Thursday, May 28, 2020

Decommit: Chris Phillips

BG has its first de-commit, this one being Chris Phillips, a RB from Florida.  Here's what we had on him when he committed. You never know, these things have a way of sometimes coming around again.

Best of luck to Chris, whatever he chooses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


So, money has been on everyone's mind recently.  I thought I would poke around and see what might be available to help us see what's going on.

Obviously, we all know that baseball has been dropped.  There has been the expected backlash and the group claimed last night on social media to have $1.3M in pledges over 5-years.  I would guess the strategy is to offer to privately fund baseball through the crisis and then determine if it can fit back into the overall athletic funding model in better times.

Note that, to my knowledge, the university hasn't said they would restore baseball with a certain level of funding.  If a fundraising campaign solves the problem, then you have to wonder why they didn't do that in the first place.  Moosbrugger talked about support staff issues and needing to reduce the overall number of student-athletes.  But, its just one team...

If the university is not going to restore baseball, I think they should just say so and let these guys go on with their lives.  Perhaps that was already done privately and the group is trying to put pressure on the athletic department.  (Good luck.  Save BG Track was meeting for years).  Conversely, if there's donor support and it does solve the problem, why wasn't that tried in the first place?

There is an advocacy group out there saying dropping sports isn't the way to which they mean that you should reduce football spending. And football is indeed the elephant in the room.  Why did a men's sport have to be cut?  Because of the 85 male-athlete football scholarships.  Why does a non-revenue sport have to be cut?  Because the athletic department is built around football.  It's crazy, but that's what it has become. 

So crazy yet true that BG almost used the same reasoning to cut its hockey program.

I heard a story once that BG got a big check for winning the NCAA Hockey Championship.  And the Coach went to the AD to talk about how to spend the money and the AD had already decided to use the money to help the football team.  Maybe it's not true.

In a way, you know it's bad for you but you can't stop.

So, the issue of going FCS has been around for a long time.  I can remember back in the 1970s that BG was forced to go I-AA for a short period of time.  I'm talking weeks.  Anyway, the idea of de-emphasizing football goes way back.  Long-term debate...which has clearly gained new currency since the middle of March.

Historically, the pressure to go down a level in football has come from both directions.  Yes, there are people who think college football has taken over universities (and they aren't wrong...note that a leading pressure for students to be on campus this Fall is so football can be played) and that it should be de-emphasized.  Also, though, the larger schools have been trying to jettison the G5 schools for four decades.  Many people think they will split off and leave the NCAA. 

That's not what we are talking about here.  We are talking about voluntarily dropping a level.  Note, also, that you can't go to DII without taking your entire athletic department to that level.  Used to be you could...Georgetown had DIII football, but they had to move to FCS and sponsor a non-scholarship football team in FCS. I believe Butler does, too.

David Briggs wrote an excellent column about this.  Essentially, it is a non-starter.  He directly quotes Mike O'Brien on this and indicates that he has heard that BG feels the same way. 

Here's the thing.  Below is the Knight Commission data on BG's athletic revenue sources from the most recent available year.  Yes, BG gets 57% of its revenue from student fees and institutional support and that would continue either way.

But look at the other wedges.  Ticket sales, conference distributions competition guarantees, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship would all be impacted by dropping down a level.  Yes, some expenses would also be reduced, but revenue would be reduced more.  Briggs compares UT to North Dakota, the premier FCS program...the revenue hit would be significant.  And, FCS schools are under the same financial pressures as FBS schools or worse.

I think there have been a half-dozen new FBS schools in recent years...and only one left FBS.  It is crazy logic.  Football loses money and yet de-emphasizing it is worse.  Remedying the problem would mean dropping it, not de-emphasizing it, and that's clearly not likely to happen.

It's like the mafia...once you're in, it is apparently very difficult to get out.

Last thing on this part of the topic.  Briggs raises a valid point, which is that even if we accept all this, there are still ways to shave the budget.  The recent announcement that the football team would no longer stay in a hotel on the night before home games is a good example.  Yes, that can be shaved.  But I doubt we're talking even 1% of the total.  Could other things be shaved?  Probably, but again, you're just dancing around the edges. 

The problem is that three of those slices are dependent on having a good, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship.  If you aren't winning, those things are going to be reduced.  Similarly, you might be able to generate support for a good FCS program but if you cut and aren't competitive you're really going to struggle for support at a shitty FCS program.

Could shaving funds have been enough to save the baseball team?  I don't know that.  But, I do think it's clear that we're not voluntarily going FCS.  It might happen anyway, but we're going to fight it all the way.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

New Football Verbal: Nick Mosley

The football program continues to get verbal commits for the class of  21.  It is our 9th verbal.  Last year, I counted five about this time but we got four on the same day on May 30.

His name is Nick Mosley from Pickerington Central HS.  His school won the 2019 D1 state championship and have won twice in three years.  He's a RB, 6'1" and 195 pounds, with offers from Akron, Ball State and WMU, according to 247.  This local news story said he had 7 MAC offers.

He has a 3-star ranking from 247.  At one point, he was a top 40 prospect in Ohio.  

After five games as a junior, he had 631 yards, with a 6.4-yards-per-carry average, and scored 10 touchdowns on a team that apparently likes to distribute touches among several players.  Going into the title game he had 1,394 yards and 22 touchdowns.  He also scored in the state championship game.

He's had some tragedy in his life.  His older brother died of brain cancer at the age of 13.  Here's a quote from his Mom, if you're wondering about the person Nick is:
“The boys had a few private conversations when Branden was still able to speak and I never asked what was said, but I can only assume Branden was telling Nick what he expected from him,” said their mother, Angela Mosley. “When Branden died, Nick stepped right into all those roles seamlessly. Nick practically became Branden. They’re so much alike, it’s almost ridiculous. But that’s not a bad thing at all. I’ve been blessed to have three great kids.”

Welcome to the Falcons, Nick.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Falcons With New Football Verbal: Jaison Patterson

The class of 21 has another football verbal.  Jaison Patterson is an all-purpose back from Ed White HS in Jacksonville.  He's the second recent commit from Jacksonville. In fact, he played against Mandarin, where Jaylen Smith played. Right now, four of our 7 commits are from outside our more traditional area.

Ed White was one of the astronauts killed in the pre-launch accident with Apollo 1.

Jaison is 5'11" and 180.  He had offers from (according to 247) Illinois, Liberty and Troy and he's a 3-star recruit.  In fact, the Illinois offer was reported to be on April 4.

He also played baseball and was apparently a decent wrestler.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jaison!


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Summey Leaving BG for NC State

BG assistant Mike Summey is heading to NC State, his alma mater, to be an assistant coach.  Summey was the student manager at NC State, starting his coaching career.  He came to BG with Coach Huger.  

I had some interactions with Coach Summey and he was always very approachable and interesting.  Obviously, I wish him the best.  A move to an ACC school--and your alma mater--is a huge career step and I'm happy for him.

This leaves a vacancy on BG's staff.  It will be interesting to see.  The last time there was a vacancy BG promoted from within (Noon).  It might be tough to do a full search and there might be someone on the current staff who would be a good fit.

Best of luck Mike.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Falcon Football Verbal: Zach Russell

BG has its 7th football verbal today. His name is Zach Russell and he's from Paintsville, KY, where he attends Johnson Central High School.  You might not be surprised to find out he plays TE.

I'm not usually a highlights guy,  but I watched his film and he runs some good routes and destroys some guys on blocks.  Just blows that out of the way and further.

He's 6'3" and 220 pounds.  He had offers from Akron, Army, Coastal Carolina, EMU, Illinois State, Ohio University, SEMO and WMU.  So he was on a number of team's lists and that Army offer would tell you he's a good student.

He played both ways in HS--also on the DE--and his team was the 4A State Championship.  That's the second-highest classification in the state.

He's not going to have much in the way of receiving statistics because his team hardly passed at all.  They only threw five times in the title game and twice in the final.

He did make all-area as a defender.  He made all-Mountain from another paper on the offensive side of the ball.  What you have here is a football player.

The current roster has 8 TEs, not all of them on scholarship.  Motes and Morris are seniors.  To date, he is the only one in the class of 2021.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Falcon Football Verbal: Jaylen Smith

Jaylen Smith has committed to BG.  He's a WR from Mandarin HS in Jacksonville.  Right now he has no stars on 24/7 but all of our other players started that way but they all have 3-stars now, for whatever that is worth.  Jaylen is 6'0" and 170 pounds and had offers from FIU and South Alabama.

Of our six verbals to date, two of them are WRs, where BG has an immediate need to get numbers up, even with the number of 12 sets we play.  BG had 6 WRs in last year's class.

Mandarin won the 8A state title in 2018  in Florida. They made a playoff run last season.  That's the biggest category and its a big deal.  It was their first state title.  The QB from that team is headed to Georgia.  There's no season-long stats for Smith, but he's all over the place with scoring plays.  In this game he was 7 for 117 and a TD and he's referred to as Beck's favorite target.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jaylen.

Terrific Sadness Today

Well, yesterday was not a good day.  Not to be negative, but we might want to get used to it.  Very tough times are on the way, I fear.

To start with, four people I know closely and care about lost their jobs .  That's a personal thing, but they're good people and sometimes that's not enough and I know that people you care about are in the same boat and even you might be in this boat.

It's awful.

And then the news from BG about the baseball program.

That's a wow.  I'm terribly sad.  I'll go into more about that in a second, but I don't want anyone to think those feelings are a criticism of what happened.  These are incredibly difficult decisions and painful and they are going to come for a while. While it makes me sad, I am 100% supportive of the decision and the people who made it.  I am sure that it was the right thing to do for the university.

I'm glad I didn't have to do it.

Think of the man who did.  Bob Moosbrugger made an incredibly difficult decision for him as a person.  A former BG baseball player, he may well have burned his relationship with all his teammates and fellow alumni.  Some of them--or many--will view him as a traitor.  He ended something he loved and I cannot imagine how many nights he spent staring at the ceiling over this.

These times are calling for true leaders.  People who put their organization and the people they serve first.  Who act with courage and purpose.  Who shoulder burdens, not avoid them.  

We have that kind of leader in our A.D.

I have so many memories of going to games at Stellar Field. 

I can remember my Father taking me there--that's how long ago it was--and when I saw the programs in that little box they had at the top of the ramp, I was thrilled to find out they were "free."  I'd be about 8 at this time.  I remember seeing Paul Miles--my hero at that time--make what my Dad said was a "circus" catch in LF.

Later, after my Dad died, a family friend used to pick me up from the babysitter and take me to games.  Later, I rode my bike out every day after school.

You couldn't keep foul balls but they gave out a twizzler when you brought one back so the kids raced each other to get them.  Not me--I was too interested in the games.  I was also slow.

In the older days, when the sun was out, some students would bring a keg of beer and sit in the stands with it.  They'd verbal the opposing team...not dirty, but super funny and the other team's crowd would get into it.  Good, clean fun.

I remember Larry Owen hitting a walk-off homer once.  He was always doing that.

I saw Kip Young play.  Hershiser.  Larry Owen.  Andy Tracy.  I met John Knox once.  I saw Jeff Jones pitch a bunch. I'm sure I saw Roger McDowell but I honestly don't remember that.  Grant Jackson's nieces were my babysitter.

When I was in junior high, I used to hang around the bullpen.  There was a backup catcher on the team named Ron Ullery and he was a Reds fan like me and he and the other pitchers and the guy spotting them would talk about baseball and they were very nice to me and made me feel really good and for all I knew at that time, they were major leaguers.

I worked the scoreboard a couple times.

You could really work the umpires over in that setting.

There were crazy days when the wind was blowing out and it was barely baseball.

It made me so happy.  That's what I remember.  I remember so much and there's probably more.

Now, of course, it has ended and that makes me sad.  But we can't keep things alive for the sake of nostalgia.  Real decisions have to be made for today's world and today's world is not a good place.

Danny Schmitz.  He's the longest-serving coach in BG history of any sport.  He's had great success.  And he's beloved.  In the community, by former players.  He's a good man and I can't imagine how it feels today for him.

Same for all his former players.  And current players.  This is just awful all around, a true sense of loss for so many people.

I was thinking...the news came out earlier yesterday that the football team won't stay in hotels the night before home games anymore.  It was hard to give a shit about that by the end of the day.

It was a rough day. Baseball was BG's first sport. If we're going to marshal one thing, we are going to need to make it our resilience.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

MAC Makes Significant Changes

And I suspect they won't be the last.  It has been bad until now and I fear it will only get worse.  I do think there will be football this fall...though if it happens I suspect no fans will be there.  And that's just a little more likely than not.  There are severe budget issues, sports are in danger.

Let us hope for the best.

The MAC announced some pretty significant changes today.  Let's take a look.

The most significant change to what we follow here had to do with men's and women's basketball.

They've reduced both tournaments to 8 teams.  No Monday night games....all 8 teams straight to Cleveland.  

I think this is a fine thing.  Nobody likes those Monday games, there are rarely many fans there, at least 2-3 teams had really bad seasons and I think most of them want it to be over.  In the modern era, (the tournament in Cleveland), only two teams (in MBB) ranked below 8 have made the finals:

OU 2010 #9, won, went to Sweet 16
Miami 2000 #9, lost

I think it will create some more Thursday upsets.  Playing Monday and then playing Thursday was a big disadvantage, so this could create some more dramatic games on the first day in Cleveland.  It also eliminates an issue with re-seeding, where the #1 seed was not guaranteed to play the lowest seed.

It also rewards the regular season, which I am always in favor of.

And it will create an exciting piece of drama as teams battle for the #8 slot.

They got rid of divisions, which was long overdue.  They had no meaning anyway, except for allowing Reghi to talk about someone having a shot to win the MAC West.  No other conference was using them and it was time to go.  Beyond eliminating something dumb, it also will help create fairer scheduling by distributing the games a little better.

Speaking of scheduling, the MAC will also go to 20 conference games. A lot of bigger conferences are adding conference games as well.   I like this.  Most of the MAC teams have trouble scheduling home games OOC and have to pay them to come, which costs money people assume they aren't going to have.  Again, if we had a really thrilling OOC schedule, this would be tough, but we don't.  In conference play is typically great and more of it is good for me.

We still expect EMU to play 4 NAIA teams.

So that's the change to basketball.

Meanwhile, the post-season MAC tournaments have been greatly reduced.  There will be no post-season tournament in:

Men’s Soccer
Women’s Soccer
Men’s Tennis
Women’s Tennis
Women’s Lacrosse
Field Hockey

I remember when they started baseball.  It was actually a reaction to the unfair impact rainouts were having on determining a champion.  Anyway, from now on the regular-season champion will get the NCAA bid in all of the sports listed above.

The other championships were all shortened or have reduced teams.

So off we go.  These changes are in for four years.  Hold onto your hats....these times they are a'changin.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Diabolical: BG's Missouri Upset Listed Among Significant Games in History of Spread

Can't be fun working for ESPN right now.  Of course, they do have South Korean baseball.  Anyway, they did a post on the most important games--games--in the history of the spread offense.  Next up is a retrospective of the most important wins in which there was a live dog somewhere on the field, ranked by the size of the dog.

What's cool is that BG's 2002 victory over Missouri is on the list.  If you follow the link, you can search for it.  There's a picture of a peach-fuzzed Urban Meyer.

What a night that was.  It was a beautiful September night and BG was playing Big XII opposition and the Falcons thumped the Tigers (and Gary Pinkel).  It was just magic, the way that offense hummed.  BG had beaten Missouri the year before on the road...this was simply one of the top nights in my Falcon fandom.

One of the things I like to do when BG pulls off an upset like that is going to their media and see how they cover it.  There's always a thrilling level of disgust on their end and schadenfreude on mine.  HA HA.

Anyway, this is one of the best...the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report on that game.  Relish it.  It's great.  Keyword:  diabolical.  Key Phrase:  I'm hurting.  I'm really hurting.  Extra Credit:  Bowling freaking Green.

Sorry, Mizzou fans; loss to imaginative Falcons is no upset

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - If the dateline had been different, maybe it would be easier to digest this, but the setting was all out of whack. If the dateline saidNorman, Okla., or Lincoln, Neb., or even Austin, Texas, it all would have made so much more sense. But none of this made even a little sense, because what was happening to Mizzou was not being perpetrated in some hallowed college football temple like Oklahoma's Owen Field, or Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. On this breezy, steamy Saturday night, in this most unlikely place called Doyt L. Perry Stadium, the Tigers were routed not by Nebraska, but by Bowling, freaking Green.

"My heart's in my stomach right now," said Missouri kick returner Tyrone Roberson. "I'm hurting, I'm really hurting."

Roberson and the rest of the Tigers are hurting with just cause after a 51-28 spanking, not simply because of the final outcome, but because of the painful and obvious fact that this was no upset.

The better team won.

Now there will be a whole lot of folks all across the state this morning scratching their heads and wondering how a team like Bowling Green -- so far out of the loop of the BCS championship series that even Martha Burk couldn't get them an invitation to the national championship dance -- could do such a thorough destruction on a team from the almighty Big 12. But don't be fooled by the intimate 30,000-seat stadium, or the Mid-American Conference pedigree, or the names on the Falcons' roster that look so unfamiliar to the world of big-time college football.

What happened here was no fluke. First of all, take a quick glance at the college scoreboard this morning, and what you'll see is several MAC teams giving schools from the major conferences absolute fits. It happens all the time. Now, take a deep breath and listen to the stats that Bowling Green piled up on Missouri:

When you pile up 577 yards of total offense, and score on six of your first seven possessions (the half ended on the seventh), that's no fluke. When you build a 34-14 lead by halftime, when you have a quarterback named Josh Harris giving you 394 yards of total offense (311 passing, 83 running), a receiver named Robert Redd, who caught 10 passes for 209 yards and 1 TD, and a running back named Joe Alls, who added 119 yards rushing . . . Oh yeah, and a wide receiver named Cole Magner who threw 2 TD passes just for yucks, this is no upset. This is simply one of the most dazzling offenses Mizzou will see all season.

If you do not know much about the Falcons, here's a little introduction. A year ago, they made the top one-year turnaround in NCAA Division I-A, going from 2-9 two years ago to an 8-3 record. Bowling Green head coach Urban Meyer was the MAC coach of the year last season with good reason. His dazzling spread offense has no fancy name like Fun 'N Gun, or Run & Shoot. But what it lacks in name recognition, it more than makes up for in entertaining, head-spinning effectiveness. With a jaw-dropping quarterback like Harris operating almost exclusively from the shotgun, the Falcons threw every conceivable bit of offensive fireworks at Mizzou's defense, and waded up the field with little resistance.

If you think Mike Martz has a vivid offensive imagination, wait until you get a peek inside the diabolical offensive mind of Urban Meyer. This guy's offense is so aggressive, he makes Martz look positively timid. Imagine a wild video game in hyper-drive, and you begin to understand what this Bowling Green attack looked like. There were five-receiver sets, empty backfields, shovel passes, reverses, double screen option passes, reverse option passes, quick pitches, option pitches, and when they got really bored, the Falcons even used straight handoffs to the tailback Alls.

And there was nothing the Tigers could do to stop them. They did not overlook Bowling Green, nor were they surprised by all the razzle-dazzle. "We knew they did a lot of trick plays," said starting middle linebacker James Kinney. "We just didn't stop them."

And now, in a weird way, this major butt-whipping could be the turning point in Missouri's season. If they did have a big head after beating Illinois, the hat size shrunk dramatically Saturday night. Coach Gary Pinkel says they are neither as good as they looked against Illinois, nor as bad as they looked against Bowling Green. Now they have the rest of the season to show us Pinkel's right, and figure out exactly where they do fit in on college football's pecking order.

So, so, so good.  What a night.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Malone VanGorder to BG

You have probably seen online that BG has a commitment from Malone VanGorder, who is the son of BG's d-coordinator, internet favorite Brian VanGorder.

The answer to your immediate question:  no moustache.  Yet.

He's an o-lineman who started 28 straight games for Buford (GA).  They won the AAAAA state title last year in Georgia.

His brother, Montgomery VanGorder was a QB and holder at Notre Dame and started at Youngstown State for a last season, throwing 14 TD passes.  His brother Mack played Auburn and Molloy played for Georgia.

Molloy, Morgan, Mack, Montgomery, Malone and....Freddie, which is extra thrilling now that he is at BGSU.

Welcome to the Falcons, Malone.