Monday, June 29, 2009 is now updated

And it looks good. A much more modern and sophisticated look, with fewer ads and links seemingly slapped around. I will have to poke around a little bit more, but it looks good. For serious fans, the website is very important part of team loyalty, so it is nice to see the Falcons upgrading their presence.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

BGSU Falcons to Upgrade Website Monday

A little birdie told me to check in on on Monday to see the all-new, brand-spanking, awesome new website.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Falcon Football Schedule Game Times....

The Falcons have announced their home game times for 2009, and while this has been the cause of some questions in the past few weeks, we are way ahead of most teams in FBS who do not get game times until a couple weeks before the contest.

Looking at what we have, here are a few comments.

Home Schedule With Kickoff Times
Sept. 3 --- Troy, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 --- Boise State, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 --- Ohio, 4 p.m.
Oct. 24 --- Central Michigan, Noon (ESPN Plus & Game Plan)
Nov. 20 --- Akron, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Nov. 27 -- Toledo, 12:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

I'm glad to see the Boise game at 7 under the lights. I think this is our best opportunity to put a good foot forward and give us an electric feel in the stadium.

As the year gets later I don't mind playing earlier, although the Central game would also be great under the lights.

The nation will primal scream at the Akron game being on a Friday at 5:30. I will start by saying that I understand that our contract requires this and that there is nothing the University can do about it. And that's true, to a point. The University and the conference could have not allowed us to get into a position where our contract required this.

They chose not to. It might have been the right choice, but it was a choice.

It more or less replicates the Buffalo Experience from last year, which ended with Coach Brandon calling the crowd pitiful. I wrote on this at the time....but to recap, for someone on a work day to be at the Doyt at 5:30 in what last year was a snow storm and then add in a team that was awful at home, and you just aren't going to get huge crowds for a game like that.

People without a sense of balance (like me) will take a day or half day off work to make it happen--even if the games means nothing. But, most people will not, even if the game is important. It just makes the game into a made for TV event.

I do not join those people who think the day after Thanksgiving is a bad day for a game. In past years, we have drawn well for Toledo on that day, if the team is good. If the team is bad, we will draw the same on Friday as we would have on Saturday.

And I think there are a lot of people with the day off, though I don't have any data on that.

Finally, of course, I implore Falcon fans to enjoy the six home games, because we aren't likely to see it again.

Being at the Doyt makes me happy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Justin Ford, Verbal #2

Following up on a lead from, the Falcons have reported a second football verbal. This one is Justin Ford, a safety from the Grand Rapids area of Michigan who reports a 4.51 40.

He liked the school, our coaches, and our scheme which apparently is good for a safety. According to people in Tennessee, once he learns our schemes he will be qualified to be nuclear physicist, so that will be nice for him.

There is talk on the Internets about him maybe moving to LB, but he seems to talk about S a lot. ESPN ranked him a 73, which is pretty good for a MAC player.

Anyway, Justin, welcome to the Falcons.

Hardwick Acquitted

Jacob Hardwick, who was one of three players accused of breaking into an apartment in Bowling Green was acquitted by a jury this week.

Tarell Lewis and Orlando Barrow had previously pleaded guilty and testified against Hardwick. The jury said they didn't think they could convict Hardwick under the instructions from the judge. You can read the story for more facts on this resolution of this case.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Falcons Land First 2010 Verbal

The first verbal of the 2010 season is now on board. The summer camp season is going on, and according to the Detroit Free Press, Marcus Beaurum a WR with 4.4 quicks has said he will be a Falcon. Apparently, he looked good in the camp and CMU offered him, and then BG swooped in (love the swooping) and nabbed him. From the Freep:

Sterling Heights Stevenson wide receiver Marcus Beaurem turned his camp performance into an offer from Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones, who helped work the Michigan Camp. The 5-11, 170-pound Beaurem has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and caught 53 balls for over 830 yards as a junior, but the offer from Central Michigan was his first. He quickly followed that up with an offer from Bowling Green three days later and committed to the Falcons on Tuesday.

Pretty good numbers for a junior. Also, not surprisingly, he is a very competitive track athlete as well. Anyway, and so it begins. Welcome aboard Marcus.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Joplin catches TD Pass in Big 33, Moore has hammy

Falcon recruit Shaun Joplin caught a 35 yard TD pass in the Big 33 game Saturday night....great to see the future Falcon making a big play.

Tim Moore, a S, is the other future Falcon scheduled to be in the game. However, he apparently tore a hamstring during practice and did not play. He told the PD he would be ready to play in the Fall.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big 33 All-Star Game

The Big 33 All-Star game is tonight...probably the premier HS game in this area, it pits Ohio against Pennsylvania, and brings together some real talent. As an example, the 2009 NFL draft had eight players drafted who had played in the Big 33, and there has never been a Super Bowl without a Big 33 Alum.

The game is in Hershey PA tonight at 7 PM, and will be braodcast on the NFL Network. If your package includes the NFL Network, you can take the opportunity to see Tim Moore of Mentor, who is an incoming safety for the Bowling Green Falcons. Also playing is future Falcon Shaun Joplin. There are numerous other MAC players in the game as well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New MAC Blog

There's a new MAC blog on the horizon, this one out of Buffalo, called MAC Smack.

The first post takes a nice look at a shot ESPN took at Ball State's scheduling of out of conference games....

Seems like a good place to note that Phil Steele's rankings show that BG will play the toughest schedule in the MAC...#83 in the country.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Falcons Appear to Lose Assistant Football Coach

Football Scoop is reporting that Doug Phillips, DE and Recruiter, has decided to return to coaching high school ball.

He was the coach who held down the fort between the Brandon and Clawson regimes, and I have to believe he played some role in the fact that we kept as many recruits as we did in the interim.

Coach Clawson is apparently saying that he may reshuffle some responsibilities on the current defensive staff. Obviously, it is very late and it could be tough to grab a new Coach about now.

Best of luck to Coach Phillips.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Basketball, Basketball, Basketball"---New MAC Commissioners drops a bomb

Elton Alexander of the PD sat down with the new MAC Commissioner (Jon Steinbrecher, in case you forgot, and don't pretend like you didn't)

It was one of these thumbsucker Q&A deals that doesn't really yield any interesting info until the bottom, where the commish says something that is sure to make waves...

PD: What needs to be addressed quickly with respect to basketball?

JS: "Hey, the sky is not falling and the roof is not falling in. I want to address what we're doing with our football scheduling. We need to focus in on basketball and spend a lot of time on it. What I want to make sure we're doing, at virtually every meeting, basketball is the topic of conversation. What makes basketball important is when it is in front of you all the time.

"So I want to make sure that stays on our front burner, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out."

PD: You will make a lot of friends with that answer.

JS: "It's the truth. We had varying degrees of success in the OVC. But one thing we started a couple of years ago was every meeting we started talking about basketball, basketball, basketball. I think they'll see some end results in a few years that have already started coming around.

"At the end of the day you need the right coaches and the right athletes for any of our sports. But if it's going to be important, you better talk about it."

Did you see that? "Basketball, basketball, basketball."

I think that's pretty significant. I have blogged until I am blue in the face about the MAC's commitment to FBS football and the resulting decline in our basketball programs, and how the MAC used to be sort of a "thinking man's" basketball conference but now has a pretty signficant losing streak in the Big Dance, a lousy record against comparable conferences and a visible decline in the quality of play.

And, in the past few years, it has been "football, football, football" in the MAC.

So, it is news that the new Commish is saying this.

I think it goes a little deeper too. The MAC decided to hire a Commissioner who did not come from a conference with football (OVC) and who has, by his own admission, spent his time previous to this improving basketball. I can't imagine this is an accident.

So, perhaps dangerously, I am going to surmise that the hiring and these statements are a signal that the MAC is going to start to put more emphasis on basketball again. If so, I applaud it, and I am a huge football fan. I just think that in our conference not having strong basketball is a lost opportunity.

When it is competitive, MAC Basketball is an absolute delight. You know you only have one bid, so it is an absolute dogfight the entire way. Any team is dangerous on their home floor, so there are almost no gimmees, and the tension continues, twice a week, for January and February. It'd be great to see that again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ask the AD Summary

Dave Horger and AD Greg Christopher are back with their latest installment of "Ask the AD"

The lead topic, of course, was hockey and the ice arena. The Board meeting is coming up on June 26 and reports on both the hockey and the arena are apparently due then. While Christopher says that no "lightning bolt" should be expected, he did drop a couple of high-quality hints. He mentioned that a fundraising campaign could be expected, and discussed the possibility of a hockey endowment that would (my words) protect the program into the future.

There was discussion about the 12/12 set up at the Q for MAC Basketball which "did not work" according to the AD.

There was also significant discussion about the lack of starting times for MAC football. Essentially, the answer here is "get used to it." BCS fans don't know their game times until 10 days before or so (often) and with more TV at the MAC, we can expect the same.

Temple? (I know you were wondering). Apparently, we are in some contractual window where the Owls could continue football only, bring everything into the MAC, or say adios totally.

And while these discussions will apparently happen and there is relatively new leadership at the MAC and Temple, he went on to detail why it probably won't happen. First, Temple is already in the A-10, a far superior basketball conference, and 13 teams would be nearly impossible to schedule for basketball.

Beyond that it is a great idea.

Is Temple a good thing? (13 tough for hoops)

In case you were wondering, if a team wanted to leave the MAC, they would incur a stiff penalty, maybe in the 7 figures.

It doesn't sound like too much is going on expansion-wise for the MAC. The WKU thing was vetoed by the MAC, and any school would have to be committed to I-A football, of which there are not too many, particularly in this economy.

He also said that the Athletic Department is looking into developing a formal process for retiring numbers, which would be in strong contrast to the, well, LACK of a formal process up until now.

There was other stuff about Anderson Arena and Stellar Field. Listen and check it out.

This is a good segment. I think Christopher is candid and open, and it is great to hear Dave Horger again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

One point on prognostications about the Falcons

Hey, just one thing on all these prognostications about the Falcons. There is lots of talk about new schemes causing an adjustment issue that will take an entire season. You don't see that for every team with a new coach. It seems particularly common where Dave Clawson is concerned.

There's a sub text here, and I think you know what it is....everyone is fixating on the collapse in Knoxville and the "difficulty" that the vols had adjusting to the new Clawson attack. A few thoughts on that:

I don't know what kind of offense he was supposedly implementing, but I can't imagine it was THAT complicated.

  • Could there possibly have been some other things in play at Tennessee for which Clawson is taking the fall?
  • Is the Clawson attack only able to operate at schools full of rocket scientists like Fordham and Richmond?

I don't know. Maybe the thing in Tennessee was all his fault. I have my doubts. The coach was obviously gone mid-way through the season. Isn't it also possible that the guys quit on him and Fulmer?

Here's another way to look at it. Let's say that a complicated offense WAS a contributing factor at Tennessee. Do you think that Coach Clawson will try that exact thing, without modification, again? I have to believe he is smarter than that.

As a secondary point, they point to problems he had in his first seasons at Fordham and Richmond as further evidence that whatever he's cooking up, a person just can't grasp it right away.

We'll see. This team obviously lost a lot of starters, but the players who were back were not performing as they should have been. I have lots more preview to do, but I did want to note this "conventional wisdom" that is emerging.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Former Falcon Lineman Rob Warren profiled in Sentinel

Stories about human redemption always motivate me...we always have a chance to do better, and therefore the responsibility for doing so.

I realized that my whole identity was wrapped up in football since like the fourth grade. My life was to play on Sundays. When that was gone I was depressed," Warren said. "I just got into a lot of drinking and drugs. I basically hit rock bottom."

But awaking one morning after a fight with a friend that led to the police being involved, Warren said he finally had enough of the way he was living.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dan Bylsma makes Falcon Nation proud.

Big congratulations from the Falcon Nation to Dan Bylsma, who today coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship.

We are a proud nation tonight!

Coach Miller on Twitter

Coach Miller is on twitter, and he really gets it. Nice updates with things he is up to. Feel free to follow him if you like....

He also noted that, at least for the women, non-conference SOS will now be a tie-breaker. Which he feels is dumb. Which he is right about...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Its here!!!

Phil Steele is in my possession....have been running around but plan to settle in with it this weekend. Oh, the soft rush of rich minutae....

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Falcon Hoops Transfer Transfers

Well, Adrion Graves, who had transferred up here from Xavier and sat around last year riding his year out, has decided to leave Bowling Green and head to a NAIA school somewhere in Kentucky. (hat tip to the BG News)

Coach Orr says the decision is mutual.

He had not seen a ton of minutes during his two years at X, but the fact he had landed there and, in fact had been recruited at Seton Hall by Orr and Jackson had us excited about his ability. So, in that sense, this is kind of disappointing.

In case you are curious, here is how Ryan Autollo described Graves' decision to come to BG.

"It's not too far from home and I know the coaching staff really well - good people," Graves said. "I see a lot going on up there."

Graves' uncle is friends with Orr and Jackson, who recruited Graves when they were on staff at Seton Hall.
In the end, of course, you can only build a champion with people who want to be here. On the more immediate side, you had to look at him as an instant upperclassmen on a team losing three seniors. So, in that respect it is too bad.

Just a point in fairness. Everyone was really tough on Coach Dakich for the transfers out of his program, but there was been a similar track record during the Orr years. Either that's a problem, or Dakich's "epidemic" statement was more right than we thought at the time.

Final Word on MAC Basketball Tournament

The final word is in on the MAC Basketball tournament. Here is what the Council of Presidents decided.

  • Two more years for the men's and women's tournaments at the Q.
  • However, only eight teams will advance.
  • Studies will begin to determine how separate sites might work starting in 2012.
This has been discussed already. I don't have any problem with this approach, and I hope that separate sites can be part of the long-term future.

Also, the MAC took some cost cutting measures:

  • No conference printed media guides (although the guides will be available on line)
  • no men’s and women’s basketball media days and luncheon
  • a minimum one-year moratorium on student-athlete gifts at the 23 sponsored MAC championships.
I don't really understand the third one, but the first bullet is a trend that is spreading through college sports, and in the interests of fairness, I like the idea of the entire conference taking that step at once.

As for the media days for basketball, I guess I am surprised there was enough cost in there to make it worth cutting, but certainly if something had to go, there was not a huge benefit out of it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

New York Times Ranks Falcons #86

That's out of 120.....

There will be lots more to come. We are just hitting the preview season in college football. In general, if you track these things, they tend to be pretty weak. Football is very unpredictable, and, at that, the MAC is now in an especially unpredictable age.

Add to thatt the fact that most of these pundits have their eyes locked onto the BCS schools and probably do not pay the same attention to the smaller schools (their ability to talk warmly about someone who transferred six months ago is legendary), and you have the opportunity for some pretty poor shit.

I really only look at two.....the MAC Report online preview from that very strong website with a MAC focus, and Phil Steele, who provides the same information-packed analysis for all D-IA teams.

Even then, the whole thing is guess.

So, the New York Times is counting down the 120 teams in the FBS in reverse order. They finally stumbled along Bowling Green somewhere in the mid-80s.

86 to be exact.

The article gives ample credit to, the spiritual capital of the Falcon Nation and takes the highly predictable opportunity to remind the world that there is a Bowling Green in Kentucky, and turns it into a trivia question.

Anyway, it represents the mainstream opinion on the Falcons I believe. Summed up, it follows this basic script:

  • 6-6 Team
  • Major Defensive Losses
  • Coach putting in new systems
  • More of the same this year.

As predictions go, it is certainly possible. I'll have lots more to talk about in the coming weeks as we prepare for the football season, but I will say this: I think this is an alternate way to look at the same data....equally plausible.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Former Falcon in Stanley Cup

Just a quick note in recognition of Dan Bylsma, a former Falcon hockey player who is now Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (The Block News Alliance has a nice story about him here). If you live in this area, you cannot have missed that the Pens are in the Stanley Cup finals against the Red Wings.

Dan's brother Scott was a player while I was in college, and then Dan came along later. He is, in fact, an interesting guy. He and his Dad have written books. He strikes me as thoughtful and philosophical. It is always nice to see someone a little different get involved in athletics.

He took over the team in mid-season and has gotten them back into the Stanley Cup finals. Regardless of any Red Wing allegiance you might have, it is cool to see a Falcon getting ahead.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Key MAC Hoops Tournament Meeting Monday

A while back I blogged on potential changes to the MAC tournament, based on an article by Doug Zaleski in the Muncie Star-Press. I thought he made some pretty good arguments why the men's and women's tournament should be in different cities and why only 8 teams should advance to the final venue.

The meeting to decide all this is coming up on Monday, and Elton Alexander of the Plain Dealer is on board to disagree with half of Zaleski's analysis. He is fine with moving the women's tournament to the new Lucas County Arena, but is against the idea of having first round games on home sights.

In my opinion, his best argument is the prevalence of tie-breakers, and how the wrong side of arcane math could leave you with a road game in the first round. Home teams in the MAC win 70% of the games.

I'm less persuaded by the alumni events or the advertising. He does note that MAC coaches and ADs are strongly in favor of keeping the 12 team format.

George Jackson leaving BG to be Assistant at UC

This has been hot on the rumor mill for a few days and talked about on the UC forums as it was a done deal, and, as it turns out, it is a done deal. George Jackson will head to the University of Cincinnati as an assistant coach.

He came to BG with Coach Orr and coached with him at Seton Hall as well. He was a head coach at Cincinnati Withrow for 20 years, racking up 300 wins, 12 metro titles and putting 60 graduates on basketball scholarships.

I was kind of under the impression they were a package deal (in fact, he and Coach Orr were teammates in high school), but that was apparently a mistaken impression. Obviously, coaching in the Big East again is a great opportunity for Coach Jackson, not to mention that he is heading back home.

The Falcon website does not have any quotes from Coach Orr, and only carries the release from UC.

Obviously, we wish Coach Jackson well, and will monitor how Coach Orr fills the spot on his staff.

On another front, a blog in Tampa is reporting that LaMonta Stone may be on the radar for an assistant's job at the University of South Florida.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Day of Mourning, Part II

You can check out the Facebook page linked here, and read the comments posted by people who were impacted by the life of Stu Tolle. If it doesn't move your heart, nothing can. If it doesn't inspire you to be a better person, nothing will.

We are witnesses indeed.

Falcons Struggle in All-Sports Titles

The All-Sports titles are out for the MAC, and once again, the Falcons have struggled. This has not been a strong point over the past few years, and it wasn't this year, either.

We finished 9th in the Men's Reese Cup standings, despite being one of only three MAC schools fielding six men's teams.

We were eighth place in the women's (Jacoby Cup) standings.

I know that I focus a lot on football and men's basketball, and that's strictly because of my personal interests (it is MY blog) and the amount of time I have to follow our teams. But I do believe in competition and athleticism, and those athletes in lower visibility sports are every bit the athletes that everyone else is.

And, I'd love to see us succeeding more across the board. There is no reason for us to be this poorly ranked. And I hope we're all about the business of turning it around.

Go Falcons

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Sad Day in the Falcon Nation....Stu Tolle Passes

Stu Tolle, a great Falcon D-lineman tragically died Sunday while mowing the lawn at his home.

He was 47. All our thoughts go out to the family and friends.

If you click on the link, you will find out that he had gone on to be a high school coach and beloved high school teacher. The affection that his colleagues had for him is evident and moving.

Stu was from my era of Falcon sports. He was three years older than me and played on some very good Falcon teams.

He was taken too soon....

A second look at punting

When I reviewed special teams, I took a quick look at punting, which I felt was pretty good. I still think that, but actual facts have interceded to tone the enthusiasm down just a little bit.

First, I had noted that our punter had put the ball inside the 20 yard line 12 times with only four touchbacks. I thought that was pretty good, but actually, it doesn't appear to be as strong as I thought.

I took each MAC team's punts inside the 20 and touchbacks, and then I looked to see what percentage of those kicks were inside the 20.

The first thing that surprised me was that there were so few touchbacks on punts. It seems like it happens all the time, but in fact, last year in the MAC, only 42 punts ended up as touchbacks.

So, what about these percentages. First of all, EMU and Miami went the entire season without a touchback. In fact, the MAC average was 82%. Our 75% was below that and among the lowest ranks in the conference. So, maybe we weren't as good on this as I thought.

The real way to test this would be to get into the play by play data, and figure out how often a team punting from inside the 50 manages to get the ball inside the 20---and the 10, and how often there are touchbacks.

The typical net on a punt in the MAC was 34 yards. So, if you are punting from the 50 and get a touchback, you have lost a few yards, because the net is only 30 yards.

Anyway, absent that data, this is a pretty good proxy I think.

I also noted that we had two kicks blocked. It didn't seem too bad, but in fact, it is probably an issue. There were only 10 punts blocked in the whole conference last year, and only two teams were blocked twice, BG and Kent. Further, we almost never punted. Our 45 punts is really low. Buffalo and Temple both punted in the 60s. So, getting two blocks on 50% fewer kicks (under worst case conditions) is probably an issue.

On other hand (and not to get all philosophical), most teams in the MAC were blocked once, so there's a good chance that's a normal occurence, which means that we're only really talking about the second block and who can say for sure that just wasn't some bad luck, too.

Anyway, just a few more fact-based observations on our football team over the last year.