, no one can say it's a cake walk, with road games at Alabama and LSU and then hosting Arkansas before the Egg Bowl in Oxford to wrap up the regular season. And with non conference games at home against Jackson State, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee State (and a road game at Troy) for 2012, Stricklin reminded everyone of their opponent on a daily basis in practice.

“We practice every day against an SEC team."




HS Video: Championship Training

Downey high school (Modesto, CA) has created a nice "movie trailer" style video showcasing their "Championship Training".

During the video, the phrase "Team 61" flashes across the screen, which is surely head coach Jeremy Plaa's tip of the hat to Brady Hoke and his motivational methods where Hoke uses the "Team X" mantra as a reminder that each team writes their own story and leaves their own legacy.

If one thing is evident in the video, it's that Team 61 of Downey high school has been getting after it and Coach Plaa is teaching his guys how to train like champions.




The 12th Man: "It's almost like we're cheating"

For the past week or so, each day Texas A&M has released a countdown video highlighting an aspect of Aggie country that they'll be bringing with them to the SEC. With three days remaining until they become an official member of the SEC, today's video focuses on the unique advantage that the 12th man provides.

During his introductory press conference, Kevin Sumlin described the environment at Kyle Field as a "7 to 10 point advantage" during the day... and night games are a totally different story.

As one player describes in the video below, "With the 12th man behind us, it's almost like we're cheating."




Swarbrick: Strength of schedule should matter

Notre Dame has historically fielded one of the toughest schedules in the country year in and year out, and athletic director Jack Swarbrick wants to make sure that strength of schedule is taken into consideration when determining what four teams will compete for the national title under the new playoff system.

Much like the selection committee for the NCAA basketball tournament, Swarbick wants an emphasis to be placed the strength of schedule, along with other important factors that determine a teams success throughout the course of the season.

"One of the things we like so much about that is as much as this happened in basketball in the past decade, the selection committee will send a real message about strength of schedule. If you choose not to challenge yourself, especially in the pre-conference games, it's going to impact your rating. That's another way we think we're contributing to the vibrancy of the regular season through this process." 

Swarbrick also noted that he wants to see the committe made up of people that understand the game and have at least a basic knowledge of all 121 teams. He believes that eventually the committee will be comprised of representatives of each conference, and then individuals with extensive football knowledge, but no specific conference affiliation.

"We want the sort of sophisticated analysis that says you know this team lost their first game, but their quarterback didn't play the last three quarters. The rest of their season they were undefeated, so if you factor that in, maybe they're a top-four team in the country. We want to have that level of sophistication."

However it all gets ironed out, we'll see this system in place for 12 years starting in 2014, meaning any additional changes won't take place until 2026.