Friday, August 28, 2009

Schedule Havoc Strikes Streaming

Well, folks, our heart was in the right place--unfortunately, Mother Nature and other extenuating circumstances have done a pretty good job of altering the opening week of games for the Big South Network.



As I write this, the afternoon of Friday the 28th, we have the following Big South Network changes for the days ahead...



FRIDAY, originally four women's soccer game were scheduled to be streamed today...

GAME & STREAM CANCELLED: Clemson at UNC Asheville (orig. sched. for 4pm), due to severe weather and field conditions.

STREAM CANCELLED, GAME DELAYED: Alabama State at Charleston Southern (sched. for 4pm, tentatively reset for 4:30pm), due to severe weather conditions.

STILL ON SCHEDULE AT THIS TIME: 7pm starts for Loyola (MD) at High Point and for Howard at Radford, but stay tuned for any possible changes if necessary.



So we're left with two out of four there...if you watched the preview guide video, you saw two women's soccer games scheduled for Sunday--well, due to connectivity issues at Gardner-Webb, the ECU at GWU game (which will still be played at 2pm) will NOT be streamed as hoped, but we should still have the Tennessee Tech at Radford match-up for everyone at 1pm.



As for the remaining events mentioned in the week's preview, conflicting campus events have knocked out the men's soccer stream for Concord at Liberty on Tuesday (although the game will go on as scheduled)...while Wednesday's "Parkway Series" collision of Western Carolina and UNC Asheville in volleyball is still set to stream as planned.



So of the eight games we happily shared with you--regrettably only HALF will stream. Look for those fortunes to change dramatically for the better starting next week: we have six events slated for Friday the 4th, seven games scheduled for Saturday the 5th, five more for Sunday the 6th, and another pair on the 7th. That's 20 live events just for the extended Labor Day Weekend (I'm counting Friday-Monday)!!!



In other words, we'll get a shaky August start behind us and have a September to remember--with great events on the Big South Network coming in football, volleyball, and men's/women's soccer...we just need a little more cooperation from the elements so that everything carries on as planned.

Sorry for the inconvenience--hope we all have a great fall sports season ahead of us!





Announcement Alert: Liberty

Hey everybody, our friends in Lynchburg have information to share--there's going to be an announcement later this morning (during Liberty's convocation) with major news for the athletic facilities there...not to reveal too much now, but if you're guessing something with the football stadium, you're on the right track. It's free/live video (no registration required) starting about 10am Friday 8/28 on the Big South Network: click this for access to the link, which opens around the event start time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Big South Network Guide

Yes, the sporting seasons are back for the Big South, and so the Big South Network Video Guide is back as well--I'll take you through the upcoming games for the week and offer a quick peak behind the scenes at some of our new equipment as well...have a look:

video

Still toying with the new look and format...it'll undergo a few changes along the way and incorporate more elements as we go along this season, but it should be fun to work with the new gear and see what we can do.

Again, enjoy the upcoming seasons--we're looking forward to a tremendous year all across the Big South Conference!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lots to SHOUT About in the Big South

Hard to believe, but it's been three weeks since the last entry on SHOUT, which is a record gap for the 18 months this blog has been around--so my apologies for the absence of updates on this front...I promise that won't happen again anytime soon, particularly not with the seasons cranking up for the fall--let's play!

First the promotional part of the program--let's talk about what the Big South has going on this year with its online offerings (then we'll move on to the real action, I promise)...

Everything begins with the main page, BigSouthSports.com. That's the official source for your news, stats, standings, photos, videos, and various links to the world of the Big South. When in doubt, start there and you'll get to where you're going. Heck, make it your browser home page--go ahead and do it now, I'll wait...

Of course, if you're reading this--and it appears you are, hopefully you know all about Big South SHOUT, but if you're new to our entry in the blogosphere (welcome!), this is the place for some additional perspective on news, notes, and events going on around the Conference. This year we hope to add a lot in the form of guest bloggers and other special elements, so that it's not always me you're hearing from when catching up with the blog (not to say that's a bad thing, right?)...

Let's scale it down a bit and talk microblogging--the Big South has been very active on Twitter, and we encourage you to follow the Conference Twitter feed. Right now we're on our push to get to the 300 follower mark by the first football game--it's going to be close at our current pace, so do your part and join our Twitter following for quick updates on events, awards, results, changes, and retweets from a myriad of Big South sources (latest and greatest example: RT @SparkyWoodsVMI We are building a Team. It’s awesome! Competition is back and forth. Unity is stable. Go Keydets!)

On a similar subject, you can also find the Big South on Facebook. Become a fan of the Big South Conference page to share in discussions of Big South matters large and small, catch important links, see event notices, and more. Our Facebook fan numbers have been lagging behind the Twitter followers, so help the Fan Page grow!

"What about video?", you may be saying (Hey Mark, what about video?)...so glad you asked. In addition to finding the occasional clip right here within SHOUT blog entries, you can also see what the Big South is up to on YouTube at our BigSouthSports channel. See the season preview videos, look back on our 25th Anniversary retrospectives, and catch program guides for the Big South Network--in addition to upcoming extras like leadership features and highlight clips...

And what was that about the Big South Network? That's the new name of the Big South's online video source at BigSouthSports.com (no longer known by its former name, The EDGE). The Big South Network is your only source for video streaming of live competition for Big South teams!!! Order by the game, by the sport, by the season, or by the year--but go to the Big South Network, because that's the only place to get this content. Free archives of the games become available once the games are done, uploaded, and posted, but again only through the Big South Network at BigSouthSports.com.

Ooooooooookay, no more plugs--time for the quick review of what's ahead...

Women's soccer has already begun! The preseason poll for WSOC gave the nod to defending tourney winner Radford as this year's favorite, but it was hardly a consensus. RU edged out defending regular season champ Coastal Carolina by just one point (86-85) in the voting, and those two teams tied with Charleston Southern at three first-place votes each (the tenth top vote was awarded to Liberty). Radford goalkeeper Lisa Lubke was named the Preseason Player of the Year. With the first weekend of play behind us now, CSU's Jen Vroman was the season's first WSOC Player of the Week (Vroman notched both goals in Charleston Southern's 2-1 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday).

Less ambiguous is the expectation for volleyball in 2009--all nine votes in that preseason poll went to Liberty, a clear favorite going into the year. LU's Kallie Corbin earned Preseason Player of the Year honors as well. Action goes into full throttle for teams across the Big South starting Friday, August 28th.

Men's soccer tells a familiar story, as Winthrop has been pegged as the MSOC preseason favorite for a fourth consecutive year. Coach Rich Posipanko (@winthropgaffer) says he doesn't see it in this year's team yet, but that's an early and modest appraisal from the successful Eagles leader, whose senior midfielder, Stephen Nsereko, took the title of Preseason Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina and High Point also received first-place votes in the poll, and competition is expected to be fierce across the Conference. Regular season play begins September first.

For cross country, last year's winners are this year's favorites, as preseason poll results tabbed Liberty the top choice for the men and Coastal Carolina the top pick for the women. Teams will see their first official competition this year in the opening week of September.

And then there's football--starting last, but far from least...we've already reviewed some of the details in this space (even with three weeks between posts), but Liberty is the early selection to take the Conference, with VMI's Tim Maypray and GWU's Jeffery Williams named the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year respectively. Coastal Carolina has the first game of any Big South team this year, opening Thursday night, September 3rd, at Kent State. The rest of the Conference hits the gridiron with games on Saturday, September 5th, highlighted by two games against FBS/BCS powerhouses: Liberty at West Virginia and Charleston Southern at defending national champion Florida.

That should get us all caught up, right? In summary--bookmark the home page, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, subscribe to our channel on YouTube, order your desired games at the Big South Network, and above all else, enjoy the fall season and the tremendous performances of our student-athletes in the upcoming competition!!!

The Big South Conference: Developing Leaders Through Athletics..........SHOUT, out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Started Getting Started: Media Day

The trick to getting going for real is sometimes just getting that process itself under way...that's part of what Media Days are all about: don't know when to start your countdown to the season or when it's okay to be thinking about it? Let's make it official: NOW is the time.

Preseason polls and all-conference teams from across the country pour in, magazines hit the newsstands, and the multimedia machine throws itself into gear. The amusing subtext this year of course comes courtesy of the SEC, where the somewhat fabricated nature of predicting preseason performance--of teams and even individual players--was revealed to be exactly what everyone knows it is, yet implicitly agrees not to say. It's all about marketing and promotion: here's something to talk about, here are the suggested topics to get things going as we move toward the season itself. That's all, folks. "Tebow-gate" in Birmingham and the subsequent Spurrier comments regarding never voting on those things himself lay the subject somewhat bare. Yet somehow it doesn't remove the fun inherent in this--because that's just one MORE thing to talk about...

If that stuff carried real weight, they wouldn't need to play the actual games, would they? We'd already know all the answers...but of course, we don't. These are just talking points and fun times to get all these people together in one place to formally start the ball rolling...so let's review what Friday was all about for the Big South: 2009 Football Media Day!

We'll have more football preview material coming in the weeks ahead, but here are the quick hits to go on for now:

Charleston Southern--lots of defensive player turnover, so the new crew will need to step up, but several offensive playmakers are there for the Bucs...CSU has the highest-profile opener, taking on defending FBS Champ Florida in the fabled Swamp of Gainesville's Florida Field--Coach Jay Mills had great perspective on that, pointing out that lots of folks have to talk about the returning champs, and when they talk about that team opening the season, they have to mention Charleston Southern--and that's more national conversation about CSU football than ever before.

Coastal Carolina--close finishes turned out badly most of the time for the Chants in 2008, so winning the tight ones will be critical for CCU this year...Coach Bennett (as always) had some amusing perspectives and colorful points on his football team--noting that they gave up virtually the same points as they scored, hence the 6-6 mark that he directly labeled as "mediocre"...Bennett added that their recognition for good pass defense was deceptive, because teams were "running the ball all over the place on us" instead...the classic moment may have been when asked about playing Clemson in Death Valley on Halloween, Bennett intoned "TRICK OR TREAT!"

Gardner-Webb--Coach Steve Patton has a lot to smile about this year, and if you're looking for a dark horse, you could be looking for GWU. The defense gets Mario Brown, last year's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, back from injury to play alongside THIS year's PDPOY, Jeffery Williams, at linebacker. Add in the most All-Conference players of any Big South team and Runnin' Bulldog fans could be feeling some confidence for a good season. Philip Steele's magazine actually marked Gardner-Webb as the favorite to win, rather than our next entry...

Liberty--losing playmakers all over the field is usually not a recipe for repeat success, but the voters are giving Coach Danny Rocco and his Flames the benefit of the doubt despite the exodus...Rocco, in fact, says he's more eager about this season than any he can remember--a dangerous thought for the opposition given that LU will be trying to lock down its third straight Conference title...and hey, if you're harboring any curiosity about Liberty not making the playoffs last year, you're not alone--Rocco made it clear they "should've gotten in" with an at-large berth and that although they try not to look back, they are using the snub as "motivation" this season.

Presbyterian--still in transition, and now with a new coach in PC alum Harold Nichols...even the coach is not sure what to expect from 2009, candidly saying as much to the group at Media Day...but one thing that seems clear, at least going in, is that you should not expect the mad throwing offense of the past to continue in the upcoming campaign. The Blue Hose have pulled off some big wins before, and have enough experience to do it again, but may not yet have the horses to do it with enough frequency to flip expectations...we'll see...

Stony Brook--Cuttino/Gowins/Cuttino/Gowins/etc. Best tandem of backs for scores and yards you're going to discover out there, so everybody in their way better have all run defense questions answered or the game will be one of Chase, rather than Tackle, Football. Coach Priore knows his team has been improving, and he's not going to be shy about competing for the title--this team can do damage, particularly if it's defense can catch up to its offensive level.

VMI--speaking of stellar backs, how about Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Tim Maypray? One runs out of superlative adjectives to describe his performance, so I'll stop short of gushing here (or try to), but suffice to say that VMI's fortunes will turn on what #28 does--and even when defenses know that, it's not enough to stop him. Coach Sparky Woods recognizes what he's got in Maypray, and that's why he put the star under center: might as well let him touch the ball as often as possible, right?

The Big South teams face a record eight FBS schools this season, demonstrating how the Conference teams are being taken more seriously as opponents. You'll find Florida, West Virginia, Clemson, NC State, South Florida, and others on the schedule this year. Bravo for the aggressive scheduling--the games are typically tough ones, but the money and publicity generated are tremendous.

It was fun to see the coaches rib each other good-naturedly at the event. At this stage, everyone's undefeated and smiles are acceptable and understood...they'll be opponents soon enough, but the mutual respect shared among the group is obvious--and nice to see.


To see the interviews of coaches and players from our video streaming sessions, go to BigSouthSports.com--and look in this preseason announcement. You can also view the season preview video there...or find it RIGHT HERE (how about that):

video
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, and look for more from us on YouTube in the days and weeks ahead!
That's enough for a Monday, don't you think? More to come...and that's SHOUT--out!