Friday, August 31, 2018

The First Busy Weekend

TigerBlog's former colleague David Rosenfeld emailed him early yesterday with the link to the "cautiously optimistic" headline that TB mentioned yesterday.

It was from the preview story of the 2005 football game against San Diego. The headline was "Tigers Cautiously Optimistic As Home Schedule Opens."

There was reason for the optimism - Princeton won the game 20-17. You of course remember who San Diego's coach was, right?

Jay McCareins had a great game in that win, by the way, intercepting three passes and returning one 99 yards for a touchdown. The headline after the game on was "Football Team Jaywalks To 20-17 Win Over San Diego."

The question TB still has is what it said before it was changed to "cautiously optimistic." It had to be something that got Gary Walters to think it needed to be changed, but how bad could it have been?

What did it say? "Princeton Guarantees Win Over San Diego?"

Oh, and San Diego's coach back then? It was Jim Harbaugh, now at Michigan. 

The best headline that TigerBlog has written for was in 2002, when Ryan Boyle scored with four seconds left to beat Georgetown 14-13 and send the men's lacrosse team to the Final Four. TB's headline? "Final 0:04."

That's pretty good.

On the other hand, he spelled "quarterfinals" wrong in the second paragraph. What exactly are the "quarterffinals" anyway?

Back in his newspaper days, TigerBlog occasionally had to work on the desk, which included copy editing and writing headlines. The challenge then was to fit the headline over the right number of columns, which wasn't always easy.

TB's favorite? He remembers three.

The first was when Lenny Dykstra, then with the Phillies, has to leave a road trip to return to Philadelphia to have emergency surgery. TB's headline was "Dykstra's Appendix Out At Home."

He also wrote "Eagles Kicking Circus Auditions Two New Clowns" after the Eagles were struggling to find a kicker and had two try out but signed neither. He also wrote "Nice Day Brings No Rain, No Thunder" after a Trenton Thunder game had to be cancelled due to issues with the field.

Meanwhile, back in present day, or at least yesterday, there was the debut of "Beyond The Stripes," the video series from Princeton Athletics this year that will feature a different Tiger athlete each Thursday. The first episode featured John Lovett, the football quarterback who was the Bushnell Cup winner in 2016 and then missed 2017 due to injury.

You can see it HERE.

The college football season is underway, but Princeton doesn't open until two weeks from tomorrow, in Indianapolis against Butler. This is, though, the first relatively busy weekend for Princeton Athletics of 2018-19, including the first home events of the year, a pair of women's soccer games.

The women's soccer team, already 2-0-0, hosts a pair of 3-0-1 teams, St. Joe's tonight and North Carolina State Sunday. Both games start at 7, and there is no admission fee for either.

North Carolina State, whom Princeton defeated twice last year, including in the second round of the NCAA tournament, is at Penn tonight.

Princeton has a team that will be playing at Penn today also. The field hockey team opens its season at 11 this morning against second-ranked North Carolina on Penn's Ellen Vagelos Field and then is back there Sunday at 11 to take on No. 14 Wake Forest.

In fact, Princeton's first four opponents are all ranked in the top 14 right now. Princeton itself is ranked 10th in the preseason.

The women's volleyball team is at Colgate for its opener, or openers. The Tigers, who have won three straight Ivy titles, will take on Northwestern and Stephen F. Austin today and the host Raiders tomorrow.

Finally, TigerBlog would like to mention the rather intriguing matchup for the other Princeton team who competes this weekend, the men's water polo team. The Tigers are at, of all places, Navy, for Dusty Litvak's debut as Princeton head coach.

The Tigers take on Johns Hopkins and Wagner tomorrow, and then there is the game Sunday morning against the host Midshipmen.

Navy, of course, is now coached by longtime Princeton coach Luis Nicolao, who is in his first year at his alma mater. Litvak took over for Luis as the men's head coach, while Derek Ellingson will be the women's head coach, as both will be the other's assistant.

It'll be an intriguing matchup for the Tigers against their old coach. It'll probably be a bit bittersweet for Luis as well, since he recruited all of the current players and coached most of them.

The Princeton vs. Luis matchup is a highlight for the weekend, but there are interesting games all around.

It's the first busy weekend of the academic year. There will be many more to follow.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cautiously Optimistic

TigerBlog can't remember exactly what the story was back when then-Ford Family Director of Athletics Gary Walters came down to his office to say that it was too positive.

Managing expectations is something that people in athletic communications always have to keep in mind. You never want to give an opponent anything for the proverbial bulletin board, and you never want to over-hype a team before it plays.

In fact, TB can only remember one coach who ever said "yes, we should be the preseason favorite because we should win the league," and that was Bill Carmody before the 1997-98 men's basketball season. Princeton then went 27-2 and moved into the national Top 10, so Carmody was clearly correct.

Anyway, back at Gary's suggestion that time, TB's colleague Craig Sachson is pretty sure it had to do with a headline before a football game. The original wording of that headline - from about 12 or so years ago - is lost, but whatever the overly enthusiastic phrase was, it was changed to "cautiously optimistic."

The Ivy League has taken this year to doing preseason polls for every sport. According to those polls so far, Princeton will win three Ivy League titles this fall - women's volleyball, women's soccer and field hockey.

Will it play out that way? Who knows.

It appears there's reason for cautious optimism, of course.

So far, the only Princeton team to have played this year is the women's soccer team, who will play the first home game of the 2018-19 year tomorrow, hosting St. Joe's. There's another game Sunday night, when North Carolina State will be here in a matchup of Top 20 teams.

The field hockey, men's soccer and women's volleyball teams also play tomorrow.

Ever since that day with Gary, TigerBlog has used the term "cautious optimism" a lot. It's been something of inside joke, but it also is very applicable to expectations for teams that figure to be good.

Over-hyping? Not good. Sneaking up on people? Very good.

This bring us to a tweet from ESPN's John Buccigross, who put out an early preseason Division I men's hockey ranking. And where was Princeton?

No. 5.

That's not in the ECAC. That's in Division I.

Keep in mind, Princeton men's hockey finished 12th out of 12 in the ECAC two years ago (well, two-plus, now that it's 2018-19). Keep in mind Princeton finished higher than seventh in the ECAC regular season standings three times this century and not at all since 2011.

On the other hand, this is also a team that has made a meteoric rise to the national spotlight. Ron Fogarty has rebuilt this team quickly, and the Tigers enter the coming season with, well, cautious optimism.

Lots of it.

Princeton went from 12th place to back-to-back seventh place finishes. The 2016-17 Tigers won an opening round ECAC playoff series. The 2017-18 Tigers did that, and much more.

Princeton defeated Brown in the opening round of the playoffs and then won a best-of-three series against Union (the No. 2 seed) to advance to the semifinals in Lake Placid. After that, it was a win over top-seed Cornell and three-seed Clarkson and just like that, the Tigers had won an ECAC title and reached the NCAA tournament.

And now expectations seem to be a tad high.

Buccigross had Minnesota-Deluth as the No. 1 team. Up next were Michigan, Ohio State (who beat Princeton in the NCAA opening round 4-2) and then Providence. Then the Tigers.

You know who was behind Princeton? Every one else.

The reason for the optimism is that Princeton has some the best players in the country this year. Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau will be on every preseason Hobey Baker Trophy list. Josh Teves is one of the best defensemen in the country. Goalie Ryan Ferland was the MVP of the ECAC tournament last year as a freshman.

Those are pretty good building blocks.

The men's hockey team, of course, will not have the luxury of sneaking up on anyone this coming season, not after last year's ECAC title. And the expected preseason hype won't help that cause at all.

Still, it's better to be in the position that the Tigers find themselves in. And even though it matters not at all, having someone who knows a lot about college hockey be that high on Princeton is cause for pride and celebration.

And optimism.

Just keep it cautious, that's all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Title No. 3

Okay, scratch "Today In Princeton Athletics" or just "Princeton Athletics," with the date after.

The official name of the new feature that highlights every athletic event in a particular day will be "Princeton Athletics Daily," with the date after it.

For the record, that's three different names this week alone, when there have only been two athletic events. At this pace, the feature will have more than 100 different names by the spring.

Actually, that won't happen. "Princeton Athletics Daily" it is.

The fact that there has yet to be a day where there was more than one event sort of makes the feature seem a little odd. That'll change this weekend, when there are four teams who play Friday, two who play Saturday and four who play Sunday.

TigerBlog's idea here is to streamline the front page of the website, so that it's not a continuous stretch of pregame stories all week and then postgame stories that cycle through so quickly that it's hard to tell which team did what. It'll also allow other content to get greater play on the main page.

Included in that group is a video series that will be coming this year that will focus on storytelling, with the premise of showing the most intriguing stories in Princeton Athletics. The series will be called "Beyond the Stripes," and it will run each Thursday, with a new feature each week.

The debut episode will be tomorrow, by the way, with a feature on John Lovett, the 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in football who missed all of last year due to injury.

There will also be a series of much shorter videos that will be released on Twitter and Instagram all year, from every team, entitled "Tiger Talks." These videos will be around 30 seconds, and they will be a quick story about each subject's particular experience as a Princeton athlete.

The key is to have them all tell different stories, but that shouldn't be too hard. There are 1,000 athletes, and they have all have their own unique perspectives.

Here's a question for you Princeton fans. Where, and how, do you get your information?

Do you still go to first, or is it through social media? The analytics suggest that social media is the winner, in a big way.

This year, there will be a concerted effort to use social media more for the kind of information that previously would have been put on the webpage first in past years. If it doesn't work, then, like the "Princeton Athletics Daily," things can change.

The point is that the question always is this: If you were starting athletic communications from scratch, what would you do?

The main Princeton Athletics Twitter feed has 17,100 followers. The main Instagram account has 6,600 followers.

The team accounts are another story.

Princeton has 112,972 followers on all of its team's Twitter accounts combined. The one with the most is football, with 18,400, followed by men's lacrosse with 15,000. The top five includes wrestling (10,100), softball (8,786) and men's basketball (7,849).

If you combine all of the Instagram accounts, then you have just short of 50,000. The top five: men's heavyweight rowing, men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, men's lightweight rowing, wrestling.

The list of followers doesn't differentiate between people who follow one team or every team. It's all one follower.

Short of going through each team's list of followers, TigerBlog has no way of knowing how many total individual followers there are. There are certainly people who cover a lot of teams. It would be an interesting number to have, though.

Either way, there are a lot of people who are getting their information on Princeton Athletics directly through social media. It's the challenge of those in athletic communications to get it to them that way.

As the year moves along, you'll be able to see some of the changes that are being implemented. If they work, then there will be more of them. If they don't, then the idea is to find better ways.

No matter what, these are exciting times to be in the communications business, especially in college athletics. There are technologies available now that were unheard of not that many years ago, and the opportunities to be creative continue to present themselves.

Anyway, the first "Princeton Athletics Daily" headline is coming Friday.

As for social media, it's best to follow everyone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Playing In Peoria

Well, it's definitely prime back-to-school time.

There are already schools on all levels that have opened, and the days of summer vacation are definitely numbered for those kids who haven't yet gone back.

There were even a handful of college football games this past weekend, not to mention a ton of other games in other sports across the country. Princeton is off to a 2-0 start for the year with a pair of wins by the women's soccer team.

One of the teams that opened its season was Boston College field hockey, who defeated Quinnipiac last Friday 7-0. Why does this random game warrant a mention here?

Well, Miss TigerBlog's buddy Nell Webber, who was her high school teammate a year ago in both field hockey and lacrosse, scored one of the goals for the Eagles in her first collegiate game. TigerBlog wanted to congratulate Nell on that.

If you were in the greater Princeton metropolitan area last week, then you felt a touch of the approaching autumn, especially at night. After about three months of temperatures in the 80s and 90s, with basically high humidity and a chance of thunderstorms pretty much every day, it was in the low 70s during the day and even dipped down into the 50s at night.

And now comes your reminder that summer is going to hang around for a little while. This week will feature temps back into the 90s and close to 100 actually.

It'll get back into feeling like fall early in September, but there will be another stretch of really hot weather mixed in after that as well. It works like that ever year.

Actually, the nicest the weather gets around here now is in September and October. It's what spring used to be like, back when there was a season called "spring." Not it goes from rainy and 50 every day to in the 80s overnight.

Regardless of the weather, the fall teams continue to practice as they approach opening days this coming Friday. 

It'll be warm in Illinois this weekend, though not quite this warm, when the men's soccer team opens its season there with a pair of games. The first is Friday at SIU-Edwardsville, and that will be followed by a game at Bradley Sunday.

TigerBlog isn't great at Illinois geography, and he didn't realize that Edwardsville is very close to St. Louis. TB actually hasn't spent much time in Illinois, and his only experience in being in Chicago has been flying in and out of its two airports.

He was in Champaign once, a long time ago, back in 1994, for a men's basketball tournament. Princeton got wiped out in the championship game by the host team, and that's really the extent of his time in the state.

As for the men's soccer team, they'll fly to St. Louis for the first game of the weekend and then fly back from Chicago. Bradley is located in Peoria, which appears to be about halfway between the two major cities.

Peoria, of course, is known for the expression "Will it play in Peoria?" which TB believes has some sort of theatrical origins. The men's soccer team will be taking it somewhat literally.

Princeton dropped a 1-0 decision to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Myslik Field a year ago, and the Cougars, who tied their  opener 2-2 with Memphis, play at home tonight against Missouri-Kansas City, a game that will be abbreviated as UMKC-SIEU.

As for Bradley, the Braves play at a facility called Shea Stadium. If you're a baseball fan, you recognize that as the name of the old stadium in which the New York Mets used to play.

This Shea Stadium also has a baseball background, and it makes for what looks like a pretty interesting venue. It served as the home for Bradley baseball from 1970 through 2002, when a new baseball stadium opened there.

Now it's just the home of Bradley soccer, but the grandstands still suggest baseball. In fact, when TigerBlog looked at the picture, the first thing he wondered was if the field could be reconfigured for baseball.

See for yourself HERE.

Either way, it looks really cool. It also appears that the two Shea Stadiums are not related, as the one at Bradley was a gift by a local businessman named Tim Shea.

As for the on-field product, Bradley is 1-0-1, with a tie against Gonzaga and a win over Oral Roberts. Bradley plays in Indianapolis against IUPUI Friday night.

This is the first meeting between Princeton and Bradley, who went from 2-15-3 two years ago to 11-7-3 a year ago. 

Princeton comes into the year after a year that saw the Tigers start out 2-6-2 and then finish 4-1-2. The home opener for the men's soccer team is Saturday, Sept. 8, against Monmouth.

In the meantime, enjoy the hot weather. Summer isn't quite ready to give up yet, and besides, it'll be freezing soon enough.

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's A Wonderful Road

Great news.

The road is open again. That little quarter-mile nightmare is over.

As TigerBlog has said a few times this summer, Faculty Road has been closed since June between Washington Road and the Jadwin Gym parking lot. It's about a quarter of a mile, and yet the effect of closing that little piece of road could be maddening.

The problem is that if you can't turn right out of lot 21 to get to Washington Road, then there is no good way. And if you're trying to get to Route 1, it's been even more torturous.

Seriously, you never consider how much of an impact one little piece of one street can have on a lot of different people. It's like a roadway version of "It's A Wonderful Life."

It was a whole summer of trying to find the best route, with about 10 different possibilities.

And now it's over. Whatever the project was, it is finished. The gateway to Route 1 is back.

TigerBlog will never take Faculty Road for granted again. Clearly it's a wonderful road.

In other news, the 2018-19 athletic year at Princeton began this weekend with a pair of wins by the women's soccer team. The Tigers, an NCAA quarterfinalist a year ago and the No. 14 team in the country heading into their opening trip to New England, shut out New Hampshire 2-0 Friday and Boston University 1-0 Sunday.

Of Princeton's three goals, Mimi Asom scored two of them. Asom, now a senior, has been a reliable scorer since Day 1 of her career, and her place on the Princeton records list certainly backs that up.

Her two goals this weekend leave her with 33 for her career. That's currently sixth best all-time at Princeton, and she has a great chance at joining Tyler Lussi, Esmeralda Negron and Linda DeBoer as women's soccer players who have reached 40 career goals.

In fact, there have been two men's players - Steve Davidson and Yuri Fishman - who have reached 40 goals in their careers, so the total number of Princeton soccer players who have reached that number is currently five. Asom is moving up into elite company.

Her goal yesterday was classic Asom. She took a throw-in with her back to the goal, controlled it and then ripped it past the goalkeeper on the near side.

You can see it for yourself:
Next up for the women's soccer team is the home opener against St. Joe's Friday at 7. It'll be a big weekend for the Tigers, as they also host North Carolina State Sunday at 7.

N.C. State was the team that Princeton beat in the second round of the NCAA tournament last yeaer, one round before the Tigers took out North Carolina.

In addition to the start of the athletic year, this past weekend was also the debut of the "Today In Princeton Athletics" game-day story on So far feedback has been positive.

If you haven't seen it, basically the premise is to have one story that provides the entire day's schedule, complete with links to live video, live stats, preview story and eventually postgame story.

The problem is what to do the next day. If the story is called "Today In Princeton Athletics," with the date after it, then what do you do when it's no longer that day.

It seemed okay in theory to leave it up there with the word "Today" in the headline, until TB actually saw it Saturday. Then it looked a little odd.

In the short run, TB changed it just to "Princeton Athletics" with the date after it. Maybe it would be better to make it "The" day in Princeton athletics, not "Today" in Princeton athletics, with the date after it.

Maybe that'll be what is used this coming weekend.

There won't be any events until Friday, when three more teams - field hockey, men's soccer, women's volleyball - open their seasons. Men's water polo opens Saturday.

Also Saturday it'll be September.

Where does the summer go? 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Today In Princeton Athletics

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2018-19 athletic year at Princeton University.

The first of more than 600 athletic events stretching over the next nine-plus months is today, as the women's soccer team is at New Hampshire. The second event will be Sunday, when those same Tigers take on Boston University.

Between now and the NCAA track and field championships in early June, Princeton will be represented by 37 varsity teams and 1,000 varsity athletes who will compete in all four time zones and even outside the country. By the time it ends, there will have been championships won, signature moments that will stand out, individual honors awarded - and even some tough defeats.

No two academic years, like fingerprints, are ever the same. Some teams, and some athletes, will come out of seemingly nowhere to have a great season. It happens every year.

A year ago, for instance, the women's soccer team was coming off a good, but not great, season. What happened?

The Tigers went on an epic run, winning an outright Ivy League championship and then three NCAA tournament games to get to the national quarterfinals. Included in that postseason success was a win over 21-time NCAA champion North Carolina.

TigerBlog decided to check out how New Hampshire has done so far, and it turns out the Wildcats are 2-0-0 on the very young season.

TB went to the UNH website to see what he could learn. He saw a headline that said that the Wildcats had defeated "the Rams" in overtime, and he immediately thought "Fordham."

Turns out these Rams are the ones from the University of Rhode Island. This was followed by another OT win over the Crusaders, which TB correctly guessed meant Holy Cross.

Anyway, there are two pretty fascinating notes already about New Hampshire. First, the same player - Ally Reynolds - scored the overtime goal in both games.

And second, Reynolds is a transfer from, of all places, Rhode Island. She started 15 games last year for the Rams as a sophomore, and then in her first game at her new school, she scores the game-winner in overtime.

How often does that happen?

The women's soccer team starts playing one week ahead of the field hockey, women's volleyball and men's soccer teams. They're all practicing now, as is the football team and men's water polo. The cross country teams will be here soon.

It won't be long until the winter teams are starting to practice.

The men's basketball schedule was announced this week. The Tigers open on Nov. 9, and the non-league schedule includes games at Madison Square Garden (St. John's, Dec. 9), Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall (Iona, Dec. 15), Duke (Dec. 18) and Arizona State (Dec. 29).

There will also be 12 total home games, including games against George Washington (Dec. 1) and St. Joe's (Dec. 5).

Also, on Nov. 28, Princeton travels to Maine for something that should be really interesting. The Black Bears are coached by former Princeton women's basketball coach Richard Barron, who is now in his first year with the men's program there.

Has a former women's head coach ever then gone on to coach a men's team and coached against Princeton? TigerBlog can think only of Dan Roock, who coached the women's rowing team at Princeton and then coached the men at Cornell and Dartmouth.

Anyway, that's still a few months away.

For today, it's opening day. And with that, the people at are going to try something a little different, at least to start the new year.

Instead of having a flood of preview stories and then recaps that fly across the front page, this time the plan is to have one story on the front page entitled "Today In Princeton Athletics."

Within in that story will be a chronological listing of the days events, with links to the live video, live stats, Twitter feed and preview story. When the event is over, the recap can be linked to there as well.

All of those previews and recaps will still be available on the individual team pages.

In this way, it stops the front page from being overwhelmed by previews and recaps and allows other stories to stay out there longer. It also provides readers a place to get information easily on every event on a given day.

Hey, it's new. There are still some things to work out. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you won't.

If it doesn't work, then it doesn't need to continue. But it'll be worth a try.

And it's up there today for the first time. After all, it's opening day 2018-19.

Good luck to every Tiger this year. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Homecoming Game

TigerBlog starts to today by congratulating Chris Jastrzembski on his new position as a production assistant with ESPN.

TigerBlog met Chris at the 2017 NCAA men's lacrosse championships, but he'd been following him on Twitter before that. Chris is a recent Syracuse graduate who has worked considerably with the website, which is a great source for lacrosse information.

Chris is one of the young people that TB meets who clearly is pointed in the right direction. He works hard, he does a good job, he takes what he does seriously. He reminds TB a little of another Syracuse alum, John Nolan, who is an outstanding young sportscaster who spends his summers as the voice of the Single-A Padres affiliate in Fort Wayne.

Both Chris and John, by the way, are outstanding on Twitter. From what TB has seen, Chris appears to be a relatively big Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Lacrosse, though, is his favorite. And yeah, TB knows he's talked a lot of lacrosse this summer. He figured he was done with lax for awhile, until something else came up.

TB tweeted yesterday around 8:30 from the Princeton men's lacrosse account that there was big news coming later in the day. Chris retweeted and then guessed that 1) Princeton was going to play Syracuse again and then, more seriously he said, that 2) Tom Schreiber would be joining the team as an assistant coach.

Curiosity seems to get the best of people, of course. What did they say about the cat? Anyway, TigerBlog got a bunch of texts and emails asking what was up.

As it turns out, he was a little closer with his first guess.

The big news out of Princeton men's lacrosse yesterday is that Bill Tierney will be bringing the Denver Pioneers to Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium this coming season. The game will be on March 26, if you're marking calendars.

This is, without question, a huge event.

Tierney coached Princeton for 22 seasons. The sport at Princeton goes back to the 1880s, and Princeton had great teams and many many great players before Tierney's arrival, so it's not fair in the least to say that Princeton men's lacrosse started with him.

He did, though, unquestionably take the program to places it had never been, and places it didn't dream of, before he got there. Princeton had never been to the NCAA tournament before Tierney's arrival and it had been 20 years since the Tigers had won the Ivy League title.

Tierney took Princeton to six NCAA championships, eight NCAA finals and 10 NCAA Final Fours while winning 14 Ivy League titles. He brought Princeton to that level through the sheer force of his will, telling his first recruits - off a 2-13 season - that they would be the ones who would win the first NCAA title. And they did.

In 2009, he left Princeton, heading west to Denver, taking on a program that had never won an NCAA tournament game. To TigerBlog, this was a risky move for Tierney. If he failed there, what would that do to his legacy? It's not like he was cherry-picking the best place to go to win a championship someplace else.

So what happened? He's been to nine NCAA tournaments in nine years. He's been to five Final Fours. He won the 2015 NCAA title, making him the only coach who has ever won an NCAA men's lacrosse title at two different schools.

In fact, how many coaches have ever done that in any sport? To TigerBlog, there's no debating that Tierney is the greatest lacrosse coach of all time.

You can debate whether or not he's the greatest coach in Princeton history, since a case can be made for a few others. Still, if you polled 1,000 knowledgeable Princeton fans, Tierney would be either at or very, very close to the top.

For each of his first nine years at Denver, TigerBlog had hoped there'd be a game between his old team and his new one. Maybe not at first, but definitely after the players he'd coached and recruited were gone.

This year, for the first time, the schedule was favorable. Denver will be on the East Coast for a game Saturday and then will spend the week in this area. It made the game Tuesday something of a natural.

For Princeton, the game will come between home dates against Yale and Brown (the full schedule will be released soon), but this was one of those chances where there was no turning it down.

Tierney has been gone for Princeton for 10 years now. He's stayed extraordinarily close to the players he coached here and to the Princeton program itself, but he's been away long enough that there aren't too many people who work here who know him anymore.

Still, the Tierney name is still synonymous with Princeton lacrosse. It's why this is such a special moment.

Denver, of course, is a perennial Top 10 team. Princeton brings the nation's longest winning streak into the 2019 season and has a lot of pieces in place to make its own serious run into May.

The game should be a good one. Both teams are among the nation's best offensively, and the game will feature some of the best offensive players in the country.

Still, the storyline will be Bill Tierney's return to Princeton. Picture Pete Carril's having left Princeton when he did, but instead of going to the NBA, he went to a different college and built that team into a national power. Then, 10 years later, he brought that team to Princeton.

It's the same basic thing.

So circle March 26 on your calendar now.

And TigerBlog promises that this is the last lacrosse for awhile.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Those Were The Days

TigerBlog grew up in New Jersey.

In fact, he's lived his entire life in a 50-mile radius of where his desk currently sits, in the basement of Jadwin Gym. Born in New York City. Grew up in New Jersey. College in Philadelphia. Been around here ever since.

When TB was a kid, there were two area codes in the state of New Jersey - 201 and 609. Now there are about a hundred, though Princeton University is still 609.

One thing that is relatively new for phone calls in New Jersey is the need to dial the area code for a 609 to 609 call from a landline, such as the one that sits on TigerBlog's desk. So far, he has not once remembered to do it, though he doesn't make many calls from his desk.

There was a time when TB would spend a lot of time each day simply on returning voicemails. During peak seasons, he'd get more than a thousand per month.

Back then, you'd get a report from the telephone office that detailed all of your phone information for the month - calls, time spent on the phone, voicemails, etc. Those numbers were staggering compared to now.

If you pay the cell phone bill of your average teenager, then you probably see that in most months, they push the limits of their data usage (or exceed it), send and receive several thousand text messages (or, if they don't, it's because they're using Snapchat or a different app) - and have about four minutes of talking on the phone, most of which is to you.

TigerBlog hardly talks on the phone anymore. He probably receives between five or 10 voicemails in an average month, and most of those start off with "you're probably not the person I need to be talking to but ..."

TigerBlog doesn't really like voicemails. Unless it's something urgent, it's better to simply hang up when you get to voicemail, so that the phone says there's a missed call from a specific person. Simple.

As TB has said often, the evolution of his profession has been dramatic, and the challenges to creativity are constantly changing. If the sports information business was the same now as it was in the early 1990s,  TB never would have lasted this long.

At the same time, there are things that he misses. One of them is a charming little slice of nostalgia that used to happen this week each year - Ivy League sports information meetings and then Ivy football media day.

Ah, those were the days. You had to make sure the media guide was back from the printer, because you couldn't be the only one to show up without one. This resulted in a lot of stress as deadlines loomed each July.

Each year, it would be the meetings on a Monday, with dinner for all the sports information types Monday night, followed by media day Tuesday morning, followed by golf and box lunches Tuesday afternoon.

Each SID meeting, by the way, would start with a reminder from Kathy Slattery, the late and legendary head of Dartmouth athletic communications, that no matter how heated the discussion, everyone had to remember that they were there for "the good of the clan."

At some point during the meeting, the subject of standardized rosters would come up, seemingly to make TB even nuttier than the year before. Seriously, he has spent several hours of his life embroiled in contentious conversation over whether it should be hometown/high school or high school/hometown or postal vs. AP state abbreviations.

On the other hand, there was always the amazingly amiable John Veneziano of Harvard, who would say things like "here at Harvard, where we invented crew" when the subject turned to how best to calculate coaches' records.

Johnny V.  TB hasn't seen him in years, but he's still an all-time favorite.

Yes, there are still Ivy meetings. They're just not the same as they were back in the 1990s.

Then again, back in the 1990s, there were no podcasts. TigerBlog just did his most recent one with Courtney Banghart yesterday. You can listen to that HERE.

Or you can read about Caraun Reid's signing with the Dallas Cowboys HERE.

It's good to be nostalgic, but it's also good to snap back to the present.

Speaking of the present,  TigerBlog was in a meeting yesterday in which he and his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues discussed some new initiatives for 2018-19, as the need to be creative continues its evolution. He'll have more on that shortly, but here's a hint:

It doesn't involve a return to media guides.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Starting In Second

There was a time when the birthday of someone close to you who didn't live near you meant getting a card and a stamp and making sure you got it in the mail in time.

How inconvenient is that?

These days, all of that can be replaced by a well-meaning, sincere text message. Best of all, you don't need to do anything beforehand. Just text it on the day of the birthday.

Ah, but that's the one problem. You have to actually remember to text it on that day. This has happened to TB before.

Yes, it's Person A's birthday. Yes, TB knew he had to text. Only he didn't want to so early, so he figured he'd wait. And then he almost forgets to come back and do it later.

Today is BrotherBlog's birthday. TigerBlog will try to remember to text him, though it's not as easy, since he's on Pacific time and TB doesn't want to text too early. Does it count if it's after midnight were you are but not yet midnight where they are?

On the plus side, BrotherBlog will read this and know that no matter what, his brother didn't forget his birthday. On the negative side, BB usually binge-reads, as he says, so he might not see this until later in the week.

Better text him.

BrotherBlog's birthday used to coincide with the end of summer camp for the six summers the two brothers would go away for eight weeks. Now? It's the start of the new athletic year.

And it's definitely the heart of fall preseason around here, that's for sure.

The days when this part of campus was deserted - you know, like last week - are gone. Another athletic year is on the horizon, with the women's soccer team at New Hampshire and Boston University this weekend.

The women's soccer team starts playing one week ahead of the field hockey, women's volleyball and men's soccer teams. They're all practicing now, as is the football team and men's water polo. The cross country teams will be here soon.

Yesterday was second day of green screen photos. You know these. They're the posed ones in full uniform in front of the green backdrop, and the pictures can then be used in a variety of ways on social media.

The first day was last week, for football and women's volleyball. The other fall teams are still to come.

Yeah. It certainly feeling like a new year.

The 2017-18 academic year is now history, thought TB did find out something yesterday that he hadn't looked up before.

Princeton has approximately 1,000 varsity athletes. How many of them earned all-league honors last year?

This is All-Ivy, of course, but also all-league for hockey and water polo. And it's first-team, second-team, honorable mention, whatever.

The answer?

It's 179.

If you divide 179 by the 37 sports, then that's just about five per sport. Still, 179 seems like a lot. That's about 18 percent of the athletes who earn all-league honors.

And that's about the last TigerBlog will have on the old academic year. On with the new.

The football season starts Sept. 15 in Indianapolis, where the Tigers will take on Butler. The home opener is one week later, against Monmouth.

The Ivy League released its preseason poll yesterday, and it has the Tigers second, behind only Yale, the defending champion. As with any other preseason poll, this one is 1) fun to talk about and 2) means nothing at all.

Princeton comes off the most misleading 2-5 Ivy season ever, since the Tigers were basically wiped out on defense by injuries.

Princeton has won multiple Ivy titles when it has been picked in the bottom half of the league, and there have been years when the Tigers were picked to finish near the top and didn't. The optimism this year is clearly justifiable, with the the return of many of the injured on defense, and of John Lovett, the 2016 Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Year.

Yale earned 11 first-place votes in the poll. Princeton had three. No other team had more than one.

Again, that means little to nothing.

For now, it's early in the preseason. Opening day for football is three weeks from Saturday. Home opener is four weeks away.

Yes. Early preseason. And BrotherBlog's birthday.

Don't worry. He got his brother's text.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Championship For Zach Currier

The first thing that Zach Currier did to stand out during the Major League Lacrosse championship game Saturday night was to wear black socks and black cleats.

The second thing he did to stand out was play the way only Currier can.

Okay, there was another member of the Denver Outlaws who wore the same socks and cleats. There's nobody else anywhere who can play the way Currier does.

Matt Kavanagh, a Notre Dame grad, was the MVP as the Outlaws defeated Dallas 16-12 to win their third title in five years. Kavanagh was the logical choice, as he had four goals and five assists.

Without Currier, though, Denver would never have won its latest championship. Currier had four goals and nine ground balls in the 13-12 semifinal win over Chesapeake, and he came back in the final with two goals (including the first of the game) and an assist (a spectacular feed to Kavanagh as he was falling forward), not to mention everything else he does.

Basically, Currier is a tornado that overtakes a game and imposes his will on everything that happens. He is relentless, taking nothing for granted ever. He never stops hustling, and no loose ball is ever safe.

He throws himself into every scrum on the field, and more often than not he comes out with possession. He also takes an extraordinary amount of punishment, none of which seems to slow him down.

If you watched the game Saturday night, you saw classic Currier. He played both sides of the field, and he was a total nuisance to every move Dallas tried to make.

He made a ton of plays to disrupt Dallas possessions, and even the ones that didn't result in turnovers still slowed the Rattlers offense to a crawl. A game that was 9-6 Dallas midway through the second quarter saw Denver go on a 10-3 run to finish things out, and Currier was as responsible for that as anyway, as Dallas had so few settled 6 on 6 possessions after halftime.

As Denver tried to salt away the game, repeatedly the ball in Currier's stick, behind the goal, despite the fact that he's a midfielder. What happened to seal it? He drew a penalty while getting whacked at by the Dallas defense, one that basically ended the game. 

It actually made TigerBlog think about the end of the recent World Championship final, where Currier and Canada lost 9-8 to the U.S. on a goal by another Princeton alum, Tom Schreiber, with one second left.

Currier seemed to get Canada possession after a face-off with less than four minutes to go, but the now-famous offsides call awarded the ball back to the Americans, who possessed it until Schreiber's game-winner. Watching the end of the MLL final, TB couldn't help but think what would have happened if Canada hadn't been burned by that call.

The ball would have spent a lot of time in Currier's stick, and Canada probably would never have given it up.

It's because of that loss that TigerBlog really, really wanted Denver to win the championship. Well, that, and Currier was the only Princeton alum in the game.

Schreiber defeated Currier last summer in the MLL final, when the Ohio Machine defeated the Outlaws. Then there was the excruciating World Championship loss.

Currier deserved one.

And he was as big a reason as anyone why his team won.

In the nearly 30 years that TigerBlog has been covering Princeton Athletics, he has never seen any athlete robbed more of an individual honor than Currier was of being a first-team All-America his senior year of 2017. It was a complete joke.

By the way, Scott Bacigalupo as a second-team All-Ivy pick in 1994 is a close second, though Bacigalupo made up for it by being the national Player of the Year. TB thought he'd never seen anyone get more jobbed than that, and he didn't for 23 years.

Anyway, which of the four players who were first-team selections that year should have been second-team instead of Currier? All of them.

Currier as a senior had 24 goals, 34 assists and 130 ground balls. He led the team in caused turnovers, and he won 57 percent of his face-offs. No midfielder will ever match those numbers.

Because of that slight, TB is happy that Currier is getting his due as a pro. He was a first-round in both the indoor and outdoor leagues, and he has been an all-star in both his MLL seasons (the indoor National Lacrosse League doesn't have an all-star game).

Paul Carcaterra on the ESPN broadcast Saturday night referred to Currier as "a top five player in Major League Lacrosse." He's right.

There's no player that TigerBlog has ever seen, at Princeton or anywhere else, who plays the way Currier does and can do all the things he can do. At times he looks like he's gliding nonchalantly, but the ferocity never leaves anything he's doing.

And now he has a championship. Maybe it wasn't the one he would have preferred to have this summer, but this one is pretty special too.

And it never would have happened without what he, and only he, does on a lacrosse field. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

One Week To Go

TigerBlog has been trying to think if there are other songs that he believes are universally liked other than the two he mentioned earlier in the week, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.

If you want to find someone who doesn't like "Sweet Caroline," by the way, ask a Yankees fan. Failing that, yeah, have you ever heard anyone say they don't like the song?

About the only other song that he came up with on that level might be, maybe, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Even if you're not a Queen fan, you probably like the song, most likely because of the incredible, operatic voice of lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Check out THIS version.

Ah, TigerBlog would love to be able to sing like that.

Would you put an Aretha Franklin song on that list? Maybe "Respect," or "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman?"

TB doesn't think so. One of the appeals of the first three is that they span every age group. Miss TigerBlog's high school field hockey team used to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the bus.

Did you ever hear the Steely Dan song "Hey Nineteen?" It has this lyric: "Hey 19. That's 'Retha Franklin. She don't remember the Queen of Soul." 

Aretha Franklin was unique talent though. The Queen of Soul, as she was known, died yesterday at the age of 76. She had her share of iconic songs, and she certainly was given a voice like few others have ever had.

Not a lot of people have ever been able to sing like THIS.

Well, here it is, the last Friday of the summer before Princeton Athletic events begin. The women's soccer team opens its season one week from today, somewhat insanely, as the defending Ivy champion and 2017 NCAA quarterfinalist is at New Hampshire.

There will be seven games in the month of August involving four Princeton teams - women's soccer, men's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball. By one month from today, there will have been 44 athletic events played already.

In other words, it's going to get very busy, very quickly.

The home opener is a women's soccer game two weeks from today against St. Joe's, after the women's soccer team plays at BU next Sunday, after the New Hampshire game.

If you work in college athletics, then you're used to this cycle. There are a little short of 10 months of games, and then two months of quiet. Then it starts all over again.

It's somewhat similar to being a teacher, TB supposes. If you view the coming of the new school year with dread, then you're in the wrong profession.

Around here, if you view the starting of events with dread, then you're also doing the wrong thing.

For TigerBlog, by the way, this will be his 30th academic year covering Princeton sports. Yikes.

As TigerBlog has said, he'll feel old when the child of someone he covered here starts playing here as well.

With the start of the new year just ahead, TigerBlog received a note suggesting that perhaps he should make some predictions for 2018-19. That's not a terrible idea.

Here's one prediction - a team that finished in sixth place or lower in the Ivy League last year will win a championship. Maybe he'll make some others at some point.

Here's another - TigerBlog will watch the Major League Lacrosse championship game tomorrow night. It'll be the Dallas Rattlers against the Denver Outlaws, and Denver got to the championship game by defeating Chesapeake 13-12 behind four goals and nine ground balls from Princeton alum Zach Currier.

TB is definitely rooting for Currier to get a championship this year, after he came so close with the Canadians at the World Championships in Israel earlier this summer.

The game starts at 7 tomorrow and can be seen on ESPNEWS.

And, you know, that'll be that for the summer, at least around here. Many college teams are already playing real games, with a lot more to start this weekend.

Yes, summer technically continues for three weeks into September. And yes, unofficially it'll go to Labor Day.

Here, though, it's just about done. And that's fine with TB.

After all, the games, and seeing the athletes compete, is the best part of working here.

Anyway, have a great summer weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Pure Genius

Every now and then, it's good to take a quote completely out of context.

For today, TigerBlog offers this, from a story that he read yesterday that included words from Princeton head football coach Bob Surace.

"We’re not this group of geniuses," Surace says.

TigerBlog won't even bother explaining. You can read it for yourself HERE.

Pete Carril once poo-pooed the concept of a coach as a genius with this quote: "When I think of a genius, I think of a guy like Einstein." What always fascinated TigerBlog about that was the way he threw in "a guy like," as opposed to simply "Einstein," as if there are a whole bunch of Einsteins running around out there.

Carril also said things like "I'll take that up with God when I get there" and "God is indifferent to the plight of man" and "A hundred years from now I'll be dead and two guys will walk past my grave and one will say 'that guy never won a national championship' and I won't hear a word they say."

There's genius to that, no?

It's better, of course, to have others think you're a genius than to think it yourself, right Wile E. Coyote?

Surace had his annual pre-preseason picnic Tuesday night. TigerBlog couldn't make it, but he had to chuckle when he saw that it was a rainy, stormy night. It always seems to be that way for Surace's event each year.

Genius or no, Surace is a unique football coach. For starters he doesn't seem to need to use the word "football" in every sentence. He's also very easy to talk to, and he laughs easily. He's also not wound too tightly at all times, and he seems to recognize that football is a game, not a metaphor for life.

Most importantly, Surace is, as TB has said before, the perfect coach for Princeton football. He's smart and innovative, and in that story that TB linked to before, there's a reference to the need to get your best athletes on the field, regardless of traditional roles for players.

Also, Surace buys into Princeton. He's an alum, and a loyal one at that. He understands the place. He understands that the football coach is never going to be the one who drives the whole school, and he's fine with that.

The combination of those things are why he's been so successful here.

This will be Surace's ninth season as Princeton's head coach. His record is 38-42, which is extraordinary considering he was 2-20 to start out.

That leaves him at 36-22 for his last 58 games. He started out with a .091 winning percentage and has gone to a .621 winning percentage since.

Remind you of anyone? Say, a women's basketball coach, perhaps. Courtney Banghart started out 16-37 and has gone 216-56 since.

Or, maybe, a men's lacrosse coach from awhile ago? Bill Tierney went 8-21 his first two years and then 230-65 for his next 20 years at Princeton.

Banghart, by the way, has taken on another challenging schedule for the 2018-19 season. The schedule was announced yesterday, and you can see it HERE.

By the way, the opener is Nov. 6? That's like in a little more than two months.

Courtney tweeted this yesterday:
Anyway, back at Surace, he has 38 career wins in nine years. For the last seven, he's averaged six wins a year.

Actually, as TB just looked, in each of those six seasons, Princeton has won either five or eight games. Never anything else. In fact, in his first eight years, Surace's teams have won either one, five or eight games.

That's odd.

Only four coaches in Princeton's long history have ever won more games that Surace already has. Those four are:
Bill Roper 89
Steve Tosches 78
Dick Colman 75
Charlie Caldwell 70

That's it. Surace is next.

Roper was Princeton's coach from 1906-08, 1910-11 and 1919-30. Can Surace make a run at 89?

He's 51 away from it as he enters 2018. If he averages five wins a year for 10 years, that 1) certainly is doable and 2) puts him right there.

The question is how long will he want to be doing this and doing it here. As TB said, he's the perfect head football coach for Princeton.

Five wins a year for 10 years. If he gets six a year, he can do it less than nine.

On the other hand, that's like nine or 10 more pre-preseason picnics at his house in the rain.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

By The Rules

You won't find too many people TigerBlog likes more than Christian Swezey, one of the top lacrosse writers there has ever been.

TB and Christian go way back, all the way to Princeton's first NCAA title, back in 1992. Christian has created something of a lacrosse board game, one that enables one great team from one year to play another from another year.

He tweeted about a game he ran the other night, when the 1996 Virginia Cavaliers took on the 1992 Princeton Tigers. Princeton won the NCAA title in 1992 and 1996 (and 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2001), and the 1996 title came in OT against Virginia.

The 1996 Virginia team is the best team TigerBlog has ever seen that did not win the NCAA title. The Cavs were led by Michael Watson, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, as well as Doug Knight and Tim Whiteley, who were great players who TB is guessing are still bothered by the fact that they lost to Princeton in the final that year, and in 1994.

Princeton won both of those championship games in overtime, on goals by Kevin Lowe (1994) and Jesse Hubbard (1996). Princeton also need OT to win in 1992 (Andy Moe) and 2001 (B.J. Prager).

In Christian's simulation, the ’96 Cavs beat the ’92 Tigers 13-10. TigerBlog could believe that.

The 1992 Tigers went 13-2, defeating Syracuse 9-8 in the final. In five games that year, Princeton gave up at least 10 goals, including in a 16-14 win over North Carolina in the semifinal and a 15-13 win over UVa in the regular season.

In other words, more than 25 years ago, teams could play high scoring games. The rules back then were radically different, with stalling permitted but the requirement to keep it in the restraining box if the refs put a stall warning on.

Princeton, by a huge margin, was the best back then at running out the clock while keeping the ball in the box. The Tigers could move the ball in a small space almost indefinitely, and it's a tactic that came in very helpful in more than one fourth quarter of an NCAA tournament game.

Eventually, the keep-it-in rule was replaced by a timer-on rule, one that put a 30-second shot clock on when the refs decided the offensive team was stalling. That was sort of a compromise between the competing voices calling either for a shot clock or no shot clock.

This past week, the NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee came up with some radical rules changes. The most radical, by the way, is the one lacrosse people are talking about the least.

The one getting all the attention is pretty radical as well, as the game has finally gone to a full shot clock on every possession. Teams will now have 20 seconds to advance the ball past midfield (as opposed to 30 seconds to get it into the restraining box), and then a 60-second shot clock will start as soon as the ball crosses into midfield.

The shot clock rule has caused everyone TigerBlog knows to formulate an opinion, and these opinions basically fall into two camps: 1) about time or 2) this is the worst thing that ever happen to the game.

The "about time" group talks about how the pace of the game needs improving, how effective the shot clock has been in the women's game and how Major League Lacrosse has one. They point to what they perceive to be the worst part of the current game, where a team will clear the ball, get it behind the cage, sub off its D middies for O middies while the defense does the opposite and then pass it around once or twice before starting an offense. This is a 30-second process.

The "worst thing ever" group envisions a game now where defenses will play tight zones, offenses won't have enough time to get good opportunities and there will be endless possessions that end with the ball rolled into the corner.

TigerBlog's take? Wait and see.

He didn't think there was anything wrong with the pace of the game, but he had a major problem with the way the shot clock was put on before. It just made it way too subjective for the officials.

And could you call the game the exact same way when it was 2-1 five minutes in and 11-10 with five minutes left? Now all of that subjectivity is gone, which is good. And the last minute of a one-goal game is sort of the same now, minus the part where everyone yells "shot clock."

As for the result, TB isn't sure. If he had to guess, he'd think there will be more possessions, good and bad. Teams are going to have to move quicker than they have in the past, and the teams with the best quarterbacking attackmen - you know, like Michael Sowers - will have an advantage.

Also, the shot clock will lead to more possessions. Will it lead to more goals like it has in the women's game? If it does, then it'll lead to more face-offs, which seems to make FOGOs more important. On the other hand, though, the ability to win a face-off, have a two-minute possession, score and repeat is gone now, so maybe winning face-offs won't have the same impact as in the past.

The shot clock has gotten the most attention. So has the return of the crease dive.

If the point of the rule change is to create more transition, then it's a different rule that's going to do that. It seems innocuous enough - the substitution box is now half the size of what it was.

This, though, is going to make subbing in transition really hard, which is going to lead to more up-and-down and the need for two-way middies. Yes, there will still be a need for shortstick D middies, but they're going to be way more valuable if they can shoot too. The same is true for longstick midfielders.

TigerBlog's biggest fear for all these rules is that they're going to change again in two years with the next cycle. That's the big issue, that the way the game is played is changed radically and then changed radically again and then changed radically again. Let the game breathe now and see what happens.

If nothing else, these rule changes will make next year even more fascinating.

TigerBlog is looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Don't Stop Believing

TigerBlog would not have guessed that the Eagles sold twice as many records as Journey.

He would have thought the Eagles would have edged out Journey perhaps, but not doubled them up. A little research, though, reveals that the Eagles sold 150 million to the 75 million for Journey.

TigerBlog once saw both on the same day, by the way, back in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.

The list of record sales that TB saw also says that AC/DC sold more records than the Rolling Stones. It says nobody sold more than the Beatles.

And have Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber really sold more than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band? The Boss, by the way, is tied with the Bee Gees.

Music is a very subjective thing, of course, though TigerBlog is confident that the music of his youth is way, way, way better than the music of his kids' youth.

What got TB started on this? He heard a Journey song yesterday - Separate Ways - and it started him wondering where a group like Journey stood in the all-time rankings. He considered that the group was close to but not exactly the Eagles, and he stays with that analysis, even if the Eagles outsold them two to one.

Journey does have a claim that TigerBlog has made before. It's TB's contention that there are two songs that are universally loved, two songs of which nobody has ever said "I hate that song."

One of then is "Sweet Caroline," by Neil Diamond, who is right at the midway point in sales between the Eagles and Journey.

The other is "Don't Stop Believing," Journey's No. 1 hit.

TB is pretty sure you were about to sing really loudly "Good times never seemed so good," until you read "Don't Stop Believing," which means that "Hold onto that feeling" will be rolling around your head all day, which is fine.

Speaking of believing, Chad Kanoff made believers out of many in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. Kanoff, who went undrafted after his record-setting year last year as the Princeton quarterback, is in camp with the Arizona Cardinals, who used their No. 1 pick on another quarterback - UCLA's Josh Rosen.

Like Kanoff, Rosen also has a Princeton connection, though not as directly. You may recall that Rosen's mother, Elizabeth (Wiz) Lippincott, was a two-time first-team All-Ivy League lacrosse player at Princeton. She was also the captain of the team in 1982, her senior year.

And she played against Harvard's Chris Sailer, who herself has a long Princeton connection.

Rosen is the quarterback that Arizona is hoping can start right away. Kanoff is looking for a roster spot, or to impress enough in the preseason that another team picks him up in Arizona releases him.

For Day 1, Kanoff looked pretty good. You can see for yourself HERE. And HERE.

Kanoff finished the game going 3 for 5 for 66 yards and the touchdown. His deep ball to fellow rookie Jalen Tolliver, from Arkansas-Monticello, was perfect, though who is Charles Kanoff?

THIS, by the way, is where Tolliver played his home games in college, where he had 30 touchdown receptions in 22 games the last two years. Kanoff, like Tolliver, put up huge collegiate numbers, graduating as Princeton's all-time leading passer and the Ivy League's single-season passing leader.

Both need to battle for a place on the team.

For Kanoff, he is one of four quarterbacks currently on the roster. The other three are very familiar names - and former high draft picks - with Rosen, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon.

Of course, that could work in Kanoff's favor, depending on how much money the veterans Bradford and Glennon are owed. Or, he can just keep playing the way he played the other day.

If you watched Kanoff play at Princeton last year, then you saw that he has the ability to make every throw there is. Translating that to the NFL game, of course, is another story, though TB was surprised that Kanoff went undrafted.

One way to make a team is to make that one play that everyone remembers, the one that says that you can be successful on that level. Kanoff already has that in his back pocket.

It's a long road to becoming an NFL starting quarterback when you're not drafted. Kanoff knows that.

But he's doing what he needs to do to keep himself in the conversation to make his dream come true.

Hey, don't stop believing, right?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hockey In China

TigerBlog continues to rack up miles on his new bike.

One time last week, as he was pedaling along, he happened to notice the last three letters of the license plates of two consecutive cars that went past him. The first was "GPT." The second was "HYP."

That's very Princetonian stuff.

The "GPT?" That's for The "HYP?" You better know that one.

As with any academic year, there figures to be a lot of big games between P and H and Y.

TigerBlog has been watching "Billions," which he thinks is very good, though great. Okay, very, very good. Just not quite great.

Maybe that's because there's a lot of Yale connections, and scenes from the Yale Club, of all places. TigerBlog wonders how many Yale and Princeton alums from the 1950s and 1960s ever imagined a day when both schools would have female Directors of Athletics, as is now the case.

Of course there's also a Princeton mention, and a reference to an eating club in one episode. So there's that.

The 2018-19 athletic year is approaching quickly. Princeton's fall teams will be starting practices this week, and pretty soon a very quiet campus will be exploding with activity.

TigerBlog walked into Jadwin Gym Friday with women's soccer assistant coach Mike Poller. There was very little activity around the Caldwell Field House as they walked in, which, again, will be changing very, very quickly.

TB and Poller were talking about how most of Division I had already started practicing and scrimmaging. Princeton will join in soon, as practice begins tomorrow.

Princeton, of course, is the defending Ivy women's soccer champion. The Tigers reached the NCAA quarterfinals last year, with a gigantic win over North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

Did anyone see that coming 52 weeks ago? Yeah, Princeton figured to be pretty good, but again, the Tigers also had to replace Tyler Lussi, the all-time leading scorer in the sport - for men or women - at Princeton.

One of TB's favorite parts of Princeton Athletics is that you never know from one year to the next what the biggest story is going to be. Heading into this year, it could come from anywhere, any team.

Princeton has won 47 Ivy titles in the last four years. Of Princeton's 33 teams who compete for an Ivy title, there were 25 who won at least one in those four years.

And of course one of the eight who hasn't taken an Ivy title provided the other huge story for Princeton Athletics in 2017-18. That was the men's hockey team, two years removed from a last-place finish in the ECAC, who nevertheless won the ECAC tournament championship last year to advance to the NCAA tournament.

The architect of the turnaround is head coach Ron Fogarty, whose success in four years has been extraordinary. Princeton has gone from a team that knew it would be on the road in the first round of the ECAC playoffs each year to one that can play with anyone in the country.

Princeton men's hockey has become must-see stuff, with an exciting and high-scoring team that scores goals in bunches and is never out of any game. The intensity level at Baker Rink has gone up dramatically of late, and the result has been a championship and NCAA berth long before anyone might have anticipated either.

Fogarty recently returned from spending two weeks in Beijing, where he ran a hockey camp well in advance of the city's role as the host for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. You can read a story about the camp HERE.

In the story, Fogarty talks about what a great experience he had there, along with assistant coach Kevin Moore and former Princeton player Ian McNally, now the head coach at the Hun School of Princeton. There was a second camp later in Shenzhen, run by McNally and current Tiger Alex Riche, whose mother is Chinese. 

Beijing, by the way, will become the first city to host the Summer and Winter Games, after it already had the 2008 Summer Olympics. That's pretty impressive.

In fact, TigerBlog read that the building that hosts the ice hockey events for the 2022 Winter Games will be the same one that hosted the swimming events in 2008. Efficient.

 Closer to home, Princeton will host Forgaty's old team, Division III Adrian, in a scrimmage on Oct. 13. Opening day is at Penn State on Oct. 26.

Fogarty went 167-23-10 at Adrian, and when he came to Princeton, he had the highest winning percentage of any coach in NCAA history. He also knew that wouldn't last, taking over a program that was in need of rebuilding.

It's not easy to walk away from your standing as the best ever. You have to be comfortable and confident and willing to undertake the project, as opposed to simply continuing what you've already built.

The ECAC title shows you what kind of coach Fogarty is. So does his recent trip to China.

They don't ask you to do things like that if your team isn't winning. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Two Weeks Notice

There are two weeks until a big moment around here.

The start of the 2018-19 athletic year? That does start in two weeks, as the 13th-ranked women's soccer team plays at New Hampshire.

That, though, is not what TigerBlog is talking about here. Nope. He's talking instead about the reopening of that tiny little stretch of road between Washington Road and the Jadwin Gym parking lot on Faculty Road that has been closed all summer.

TB mentioned this before, but just that little quarter-mile stretch turns getting to Jadwin into a nightmare. No longer can you simply drive up Washington Road and make the right at the light and zoom into the parking lot.

Nope. There's really no good way to get here now. TigerBlog has spent all summer trying to find the best route, and he's concluded that there isn't one.

It was especially problematic yesterday, when he had a meeting to which he was running late, largely because he rode his bike and thought the meeting started a half-hour later than it did. Of course the fact that it was with Mollie Marcoux Samaan made it a bit more stressful than if it had been with pretty much anyone else in the building.

Anyway, he'd like to apologize to the guy he honked his horn at for stopped in front of him while the bus was next to him, slowing him down by another 45 seconds or so.

Besides, two more weeks and that road reopens. It'll be back to business as usual, which will be tremendous.

As TB said, the athletic year begins in two weeks as well. Another summer flying by, right?

You'd think this summer would be dragging about, since it's been so hot and humid throughout, with more than its share of thunderstorms. But not. August is a third of the way over already.

TigerBlog is often asked if he works in the summer. He does. It's just that there are no events, so it's much quieter in the summer.

It's the dog days of the baseball season, of course. TigerBlog used to be a huge baseball fan, back in the days before he realized that lacrosse existed.

Now he hardly pays attention. He roots for the Phillies because of Tom McCarthy, the former Princeton play-by-play announcer who now does the Phils games on TV.

He looked at the baseball standings yesterday for the first time all year. The American League seems sort of set, no? It'll be a wild card game between either Seattle or Oakland at the Yankees, with the divisions going to the Red Sox, Indians and Astros.

The National League is much closer. The division leads in the AL are by five, nine and 10 games. In the National League, the three division leads combined are just two games. The Phils, though, are in first place, which is good.

There is one team currently outside of the wild card that is within 10 games in the AL. There are six such teams in the National League.

TB listened to the "Politics and Polls" podcast yesterday by Woodrow Wilson School professor Julian Zelizer, who is an Academic Athletic Fellow for the football and men's basketball teams. This edition was entitled "Baseball and the Presidency."

It was with former Presidential speechwriter Curt Smith, and it was pretty good, with some interesting information and some humor. You can listen for yourself HERE.

Here's a trivia question that TB learned from the podcast: William Howard Taft became the first President to throw out the first pitch for a Major League Baseball game, and President Trump has yet to do so. In between, only one President never threw out a first pitch. Can you name him?

TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs.

In the meantime, TB thinks that the Princeton Athletics will be expanding its own podcast offerings this coming fall. The ones that have been done so far have been very well received, and the format is perfect for reaching people who are most interested in getting questions answered and hearing those answers directly from the coach or the athlete or the administrator.

At some point in the near future, Princeton Athletics will have a podcast released each day, at the same time each day. That could possibly be as soon as this winter.

TigerBlog certainly likes doing them. They're informal and informative, which is a very good combination.

Oh, and the answer is Jimmy Carter. 

In the meantime, enjoy your summer weekend. And remember that opening day is creeping up here.

This is your two weeks notice.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Lights On

TigerBlog was walking into Jadwin yesterday when he saw a job he could never do.

There was a guy on a very high lift who was either checking or changing the lights on the Finney-Campbell practice field. Those are the practice fields next to Princeton Stadium.

TB isn't exactly sure how high the top of the light poles get, though he'd guess that, using what he remembers from Mrs. Mancuso's geometry class, they're really, really high. TB isn't a huge fan of heights, something that he's really only overcome once, and that was to zipline from Spain into Portugal two years ago.

Speaking of Mrs. Mancuso, it's been 40 years since he took her geometry class. Geometry was easy for TB, and he remembers his teacher as being pretty nice, pretty fair and pretty challenging.

What's interesting to him is that he still refers to her as "Mrs. Mancuso." He can't imagine that any of the teachers who were there when he was a high school student are still there, but maybe somebody has lasted all this time.

If he were to see any of his high school teachers, would he refer to them as "Mr." and "Mrs.," like he did back then? It would be odd, even now, to refer to them by their first names.

Of course, every teacher he had in high school could come walk in his office door right now and he probably wouldn't recognize any of them.

Meanwhile, back on top of the light poles, TB wouldn't be able to go up to the top of the ladder, let alone fix the lights themselves. He certainly wouldn't have been able to look down while he climbed up, though looking up would be no thrill either.

It was pretty warm to be up on the top of the lift yesterday for whoever was brave enough to do it. TigerBlog will remember that when he walks out of Jadwin one night in a few months, when it's chilly and raining and the football team is out there practicing anyway.

There are 12 NFL preseason games tonight, including TigerBlog's favorite team at New England. The other team he's considering rooting for hosts Atlanta tomorrow night.

While Princeton is still not quite starting practice yet, its season too is just on the horizon. Opening day is Sept. 15 in Indianapolis against Butler, with the home opener one week later against Monmouth.

Princeton has never played either before, so that makes those games more interesting. Monmouth reached the FCS playoffs last year.

There are some fascinating storylines for Princeton football in 2018.

First, there's the defense, which was essentially wiped out by injuries a year ago. TigerBlog cannot remember another team here that has ever been besieged by bad luck the way Princeton's defense was last year, and a repeat of that isn't possible.

Princeton returns players like Kurt Holuba, Mike Wagner and Mark Fossati, who were among the hurt last year, along with the ones who stayed healthy, including four now-sophomore defensive backs and first-team All-Ivy linebacker Tom Johnson.

There's also the matter of the top-ranked recruiting class, not just in the Ivy League but also in all of the FCS. You've heard about incoming quarterback Brevin White, but he is not a one-man class. How many of the others will play right away?

Still, for everything Princeton football has going on heading into the new year, the main story is still the quarterback position. To recap:

* John Lovett was the Ivy League's Bushnell Cup winner as the offensive player of the year in 2016 and a first-team All-America but then missed all of 2017 due to injury
* Chad Kanoff was the 2017 Bushnell Cup winner after he had as good a season as any Ivy quarterback ever has; Kanoff is now with the Arizona Cardinals
 * White turned down basically everyone, most notably Alabama, to come to Princeton

As you know, Princeton loves to use multiple quarterbacks on the field at one time, something it was unable to do last year as much without Lovett. Two years ago, Lovett put up numbers that are extraordinary, including a program-record 20 rushing touchdowns, to go with 10 passing TDs and a receiving TD.

His numbers were ridiculous, but it's not just the touchdowns that mattered during the Tigers' Ivy title run. It's the way he could turn 3rd-and-1 into another set of downs or, even better, on fourth down, when Princeton was an astonishing 15 for 23 in 2016. Plus, just having him on the field with Kanoff together messed with the collective psyche of the defense, which never knew what was coming next.

The question for 2018 is what role will Lovett have? If you want him to do what he did two years ago, then you need another quarterback who can do what Kanoff did. Who is that QB? And is it putting too much pressure on White to expect him to step right into college and perform at a high level?

Anyway, those are some of the issues facing Princeton football in 2018.

The answers will be available soon enough.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Starting At 13

TigerBlog has never, ever had a cup of coffee.

He's told you that before. He knows that the overwhelming majority of people his age can't function until they've had their morning coffee, but he just never got into drinking it.

He's not 100 percent sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the smell?

As TB understands it, Wawa is a big coffee spot for people in the morning. Wawa, by the way, is the name for a convenience store, often accompanied by a gas station. These stores are found almost exclusively in the Mid-Atlantic states, and there are 800 of them in all.

The name comes from a municipality outside Philadelphia that was the site of the original dairy farm to which the company can trace its roots.

TigerBlog read a great story about coffee buying at Wawa yesterday. There was a third-grade teacher in South Jersey who makes a point each week of buying coffee for a stranger at her local Wawa, and when she stumbled on a guy who didn't have any cash last Friday, she immediately jumped in to pay for him.

And who was the guy?

Keith Urban, the country music superstar.
Now that's a cute story.

TigerBlog used to drink a lot of soda, but he's given that up now. These days, his beverage of choice is Hint flavored water. It comes in all kinds of flavors - his favorites are black cherry, cherry and peach.

Where is TigerBlog going with all this? He has no idea.

It's August, after all.

TigerBlog really had no idea what to write about until early afternoon yesterday, when he saw the United Soccer Coaches' Division I women's soccer preseason poll had come out. That gave him some actual Princeton stuff worth discussing.

Princeton is ranked 13th in the preseason, which is a great starting point obviously. Just as obviously, much of that is based on where Princeton finished last year, in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Princeton is the only Ivy League school that is ranked. In fact, Princeton is the only school among ranked teams and those receiving votes, which totals a list of 43 schools.

Does this mean Princeton will soar to the Ivy title without a sweat? Of course not.

Mostly what it means is that Princeton had a great 2017, heading into 2018. And that's clearly the case.

Princeton won the Ivy League championship and then three NCAA tournament games, including the win over North Carolina in the Round of 16 that set up a quarterfinal date at UCLA, where the Tigers would fall 3-1.

Do you watch "PTI" on ESPN? You know the show. On a side note, it's the sports talk commentary show that is by far the best, for a number of reasons.

Anyway, they often have a "Fill in the Blank" segment. Applying that to Princeton women's soccer, you have these two examples:

"The win over North Carolina in the 2017 NCAA Sweet 16 was the ___________________ win in program history."

"The win over Washington in the 2004 NCAA quarterfinal was the ___________________ win in program history."

TigerBlog would go with "best" for the first one and "biggest" for the second.

The one in 2004 was the biggest in that in put Princeton into the Final Four (still the only such appearance by an Ivy school) and also led directly to the construction of Roberts Stadium.

The one last year was the best, because of who North Carolina is in the sport. The Tar Heels have won 21 NCAA titles and have dominated women's soccer to a greater degree than UConn has dominated women's basketball.

Princeton began the 2005 season ranked 21st but did not repeat its success of the previous year, due largely to the graduation of a huge senior class. The 2005 Tigers went 5-2 in the league and had the league's Player of the Year (Emily Behncke), but the team did not win the league or get to the NCAA tournament.

The 2018 Tigers do not have the graduation losses that the 2005 team had to deal with (of the 44 goals Princeton scored last year, Princeton returns players who accounted for 37 of them), but there will still be plenty of challenges. Princeton is chasing its third Ivy title in four years, and only Princeton or Harvard has won the league championships since 2010.

Opening day for the women's soccer team, and for Princeton Athletics in 2018-19, is a little more than two weeks away. The first Ivy game is Sept. 22 at Yale, by which time Princeton will have played eight non-league games, including a rematch of the NCAA second-round game against North Carolina State, which will be on Myslik Field on Sept. 2.

Starting at 13 is nice. It's a statement about where the program is and the respect the Tigers have earned.

In the end, of course, it's not about where you start.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


TigerBlog received a few responses to his suggestion that he find a new NFL team to root for yesterday, since he's giving up on the Giants because they didn't hire Marc Ross as their GM.

One suggestion was the Jets, though that came with the disclaimer that "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." Another didn't really offer a solution, just a warning label about rooting for the Redskins as long as Dan Snyder owns the team.

"The days of Joe Gibbs are over," it said.

TigerBlog covered a few NFL preseason games and wrote some training camp stories during his newspaper days, when the overwhelming majority of what he covered was high schools (1983-89) or college (1989-94).

He never wanted to cover pro sports. They seemed too, well, professional. He's confident that he found the right place for himself, Princeton University, long ago.

Before he ever covered a Princeton game, though, he definitely enjoyed his time on the high school beat. He wrote a lot about schools in Bucks County, Pa., never really imagining that both of his kids would one day play for and against those teams he was covering, primarily in a sport - lacrosse - that he knew nothing about back then.

Most of the high school stuff he covered, though, was in Mercer County, the county that includes Princeton, the state capital of Trenton and a high school sports-crazed town called Hamilton. There's a charm to covering high schools, and TB covered a lot of great games played by a lot of great athletes under the watch of a lot of great coaches in those years.

He saw a lot of familiar faces from those days yesterday at the funeral of George O'Gorman, a long-time sportswriter for the Trentonian. In a world where major cities no longer have multiple newspapers that print each day, the city of Trenton continues to print two papers - the Trentonian and the Times of Trenton.

That's a shocking situation in the current media climate, and it's another story for another day. The short version is that TigerBlog thinks that much of it is driven by the market for high school sports coverage in the area.

George O'Gorman - "Oge" to everyone who knew him, which meant pretty much everyone in Mercer County - spent more than 40 years covering high school sports, though he did much more than that, including covering the Giants during much of that time.

In addition to writing, he was active in just about everything that went on in local youth and high school sports, especially in soccer.

TigerBlog isn't sure when he first met Oge. It was definitely early on. He knows they covered a lot of the same games way back when.

Everyone liked Oge, and everyone respected how hard he worked. There's nobody who can dispute that. He covered a lot of games, often on the same day.

He cared deeply about the athletes and their experience, and he did whatever he could to help them. He had so many behind-the-scenes jobs that TB can't be certain of what they all were. He definitely was involved at Mercer County Park.

He covered some Princeton games through the years. His cousin, Joe O'Gorman, covered a lot more of the Tigers than Oge did before he recently retired. TB saw Joe briefly at the funeral, and it's always good to see him. Like his cousin, he's one of the good guys.

The funeral yesterday was a who's who of people who have covered sports in Mercer County, including Joe. Among those who currently cover the Tigers regularly, Bob Nuse was there. So was Bill Alden. And Kyle Franko.

Ray Clark was there. He and TigerBlog go back to his first day in the newspaper business.

There were many others. The common denominator was that they all liked Oge.

He was a hard guy not to like. He was a big man with a deep voice. He was one of those guys who knew everyone but who always made it seem like you were special to him.

He had a stroke a few years ago and had been battling health issues since. It was Joe who told TB that Oge wasn't doing well a few weeks ago, and then TB saw of his death first from Tom McCarthy, the former Princeton football and basketball announcer who mentioned Oge's passing during a Phillies' telecast.

Oge was 73 when he died.

Maybe the changing media world will eventually catch up with Trenton too, and one or both of the papers will cease to print. It'll be a sad day if it ever comes to that.

As for the glory days, they were back in the 1980s for TB. He'd go to a game, and there'd usually be someone from the Trentonian there as well. Often it was George O'Gorman, and when it was, TB knew he'd be getting a very nice, very genuine "how are you" from the man everyone called Oge.

The world of local sports has lost a really, really good man.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Let's Go Someone Other Than The Giants

TigerBlog is loving his new bike.

It's tremendous. Either that, or his old bike was such a piece of, um, low-end that anything would seem like an amazing improvement.

TigerBlog's original bike cost $80 at Target. It has a lot of miles on it, that's for sure.

His new one cost $700. He did some research and found the right brand, and then he bought one a few levels up from their intro model.

He is, of course, left to wonder what the $2,000 models are like to ride.

TigerBlog's car recently decided that at 115,000 miles, the transmission had gone far enough, leaving TB with the choice to either dump $4,000 into fixing the old one or getting out from under it and buying a new one. Or, in the case of what he eventually did, a pre-owned one.

As he rides his new bike, it dawns on him that to buy the car, he went to one dealer and drove two cars, choosing one. When it came to buying the bike, he went to three places, rode five bicycles and bought one.

While TigerBlog was churning out miles on his new bike this weekend, his colleague Warren Croxton was in Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame induction of Brian Dawkins, the longtime Philadelphia Eagles great.
Now you have to be a serious fan to do that.

TigerBlog didn't pay that close attention to the ceremony at all. He knows that Ray Lewis was inducted. He's always felt like Ray Lewis - the on-field Ray Lewis - was similar to Ronnie Lott, the former San Francisco 49ers safety, in that TB thought they were both vastly overrated.

It's not that they were bad players or anything. It's just that it seems like every highlight of them is a late hit or cheap shot and that they were both overinflated by the media.

Then there is the opinion of Ross Tucker, at one time a Princeton defensive lineman who became an offensive lineman who became a longtime NFL offensive lineman and is now one of the best in football media.

Hey, he must be doing something right. He has 182,000 Twitter followers.

Ross, who is a very loyal former Tiger, Tweeted this about Lewis:
So, yeah, that means something.

The NFL preseason began with the Hall of Fame game last week. TigerBlog didn't watch any of it.

He did finish Season 6 of "Orange Is The New Black," which he will sum up this way: The first 10 minutes of the first episode were borderline unwatchable, there were too many new characters who added nothing and the last three or four episodes weren't bad.

TigerBlog needs a new series to watch. He's started "Billions," which is off to a good start.

He also needs a new NFL team to root for, he thinks.

TigerBlog has only ever rooted for one NFL team, the New York Giants. He started out as a fan when they were awful in the 1970s, and he's stayed a fan through four Super Bowl wins, three of which came when the team was a dramatic, unthinkable underdog.

TigerBlog's two favorite NFL players have been Giants' quarterbacks, Phil Simms and Eli Manning. The only jersey he ever bought was back in the early 1980s, when he owned a Lawrence Taylor jersey.

Now, though, he's done with the Giants. His only allegiance left to the team is Manning, and he only has a few more years left.

So why the animus?

It has nothing to do with how bad the team was last year. It has nothing to do with how insufferable Odell Beckham Jr. is. It has nothing to do with any of the other nonsense the team has.

It has to do with loyalty.

Given the opportunity to hire Princeton alum Marc Ross as its GM, the Giants instead let him go. That's unforgivable to TigerBlog.

No Marc Ross. No TigerBlog.

Marc Ross was a great wide receiver at Princeton, and he still holds a few school records, most notably yards per reception in a season (20.2 in 1993). He also answered the phones at basketball games. TB has stayed in touch with Ross through the years and rooted hard for him. He's smart. He's experienced. He's helped build two Super Bowl champions.

Anyway, TigerBlog is done with the Giants because of how they treated Ross. It's that simple.

In fact, he won't wear his Giants' sweatshirt anymore. Or his Giants' longsleeve T.

The NFL now goes down the path of its four weeks of preseason games, followed by the start of the 2018 season. The Philadelphia Eagles, for the first time since 1961, enter the season as the defending NFL champ.

TigerBlog doesn't mind the Eagles, but he can't exactly jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon, can he?

No, he's pretty sure his new team will be the Washington Redskins.

That was MotherBlog's team. She was more into the Redskins than TB was ever into the Giants. She loved John Riggins almost as much as she loved Steve McQueen.

Yeah. The Redskins it is.

Or whatever team is smart enough to hire Marc Ross.