UCF Sports publisher Brandon Helwig joined the show Saturday to talk about the UCF men’s basketball team overcoming NCAA sanctions, the program’s upcoming recruiting class, the dwindling crowds at games the past couple seasons, the impact A.J. Rompza had on the fanbase, and upcoming home games against Cincinnati and Temple.
(The following story is an alternate version of what will appear in the Jan. 9, 2014 edition of OrrViews in Orrville, Ohio)
ORLANDO, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Hannah Plybon to showcase the kind of impact she could have at the highest level of college basketball.
On the heels of successful runs in three different sports during her senior year at Orrville High School in Ohio, Plybon made an immediate impression on coaches and teammates upon her arrival at the University of Akron.
Plybon worked her way into the starting lineup as a freshman before her rookie season ever got underway, on a team featuring six seniors that had returned from a 23-win campaign.
Plybon has since blossomed into a leader at Akron, on a squad that opened the 2014-15 season by winning its first 10 games.
She’s now less than a year removed from being named to the All-MAC Freshman Team after starting 32 of 33 games for the Lady Zips, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament and won the Mid-American Conference for the first time in school history.
Not bad for someone hailing from small-town America, where the pride of being hometown to former college coach Bobby Knight and a jelly manufacturer is offset by two decades worth of factories closing shop and families relocating elsewhere.
A friend from back home succumbed to a long illness earlier this week and I felt it was only right to dedicate this week’s edition of Carnahan Chronicles radio to his memory. See you when we get there, Jason Vann.
This week the show got underway with talk about the opening round of the high school football playoffs in Florida and the lone remaining girls volleyball team from the area still playing for a state title. I also gave mention to the UCF women’s soccer team hosting a match this weekend in the first round of the NCAA postseason and interviewed Valencia Voice editor-in-chief Danny Morales about UCF football’s win Friday over Tulsa.
Producer Chris Vazquez joined me to talk about the biggest college and pro football games of the weekend, but the conversation took a bit of a turn each segment as we zeroed in on a couple topics that’ve created debate in our respective circles.
The first was whether the Florida State-Miami game is an even bigger rivalry for fans of the Seminoles than Florida State-Florida. The other was whether the Cleveland Browns should invest in Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel as the franchise’s quarterback of the future. Not sure we came to a clear conclusion, but talking it out is a good step in the right direction.
Did you see the College Football Playoff rankings that were released Tuesday? Looks like there’ll be plenty to complain about by the time this whole thing concludes at the end of the regular season. Quick question: Will Nebraska (8-1) or Duke (8-1) ever crack the Top 10? They’ll likely need to win their conferences for that to happen. Here’s the updated Carnahan Chronicles College Football Rankings…
#1 (1) Florida State (9-0) – Won 34-20 vs Virginia
#2 (2) Mississippi State (9-0) – Won 45-16 vs Tennessee-Martin
#3 (4) Oregon (9-1) – Won 51-27 at No. 17 Utah
#4 (5) Alabama (8-1) – Won 20-13 at No. 16 LSU
#5 (10) Baylor (8-1) – Won 48-14 at No. 15 Oklahoma
#6 (6) TCU (8-1) – Won 41-20 vs No. 7 Kansas State
#7 (–) Arizona State (8-1) – Won 55-31 vs No. 10 Notre Dame
#8 (–) Ohio State (8-1) – Won 49-37 at No. 8 Michigan State
#9 (3) Auburn (7-2) – Lost 41-38 vs Texas A&M
#10 (–) UCLA (8-2) – Won 44-30 at Washington
Go ahead, try to wrap your head around what took place last Saturday in the wild world of college football. A total of eight teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 suffered losses while three others suffered setbacks in Top 25 matchups. Needless to say, the Carnahan Chronicles College Football Rankings tumbled in spectacular fashion. But we’re back to pick up the pieces and add some new names and faces, of which many will surely fall in the coming weeks. Consider this a Top 10 dedicated to momentum each week based off level of upsets and voting by the AP:
#1 (1) Florida State (5-0) – Won 43-3 vs Wake Forest
#2 (2) Auburn (5-0) – Won 41-7 vs No. 15 LSU
#3 (8) Mississippi State (5-0) – Won 48-31 vs No. 6 Texas A&M
#4 (–) Mississippi (5-0) – Won 23-17 vs No. 3 Alabama
#5 (–) TCU (4-0) – Won 37-33 vs No. 4 Oklahoma
#6 (–) Notre Dame (5-0) – Won 17-14 vs No. 14 Stanford
#7 (–) Arizona (5-0) – Won 31-24 at No. 2 Oregon
#8 (3) Oregon (4-1) – Lost 31-24 vs Arizona
#9 (6) Alabama (4-1) – Lost 23-17 at No. 11 Mississippi
#10 (9) Michigan State (4-1) – Won 27-22 vs No. 19 Nebraska
On Saturday Chris Vazquez and I talked about Major League Baseball’s postseason as well as upcoming college football and National Football League games. Vazquez also provided his weekly picks for fantasy football players and Baltimore Orioles fan Ryan McCall joined us to talk about his visit to Camden Yards on Friday.
UConn’s improbable run to the NCAA men’s basketball national title was more than a historical feat that wrapped up another March Madness on Monday in front of more than 70,000 spectators in Arlington, Texas.
It was a begrudging battle between right and wrong. Between good and evil. Between overwhelming expectations and equally underwhelming expectations.
While Connecticut became the first 7-seed to ever claim the championship with a 60-54 win over No. 8 Kentucky, college basketball fans went to bed at ease knowing all things in the world of college hoops were briefly back to normal.
UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, in just his second season, outgunned controversial counterpart John Calipari in his first trip to The Dance as the main man in charge.
I’m historically mediocre at filling out March Madness brackets. But I do it ever year, just as I’ve become programed to do over the past three decades. For most sports fans it adds a little more flare to the wild and unpredictable opening rounds of the tournament.
This time I waited until the last minute to fill one out. I wasn’t tempted to wager a single penny on it either, for the first time in years. And then I started to wonder what could have been after watching as my Final Four, and seven of my Elite Eight selections, remained intact entering Thursday and Friday’s Sweet 16.