Posted on: September 12, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 6:45 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
On Saturday N.C. State gets a chance to bounce back from their early-season conference loss with a visit from South Alabama, in the midst of their first season as a FCS independent. The Wolfpack will be celebrating Military Appreciation Day at the game, with The Wounded Warriors from Fort Bragg and Camp LeJune on hand to be honored throughout the festivities. The halftime show will feature a tribute to military personnel, firefighters, and police, as well as a special entrance from the new N.C. State basketball coach.
Head coach Mark Gottfried will make a tandem parachute jump into Carter-Finley Stadium at halftime, taking the leap with a ROTC Ranger. Gottfried told ESPN.com the stunt is meant to first honor the military, but also to bring some attention to the basketball program.
In addition to being a bounce-back opportunity for football team, a promotional opportunity for the basketball team, the game also will hold special significance for South Alabama. The Jaguars' football program just began play in 2009, and are currently in the transition period to become an FBS program. Saturday's showdown will be the South Alabama's first game against an FBS opponent. Their 2009 schedule was mostly made up of junior colleges, with Division II and FCS opponents in 2010. At this point in the program's history, the Jaguars currently have not been defeated.
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 12:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The 2011 offseason doesn't nearly so expansion-mad as the summer of 2010, but thanks to the Sun Belt, it look like we might have some intrigue after all.
According to this report in the Miami Herald, the current nine-team conference (and 10-team league once provisional program South Alabama becomes a full FBS member) is on the verge of adding a new, as-yet-unidentified 11th future member (emphasis added):
The conference has entertained expansion overtures from multiple programs in recent months, and the league has expressed keen interest in at least one of those candidates, The Miami Herald has learned.
The report is correct that limiting candidates to current FBS programs within the Sun Belt's geographical footprint doesn't leave room for a whole lot of options. And in fact, barring a surprise defection out of Conference USA, there seems to be just one: Louisiana Tech.
Located hundreds of miles from its closest geographic neighbors, the Shrveport-based school has always been an odd fit in its current home in the WAC. Given the WAC's short straw in the expansion battles and impending plunge to the basement of the FBS (not to mention the possibility of losing its automatic NCAA Tournament berth in men's basketball), Tech's switch to the Sun Belt would make sense from any number of perspectives: better level of competition, substantially reduced travel costs, local rivalries with schools like the SBC's UL-Monroe and Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, and all the recruiting advantages that those benefits would bring.
Meanwhile, the Sun Belt would be getting a firmly-established FBS program with a long history of producing high-quality teams, NFL players, and upsets of neighboring power schools (not to mention the aforementioned in-state conference rival for its Louisiana programs). Tech to the Sun Belt would appear to be a win-win on all sides.
That's not to say it's a certainty. Several schools in Conference USA also fit within the SBC's geographic footprint if they wanted out of C-USA for whatever reason, and if the league decided that footprint was wider than we'd expect, they could theoretically re-adopt former Sun Belt members New Mexico State or Utah State. And even if the school receiving "keen interest" from the league is Tech, it's far from a done deal.
But in any case, the move would make so much sense for both the Bulldogs and the SBC it would be a surprise if they weren't considering it. And if it's a move that indeed comes to pass, we'll have yet more confirmation that the Belt has decisively left the WAC behind as the FBS's bottom-barrel conference.
Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:52 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy is on his way to the NFL, but his journey there may have just gotten a bit more complicated. McElroy played for the South team in Saturday's Senior Bowl and did not leave the game unscathed, breaking a bone in his throwing hand. On the first play of the fourth quarter, McElroy completed a pass to South Alabama's Courtney Smith but hit his hand on a helmet during his follow through.
"I had no feeling the rest of the series," said McElroy. "The ball was kind of sporadic. I couldn't get a grip on the ball. I still can't get a grip on the ball. I think it will be OK."
According to McElroy's father, x-rays showed that a bone near his thumb was cracked. The injury will keep McElroy from being able to throw a ball for about two weeks, but the good news for him is that the NFL combine doesn't start until February 23. The bone should be good enough to allow McElroy to throw by then, but still, this isn't exactly the kind of thing you want happening when preparing yourself for the NFL draft.