Looking for some late June motivation? This was 9 years ago but MAN was this an awesome hit. The 2003 EV1.net Houston Bowl didn’t feature a lot of Navy highlights since Texas Tech won 38-14, but this will hit will live on for years. Texas Tech’s QB B.J. Symons actually lost a tooth. You can see him handing it to a coach at the end of the clip. To his credit, Symons didn’t miss a snap.
The weakening conditions expected across the course on Monday showed up, but not enough to slow the boats still on the course. The result? The Navy 44′s are showing that a “Sail Training Craft” is a force to be reckoned with. This is shaping up to be the best finish for the Naval Academy since 1992 when Constellation won the whole thing.
NA 23 Defiance sits at 2nd place in their Class and 2nd place overall this morning. The difference over the course of 635 miles? A scant 34 minutes and 34 seconds behind race leader Carina. Amazingly enough, Carina won the 2010 version of the race, meaning they could possibly repeat as winners if the current standings hold.
NA 11 Swift is sitting atop their class and is 3rd overall, 26 mins and 14 seconds behind Defiance. A class win here would be the first for USNA since Constellation.
The result has been a slight slide for the crew of Invictus – they now stand 11th overall in the St. David’s Lighthouse division.
We’ll let all the boats finish and give a final update once the trophies have been presented at the Governor’s Mansion at the end of the week.
The Varsity Offshore Sailing Team’s season continues throughout the summer, providing us with some actual results to talk about while the Brigade is spread around the globe. There are 5 boats that have been competing in June, with 2 in the Bermuda Ocean Race and 3 in the Newport to Bermuda Race. I’ll be writing more on the Newport to Bermuda race when the boats return to Annapolis, but there are a couple of things to address before then.
In the Bermuda Ocean Race, which began on June 8th, the Navy 44′s finished in 2nd and 3rd place in their class. It’s the 3rd race in a row (the BOR is held every other year) that Navy has finished 2nd in class and the first time since 1996 that the team places 2 boats in the top 3 of the class.
The Newport to Bermuda Race started a week later on June 15th. Navy has 3 boats in this race – 2 Navy 44′s and the TP 52 Invictus, the latter of which yours truly coached aboard for the 2010 running of the race. The weather set up to be fantastic for the race, with low pressure systems bringing winds that would favor the fastest boats and set up a rhumb line run under spinnaker.
While the 44′s are still on the course and looking to finish sometime during the night tonight, Invictus finished around dinnertime Sunday. In finishing the 635 mile race in 53 hours and 11 minutes with an average speed of nearly 12 knots, they became the 6th of the eventual 7 boats that broke the 10-year-old course record of 53 hours 29 minutes and 22 seconds set by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket in 2002 (yes that Disney). By comparison, it took us 76 hours 51 minutes and 56 seconds to complete the race in 2010. The new course record was set by the 90 foot boat Rambler which sailed the course in an astonishing 39 hours 39 minutes and 18 seconds for an average speed of 16 knots.
Invictus finishes the race in 3rd place in their class (the top class of the non-professional division) and will likely finish 3rd overall out of the 94 boats in the division. And as an added bonus, they beat the US Merchant Marine Academy TP52 Conviction across the line by 37 minutes 7 seconds when the USMMA boat had a faster handicap rating.
Here’s a shot of Invictus at the start of the 2010 Newport to Bermuda Race.
Buddy Green: “I don’t think 50 wind sprints and 100 up-downs is too much, Wagner. Maybe you do.”
We all know that the margin of error for Navy Football is pretty slim. If all three phases of the game (offense, defense, and special teams) aren’t clicking, there’s a better than average chance that we’ll lose a given game. Last season was evidence of that as Navy lost five games by 3 points or less enroute to a 5-7 season. The team struggled at key times and couldn’t seem to win the close games which had been a hallmark of the past 8 seasons. Specifically, the defense and special teams had a difficult time making big plays when we needed them. One reason why the defense struggled last season was that Buddy Green (praise be upon him) spent last spring recovering from gall bladder surgery. To the casual fan, that might not sound significant but it was a major factor.
“He’s a major, major part of our program. Not to have him was a huge loss.” -Ken Niumatalolo
Coach Green is a lot like Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mick, just a lot younger. He’s out there preparing, coaching, training, kicking guys in the ass, patting them on the back, and pushing them to their limits. Anyone that’s ever been around 18-21 year olds, knows that they need guidance and focus…constantly. Even Midshipmen, contrary to what the cliché-slinging announcers on TV would have you believe, need adult leadership. Also, Green has one tough job. I think some Navy fans don’t appreciate how difficult it is to coach football at Navy, especially defensive football. Offensively, we can run the spread option and make life VERY difficult for teams that rarely if ever practice against it. But as Mike (CEO and Chairman of this glorious blog) has noted, the defense has no such equalizer. Add in all the height/weight and academic restrictions that come with coaching at USNA and the D Coordinator has his work cut out for him. Green is such a talented Defensive Coordinator that the Tennessee Volunteers wanted him. He politely declined which was an enormous victory (and relief) for Navy. There’s a reason why Tennessee wanted Buddy Green and it’s not because he was voted Mr. Congeniality by the Annapolis Rotary Club. He’s a great coach and he gets results. Having him back for the Spring should pay dividends next season.
Well, it is June and there is not much to talk about right now. The Mids are doing summer cruises, Marine Corps training (hoorah!), taking some leave or taking summer classes. So news out of “The Yard” is pretty slow. Even Scott Strasemeier, Navy’s Sports Information Director, was rumored to have been pacing Ricketts Hall muttering “I hope something happens this month or else I’ll be forced to take leave!” Unfortunately, there still isn’t much happening. But we do have an ESPN article that is sort of related to our world.
Yesterday, Mitch Sherman posted an ESPN article on the Cost of Recruiting. It’s a short piece but it’s worth reading. Overall, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. With a few exceptions (e.g., Boise State), the biggest baddest FBS schools generally spend the most on recruiting. No shock there.
What might shock the average college football fan is the amount Army ($512,000) and Air Force ($336,000) spent on recruiting. Navy did not provide a number. That’s some pretty hefty spending on first glance. Of course, what many people don’t realize is that the service academies are recruiting nationwide. Take a look at the big school on any given Saturday and you’ll see that their teams are stocked with local kids. Georgia has a lot of kids from Georgia; LSU has a lot of kids from Louisiana; Florida has a lot of kids from Florida. You get the point. The service academies don’t have a regional focus and they shouldn’t; but nationwide recruiting costs a lot of money if you want to do a good job and fight for a limited pool of athletes that are interested in playing FBS football and also serve as military officers. Travel expenses are a major factor. Many service members who read this blog know that a two week cross country temporary additional duty (TAD) trip can cost $5,000 when you include airfare, hotels, rental car, per diem, et al. Now, start applying these costs to multiple football coaches and multiple trips and you can see how costly recruiting can get. That’s just the travel budget. We’re not even talking about all the other expenses like those shiny brochures.
Two other things jumped out at me:
-Tennessee is spending almost $1.5 million on recruiting. That’s $500K more than Alabama and it leads all other programs that submitted data. Wow. That’s saying something. What that’s saying is anyone’s guess. Tennessee has had a difficult time since Phil Fulmer stepped down as head coach in 2008. So you’d expect some type of recruiting emphasis, but I don’t know how you justify that recruiting budget given that Tennessee’s season ticket sales are slumping along with the football team.
-Georgia Tech is spending $883K on recruiting, which is $260K more than its arch rival Georgia. I have no idea what accounts for this, but I have a feeling Coach Paul Johnson is spending more money to look for the type of players that fit his spread option offense. Perhaps our Rambling Wreck readers can comment below.
In case you missed the news, Phase IV of the renovations to NMCMS is scheduled to begin this year and be completed by 2015. These renovations include HD video boards, a new media center, new locker rooms, club level seating (more on that in another post), and a new recruiting center. But what I want to concentrate on first and foremost is this:
We’re going to see a capacity increase to 40,000 by 2015
According to the 2003 media guide, NMCMS had a seating capacity of 30,000. That was expanded to 34,000 for the 2004 season. With the 40,000 seats by 2015, that means we’ll have seen a 33% increase in seating, not to mention the other significant upgrades around the facility
First, I’d like to address the notion that this is in order to meet some sort of minimum the Big East has. This is incorrect as such a minimum does not exist. But we certainly are on the small size of the current and future members
|Temple||68,532||Lincoln Financial Field|
|USF||65,857||Raymond James Stadium|
|Navy||34,000||Expanding to 40,000 by 2015|
|Houston||32,000||New 40k Stadium in 2014|
Adding another 6,000 seats to NMCMS would put Navy on pretty even terms with the conference average. Three of the schools on the list play in pro stadiums, so we really can’t look at them as a part of the average. Houston is building a new stadium that will seat 40,000 when it’s finished in 2014. So if we exclude the former and adjust for the latter, the average capacity of members of the Big East in 2015 is going to be just a hair over 44,000.
Since the 2004 renovations, the lowest attended game was in 2004 against Northeastern. Just 25,115 people showed up to watch the second game of what was bound to be a wonderful 10-2 season. All told, that was one of only 6 games since 2004 that failed to break the 30k mark.
By comparison, there have been SEVENTEEN games at NMCMS where we have been above capacity. The record was set in the 2008 season when Pitt came to town. 37,970 people jammed in that day, putting attendance at 112% of capacity. Air Force routinely brings massive crowds, averaging 109% capacity. Rutgers, a future Big East foe, has brought an average of 36,118 to the three games they’ve played at NMCMS (106%).
Across all 42 games played at NMCMS since expansion, Navy has averaged 33,109 people per game, which is 97% of full capacity. In 2011, Navy was #9 in the country for attendance by percent of capacity with 101.8%. Air Force, ECU, and Delaware were all over-capacity sellouts while Troy and Southern Miss each fell just a few hundred tickets shy of capacity, both having 98% attendance.
To put it relative to the greater college football universe, the following schools had higher capacity attendance in 2011 than Navy:
4. Texas A&M
6. Texas Tech
7. Ohio State
That’s it. Not bad company to keep.
Just to parse the attendance a little more, since 2004 Navy’s had:
• 17 games over capacity. That’s 40% of all games.
• 9 games in the 95-100% range. Yep – 62% of all games have been over 95% full.
• 7 more in the 90-95% range. That’s 79% of games with at least 30,600 people attending.
So the demand has been there. But it’s not just as easy as adding seats and watching the dough roll in. In part 2, we’ll look at the challenges of getting those attendance numbers as well as the finances behind them.
- CBS has announced a partial 2012 TV schedule for football. We’ve known for a while now that Navy’s match-ups against Notre Dame and Air Force are going to be on CBS with morning kick-off times. The big news here for Navy fans is that the Army-Navy game will kick-off at 3pm EST.
— Sal Interdonato (@salinterdonato) June 6, 2012
I have to disagree with Sal here. It’s not a weird time. It puts kickoff at noon PST, making it that much more attractive to viewers west of the Mississippi. We all know the game got a bump by shifting to the weekend after conference championships. Perhaps we can get a few more viewers with this slight adjustment (last year the kickoff was at 2:30pm EST). With the Big East TV deal looming, any boost in Army-Navy ratings now will deliver more TV dollars later.
- Navy Baseball had two players drafted in this year’s MLB draft. The Blue Jays selected outfielder Alex Azor in the 10th round – putting him as the highest drafted Navy player of all time – while the Brewers took pitcher Preston Gainey in the 11th round.
- Navy’s Zack Duncavage, a Youngster, placed 16th in the discus at the NCAA track and field championships this week. His finish nets him 2nd team All-American honors.
- Finally, this one slipped through the cracks at the beginning of the week, but bears mention. The Navy Men’s Lightweight Four won the IRA National Championship this past weekend in Camden, NJ. This was the final feather in the cap of Coach Rick Clothier, who has retired after leading the crew program for 38 years.
- The Annapolis Capital is reporting that three members of the Navy football team have left the school. They are Center Dale Howard, Fullback Mike Patrick, and linebacker Jarvis Cummings. All three were back-ups on the depth chart, with Howard and Cummings listed as #2 at their positions, while Patrick was 3rd string. While this doesn’t hit the top-line, it certainly undermines depth at those positions.
- Navy Women’s Lacrosse team captain Kierstin King has been selected to play in the IWLCA Senior All-Star Game on June 16th. She joins two other players from the Patriot League, Lehigh’s Leigh Ann Torcivia and Colgate’s Courtney Miller.
- The Big East is looking towards the Poinsettia Bowl for possible western expansion of their bowl game tie-ins starting in 2014. Their current bowl inventory does not reach the Mississippi River, with the westernmost bowl game being the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. The MWC has an agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl that expires in 2013. With Navy scheduled to play in the bowl game in 2014 (if bowl eligible), such a match-up could give us a preview of league play in 2015.
- The demo for NCAA Football 13 has hit the PS3 and Xbox 360. While this normally wouldn’t be huge news for our blog, there’s a hook. Users who share the demo with friends will unlock Nike Pro Combat uniforms for five teams: Ohio Shate, LSU, Boise State, Stanford and…wait for it…Navy. That’s not bad company to keep.
No word yet if there is a combat coaching mode for Air Force fans.
The surprising reality with the Big East — if it stays together in its intended 13-team and 18-team formats — is that it could still be a lucrative league. Football drives the financial bus, and basketball provides boundless inventory. While there have been plenty of jokes about who would want to watch San Diego State and Connecticut play football, apparently someone is willing to pay to find out.
Neal Pilson, a media consultant and former president of CBS Sports, predicted that the Big East could surpass the deal it turned down last year, which was considered similar in value to the A.C.C.’s $155 million annual deal.
“I think if they stay together and negotiate as a single unit, I think they can come away with a reasonably favorable result,” Pilson said. “Even more than what ESPN offered a year and a half ago. I think the competition will drive it.”
That’s not the case anymore, as stories this week are all about how the Big East’s TV deal could fall way short of the conference’s expectations. It seems odd to me that these stories started coming out only three days after NBC and Fox Sports representatives made presentations at last week’s Big East meetings that suggested otherwise. Maybe “odd” isn’t the right word… “Convenient” might be more appropriate. It appears that we may be entering a period of public negotiation, with both sides taking their cases to the media. The outgoing Memphis athletic director isn’t exactly an unbiased source, and obviously the Big East wants to appear optimistic coming out of its own meetings. Pilson may or may not have an agenda (I have no idea), but at least he’s named so we can scrutinize his comments accordingly. On the flip side, “industry sources” could have just as much motivation to use public perception to drive down the Big East’s asking price. (In fairness to McMurphy, he points this out at the end of his article).