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Behind the Mic – January 4th

January 15, 2013 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

2013 is upon us, so I thought I would take one last look at the top 10 national sports stories, in my opinion, for 2012:

10.       Tiger Woods wins again, but not very often.

9.         Peyton Manning released by the Colts; he has a great year with the Broncos.

8.         Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Gabby Douglas make the London Olympic Games very special.

7.         Lance Armstrong stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

6.         Replacement refs in the NFL – How did that work out?  They were replaced after Week 3 debacle with Green Bay and Seattle.

5.         Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck become the most exciting rookies to play in the NFL in a long, long time.

4.         Notre Dame ends college football’s regular season #1, undefeated, and becomes a very relevant football program once again.

3.         Lehigh beats Duke in NCAA basketball (enough said).  Kentucky wins championship with freshmen and sophomores.

2.         College football playoffs in the BCS are approved for 2014. Top four teams  will compete.  You just know it will expand in the future.

And the #1 story:

  1. 1.      NCAA imposes on Penn State a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a reduction of scholarships, imposes a five-year probation, and vacates all wins from 1998-2011.  Overkill?  Joe Paterno dies.         

 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1.                  On Sunday night in Washington, do you think there was more interest in the “fiscal cliff” or the Washington-Dallas NFL football game?

2.                  All four Wild Card games this coming weekend look like tossups to me. 

3.                  Having done four high school basketball games before the holiday break, I think this might be a very, very competitive and exciting year.  Although, looking back, I think I say that every year.

4.                  Happy New Year to everyone, but especially to Mike Joseph, John Leone, Tom Stoudt, Scott Barr, and John Bowman!  I spend a great deal of time in the booths and at courtside with those guys and thoroughly enjoy their company each time!

5.                  In 2012, I lost my 97-year-old mother and my 96-year-old father-in-law.  There will be a large void in 2013.

 NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 12-4 )  (  83-49 for the season – 64% )

HOUSTON

GREEN BAY

 

INDIANAPOLIS

WASHINGTON

Behind the Mic – January 7th

January 7, 2013 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

As I offered up my sports highlights for 2012 last week, I decided to venture into the world of New Year’s resolutions this week.  I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile other than “Play more golf”, so I decided to research the most common resolutions and see if  I would be able to fulfill them.  In no particular order, I found these:

1.    Drink less alcohol.  Check!  No problem for me.  I drink some red wine because I heard it is good for my health, but only in moderation and not very often.  Oh – and I also have an occasional mixed drink.  That’s it.

2.   Eat healthy food.  Impossible!  If you travel from gym to gym and stadium to stadium, I defy you to find healthy food.  By my count, I have devoured  approximately 8,000 hot dogs, 4,000 Diet Cokes, and 1,000 candy bars on the job. 

3.   Get a better job.  Unnecessary!  If you exclude the eating problems (see #2), there is no better job.

4.   Get fit.  See #2 (again).

5.    Lose weight.  Ha!  Have you seen #2?

6.   Save money.  I can do that.

7.   Manage debt.  Check!  It’s managed.

8.   Manage stress.  I was fine until I started to think about #2!!  Now I am hoping to live through 2013.

9.   Quit smoking.  Can’t.  Never started.

10.    Take a trip.  If you insist.

 Wow!  My resolutions could all be resolved if I would just eliminate hot dogs!  No hot dog – no need for the Diet Coke and no need to take a trip to the snack bar.  Therefore,  no candy bars.  I have four games this week so I’ll get back to you on that NO hot dog thing!

 


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

 

1.  If Philadelphia fans need any help in how to wallow in their misery after the 2012 seasons of the 76ers, the Phillies and the Eagles, they need to look no further than the Cleveland fans for help.  The Cavs have been a non-entity since LeBron left.  The Indians finished 20 games out of first place and the Browns were dead last in the AFC North.

2.  Match the bowl game to the sponsor and the winner (I bet you can’t get two  right)

                 1.      Rose                a.  AT&T         A.  Oregon

                 2.      Cotton              b.  Discover      B.  Texas A&M

                 3.      Orange             c.  Allstate        C.  Fla. State

                 4.      Sugar               d.  Tostitos       D.  Stanford

                 5.      Fiesta               e.  Vizio            E.  Louisville

3.  The Kansas City Chiefs can save money on new coaching gear for Andy Reid.  He should be able to wear Romeo Crennell’s stuff.  Just sayin’.

4.  Golfing in Hawaii should be wonderful.  This past weekend, I saw rain and wind like I have never seen in a golf tournament.  On Sunday, it was sunny, but so windy that the balls were blowing off the tees as the players were preparing to drive, and off the greens as the players were getting ready to putt.  It was a strange way to start the season.  So they didn’t.  Postponed everything until Monday.

5.  I saw “Silver Linings Playbook” over the holidays.  Terrific movie, although a few moviegoers laughed at some awkward moments (manic-depression is not funny).  Robert DeNiro is great as an Eagles fan.

 Answers to #2:

                  1 – e – D

                  2 – a – B

                  3 – b – C

                  4 – c – E

                  5 – d – A

 


 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 2-2)  (85-51 for the season – 63%)

 

  • DENVER
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • ATLANTA
  • NEW ENGLAND

Behind the Mic – December 26th

December 20, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

The NFL is considering expanding the regular season and/or expanding the number of playoff participants.  Is this really necessary?  The great thing about the NFL as opposed to the NHL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball is that the regular season games have tremendous importance.  A 16 game schedule puts greater importance on an NFL regular season game than any of the regular season games of the other three major sports.  Should the consideration be about the quality and importance of the games or the quantity and the financial gain of the product?  I would like to think it is the former.

By expanding the regular season to 18 games or allowing 16 teams into the playoffs, the quality of play will most likely decrease and, certainly, the quality of the teams making the playoffs will certainly decrease.  Do we really want half of the league in playoff games, with some carrying a .500 or lower record?  Last year, the Cardinals, Titans, Bears, and Chargers would have gotten in.  Three of the four did not have winning records.

Isn’t this really the problem with the college football bowl system?  There are currently 35 Bowl games allowing 70 college football teams into the postseason – 70!!  That is a ridiculous number and has watered down the interest to almost nil until the major bowls are played.  Sure, it works for ESPN, but does it really create more interest from the average fan?  It does not.

There is no better sports product in the world than the NFL.  Why?  The regular season games are important; the playoff games and the way they are scheduled are perfect; and the Super Bowl is the “greatest spectacle in sports”.  Diluting the product will undoubtedly make more money, but in the long run, it will, also, dilute interest.

I know the only constant is change, but it is not always for the better – Leave the NFL alone!

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. With the Newtown shooting, it was very difficult to watch the news this weekend and then try to enjoy regular programming.  The topical shows like Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc. just did not seem right for the moment.  Laughing was difficult.
  2.  I taught school for almost 30 years and was on the school safety committee.  About 15 years ago, I was asked to go into a classroom, ask a young man to come out in the hallway with his gym bag, and search the bag for a weapon.  Bringing a weapon to school back then was unthinkable.  I thought this was a total waste of time.  In the bag was a REAL gun and the police were called.  The student was being bullied and brought the gun to school to feel safer.  That was 15 years ago. I never forgot that day!  This week made that memory more vivid again.
  3. I mentioned last week that our playoff football teams all lost to bigger, stronger Philadelphia private schools.  I said we, therefore, needed to get bigger and stronger.  Well, none of the schools that beat our schools won the state championship playoff games (some did not even get there).  Our schools need to get MUCH bigger and MUCH stronger.
  4. High school basketball started last week.  Two of our four games went overtime.  An exciting start to what should be an exciting year.  Lots of parity.
  5. No blog next week so HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY WEEK!  (I will make my NFL picks, however).
 

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 11-5 )  (  94-84 for the season – 64% )

  • CINCINNATI
  • ATLANTA
  • HOUSTON
  • GIANTS
  • BUFFALO
  • TENNESSEE
  • PITTSBURGH
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • CHICAGO
  • SEATTLE
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SAN DIEGO
  • DENVER
  • GREEN BAY
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • WASHINGTON

Behind the Mic – December 12th

December 13, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

I know this blog is called “Behind the Mike”, but this week it would be better titled, “Behind The Computer”.  I thought you might be interested in how news and sports people find some of the stories that they report.  You probably often wonder how a reporter went out and found some of the unique stories and people that make up their columns, their TV reports, their radio interviews.  Well, many times, those stories just come to them.

Each week, I am offered some “wonderful opportunity” (their words, not mine) to interview a person on a variety of subjects.  Since I am basically a play-by-play broadcaster and our local programming is limited in scope, those anonymous press agents are seeking out the wrong person.  However, I always find their proposals quite interesting.  Let me share the last ten I have gotten and, by the way, these have come in just this past week.  The comments in parentheses are mine:

  1. Undercover Agent’s Life Made into a Movie  (I have seen this movie many times)
  2. College Basketball Returns  (I never thought it wouldn’t)
  3. Freshman Wins Heisman  (This would be the same person who wanted to discuss the return of college basketball – see #2.  Like me, he, also, reads the paper and watches TV)
  4. A Legend’s Journey – The Life of Jake “The Snake” Roberts – Former Professional Wrestler   (Is “The Snake” really a legend?)
  5. Top 12 Amusement Parks for the Holidays   (I would rather know how to afford them)
  6. Life Threatening Results of Concussions   (I already knew head injuries could be dangerous).
  7. Thuzio – The Ultimate Fan Experience – With Tiki Barber   (Play flag football with a football player; have dinner with an NFL player, etc. – Doesn’t this sound like it would be very, very expensive?)
  8. Sports From a Woman’s Perspective   (I get this message from my wife EVERY weekend!)
  9. New Year’s Revolution – What You Were Born To Do   (So this person was born to tell others what they were born for?  Huh?)
  10. Non-surgical Facelift Uses Sound, Not Scalpel, To Help Smooth Away the Years… in Minutes   (My personal favorite)

So, in conclusion, #10 is my favorite.  I think, before I entertain the idea of having this person on my show, I will hold an iPod up to my face for a week.  I wish I knew what sound works the best.

Let me get back to you on this one!!


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Our local football teams were all eliminated from the state playoffs by the Philadelphia Catholic schools.  This has been happening with very few exceptions every year since the Catholic schools became part of the PIAA.  The big difference seems to be the linemen.  We need to get bigger and stronger to compete.
  2. Would it be wrong if Penn State played Ohio State in a Bowl game and the money would go to charity?
  3. It sure looks like there will be a Manny Pacquiao-Juan Marquez #5 after Pacquiao was knocked out cold this past weekend.  Just let these two fight every six months.  By the way, the replay is on HBO this Saturday.
  4. The Phillies, with this week’s trades, seem quite serious about contending again.  The deals look very good right now (but it is December).
  5. Got this offer this week -Jan. 7–BCS National Championship Bowl (Notre Dame-Alabama). Tickets start at $1,450.00. I also have a 20 Person Suite!  Interested??

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week- 9-7)  (73-43 for the season – 63%)

  • CINCINNATI
  • GREEN BAY
  • GIANTS
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • ST. LOUIS
  • WASHINGTON
  • MIAMI
  • DENVER
  • HOUSTON
  • SAN DIEGO
  • SEATTLE
  • DETROIT
  • DALLAS
  • OAKLAND
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • JETS

Behind the Mic – December 5th

December 5, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

I love my job.  Make no mistake about it.  In the past few weeks, I have been able to watch our local high school football teams compete for a conference championship, a District title, and make a run for a state championship.

In addition, I was able to broadcast the 148th edition of the Lafayette-Lehigh football game and begin the college basketball season with two upset victories by the Lafayette men’s team.  Right around the corner is another season of high school and college basketball which will quickly take me through the winter and into March Madness.  It’s the best.

There is one night a year, however, that is even better.  It is the night that I co-host the Dream Come True Telethon.  On Monday, December 10, we will do the Telethon for the 27th year.  I have not hosted all of them, but in the early years, I made sure I was a guest on the show.  The Dream Come True organization, in case you did not know, was founded in 1984 by Kostas Kalogeropoulous, a local businessman.  The goal of the organization is simple – fulfill the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically, and terminally ill and reside in the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Children are referred by family, friends, clergy, doctors, social workers, etc. and the dreams usually fall into three categories – trips, contact with celebrities, and special gifts (computers, shopping sprees, for example).

Scott Barr and I have been hosting together for many, many years.  He handles the auction area and, boy, is he terrific!  If you watch HSN or any of the other television all-day shopping channels, just watch Scott do his thing during the four-hour night.  He is as good as, if not better, than the professionals.

There is always a variety of unique items donated by local businesses as well as our friends in the cable TV world like ESPN, WWE, Comcast SportsNet, NHL Network, and others.  If you want something really unique and not found in any store, tune in and bid on the items.  You’ll make Scott’s night.

Perla Lopez Baray of WFMZ brings some much-needed youth, beauty, and professionalism to the set doing many interviews with the children who have had their dreams fulfilled.  She is a pleasure to have as part of the team.

We have moved the venue this year to the Outlets at Sands.  It is an exciting location and we welcome the new “digs” after a great run at the Westgate Mall.  We anticipate much more foot traffic which hopefully will mean much more direct giving from people doing some holiday shopping or stopping by to see us.

The important facts are:

The Date:                     Monday, December 10

The Time:                     6:00 – 10:00 PM

The Location:             The Outlets at Sands

On The Television:    Channels 4 and 1004 in HD

The Purpose:               To fulfill as many hopes, dreams and fantasies for seriously, chronically, and terminally ill children as possible

The Phone Number to Bid or Make a Donation:        1-800-749-8099

Phone line is only active during the live television program

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Tiger Woods and Maria Sharapova were the two most searched athletes on Yahoo! in 2012.  I am wondering if interest in either centered around golf or tennis!
  2. The Dallas Cowboys beat out the Yankees as the top searched Sports Teams.  Maybe the Cowboys really are America’s team – they are not mine; and neither are the Yankees!!  Does that make me anti-American?
  3. You are an NFL GM and could pick one player for your franchise QB from these two – Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.  Who would you pick?
  4. Doesn’t it seem like 50% of all major college football teams play a bowl game?
  5. Can you admit that you really love the song, Gangnam Style?  Listen to it and try to stay still and not smile.  Bet you can’t!!

 


 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 11-5)  (64-36 for the season – 64%)

  • DENVER
  • WASHINGTON
  • CLEVELAND
  • PITTSBURGH
  • INDIANAPOLIS
  • JACKSONVILLE
  • CHICAGO
  • ATLANTA
  • TAMPA BAY
  • BUFFALO
  • CINCINNATI
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • GIANTS
  • SEATTLE
  • GREEN BAY
  • NEW ENGLAND

Behind the Mic – November 29th

November 29, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

I am not a die-hard hockey fan.  But, I miss the NHL!  More than two months of the season have already been lost due to the labor dispute and the lockout.  Hockey, to me, although it does not have the stature of NFL football, major league baseball, or NBA basketball, is still one of the major professional sports in America.  It did bring in $3.3 billion last year.  In addition, take away the NFL and I think hockey has the most rabid fans in all of professional sports.

I do not watch or attend hockey on a regular basis, but there is something about the sport that always intrigues me when going around the dial.  It is one of the few sporting events that causes me to pause and watch, no matter which teams are playing.  There is the anticipation of the potential for violence and an almost surreal curiosity in the skills that the players exhibit.    It is an excellent television event.

And yet, if you go to a hockey game, the sport becomes, for me, at least one of the few competitions that is better to view LIVE than watching on TV.  A great deal of action takes place away from the puck that a viewer at home might miss.  There is a unique “silence” as the players skate around the rink to an almost inaudible “shooshing”.  Throw a big bang into the boards and the intensity of the action has you enthralled.  And the fans!!  The decibel level is incredible; the intensity shocking; and the involvement without compare.

So why are we left with no hockey?  The issues are division of revenue, salary arbitration, and free-agency.  These terms are not new to professional sports.  The NFL, NBA, and MLB have all dealt with the same issues.  And they have resolved them!  It seems that the NHL is very, very close to not having a season at all.  The New Year’s Day Winter Classic is gone, over 450 games gone, and there is no resolution in sight.  Still, January hockey would be better than no hockey.  Owners and players need to return to the table.  They owe it to the fans!

As the famous philosopher, Larry the Cable Guy, says – “Get ‘er done!”

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Parkland, Central Catholic, and Pen Argyl all won their first round state football games this past weekend.  Two of the three (Parkland and Pen Argyl) now take on the dreaded Philadelphia Catholic schools out of District
  2. History shows that this is the end of the line for our AAAA and AA football.  Central would face Archbishop Wood next week if they win.  They put up 70 points on the Vikings last year in a similar scenario.  Can we finally reverse the trend?  Tune in.
  3. Did we watch Andy Reid’s last game as an Eagles coach this past week?  An awful team beat an awful team.
  4. I was going around the dial the other night and a Joan Rivers stand-up comedy special was on Showtime.  It was hilarious, irreverent, and, at times, filthy.  I was just amazed by her energy, her ability to deliver the lines, and her captivating style.  How old is she?  Really, how old??  It did not matter.
  5. Notre Dame vs either Alabama or Georgia for the national championship in college football.  The ratings will be record-breaking for this one as far as college football is concerned.  The games got it right this year – no computer, no old men in a room, and no playoff needed.
  6. Is there anyone right now who thinks they have a good handle on not only the Super Bowl champion, but which two teams will even get to the game?  With injuries, upsets, and poor coaching decisions, it is anybody’s guess unless, of course, you just know it will be YOUR team.

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 7-9)  (53-31 for the season – 63%)

  •  ATLANTA
  • CHICAGO
  • GREEN BAY
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • JETS
  • CAROLINA
  • DETROIT
  • BUFFALO
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • HOUSTON
  • DENVER
  • BALTIMORE
  • CLEVELAND
  • CINCINNATI
  • DALLAS
  • WASHINGTON

Behind the Mic – Nov. 20th

November 20, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

Rivalry – competition for one objective; superiority on the same field.”

Around an hour prior to the 148th edition of the Lafayette-Lehigh football game, a press release was handed to me with this headline:

LAFAYETTE TO HOST 150TH MEETING AT YANKEE STADIUM

Same objective; spectacular field!

Probably my reaction was much like people across the nation who see anything with the name “Yankee” attached to it: you either love it or hate it. I must admit I had very ambiguous feelings towards the announcement myself. I loved it and (well, hate is a very strong word) I had some misgivings, mostly selfish ones. Allow me to explain:

I love it because the game deserves it. It is college football’s most played rivalry. This game was an integral part of a “rugby to American football” transition. This past Saturday kept an uninterrupted series going that began in 1884. It is known as The Rivalry. Lafayette actually started football first, two years prior to Lehigh. When they met for the first time, on October 25, 1884, Lafayette won 50-0. They played again three weeks later and Lafayette won 34-4. All in all, the neighbors have gone “at it” 148 times.

I love it because it will be great for the players. For two schools that are only 17 miles apart, traveling to play at such a historical site will be a memory they will cherish forever. My guess, too, is that the players who went before will vicariously live out the experience through the 2014 roster.

I love it because of the exposure it gives to two schools that do things the right way – academics first and athletics second. Even with football scholarships coming next year, the promise is that the academic standards will not change. I have no reason to doubt that the current admission requirements will be upheld. That is first and foremost what these two schools are about.

So, what’s not to like? The game holds a special place in my broadcasting resume. Much like the players and coaches, I circle this one on my calendar and, no matter what the records of the respective schools, I truly look forward to doing the play-by-play for this one. The audience is larger, the expectations (at least mine) are higher, the tension is greater, and I have my own streak of doing the game to maintain. Did I mention my reasons for some misgivings were personal? I fully expect this game to take on even greater national interest and, therefore, be cast into the national limelight – can ESPN read this? That means THEM, NOT ME!!

DAMN YANKEES!!

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1.  The personal alcohol carry limit for tailgating at the Lafayette-Lehigh game on Saturday was 144 ounces and it had to be in bottles or cans. It seems to me that it would be very difficult to drink 144 ounces of anything and not spend almost the entire game in the restroom. I arrived at the game at 10:30 AM and could have sworn I noticed a few people who had already consumed their limit.
  2. Alabama, Oregon, and Kansas State lose in the last two weeks, thrusting Notre Dame into the #1 spot in the college football rankings and Alabama bounces right back to #2. Maybe this “prayer thing” at Notre Dame works.
  3. Watching the Eagles on Sunday, I get the feeling Andy Reid is resigned to being resigned.
  4. Did you notice I went 13-1 this past week in my pro picks!! DAMN JETS!!!
  5. I will be with my family on Thanksgiving. I hope you are all with yours. Happy Thanksgiving!

 


 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 13-1) (46-22 overall for the season – 68%)

  • HOUSTON
  • DALLAS
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • CHICAGO
  • CINCINNATI
  • PITTSBURGH
  • BUFFALO
  • DENVER
  • SEATTLE
  • ATLANTA
  • TENNESSEE
  • BALTIMORE
  • ARIZONA
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • GREEN BAY
  • PHILADELPHIA

 

Behind the Mic – Nov. 14th

November 16, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

“From time to time, I will probably get particularly irritated or, hopefully, excited with events outside of sports and feel compelled to say something.” This is what I said in my very first Blog. Today is one of those days when I am “excited.”

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc..

I am beginning to believe the “Social Network” has no boundaries and, in the next few years will totally control our relationships (if it doesn’t already). Well, I wish I were young again.

Every day, I receive at least 10 requests for me to “accept” someone as my “friend” on Facebook or to be “linked in” to someone’s professional career. All of my friends “tweet”, although I have not quite caught on to this phenomenon, primarily because of my age. Now I am told that, if I just get “with it”, I could get a great deal of instantaneous news and information. My grandson, who is in the research business, tells me he gets information faster from Twitter than he gets from the news.

Having been a teacher for almost 30 years and having been before the public eye as a television broadcaster for 40+ years, I have, obviously, met many, many people. Some have taken the time to contact me through these various networks and I appreciate their concern about what I have done since we last spent time together. Honestly, some have contacted me and I do not really remember them, but I knew that would happen. I used to tell my students they only had to remember one of me. I taught @ 200 of them every year for 30 years. I think I can be excused for not knowing some of them. It does amaze me, however, that so many take the time to just simply say “hello, how are you?”

I am a little jealous of the “younger generation” who move so easily from one technological advancement to another. They have mastered the art of “social networking”. I am still a novice. It seems as I get comfortable with one, another comes along to add to the challenge.

And speaking of challenges, I am going to go see if I can master this “twitter” thing.

 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I feel honored to once again broadcast the Lafayette-Lehigh football game. It is college football’s most played rivalry and this is the 148th edition. Saturday afternoon will be fun.
  2. Zach Zweizig, Lafayette’s sophomore starting quarterback, lost his father this week. He suffered a stroke on Friday night and was in intensive care as Zach tried to lead the Leopards to victory on Saturday afternoon at Fordham University. Lafayette gave Zach the choice of playing or going home. He chose to play, return with the team, and fulfill his academic obligations before getting to his father’s bedside. Zach’s father passed away. Zach will play against Lehigh on Saturday. That’s what his father would have wanted. And that’s the type of son he raised.
  3. I broadcast our first college basketball game on Monday night. The Lafayette men beat LIU-Brooklyn in overtime 98-94. It was a great game and it did not take long to get into a basketball frame of mind.
  4. While in the Bronx on Saturday, I saw gas rationing, food lines, plowed snow, and some devastation. Why do we call this an act of Mother Nature? No Mother would treat her charges in such a manner.
  5. Hopefully, you all have met the challenge of Sandy and Thanksgiving will be a bit more personal this year.

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 7-6) (33-21 overall for the season – 61%)

Buffalo
Atlanta
Dallas
Green Bay
Cincinnati
Washington
Tampa Bay
Houston
St. Louis
New England
New Orleans
Denver
Baltimore
San Francisco

Behind the Mic – Nov. 7th

November 9, 2012 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

“Colgate wins the toss and defers.” That is how referee Stuart Mullins started the Lafayette- Colgate game this past Saturday. Trust me when I tell you that is the last time Colgate deferred in this football game. Not to spoil the ending, but Colgate won the game – 65-41. 106 points in 60 minutes! Colgate piled up 755 yards of offense (a Patriot League record); 531 yards rushing (a Patriot League record); and 224 yards passing. Colgate averaged 10.6 yards per play! Colgate’s only negative play was a completed pass for a minus 3 yards. Colgate scored on their first 7 possessions; 10 of their first 11. Suffice it to say, Colgate never punted.

Despite doing nothing in the first 3 series (70 yards rushing; 6 yards passing; 1 first down), the Lafayette Leopards decided to get involved in the offensive show themselves. Lafayette ran up a total of 542 yards! They averaged 10.4 yards per play!! And they had their highest point total for the year! They scored on 6 straight possessions.

Individually, some of the numbers are even more astounding. Colgate quarterback, Gavin McCarney accounted for a school record 512 yards of offense (288 rushing- second highest total in Patriot League history, and 224 passing). McCarney had runs of 40, 54 and 75 yards. He scored 3 rushing TD’s and threw for 2 more. Colgate’s tailback, Jordan McCord rushed for 203 yards on 27 carries and scored 4 TD’s. He has rushed for 100+ yards in every game this season. He and McCarney have done it in 5 straight games.

Lafayette had two 100+yard rushers and 1 100- yard receiver. Tailbacks Ross Scheurman (runs of 25 and 53 yards) and Vaughn Hebron (a 63 yard run) ran for 142 and 119 respectively. Mark Ross had his 5th 100+ yard receiving day of the season with 106 yards.

In summary, there were 16 scoring drives in the game in 23 possessions. Of the 16, 15 were touchdowns. There was a total of 1297 yards of offense.

This was a game I will never forget.

It is, also, a game both DEFENSES will try never to remember!!

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Going five days without electric made Thomas Edison my favorite inventor.
  2. I voted on Tuesday and, since I had pretty much made up my mind a long time ago about my vote, I wondered what all that political ad money could have done if it was used to make the world a better place. Maybe to make the absurdity of the cost even starker, the government looked pretty much the same on Wednesday as it did on Tuesday.
  3. My father-in-law was buried this week. He was 96. He came to America from the Ukraine, with his wife, a baby (my wife), and a valise. He spent the first two years working off the cost of his passage on a Maryland farm, and then settled in Easton, PA. He became a US citizen, worked as many jobs as he could, supported his family, voted in every election, and loved this country. His happiest day was when the Ukraine gained its independence. He was the hardest working man I ever knew. More than anything, I will miss the example he set for our whole family every day.
  4. Due to the hurricane and my father-in-law’s passing, this was a week where not much else mattered.
  5. A big “thank you” to all the service workers who tirelessly brought some sense of normalcy back to our lives

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 9-5) (26-15 overall for the season – 63%)

  • Indianapolis
  • New England
  • Giants
  • Tampa Bay
  • Denver
  • Miami
  • Baltimore
  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Jets
  • Dallas
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Pittsburgh

 

Behind the Mic – Oct. 24th

October 26, 2012 By Gary Laubach 1 Reply

As the RCN sports crew travels around from venue to venue, we, happily, hear from so many viewers. The compliments far outweigh the criticism and, most of the time, the criticism centers around not doing a particular team or a particular game. To me, that is really a backhanded compliment because it just means those fans want to see us televise their team. Every so often, an over-exuberant fan will come up and say, “You guys are just like ESPN!” Well, I am here to tell you we are not even close!!

In an article (“More Show Than Game” – Sept. 27) written for “Rolling Stone” magazine by David Amsden, he talks about observing an ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast of a New England-Philadelphia pre-season football game. The insights offered were astounding to me and, I anticipate will be for you, too. This preseason game had:

  • 11 trucks transport the gear
  • A crew of 200 (graphics, producers, assistants, statisticians, a sideline reporter, sound editors, mixers; the list goes on and on)
  • 50 microphones
  • 20 cameramen (31 cameras are used during the regular season)
  • 216 monitors

 

That’s the staff – how about the cost:

  • $15.2 billion for the rights through 2021
  • That’s $111 million in rights fees per game
  • Broken down even further, it costs $600,000 per minute
  • Constantly introducing new and very expensive technology (ex: digital yard markers, Skycam)

In addition, staff (announcers, directors, the tech crew, etc) arrives Saturday. They spend one day with one team and one day with the other. Highlight packages are produced (about 20% used). Various storylines are discussed. Production meetings abound. On Saturday night, there is a production team-bonding activity. This particular week, all attended a Bruce Springsteen concert.

In comparison, when the RCN Television team does a Saturday afternoon college game, we have:

  • 2 trucks
  • A crew of 18
  • 15 microphones
  • 5 cameramen
  • 30 monitors

The cost:

  • Around $3000 per game, not counting equipment costs (but ESPN didn’t count that either)
  • Rights fees in the hundreds of dollars
  • Broken down even further, it costs @$22 per minute

In addition, the announcers attend a press luncheon during the week to talk to one coach on the phone for around 10 minutes and talk to the other coach for about 15 minutes. The crew arrives the morning of the game to set up for the telecast. There is not much time (maybe lunch) for a team-bonding activity.

What do I conclude from this information?

  • ESPN spends an astronomical amount of money to do the NFL games (no wonder the NFL will make $9.5 billion in profits this year).
  • NBC, CBS, FOX all have similar NFL expenses and the competition to be the best produces terrific broadcasts.
  • Despite this “apples to oranges “comparison, the RCN Television Sports Team also aims every game to be the best they can be. From the director to holding the Big Ears and everything in between, we always strive for a quality broadcast – to be the best. From the many comments we receive, I do not think we disappoint. There is no question our mindset is “just like ESPN’s”

BUT, obviously, we are not “just like ESPN”!


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I still do not like the NFL overtime rule. If the team that possesses the ball first scores a touchdown, they win the game. Give each team at least one possession. In the past, the first score ended the game and that was usually a field goal. They made the rule a little better, but it is still not fair to the team that loses the coin toss.
  2. Do you realize only two teams in the AFC have winning records (New England and Baltimore). That has never happened before this far into the season.
  3. Watched the RedZone again this week. It was great during the early games, but lost some of its luster in the later games. There were only two games and it felt like I was constantly hitting “swap” on my remote.
  4. RG III is really, really good!
  5. I feel good about Penn State’s 5 game winning streak. This staff and these players had absolutely NOTHING to do with the turmoil. They deserve their success.

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 11-2 – 85%) (17-10 overall for the season – 63%)

Minnesota

New England

Tennessee

Green Bay

San Diego

Atlanta

Seattle

Jets

Chicago

Pittsburgh

Oakland

Giants

Denver

San Francisco

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