College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 14

This is a list of every game played during week 14 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 14

Additional notes:

— I include games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— The local affiliates for the WAC Network game of the week (Idaho-Nevada) can be found here:  Link

— Also listed on the document in a comment are the regional nets carrying Iowa State-Kansas State.

— Included in the listings is the Army-Navy game, even though it will actually take place next week (on December 10).

— BCS Standings:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting together all the listings for this season came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the

I have also been assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences. I greatly appreciate their help.

This will be the final college football TV listings post of the season. To be honest, I don’t know if I will continue to post the listings next year. I am uncertain as to the value of doing so, given the vast array of listings already available online.

Hoops update: SoCon play begins for The Citadel

— The Citadel at the College of Charleston, 8:00 pm Thursday, December 1, 2011, at TD Arena, Charleston, South Carolina

— The Citadel at Wofford, 7:00 pm Saturday, December 3, 2011, at Benjamin Johnson Arena, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Both games can be heard on WQNT-AM 1450 in Charleston, with “voice of the Bulldogs” Danny Reed describing the action. Audio is also available online via Bulldog Insider. The game against the College of Charleston will be televised by WMMP-DT 36.1 in Charleston and is also being carried by

The Citadel is now 2-3 on the season, with a 97-44 win over Florida Christian (a non-Division I team) sandwiched by a pair of losses, 73-50 at home to Clemson and 80-72 on the road against High Point, the latter contest being decided in overtime.

The Bulldogs did what they were expected to do against Florida Christian, although it should be noted that the Suns only lost to Bethune-Cookman of the MEAC by 18 points. The game was notable for being the first start of the season for Barry Smith, who also started the game against High Point. The sophomore forward scored 19 points against Florida Christian after being inserted into the lineup for defensive reasons.

I wanted to make a few observations about the games against Division I competition. The Citadel has now played four contests against D-1 teams, winning one and losing three, with two of the losses being close games. The not-so-competitive loss, alas, came at McAlister Field House, and to a Clemson team which then lost consecutive games at Littlejohn Coliseum to the College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina. (The Tigers defeated Furman by ten points on Saturday night to avoid losing three straight home games to in-state foes.)

Chuck Driesell has used the early part of the season to give opportunities to numerous players on his roster, with eleven cadets seeing action in every game. Those aren’t just cameos by the 9th or 10th players off the bench, either; of the 57 individual appearances made by Bulldogs in five games, 50 were for at least nine minutes and two others were for eight minutes.

Offensively, the Bulldogs have played fairly well. The Citadel has taken care of the basketball and has been reasonably balanced on offense, although the Bulldogs got into a three-point shooting contest against High Point and subsequently took 43% of their field goal attempts from outside the arc, which is too many. (The Panthers shot 44 three-pointers in that game, out of 59 field goal attempts.)

The Citadel has to continue to work the ball inside to Mike Groselle, who has been unsurprisingly excellent thus far. Groselle is averaging 18 points (these stats do not count the Florida Christian game) while shooting 68% from the field. He also has a double-double in every game this season while averaging 36 minutes per contest, answering any lingering questions about his stamina.

Groselle needs more help inside, though, both offensively and defensively. He particularly needs some assistance on the offensive glass, as Groselle has almost half of the offensive boards claimed by the Bulldogs in the four D-1 games (18 of 39).

The Bulldogs have struggled on defense. The Citadel ranks in the bottom 75 nationally in several key defensive measures, including eFG%, free throws attempted per field goals attempted, and turnover rate (numbers are from

The Citadel is dead last in all of Division I (345 teams) in the percentage of opponents’ shots blocked (which probably accounts in least in part for opponents of the Bulldogs having success in converting 2-point baskets). Charleston Southern is next-to-last in the category, with Army, Navy, and Presbyterian also in the bottom 11. That’s three military schools and three Palmetto State schools, so I guess it’s only natural that The Military College of South Carolina is last.

At 5-1, the College of Charleston is off to a promising start as it enters SoCon play. The Cougars’ five victories include the road win at Clemson mentioned earlier, along with two victories in the Battle 4 Atlantis holiday tournament that was recently held in the Bahamas. After losing its opening game in the tournament to Central Florida 74-63, the CofC outlasted UNC-Asheville 68-66 in the consolation bracket. The Cougars completed the tourney with an 85-61 win over Massachusetts, running away with that game in the second half.

Through six games, the CofC is shooting the ball very well, with an eFG% of 54.9, ranking in the top 25 of Division I. The Cougars get about one-third of their points via the three-point shot, which is fairly high, but you can get away with that when you have several guys shooting well from distance, including Jordan Scott, Anthony Stitt, and Andrew Lawrence (who has made 14 of 28 three-pointers).

The Cougars have at times struggled with rebounding, which was their downfall against UCF (as they were outboarded 43-21 in that contest). It was probably not a coincidence that touted freshman forward/center Adjehi Baru got in early foul trouble in that game. When playing, Baru has been a significant defensive presence. CofC opponents have an offensive rebounding percentage of 39.7, which places the Cougars in the bottom 20 of D-1 for that metric. Obviously, the sample size is a small one.

The lone senior on the CofC’s roster, Antwaine Wiggins, was named the Southern Conference player of the week last week after the Cougars’ victory over Clemson, a game in which he scored 22 points. He followed up that excellent performance with a total clunker against Central Florida, only scoring two points against the Knights. However, he scored 23 points in each of the next two games, so the UCF contest appears to have been an aberration.

I think the primary longterm concern for CofC fans will be the Cougars’ depth, a problem exacerbated by the loss in preseason of forward Willis Hall to a knee injury. Hall started all 37 of the CofC’s games in 2010-11. Without him, the Cougars have been reduced to what is essentially a seven-man rotation, with five players averaging more than 25 minutes per game. That isn’t exactly a new thing for a Bobby Cremins squad, but it’s something to watch over the grind of a long season. There are three players averaging more than 30 minutes per contest — Wiggins, Lawrence, and 6’8″ forward Trent Wiedeman.

The Cougars have won eleven straight SoCon games at home. Their last loss in league play at what is now called TD Arena came on February 8, 2010, against The Citadel.

The Citadel will face Wofford in its second game of the SoCon season, with the matchup taking place at the Benjamin Johnson Arena. That facility opened in 1981 with a game between the Bulldogs and the Terriers, won by The Citadel 65-64.

Wofford is 3-3 on the season. Like the College of Charleston, the Terriers had to replace multiple key performers from last season’s team, including a star player. The Cougars lost Andrew Goudelock, while Wofford now has to make do without Noah Dahlman. Goudelock was a first-round pick of the L.A. Lakers, but it is Dahlman who will be more difficult to replace.

Dahlman helped make Wofford one of the nation’s better offensive teams, with a team adjusted efficiency rating of 111.0, a top 50 mark in Division I. This season, that number through five D-1 contests (Wofford’s only home game to date was a victory over Emory&Henry) is 94.5, a huge differential. That is what can happen when you have to replace four starters who accounted for 66 points and 23 rebounds per game.

I should note that it doesn’t help Wofford’s offensive statistics to have played one of those five Division I games against Wisconsin. The Badgers bludgeoned the Terriers, 69-33. Wofford does have a nice win over Bradley (70-66), but that is somewhat offset by a neutral court loss to UMKC (64-58, in OT). The Terriers also struggled mightily in a win over Prairie View, which is not expected to be one of the SWAC’s better teams (in other words, it is expected to be among the nation’s worst teams). Wofford’s other loss was a respectable effort against Georgia (62-49).

The Terriers’ offensive woes are reflected in their eFG% (41.1) and their FTA/FGA, ranking in the bottom 30 nationally in both categories. Wofford has also been a bit turnover-prone (and conversely has not been particularly effective in forcing turnovers, which has hurt its defense). The Terriers have not shot the ball well from the field, either in front of or behind the three-point line.

Wofford has employed a seven-man rotation, with senior guards Kevin Giltner and Brad Loesing each averaging more than 38 minutes per contest. Yikes. Loesing, the point guard, started last season, but Giltner was more of an impact sub, shooting 42% from three-land last year. Through six games this season, Giltner is shooting 31% from beyond the arc.

Drew Crowell’s time on the court has increased by about 20 minutes per game from last season to this one; he is basically filling the Tim Johnson role for the Terriers. Two true freshmen, forward Lee Skinner and the highly regarded Karl Cochran (a 6’1″ combo guard), are also seeing plenty of time on the court, as is Domas Rinksalis, a 6’9″ forward/center who redshirted last season.

Wofford isn’t expected to contend in the Southern Conference this season, though the Terriers might prove a tough out come SoCon tourney time.

Neither of these games will be easy for The Citadel, to say the least. The Bulldogs aren’t expected to win either contest, and are a sizable underdog to the College of Charleston ( gives the cadets only an 8% probability of winning).

I think it’s good, though, to start out league play with a pair of road games. I would like to think that by the time the return games roll around, the team will have improved substantially, with the freshmen more fully understanding their roles and gaining confidence. Then that increased understanding and confidence can be put to good use at McAlister Field House, where the Bulldogs should have a better chance of success.

Odds and ends…

– I am continuing to contribute to a roundtable discussion (more or less) about the SoCon. The latest edition for this season has been posted to a Chattanooga blog, Mocs Mania, and can be found here:  Link

— I was at McAlister Field House for the Clemson game. So were lots of Clemson fans. I would say almost half the fans in attendance were wearing orange. That’s okay (for now), though. We’ll gladly take their money. I took a few pictures. As always, keep in mind that I’m a less-than-scintillating photographer with an iffy camera, which is one reason you won’t see any action photos. All the pictures are from the pregame scene.

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 13

This is a list of every game played during week 13 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 13

Additional notes:

— I include games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— I’ve listed the satellite affiliates for the SEC Network “national” game of the week (Tennessee-Kentucky) in a comment on the document.  There are numerous local affiliates, a listing of which can be found here:  Link

—  The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Maryland-North Carolina State) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the Big East Network game of the week (Cincinnati-Syracuse) can be found here: [link when available]

— The local affiliates for the WAC Network game of the week (Nevada-Utah State) can be found here:  Link

— Also listed on the document in comments are the regional nets carrying the following games:  Houston-Tulsa (Friday night), Colorado-Utah (Friday night), Rice-SMU, Duke-North Carolina, Kansas-Missouri, Texas Tech-Baylor, and UCLA-Southern California.

— There are comments in the document with additional information for several other games.

— ABC/ESPN2 coverage maps for the 3:30 pm ET games (Virginia Tech-Virginia, Oregon State-Oregon):  Link

— BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

— BCS Standings:  Link

— FCS Coaches Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the  I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

Hoops update: The Citadel returns home to host Clemson

The Citadel vs. Clemson, 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at McAlister Field House. The contest will be broadcast on the platform, with Darren Goldwater calling the game alongside analyst Dean Keener. The game can also be heard on WQNT-AM 1450 in Charleston, with “voice of the Bulldogs” Danny Reed describing the action. That audio is also available online via Bulldog Insider.

The Citadel opened the 2011-12 campaign by splitting a pair of games at the All-Military Classic in Colorado Springs. The Bulldogs lost 103-100 to VMI in their opener before coming back from 20 points down in the first half to defeat Army, 83-72.

The two games were essentially played on the same day, at least if you were on Eastern Standard Time, which to me made the comeback against the Bulldogs of the Hudson that much more impressive. Army is not a good team (projected to finish last in the Patriot League), but any D-1 win at this point of the season with a squad as young as The Citadel’s has to qualify as a good win.

The Bulldogs had a chance to win both games, but could not overcome a bad start against VMI. The Keydets led by as many as 16 points in the first half before The Citadel made a run to cut the lead to two. VMI scored two late baskets to take a six-point lead into the break, and continued to increase its lead throughout the second half, actually leading 98-83 with less than four minutes to play. A furious rally by the Bulldogs fell just short.

Obviously, The Citadel needs to avoid falling behind by so many points early in the game. While the Bulldogs were able to rally past Army, that’s not something they will be able to do on a regular basis.

The game against VMI was televised by CBS Sports Network, with Roger Twibell calling the game alongside analyst Pete Gillen. In the first half, Lefty Driesell joined them via telephone for a five-minute interview segment.

Listening to Pete Gillen have a conversation with Lefty Driesell gave me a renewed appreciation of the versatility of the English language.

The star for the Bulldogs over the two games was, not surprisingly, Mike Groselle, who was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week for his efforts. His totals were great, and perhaps even more promising going forward, Groselle played 68 minutes over the two games. Considering that was at altitude, over a period of less than 24 hours, and that 37 of those minutes came against VMI and its racehorse style of play, any questions about his conditioning and general endurance have been answered.

Tangent: In its game release, The Citadel listed players who had three or more consecutive double-doubles (Groselle has now had three straight such games on two different occasions). I am surprised not to see Gary Daniels’ name on this list. I would have thought he had probably done that at least once during his career at The Citadel.

Groselle wasn’t the only player who excelled in Colorado. DeVontae Wright rebounded from a tough night against VMI (1-7 FG) and had an outstanding game against Army, scoring 26 points on just 12 shots from the field (he was 8-8 from the line).

Eleven Bulldogs played in each contest, and all of them scored against VMI. Ten of them got in the scoring column against Army (C.J. Bray was the exception, though he did have four rebounds in that game). Cosmo Morabbi attempted one three-pointer against Army, and made it, the first three he had made since the 2009-10 season (he had missed a number of games last year due to injury). I hope that is a sign of things to come for Morabbi. Bo Holston had 12 points and 7 rebounds in that game.

Lawrence Miller provided a spark against VMI, going 4-5 from three-land and scoring 14 points. Marshall Harris III had 11 points and 9 assists against the Keydets, and Ashton Moore added 10 points and 5 assists in the same game. The Bulldogs had four players come off the bench to score in double figures against VMI, as Barry Smith scored 12 points in 16 minutes of play.

Offensively, there wasn’t much to complain about in the first two games. The Citadel shot the ball well from the field and the line, made a decent percentage of threes (without taking too many), and did not commit an avalanche of turnovers. The assist-to-basket ratio was good, particularly against VMI. Groselle could use a little help on the offensive boards, though.

The defense needs to get better, however. The Bulldogs struggled defensively last season, and must improve on that side of the court to compete in the Southern Conference. The Citadel gave up 103 points to VMI on an estimated 85 possessions.

Thanks to a strong second-half effort, the numbers were better against Army, but the Bulldogs needed as many stops as they could get in the second half after giving up 49 first-half points. The Citadel did a much better job defending the three in that second frame; Army was 6-8 beyond the arc in the first half, but only 1-13 thereafter.

It has been a while since The Citadel defeated a “BCS team” in basketball. Indeed, the Bulldogs have lost 55 consecutive games to schools currently in a BCS conference, and 81 of their last 82. The lone victory in that run came near the end of the 1988-89 season, when The Citadel memorably defeated South Carolina in Columbia, 88-87. The Gamecocks actually made the NCAA tournament that year, so it’s not like the Bulldogs took advantage of a bad team.

The last time The Citadel beat Clemson? 1979, at McAlister Field House. The Bulldogs won 58-56, one of twenty victories for The Citadel in that particular campaign, the first time the school had ever won that many games in a season (and only matched once since then, three years ago).

Interesting note: the Bulldogs’ last two victories over BCS schools came against South Carolina and Clemson. Randy Nesbit was the head coach when The Citadel beat the Gamecocks, and a player when the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers. In fact, Nesbit hit the game-winning shot against Clemson in 1979.

Last year at Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson defeated The Citadel 69-54. Mike Groselle had 14 points and 10 rebounds (five of them offensive boards) in that game.

Milton Jennings of Clemson, who went to Pinewood Prep in Summerville, also had a double-double in that game despite playing only 18 minutes; he’s an expected starter for Wednesday’s game. Jennings also had a double-double at Duke, on the Blue Devils’ Senior Night. The junior was a McDonald’s All-American, and he may be just starting to realize his potential.

Other Tigers who will start or see major action include sharpshooter Andre Young, who can fill it up despite being only 5’9″, freshman guard T.J. Sapp, and 6’5″ swingman Tanner Smith. Jennings will be joined in the frontcourt by Devin Booker, a decent jump shooter with nice touch around the rim. He’s a good rebounder as well. Jennings and Booker will be a formidable challenge for the Bulldogs’ big men.

The Tigers were a solid defensive club last year under first-year coach Brad Brownell. They held their opponents to an eFG% of 45.6, 25th-best nationally, and also forced turnovers at an impressive clip. Clemson occasionally struggled keeping opponents off the offensive boards.

Notable stat: the Tigers led the ACC in free throw shooting, which for many observers was disorienting.

Clemson played another group of Bulldogs, Gardner-Webb, in its opener. That game was tied at the half, 29-29, after G-W overcame a 13-point deficit. The Tigers broke out early in the second half, though, and reasserted control of the game, cruising to a 65-44 victory. Young was 7-9 from the field (3-4 3FG). Clemson also got 11 points from Sapp and a career-high 14 rebounds from Smith.

This will be the Tigers’ first visit to McAlister Field House since November 28, 1989. That was a big night for McAlister, as it was the first game played in the venerable arena since it had closed for remodeling two years earlier.

I was at that game, won by the Tigers 71-54 (the game was more competitive than the final score suggests). Clemson’s team featured both Elden Campbell and Dale Davis. On that particular evening, Campbell was average, but Davis was tremendous, impressing everyone in the building with his athleticism and skill.

It should be a fun night at McAlister Field House. I enjoyed the commercial The Citadel produced to promote the game. I hope a big crowd is there to “Pack the Mac”, as Chuck Driesell so eloquently put it.

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 12

This is a list of every game played during week 12 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 12

Additional notes:

— I include games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— I’ve listed the satellite affiliates for the SEC Network “national” game of the week (Kentucky-Georgia) in a comment on the document.  There are numerous local affiliates, a listing of which can be found here:  Link

—  The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Georgia Tech-Duke) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the Big East Network game of the week (Louisville-Connecticut) can be found here: [link when available]

— The local affiliates for the Southland TV game of the week (Stephen F. Austin-Northwestern State) can be found here: Link

— The local affiliates for the SoCon Network game of the week (Wofford-Western Carolina) can be found here:  Link

— Affiliates for the Montana Television Network (televising Montana State-Montana) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the WAC Network game of the week (Fresno State-Hawai’i) can be found here:  Link

— Also listed on the document in comments are the regional nets carrying the following games:  Marshall-Memphis (Thursday night), Maryland-Wake Forest, Kansas-Texas A&M, SMU-Houston, and Central Florida-East Carolina.

— There are comments in the document with additional information for several other games.

— ABC/ESPN/GamePlan coverage maps for the 3:30 pm ET games (Penn State-Ohio State, Clemson-North Carolina State, Texas Tech-Missouri) and the ABC/ESPN coverage maps for the 8:00 pm ET games (Southern California-Oregon, Oklahoma-Baylor): Link

— BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

— BCS Standings:  Link

— FCS Coaches Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the  I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

2011 Football Game 11: The Citadel vs. South Carolina

The Citadel at South Carolina, to be played at Williams-Brice Stadium, with kickoff at 12:00 pm ET on Saturday, November 19.  The contest will be televised by South Carolina as a pay-per-view event. It is also available via the platform and ESPN GamePlan. The game can be heard on radio via The Citadel Sports Network, with current “Voice of the Bulldogs” Danny Reed calling the action alongside analyst Walt Nadzak

I suspect that most of the previews for this week’s game between The Citadel and South Carolina will focus on the last time the two schools squared off at Williams-Brice Stadium. That was in 1990, and the Bulldogs famously stunned the Gamecocks, 38-35, with Jack Douglas scoring the winning touchdown in the final minute of play.

That game will be discussed in considerable detail by a number of different outlets. I’ve decided that writing about it on this blog, at least this week, is probably unnecessary. Instead of writing about that contest as part of this preview, I’m going to take a look at another game from the past, one that has been lost in the shuffle in recent years. I’m talking about an even bigger upset than the 1990 game.

November 11, 1950. Johnson Hagood Stadium. The Citadel 19, South Carolina 7.

On November 4, 1950, The  Citadel lost to Virginia at Johnson Hagood Stadium, 34-14, dropping the Bulldogs’ overall record to 3-5. The Citadel was 1-2 up to that point in SoCon play, having defeated Davidson while losing to Furman and eventual league champ Washington & Lee.

The game against UVA was, to say the least, not an impressive performance. Sportswriter Doc Baker of The News and Courier (who will be quoted extensively in this blog post) wrote that while the Cavaliers had a “strong running attack,” the Bulldogs’ own offense featured “spotty blocking”:

At…times it looked almost ridiculous as Bulldog linemen and backs got in the way of their own ball carriers.

Baker also noted that a “slim crowd” of “only 5000 (official)” had watched the game, which was “the smallest turnout to witness a collegiate football game [here] in many years, according to authorities at The Citadel.”

On the bright side, Baker did highlight the excellent play of two members of the team, linemen Jerry DeLuca and Sam Rubino, with the latter having played “almost 60” minutes of the game. Both would feature prominently against South Carolina.

The big sports news that day was the death of baseball legend Grover Cleveland Alexander, who had died of a heart attack. On the gridiron, Clemson had maintained its undefeated record with a big win over Duquesne. South Carolina had played Marquette to a 13-13 tie, the same final score of the Wofford-Furman game.

There was also a feature in the newspaper that day about The Citadel’s swim team, which was about to begin its season: “Citadel tank team loaded”.

The national news concerned General Douglas MacArthur and the situation in Korea.

The major sports story on that Tuesday was the hiring of Branch Rickey by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alas for the Bucs, the Mahatma’s executive skills would prove to have eroded.

As the week progressed, reporting in the sports section detailed the preparation both South Carolina and The Citadel were making for the upcoming game.

While Wednesday’s papers brought news of Republican gains in the U.S. House and Senate (off-year elections were held the day before), there was also a report that coach Quinn Decker was considering some changes for the Bulldogs, specifically going to an all-sophomore backfield.

Decker, a former fullback at Tennessee, had not been able to field an all-soph backfield unit to that point in the season due to injury, but it was easy to see why he might want to plug in those players against South Carolina. The year before, the same group had played on The Citadel’s freshman team, and the Bullpups had surprised South Carolina’s frosh squad (the “Biddies”), 26-20. Players on that squad included Buddy Friedlin, Rudy Wilcox, Paul Drews, and Johnny Mamajeck. All would eventually play key roles against the Gamecocks on Saturday.

Another reason for trying out some new players would be that The Citadel was limited in personnel. While South Carolina fielded a true “two-platoon” team, the Bulldogs had several players who played both offense and defense, including four of its linemen. It made moving the ball on offense that much tougher, particularly against the Gamecocks defensive front, which was nicknamed “The Seven Sleepers”.

However, the real concern was on the defensive side of the ball, as The Citadel had to figure out a way to stop South Carolina’s great running back, Steve Wadiak. So good that he had two nicknames, “Steamboat Steve” and “Th’ Cadillac”, Wadiak (who was from Chicago) was one of the nation’s best players. To that point in the 1950 season, Wadiak had rushed for 814 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

(Highlights of Wadiak in action against Marquette can be seen here: Link)

Wadiak wasn’t the only threat out of the Gamecocks’ backfield, as Mullins native Bishop Strickland averaged 5.3 yards per rush. What South Carolina lacked was an effective passing game, so head coach Rex Enright (who had played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame) spent most of the week working on passing plays.

That was seen as a good move in the press, as playing The Citadel was not expected to pose a challenge. The Gamecocks had beaten The Citadel 42-0 in 1949, and a similar outcome was expected in 1950. On Thursday of that week, Doc Baker wrote:

…at the risk of being called all sorts of things we will be “bold” enough to suggest there is not doubt as to the outcome of the game here Saturday…as much as we’d like to think about The Citadel staging a terrific upset we can’t help but feel the Gamecocks will win by just about any score they want.

Baker wasn’t exactly helping advanced ticket sales with those comments, although the newspaper did report that tickets could be purchased at several locations downtown, including Wehman’s Supply on King Street and the Ashley Flower Shop.

Baker wasn’t the only person not giving The Citadel much of a chance, as various sources had the Gamecocks as being 33-point favorites.

Enright was more cautious in his outlook. He told his squad, “I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t be able to beat The Citadel, but I am warning you that they have eleven hard tacklers on their team and they can make it a long afternoon for you if you’re not careful.” He also noted that the Bulldogs had played well in losses to Florida and Miami (FL). The Gators, in particular, had struggled with The Citadel, only winning 7-3 thanks to a punt return touchdown.

The Gamecocks were 3-1-2 at that point of the season, rebounding after an opening-game loss to powerful Duke by beating Georgia Tech in Atlanta and tying Clemson, 14-14. In the game against the Tigers, Steve Wadiak had rushed for 256 yards, still one of the all-time greatest individual performances in that series.

With the contest against Clemson ending in a tie, South Carolina was poised to win the “Big 4” state title in 1950, having beaten Furman earlier in the year (21-6). By defeating The Citadel, the Gamecocks would finish 2-0-1 among the “Big 4” and edge out the Tigers, thanks to Clemson not playing the Bulldogs.

(At the time the “Big 4” was a big deal, at least in the press. There were at least three different state newspapers that carried separate standings for the Big 4, and also standings for the “Little 4” — Wofford, Presbyterian, Newberry, and Erskine.)

On Friday, the Gamecocks arrived in Charleston, with the team staying at the Francis Marion Hotel. Things were mostly quiet. The News and Courier reported that there would be nine “sponsors” for The Citadel at the game. These were girlfriends of the regimental staff or the senior football players. The afternoon edition of the paper had pictures of five of them. It was a mild surprise that all nine weren’t featured, as newspapers of that time tended to insert photographs of young women into their pages at every opportunity.

The game against South Carolina was also designated as Parents Day, which may be the latest The Citadel has ever scheduled a Parents Day game. I am not aware of any other such contest played in November, except for the 1985 game (which was played on November 2).

Also of interest that day was news from Oslo, Norway, as the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced for both 1949 and 1950. The 1950 winner was Bertrand Russell. The 1949 prize had been delayed a year, apparently because the selection committee could not decide between Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce and English statesman/historian Winston Churchill. Eventually a compromise candidate was named, a year late — William Faulkner.

By gametime on Saturday, a crowd of around 11,000 had gathered at Johnson Hagood Stadium. The weather was excellent for football, with slightly overcast skies. Jack Huddle, The Citadel’s captain, greeted South Carolina co-captains Ed Pasky and Bobby Rogers at midfield for the coin toss. The Gamecocks won the toss and elected to receive.

As the two teams took the field, observers in the stands could see the disparity in size among the players. For example, The Citadel’s linemen all weighed less than 200 lbs., while no Gamecock lineman weighed less than 205 lbs.

The kickoff was returned by South Carolina to its own 44-yard line. The Gamecocks wasted the good field position, however, going three-and-out. The Bulldogs took over after a mediocre punt on their own 33, but went nowhere in two plays. On third down, The Citadel elected to “quick kick”, and Paul Chapman boomed a 62-yard punt that rolled dead at the Gamecocks’ 10-yard line.

South Carolina picked up a first down, but then lost yardage, and on third down from its own 25 decided to try a “quick kick” of its own. It would prove to be a costly decision, as an alert Sam Rubino burst through the line and blocked Tommy Woodlee’s punt. Rubino scooped up the ball himself and raced into the end zone for a touchdown. The PAT was missed, but the Bulldogs had a shock 6-0 lead with 10:20 to play in the first quarter.

Undeterred, the Gamecocks took the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to drive from their own 35 to the Bulldogs’ 12-yard line. On fourth and two from that spot, South Carolina picked up a first down — but was called for clipping. The Gamecocks went for it again, eschewing a field goal try, and didn’t make it.

The Bulldogs did nothing offensively (a theme throughout the first half) and punted. Again, South Carolina drove down the field, and again got nothing for its effort, this time losing a fumble on the Bulldogs 24.

The Citadel thus had the ball as the second quarter began. Another fine Chapman punt put the Gamecocks back deep in their own territory. The Bulldogs’ defense held, and for the second time South Carolina would be victimized by a blocked punt — and again the culprit was Rubino.

This time, Paul Drews would pick up the loose pigskin and score for the Bulldogs. The PAT was blocked, but The Citadel led, 12-0, with 11:35 remaining in the first half.

Stunned, South Carolina could do nothing with its next offensive possession. The Citadel would respond with its only sustained drive of the half (albeit on a relatively short field). The drive ended with a missed field goal.

(So, to sum up: in the first half, The Citadel blocked two punts, had one of its own PATs blocked, and missed another PAT and a field goal. Taking the 2011 season into account, I guess it’s fair to say that some things really don’t change.)

After the missed field goal by the Bulldogs, South Carolina drove to The Citadel’s 27-yard line, but got no further before the half ended. The Citadel finished the half with -14 yards of total offense, but led 12-0 thanks to the two return TDs.

There were two halftime performances to entertain the crowd. First, the South Carolina marching band played. At one point in its routine, the band moved into a formation so as to resemble the Confederate Battle Flag. I don’t know what is less likely to ever happen again — the Gamecocks band doing that, or South Carolina playing The Citadel in football at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

The other halftime show, however, has endured largely unchanged. The Summerall Guards performed in typically faultless fashion. It’s interesting to note that in 1950, General Charles Summerall was still the president of The Citadel.

The Citadel got the ball first to open the third quarter. The Bulldogs picked up one first down and then punted. South Carolina’s first possession of the half also ended with a punt, but Woodlee’s punt was downed on The Citadel’s five-yard line. The Bulldogs went three and out, and the subsequent punt went out of bounds at The Citadel’s 30-yard line. From there the Gamecocks would drive for their first (and only) score, with quarterback Pasky running for a two-yard TD. The PAT was good, and with 3:25 remaining in the period, South Carolina had cut the lead to 12-7.

The Citadel would move the ball a little on its next possession, but ultimately had to punt again, and so as the fourth quarter began South Carolina was in its own territory, trying to drive for the winning touchdown. However, the Gamecocks were victimized by a 15-yard sack, the first of three huge sacks in the quarter. After a punt, The Citadel took over on its own 41.

Bulldogs quarterback Buddy Friedlin (a native of Jacksonville, Florida) received a lot of praise after the game, and much of that came as a result of his play on this drive. First, he connected with Charles Fabian on a big 31-yard pass to get the Bulldogs near the red zone. Three more plays netted The Citadel nine yards. On a key fourth-and-one, Rudy Wilcox picked up two yards and a first down.

The next two plays did little, but on third down Friedlin scrambled nine yards for a first-and-goal on the Gamecocks 5-yard line. On first down the Bulldogs lost four yards.

On second-and-goal from the nine, though, The Citadel pulled the old “sleeper play” on South Carolina. In a maneuver that would be illegal today, Wilcox basically hid near the sideline while remaining on the field of play. The Gamecocks didn’t account for him, so Friedlin took the snap and whipped a pass to the wide-open Wilcox. The Florence resident scampered into the end zone for a TD. This time, the PAT was successful, and the score was 19-7.

Nine minutes were still left in the game, so a comeback was still possible for the Gamecocks, but those hopes were largely dashed when Hootie Johnson (yes, Martha Burk’s Hootie) fumbled the kickoff. The Bulldogs recovered. The resulting possession lost yardage, but The Citadel did manage to drain three more minutes off the clock.

Forced to abandon the running game, the Gamecocks got as far as midfield, but were derailed by a 10-yard sack by Jerry DeLuca (his second sack of the quarter). Later in the possession the Gamecocks would lose 18 more yards on another sack. The Citadel got the ball back, ran some more clock, and then punted it back to the Gamecocks with just 25 seconds left. South Carolina ran two more plays and the game ended.

Steve Wadiak did not have a bad day, rushing for 96 yards on 17 carries, but he was unable to break off a big gainer, something the Gamecocks sorely needed that afternoon.

The Citadel had won convincingly despite picking up just eight first downs. Friedlin was 3-7 passing for only 44 yards, but with no interceptions and that big completion to Fabian. Paul Chapman hurt the Gamecocks repeatedly with his fine punting. South Carolina was held to 130 yards rushing, low by its standards. The Gamecocks were also hurt by penalties, two lost fumbles, and those critical fourth-quarter sacks.

The headline of the Sunday edition of The News and Courier said it all: “Pandemonium breaks loose as Carolina is defeated by Citadel”. The A-1 story noted that it was the first win by The Citadel over South Carolina since 1926 (there had been a tie in 1928). According to the paper, Gamecock fans had planned a victory celebration at the local Hibernian hall after the game. Instead, the streets were filled with happy cadets. A group of them pushed an ancient jalopy, sans motor, up King Street, with a sign on top that read “Wadiak’s Cadillac”. Being dragged behind the vehicle on a rope was a headless gamecock.

Jake Penland, sports editor of The State, wrote that “the balloon of South Carolina players, pride, and overconfidence was punctured with a 19-7 bang by The Citadel.” He also stated that the game was “one of the most startling upsets in the history of this part of the nation.”

Penland wasn’t inclined to give the Bulldogs too much credit, though; in the days to come, he would blame the loss on the Gamecocks’ errant aerial attack. (Penland’s refusal to acknowledge that the Bulldogs had some good players of their own could be construed as starting a tradition among sports editors of The State.)

Doc Baker, on the other hand, was effusive in his praise for the local team, saying they had “made a liar” out of him, but that he was “the happiest liar.” Said Baker of the win: “It’s The Citadel’s greatest victory of all time.”

A chastened South Carolina squad would drop its two remaining contests of the season, losing to North Carolina and Wake Forest by identical 14-7 scores. Steve Wadiak would finish with 998 rushing yards and was named player of the year in the Southern Conference.

The loss to The Citadel by the Gamecocks handed the “Big 4” title to Clemson, part of a great season for the Tigers that culminated in an Orange Bowl victory over Miami. Clemson would finish the season 9-0-1, with the only blemish that tie to the Gamecocks.

The Citadel would lose its season finale to VMI, 13-7, to finish the year with a 4-6 record (2-3 SoCon). Quinn Decker would continue to coach the team through 1953, eventually returning to Knoxville to go into private business. The victory over South Carolina would easily be the highlight of his coaching career at The Citadel.

Jerry DeLuca would receive several post-season honors.

That was 61 years ago. What about the game on Saturday?

Perhaps it would be better if the game could be played at another location. The Citadel’s last three wins over South Carolina on the gridiron have taken place in Orangeburg (1926), Charleston (1950), and Columbia (1990). Maybe this game could be moved to Greenville…

I’m not going to say The Citadel absolutely can’t win the game, but it is unlikely. It is true that South Carolina is currently a bit challenged offensively, but it should be pointed out that the Gamecocks’ offensive line, even if not an elite SEC unit, would be a top unit in the SoCon. It will be a major challenge for the Bulldogs D to contain the Gamecocks, even without Marcus Lattimore. There is also no receiver in the league that compares to Alshon Jeffery.

Then there is the Gamecocks’ defense, which is outstanding, probably among the ten best units in the country. South Carolina has only struggled defensively when facing a team with multiple outstanding receivers and a quarterback who can get them the ball — i.e., Arkansas. That obviously does not describe The Citadel’s offense. It basically describes the exact opposite.

The only units on the field where The Citadel might have an advantage are the punt return and coverage squads.

South Carolina also won’t be outcoached. Steve Spurrier has been frustrated with his offense all season, but I have noticed in watching the Gamecocks play that he is willing to do what it takes to win a game, and if that means forgetting about passing for extended periods of time, he will do just that. Spurrier has largely been fair with his talent. That’s the sign of a good coach.

Ellis Johnson is one of the better defensive coordinators at the college level. He may not have been the greatest head coach in the world, but he excels in his current role.

That said, I expect the Bulldogs to be competitive this Saturday. This is not a “throwaway” game; it’s not a game to experiment or play a ton of freshmen, or anything like that. I trust the coaching staff understands that for alums and other supporters of The Citadel, a game against South Carolina is a little different than playing Arizona or Wisconsin or Florida.

It will be the final game of a season that has been instructive, if at times frustrating. It has had its moments, though.

It’s a rare home football game for me. I’ll be there, along with friends from as far away as Connecticut and Iowa. We want to see some snarlin’ Dogs on Saturday.

Game Review 2011: Samford

Samford 19, The Citadel 14.

Ugh. I’m not sure what really needs to be said about this game, which The Citadel should have won but let get away. Just a terrible loss. I’ll just make a few haphazard comments and observations:

— Fashion update for this week: The Citadel went with the navy jerseys/white pants look for Homecoming, which I guess is its postmodern traditional look. It was the first time the Bulldogs wore that combo this season; they also wore them once last season, in the game against Chattanooga. The Citadel lost both games.

— The Citadel has now lost five consecutive “celebration weekend” games — in other words, Parents Day/Homecoming contests. It’s only the third time the Bulldogs have lost five straight PD/HC games, and the first time since the 1985-1987 seasons.

I think that’s significant because those are generally the two most highly attended games of each season. Continuing to lose those contests isn’t going to engender a lot of enthusiasm among the alums and supporters at the games. Of course, attendance on Saturday dipped below 14,000, a very disappointing crowd for a Homecoming game on a nice Saturday afternoon.

— I am the first person to say that The Citadel needs to be on television more often, but after sitting through all those interminable TV timeouts, I think I might settle for just the road games being televised. (Okay, I’m joking. Sort of.)

Then there is the “TV jinx”: The Citadel has now lost 16 of its last 17 televised games (counting, which is ridiculous. That total includes the last seven seasons. It could rise to 17 for 18 after this week’s game against South Carolina.

While I’m ranting, put me down as someone who hates the 3:00 pm kickoff…

— Samford ran 79 offensive plays from scrimmage, exactly what the Birmingham Bulldogs wanted to do, and those plays were not completely imbalanced in terms of run/pass. While The Citadel held the time of possession edge, Samford was able to sustain a number of drives, with five of them going for nine plays or longer. Dustin Taliferro managed to throw 45 passes without being intercepted.

Samford also rushed for 113 yards, lower than it would have liked but just enough for the victory. Of course, a lot of those yards came on the game-winning drive.

— The Citadel lost two fumbles, which hurt (particularly the second one), but the loss can be attributed in large part to the two blocked field goal attempts. The Bulldogs have now had four placekicks blocked in the last two games.

From my vantage point, the problem on Saturday was a protection issue. However, I might be wrong about that. Kevin Higgins stated after the game that “”We know our operation time is slow from the center back to the holder,” but this photo does make one wonder.

It goes without saying that it is unacceptable to have four kicks blocked over a seven-kick span. It appears that Georgia Southern exploited a flaw, and that this was not adequately addressed in the week leading up to the Samford game.

The Citadel has now lost three league games this season because of placekicking unit issues. I’ve said this before (actually, last week), but the Bulldogs do not have enough margin for error to survive continued woes in this area. The SoCon is an unforgiving league; if a team has a weakness, it will pay for that weakness more often than not.

— The playcalling at the end of the drive that resulted in the second blocked field goal was…frustrating. I realize that a lot of this is predicated on QB reads, but the sequence on first-and-ten at the Samford 11-yard line went like this: Darien Robinson up the middle for two yards, Darien Robinson up the middle for a one-yard loss, Darien Robinson up the middle for no gain. Oof.

I’m not calling the plays, and everyone should be thankful that I’m not, but a little something different had to be in order there. Toss sweep, anyone?

— I am on record as saying that alums have at times been a little hard on the corps of cadets, but I was very disappointed in the corps’ performance on Saturday. The upperclassmen did not even bother to stand for the opening kickoff.

I’m sorry to be an old fogey, but that’s simply not going to cut it. If the cadets are so tired that they lack the energy to cheer on their team for three hours, then I think they are clearly too exhausted to go out on the town after the game. My recommendation to Gen. Rosa and Col. Mercado would be to let the clearly fatigued young men and women of the corps stagger back to campus immediately after the game is over and head straight to bed. There is no need to worry about overnights/extra hours of leave, as an 8 pm lights-out would be much more appropriate.

On to game eleven. The scene shifts to Columbia. I predict a busy week is ahead for a certain ex-QB named Jack Douglas…

2011 Football Game 10: The Citadel vs. Samford

The Citadel vs. Samford, to be played at historic Johnson Hagood Stadium, with kickoff at 3:00 pm ET on Saturday, November 12.  The contest will be televised on the SoCon Network, with play-by-play by Darren Goldwater (formerly the “Voice of the Bulldogs”) and analysis by Doug Chapman. It is also available via the platform. The game can be heard on radio via The Citadel Sports Network, with current “Voice of the Bulldogs” Danny Reed calling the action alongside analyst Walt Nadzak

This is another “combo” post, with a brief review of the Georgia Southern game and a preview of the Samford contest.

Georgia Southern 14, The Citadel 12.

There isn’t a whole lot to add to what has already been said and written about the game. I’ll just make a few points:

— In my preview of the game I devoted the better part of two paragraphs to Brent Russell, Georgia Southern’s star nosetackle. I expected him to be a major factor in the game, so news that he wasn’t going to play gave me hope that the Bulldogs could establish themselves offensively. I thought he was that important, and I think the way the game went bore that out. The Citadel rushed for a respectable 239 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

Russell’s absence surely had an impact on the Bulldogs’ ability to gain yards up the middle, as Darien Robinson had an outstanding afternoon, rushing for 92 yards and a TD on only nine carries. Good teams take advantage of opportunities, and I felt in this respect The Citadel did just that.

— While there was some focus on the missed field goal at the end of the game, that wasn’t what bothered me (especially with the wind issues). The two blocked PATs were what bothered me. It is unacceptable to have one PAT blocked in a game, much less two. Field goals are going to be missed from time to time, but PATs should be all but automatic.

The Citadel has done a lot of good things in the area of special teams this season, most notably the Bulldogs’ punt-blocking exploits. Cass Couey has had a fine year, and even the kick return teams have improved over the last three games (including Kevin Hardy’s tone-setting 50-yard return to open up the festivities in Statesboro).

The Bulldogs are still struggling with kick coverage and placekicking, however, and that isn’t all on the kickers, not by a long shot. Those struggles are also, unfortunately, not a one-year aberration. Thinking about this game, I remembered that I had written about another game against Georgia Southern that got away from The Citadel three years ago. That one also came down to placekicking problems.

The Citadel does not have much margin for error when playing football in the Southern Conference. It cannot afford to lose a game or two each season because of a recurring problem that should be correctable.

I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not. Alabama probably just lost a shot at making the BCS title game because Nick Saban didn’t have a placekicker on the roster capable of making long field goals under pressure — and that’s at tradition-rich Alabama, with 85 scholarships at its disposal (not even taking oversigning into account). Bobby Bowden and Florida State lost a couple of mythical crowns in the early 1990s because of an unreliable kicking game.

Despite those examples, your typical 50-year-old male thinks he can roll out of bed and make a 35-yard field goal. That’s just the way the position (and overall placekicking unit) is perceived.

— Okay, now for something tangentially related, but still worth following (at least, I think so)…

Some fans of the Bulldogs may remember that The Post and Courier elected not to send a beat writer for The Citadel’s game at Western Carolina three weeks ago. This was the first time in recent memory that the newspaper had not covered a SoCon football game involving The Citadel. The decision was reportedly not made by the sports department.

At the time, I wrote:

Obviously these are tough times for the newspaper business, so it’s not shocking the paper would cut an occasional corner.  This time it came at the expense of coverage for The Citadel’s football team, which should be a concern for any fan of the military college.

I’m hopeful it was just a one-time thing…

It appears to have been just that, for now. Jeff Hartsell was in Statesboro on Saturday.

The reason I am bringing this up again is that I noticed The Post and Courier sent two reporters to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to cover the South Carolina-Arkansas game. Both Gamecocks beat writer Darryl Slater (a recent hire by the paper) and general sports columnist Gene Sapakoff were at that contest.

It occurs to me that Cullowhee is a lot closer to Charleston than Fayetteville…

It probably doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something to watch.

Pat Sullivan knew he had to make some changes to Samford’s offense after last season, one in which a good defense could not make up for a less than dynamic offense. In 2010, the Birmingham Bulldogs averaged just over 10 points per game at home and finished 4-7 (despite an upset over Georgia Southern). The final game of the season was a 13-12 home loss to The Citadel.

Sullivan brought in several new coaches, with the key hire being 28-year-old Rhett Lashlee, a protege of Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Lashlee has installed the hurry-up/spread system run by Malzahn, the same offensive philosophy employed by fellow Malzahn acolyte Chad Morris of Clemson.

Thus, Samford’s meat-and-potatoes attack of years past has been replaced by an offense that spreads the field and tries to run 80 plays from scrimmage per game. It has been, for the most part, successful. Samford is averaging over 30 points per game, ranking third in the SoCon in scoring offense, total offense, and passing offense. It is also fifth in the league in rushing offense, a very respectable placement considering the three triple-option attacks in the conference tend to dominate that statistical category.

Samford has scored at least 17 points in every Southern Conference game this season, a far cry from last year. However, Sullivan’s squad has not been as strong defensively, perhaps in part because of the nature of the offense (Samford’s opponents have a time of possession advantage of close to five minutes). Samford is seventh in the league in scoring defense, next-to-last in total defense, and next-to-last in pass defense (though that is misleading, as it is second in defensive pass efficiency).

Samford has allowed at least 21 points in every SoCon game this season. The second half of games has occasionally been problematic, as the team has allowed 21 second-half points to both Furman and Wofford, and 24 to Georgia Southern.

In Samford’s five wins, the Birmingham Bulldogs have rushed for 304, 160, 181, 348 (Elon), and 303 yards. In its four losses, the rushing totals have been 61, 34 (Wofford), 84, and 92.

If that’s not a key indicator, I don’t know what is.

As far as how the Samford defense has fared against the other triple-option offenses in the league, Wofford rushed for 443 yards, while Georgia Southern’s ground attack put up 263. Both of those schools controlled the running game on both sides of the ball. I think a good goal for Triple O’Higgins would be an average of those two rush totals — 353 yards.

If you think Dustin Taliaferro has been Samford’s quarterback for a long time, you would be correct. He’s been taking snaps for Samford since 2008. The new offense seems to be to his liking (Kevin Higgins called him “much improved”). He is completing almost 62% of his passes this season, with 12 TDs against 8 interceptions. He threw three of those TDs against Furman.

Fabian Truss also had a good game against the Paladins, rushing for 136 yards. He was even better the next week against Elon, piling up 191 rushing yards in that game. Sullivan noted that Truss was hurt last week against Chattanooga, a game in which he carried the ball ten times for 46 yards. It was the fourth consecutive game in which his rush attempts from scrimmage had declined. Despite that, Truss still leads the SoCon in all-purpose yardage (he is averaging almost 30 yards per kick return).

Taliaferro’s primary receiving targets are Kelsey Pope (56 catches, five for touchdowns) and Riley Hawkins (33 receptions, two TDs). Hawkins is also Samford’s main punt returner, and he’s a very good one, leading the league in punt return average (11.7 yards). Samford has outstanding kick return teams and also has a solid placekicker in Cameron Yaw, who has made 18 of 23 field goals.

Samford will be motivated to win this game in part because a victory would clinch a winning season for the visitors from Birmingham. If Samford loses to The Citadel, it would have to win its season finale to get that elusive sixth victory. That last game, though, is at Auburn.

This is going to be a tough matchup for The Citadel. It is a winnable game, to be sure. Of course, that has been the case for the Bulldogs most of the season, which in itself is suggestive of the improvement the team has made this year.

It is also Homecoming, so a fairly sizeable crowd should be on hand. I hope that a significant portion of those in attendance actually wander into Johnson Hagood Stadium to watch the game. It should be a good one.

Congratulations to all the reunion year classes, particularly the Class of 1961, which is having its 50th-year celebration.

I’ll be at the game this Saturday. I won’t be at any of the reunions, but I’ll be in the stands, rooting on the home team. The weather forecast for Charleston is promising. I hope things are just as sunny for the Bulldogs.

The Citadel hoops it up: Basketball 2011-12

Yes, it’s basketball season!

Last year, there was a good deal of anticipation for Bulldogs basketball, as a senior-laden team was expected to contend for league honors, or at least compete in the upper echelon of the Southern Conference. It didn’t quite work out that way, to say the least.

The Citadel finished 10-22, 6-12 in the SoCon. The Bulldogs lost nine of their last ten games, and did not win a home game after January 22. Times were tough at McAlister Field House.

New coach Chuck Driesell wanted to play a more uptempo style, but the players seemed to have trouble adjusting after playing in Ed Conroy’s more deliberate system. In truth, though, The Citadel still played last season at a slower tempo than all but 35 schools in Division I. It wasn’t quite as slow as the year before (when the Bulldogs’ pace of play was in the bottom ten nationally), but it wasn’t exactly racehorse-style ball.

The raw numbers don’t necessarily reflect it, but once adjusting for tempo it is clear that much of The Citadel’s struggles, at least from a statistical perspective, came at the defensive end of the court. The Bulldogs allowed 1.112 points per possession, which ranked in the bottom 40 nationally (all numbers in this section per Pomeroy). The Citadel forced very few turnovers and allowed opponents to convert a way-too-easy 53.7% of all two-point baskets.

Given those statistics, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Bulldogs also fared poorly in categories like steals per game and blocked shots (though I can’t remember the last time The Citadel had a legitimate shot-blocker; it was probably back in the BRK days).

The team clearly suffered from the lack of a bigger presence in the post (two years after Demetrius Nelson had graduated, he had still not been effectively replaced). Another issue was a shortened rotation, as Chuck Driesell elected to go with just seven players (for the most part) over the latter part of the season. It’s my opinion (one shared by a number of other observers) that Bulldog hoops squads have a tendency to wear out over the course of a campaign, thanks to the rigors of the basketball schedule combined with the “being cadets and students too” thing.

Now most of the regulars from last year’s team are gone, and gone with them is a lot of experience (77% of the minutes played from last season). That experience provided the overwhelming majority of the team’s points (three career 1,000-point scorers, including alltime leading scorer Cameron Wells), three-point shooting (98.7% of all made threes, including career leader Zach Urbanus), and assists (83% of last year’s total).

Given all that, it’s not entirely surprising Driesell stated that “it almost feels like this is my first year.” He has had to do what Ed Conroy did four years ago, basically. Like Conroy, Driesell brought in an eight-man freshman class in his second season.

First, though, it’s worth noting the players from last season who are back, particularly 6’8″ junior forward Mike Groselle, who should be one of the SoCon’s best returnees. Groselle is a model of efficiency who shows particularly well in “advanced stats”, including effective FG% (60.1).

That would have been good enough for third in the SoCon among players who played at least 60% of their team’s minutes; Groselle narrowly missed that standard (59%). It will be important for him to play more minutes this season (he averaged just over 24 minutes per game last year).

Groselle also ranked in the top 10 in the conference in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage. With more playing time and a little more range on his shot, I think he would be a good match for Wofford’s Noah Dahlman over the last two years — in other words, a first-team all-league player and a candidate for player of the year. I’m not the only person who thinks Groselle could have a good year; College Basketball Prospectus suggested he “could be a trendy mid-major name four months from now.”

The lone senior on the Bulldogs’ roster is 6’2″ guard Cosmo Morabbi, who had an injury-plagued junior campaign after breaking his finger in the weight room. Morabbi was the player who I thought might benefit the most from a more-uptempo system, so his injury was doubly disappointing.

Before he got hurt, though, he had struggled with his shot. Morabbi is at his most effective when he is a threat from distance, especially the corner three-ball. He was 2-4 from beyond the arc in The Citadel’s exhibition victory over Tennessee Wesleyan, hopefully a good sign.

DeVontae Wright is a sophomore guard from Goose Creek who will have a chance to play more this season, provided he improves, among other things, his assists-to-turnovers ratio. He scored 13 points in 26 minutes of action in the exhibition game.

Bo Holston is a 6’4″ forward who is more of a 3-man; he was placed in the role of the 4 at times last season, a tough assignment. Holston is an “energy guy” who started 13 games last year.

There are a few other players returning from last year who may feature in the rotation. You never know when someone will suddenly get in the mix, as Holston did last season, or as John Brown did three years ago.

Driesell’s eight freshmen are a diverse lot, at least in terms of hometowns. He brought in eight players from seven different states (two are from North Carolina). The general consensus seems to be that the globe-trotting coach brought in a class with some athleticism, but which in at least a couple of cases will need time to develop.

I’m not going to pretend to know much about any of these guys. I also did not see the exhibition game (link: box score) in person, so I’m at a disadvantage in that respect as well. I’ll make a few comments anyway. Hey, it’s my blog…

C.J. Bray is a 6’7″ forward from Charleston (James Island High School) who turned down a football scholarship from Arkansas to plays hoops at The Citadel. At the very least, he should be an athletic presence down low. He started against Tennessee Wesleyan and played 19 minutes, scoring six points.

Ashton Moore is a 6’0″ guard from Virginia. He was the breakout star of the night in the exhibition game, going 6-10 from 3 and scoring 21 points. He also played 30 minutes, more than any other player.

When Moore wasn’t hitting from downtown in the exhibition, fellow freshman guard Lawrence Miller (4-7 from 3-land) was. The 6’1″ Miller is from Charlotte.

Marshall Harris is a 6’1″ point guard from San Antonio. He only played ten minutes in the game against Tennessee Wesleyan, but dished out five assists. I would not be surprised if his playing time increases once the season begins.

P.J. Horgan is a 6’8″ post player from New Mexico. The Blue Ribbon preview was high on Horgan, noting he led his high school team to the state semifinals and was second team all-state. He grabbed four rebounds in ten minutes of play against Tennessee Wesleyan.

Driesell didn’t skimp on signing size. Another example of that is 6’7″, 232 lb. Jordan Robertson, of Greensboro, NC. Robertson did not score in the exhibition game, but did reel in seven rebounds in 16 minutes of play.

Two other freshmen did not play against Tennessee Wesleyan. Dylen Setzekorn is 6’7″, but more of a swingman than a post player (at least, that’s my understanding). He’s described by Driesell as being a good shooter.

Michael Hundley is the tallest of the newcomers, at 6’9″, but only weighs 178 lbs. (according to his roster page on the school website). In the Blue Ribbon preview, Driesell said that Hundley “could be the sleeper of the bunch. He’s long and athletic and could be an excellent shot blocker. He’s got a chance, although he might need a year.” That suggests Hundley may be a redshirt candidate.

As expected, The Citadel is not expected to contend in the Southern Conference this season. The SoCon media picked the Bulldogs to finish last in the South division. College Basketball Prospectus rates The Citadel as the 10th-best team in the league (ahead of Georgia Southern and Samford). Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings rank the Bulldogs lower than any other team in the conference (298th in the nation). The Sagarin ratings are a little kinder, ranking The Citadel ahead of three other SoCon squads.

Blue Ribbon’s preview noted that it was “hard not to pick the Bulldogs at the bottom of the South Division because they have so little experience.” The Post and Courier also predicted a last-place division finish for the Bulldogs.

It’s hard to argue with those predictions and assessments, given The Citadel lost so much experience from a team that lost 22 games anyway. On the other hand…

One thing working in the Bulldogs’ favor is that The Citadel is not the only team that lost a lot of players. The College of Charleston lost three starters, including alltime leading scorer Andrew Goudelock and Jeremy Simmons, a key cog in the Cougars’ rotation. Wofford lost four starters, including Noah Dahlman (the best player in school history) and hardnosed rebounder Tim Johnson. Furman lost four starters too; one of them was All-SoCon forward Amu Saaka. That’s just from the South division.

The various polls and previews had a hard time trying to figure out the order of the SoCon South after the top two spots (Davidson and the CofC). While Wofford, Furman, and The Citadel all suffered heavy graduation losses, Georgia Southern only lost one starter, and also has Willie Powers III (an excellent scoring point guard) coming back after missing last season with a knee injury.

No one seems really confident in the Eagles, though. Part of that may have to do with Powers’ extensive injury history, but much of it is based on the fact that while GSU brought back a lot of players, those players only managed to win two Division I games last season (one of those, alas, was against The Citadel).

In other words, the SoCon South is wide open, other than the top spot (where Davidson seems to be a solid pick to not only win the division, but the league) and maybe second place (with the College of Charleston bringing in highly-regarded recruit Adjehi Baru).

As far as the rest of the conference is concerned, the SoCon North in general has more returning talent, and is perceived as being more settled as the season begins, with snakebitten Samford (literally!) a consensus choice to finish last (and that was before the Birmingham Bulldogs lost their starting point guard for the season with an achilles’ tendon injury).

Chattanooga is the favorite in the North, and generally considered the second- or co-favorite for the league title (with Davidson), though not everyone is on the Mocs’ bandwagon — notably the Pomeroy preseason ratings. Omar Wattad will fire from three-land all night long, sometimes forgetting the rules allow him to shoot two-pointers too. Keegan Bell is a fine point guard who will be first team all-SoCon if his field goal percentage improves.

Appalachian State lost alltime leading scorer Donald Sims, yet some observers think the Mountaineers may be better off. Ike Butts’ return is a major reason why; not every SoCon team has a viable post player who is 6’10”, 280 lbs. Omar Carter is the league’s leading returning scorer and a player of the year candidate.

Western Carolina brings back a solid squad as well and may be a nice dark horse pick. The Catamounts finished last season strong, winning 14 of their last 19 games. UNCG will play a slightly more reasonable non-league schedule this season, which should help the Spartans avoid another 0-15 start. Elon is a sleeper pick in some precincts, although the Phoenix may be a year away.

I think it’s likely The Citadel will have some hard times on the hardwood this season. However, the Bulldogs won’t be the only league team in that position, and if some of the freshmen can contribute early and provide a helping hand to Groselle and co., it wouldn’t be a surprise to see The Citadel have a better year in the league than expected.

I do believe that with more of his own players, Chuck Driesell will be able to fully implement his style of play. I am also hopeful that he will have a deeper rotation, which would help the team avoid the late-season stumbles that have habitually plagued the program.

At the very least, the defense (particularly in the paint) should improve. Offensively, besides shooting the ball well (obviously), I would like to see the Bulldogs make a concerted effort to get to the free throw line more, which has been a problem for the last three seasons.

Odds and ends:

— I’ve been asked to contribute to a kind of roundtable discussion about the league this season. This is going to be a weekly thing for the most part. The first edition for this season has been posted to a Chattanooga blog, Mocs Mania, and can be found here:  Link

— From what I can figure out, The Citadel will only appear on television once in 2011-12 during the regular season, and that will actually be in the season opener against VMI, in the All-Military Classic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That game will start at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, November 11, and is being televised by the CBS Sports Network (not to be confused with CBS). The announcers will be Roger Twibell and Pete Gillen. With any luck, Gillen will try to call timeout at least twice.

The Citadel’s home opener against Clemson will be broadcast online, on, as part of the SoCon’s season package on that platform. It appears this will be the only time the Bulldogs appear on the package.

It is possible (though not likely) that other games will be picked up for TV and/or at a later date.

— The new tagline for the season is apparently “Pack the Mac”. I hope that venerable McAlister Field House is indeed packed this season (I am sure it will be for the opener). I would like to see an increased cadet presence this year as well.

I’m ready for the season. Very ready.

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 11

This is a list of every game played during week 11 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 11

Additional notes:

— I include games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— I’ve listed the satellite affiliates for the SEC Network “national” game of the week (Kentucky-Vanderbilt) in a comment on the document.  There are numerous local affiliates, a listing of which can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (N.C. State-Boston College) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the Big East Network game of the week (Pittsburgh-Louisville) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the Southland TV game of the week (Northwestern State-Sam Houston State) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the SoCon Network game of the week (Samford-The Citadel) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the WAC Network game of the week (Fresno State-New Mexico State) can be found here:  Link

— Also listed on the document in comments are the regional nets carrying the following games:  Marshall-Tulsa, Navy-SMU, and Duke-Virginia.

— There are comments in the document with additional information for several other games.

— ABC/GamePlan coverage maps for the 12:00 pm ET games (Oklahoma State-Texas Tech, West Virginia-Cincinnati) and the ABC/ESPN/GamePlan coverage maps for the 3:30 pm ET games (Texas A&M-Kansas State, Michigan-Illinois, Miami (FL)-Florida State):  Link

— BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

— BCS Standings:  Link

— FCS Coaches Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the  I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.