Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: firstname.lastname@example.org | @mark_cooperjr Comments Starting Friday, the Big East will get its shot at redemption. Friday night national lights will be focused squarely on the conference. As Big East play opens up this weekend, the conference does not have the opportunities it had early in the season to build a reputation. Those have already been squandered. But conference play is a blank slate. Every team is still undefeated. No matter how bad the Big East has been up to date, the league champion still gets a BCS bid. And five Friday night games will provide the conference with the opportunity to climb back into the national psyche. ‘I think right now, everybody’s sitting back saying, ‘Hey, we can win this conference,” Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt said in the Big East coaches’ teleconference Monday. The Big East will have at least one game in prime time seven of the next eight weeks, including those five Friday evening games. For one night a week, at least, the conference gets to be the main attraction in college football. It starts with Connecticut at Rutgers (7:30 p.m., ESPN) Friday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Though both teams have had up-and-down seasons to date, the opportunity to play prime time on national TV has them thinking about a fresh start. ‘Whether it’s Thursday night or Friday (night), there’s nobody else on, and you’re the only team playing. There’s always an added excitement as you get to showcase your conference and showcase your own team,’ UConn head coach Randy Edsall said Monday. ‘This is something that’s really benefited and aided the Big East conference.’ The first Friday night Big East game last season featured Pittsburgh at Louisville. The Panthers rolled, 35-10, and the game proved to be a bit of foreshadowing. Pitt went on to a 10-win season and a victory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, while the Cardinals won just four games. UConn and Rutgers enter the Big East opener heading in two different directions. After losing two of its first three games, the Huskies (3-2) have rebounded with back-to-back wins over Buffalo and Vanderbilt. Cody Endres has supplanted Zach Frazer as the starting quarterback for Connecticut: He’s thrown four touchdowns to one interception in his two games of action. Rutgers (2-2), on the other hand, hasn’t looked impressive at all this season. The Scarlet Knights have a five-point win over Florida International to go along with a win over FCS opponent Norfolk State and will go into Friday night’s game on the heels of a disappointing 17-14 loss to Tulane in Piscataway, N.J., during homecoming weekend. Starting quarterback Tom Savage left that game with an injury. His status for this week is still up in the air. ‘We need to regroup quickly,’ Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said Monday. ‘We have a very good Connecticut team coming to our house Friday, and we’re looking forward to that opportunity.’ In addition to the game being in prime time and opening the Big East season, UConn versus Rutgers is becoming a heated rivalry. Since 2003, five of their seven meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. Rutgers owns the all-time series with a 20-9 record. The Scarlet Knights have won in each of the past two years, but the two wins are by six points combined. The two teams’ rivalry on the recruiting trail also helps heat up the matchups between the schools. ‘(We’re) two football teams that are competitive year in and year out, and (with) the logistical proximity between the two schools, it’s just a good matchup every year,’ Schiano said. ‘It’s always been a very exciting game. ‘It comes down to the end, and it’s a very physical game every year.’ The only other in-conference game on the schedule this week is Syracuse at South Florida. The other four teams begin conference play in Week 7, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t excited for the start of a new season this weekend. The conference season. ‘I think the intensity level goes up a notch when you get into your conference play,’ Wannstedt said. ‘So (the rest of the season) is going to be very competitive, and I think it’ll add a little bit to the energy level to this game between Connecticut and Rutgers.’ Rutgers falling off from where it once was Four years. That’s how long it’s been since Rutgers became a national Cinderella story. It’s been four years since the Scarlet Knights reeled off nine consecutive wins to start the season — propelling RU to as high as No. 7 in the nation after a huge upset over No. 3 Louisville. Rutgers finished that season 11-2, and head coach Greg Schiano was commended for his work in turning around a program that hadn’t seen much success. Now, four years later, it’s looking as if that one season was nothing more than an anomaly. Sure, the Scarlet Knights have found some success. Twenty-five wins, including three bowl victories, in the past three years confirm that. But those numbers don’t look as impressive when compared to 2006. ‘Maybe that was ahead of schedule for where we are as a program,’ Schiano said Monday. ‘I’m certainly glad it happened because it allowed us to do a lot of things that are going to allow us to have, ultimately, the kind of success that we’re looking for. ‘‘I look at it as a long process. The people we’re chasing, they’re not sitting targets. They’re all working hard and investing money in their programs, as we are. … Ultimately we’re going to reach where we set out to reach.’ Big man on campus RB Ray Graham Pittsburgh Sophomore Last week: 29 carries, 277 yards, three touchdowns Graham entered this season as the backup running back for Pittsburgh behind last season’s Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Dion Lewis. It was expected that Lewis — who ran for 1,799 yards last season — would be the guy rushing for over 200 yards in a game. But not much has gone as planned for the Panthers (2-2) this season. The sophomore — who did not receive a carry in the season-opening loss at Utah — may be staking a claim for the starting running back job in Pittsburgh. He has run for 115, 100 and 277 yards in the last three games and is doing it at a video game-like 9.5 yards per carry. Despite playing one less game than essentially all other conference leaders, Graham is second in the Big East in rushing yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns. And with Dion Lewis struggling (143 yards on 3.0 yards per carry) and injured (shoulder), Graham is inching closer and closer to winning that starting job. email@example.com
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (2) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +9 Vote up Vote down Bill Rice · 249 weeks ago Ah my nephews making me proud! Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down Cubs Fan · 249 weeks ago I’m happy for all my friends that are fans of the Royals. The three mentioned above are three exceptionally great people. If anyone from around here is not enjoying the ride the Royals are giving everyone than you must live under a rock or not like sports. It’s pretty awesome to see something like this happen so close to home! I just hope the Cubbies can build on the success they had this year. Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” The Kansas City Royals are World Series Champions. Thatâ€™s a statement that is going to take a little time to comprehend.Sumner County residents like everywhere across the state of Kansas and Missouri woke up this morning having a World Champion in their midst. For some like anyone 30 years or younger, this is new unfamiliar territory. Thatâ€™s the kind of thing that usually happens somewhere else. For those, who are older, itâ€™s been a long time coming.Whether you are casual baseball observer or a fanatic, this week is about a celebrating a World Championship in Kansas City. But for the true â€œblueâ€ Kansas City Royal fan itâ€™s a story of redemption, patience, and memories. Here are three stories of Wellington residents who have lived a Royal life.Bob Willis. Dr. Bob Willis started watching the Royals when they were bad â€” like in 1974.The Royals were an expansion franchise that started in 1969. He was living in the Kansas City area and he had two young boys. Willis loves baseball. So much so that he would eventually become the Kansas State Babe Ruth Commissioner three decades later. With the Royals Stadium (it was not Kauffman Stadium at the time) nearby, Willis would catch a Royals game any time he could.The thing is fans of the new Royals team back then didnâ€™t really have to suffer for very long. With Ewing Kauffman as the owner, the Royals soon became a dynasty from 1976 to 1987 with the likes of George Brett, Frank White, and Bret Saberhagen. And Willis was there for a lot of it.â€œI remember we never could get past the Yankees,â€ Willis said. â€œSo one time in 1978, I was at this game in the American League Championship Series where it appeared as if K.C. would get over the hump.â€He said then manager Whitey Herzog brought Dennis Leonard in – the Royals pitching ace – as a reliever.Â The Yankees would light him up and go on to win another World Series Championship.â€œI learned there that a starting pitcher is not necessarily a good reliever,â€ Willis said. â€œOf course, there are exceptions. Madison Bumgarner last year proved it can be done.â€Willis would take his love for baseball with him to Wellington where he became a dentist. Although the Royals were no longer nearby, he would always find a way to get up there for a game from time to time. And when the Royals stunk for 30 years, Willis was still bleeding Royals blue.Sunday night, his Royals returned the favor with a 7-2 victory over the Mets to secure the crown.For all the history, Willis knows of the Royals, he is convinced this is K.C.â€™s finest team.â€œI think they will be considered one of the greatest teams ever,â€ Willis said. â€œYou look at this roster from top to bottom this year and there is so much talent assembled here. I truly believe this team would have beat any of those great K.C. teams in the 70s and 80s.â€Willis said he was convinced after game 2 when K.C. swept at home, that the Royals were going to win it all.â€œI just couldnâ€™t see them blowing a lead like that,â€ Willis said. â€œThe Mets had better starting pitching, but the Royals were better everyplace else.â€Willis said nobody will believe him now but he felt when Dayton Moore was acquired for the Royals as the general manager, he thought K.C.â€™s fortunes was going to turn around.â€œHe just had a knack of developing young kids and going out and getting players of character,â€ Willis said. â€œIt was apparent to me that things were changing, even if it didnâ€™t show up in the record book for several years.â€Matt Metcalf. Matt Metcalf holds up Kansas City Star covers.Quick, what is Wellington Attorney Matthew Metcalfâ€™s middle name? If you said, â€œBrettâ€ you are correct. And yes, you are correct. He was named after George Brett.Metcalf was born in 1983. His dad was from Connecticut and his mom was from Kansas. They loved the Royals so much, they named him Brett. But being born during the Royals glory years meant one thing. He missed all the good stuff.Metcalf grew up in the despair of the 1990s Royals, who became the 2000s Royals which headed into the early part of this decade where the baseball team was in constant despair. Still Metcalf stuck with his roots. He lived the life with a fan persecution complex.â€œWith the Royals, you grew up knowing everything will turn out bad,â€ Metcalf said. â€œItâ€™s ingrained in your psyche. You just learn to live with it. Whatever good fortune the Royals may have, will result in complete disaster.â€And when fortunes changed for the Royals in 2014, Metcalf was always convinced there was bad news looming on the horizon.When the Kansas City Royals hosted Oakland As in that wildcard game in 2014, the Metcalfs hosted a party. After the Royals gave up a multi-run lead midway through the fifth inning, all the party guests had left. Typical Royals.â€œI had one guest stay and he said he wanted to watch this game with me because it might be the only time the Royals will ever be in the playoffs in his lifetime and he wanted to watch it with someone else,â€ Metcalf said.Well, you know the story. The Royals came back to win that game and would eventually end up in the World Series falling just one run short in game 7 of the World Series.â€œThese Royals are doing things they arenâ€™t supposed to do,â€ Metcalf said the morning after his team had won it all. â€œThey keep having these unbelievable comebacks. I didnâ€™t think this could be possible.â€Now that the Royals have won the World Series are all the old demons exorcised?â€œWeâ€™ve got a lot of players, who need to get signed,â€ Metcalf said, looking a bit anxious.For a true Royals fan, disaster is always just a step away even with a big flag World Series trophy recently delivered in your hands.Adam Hatfield. Adam Hatfield – a lifelong fan.Â Hard to argue, who is a bigger baseball fan: Metcalf or Wellington High School Principal Adam Hatfield.Hatfield grew up in Kansas City. He was 10 years old when the Royals won it in 1985.â€œI remember it well,â€ Hatfield said. â€œWe were moving to a new house on Oct. 27, 1985. We had all these boxes of stuff to be unpacked. But we managed to get out the TV and sit on the floor and watch the game. I remember eating cupcakes that my mom bought.â€Hatfield said he couldnâ€™t even remember how many times he has been in Kaufman Stadium over the years.In 2007, 2008 and 2009, he and his wife Carmen even had season tickets while living in Wellington. That was when their kids were so small that they would take off every weekend the Royals played at home to take in a game.â€œThey were terrible,â€ Hatfield said. â€œBut they had this package where you could watch them on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon and we always had a place to stay on Saturday night.â€But like Willis, he felt things were changing with Moore at the helm.â€œI knew it was going to be a slow rebuilding process, but the Royals always felt like they were getting better even when the record didnâ€™t show it,â€ he said.Hatfield said the game 4 victory convinced him Kansas City was a team of destiny.â€œBut I honestly wanted to get the Series over with last night,â€ Hatfield said. â€œWho knows? If we lost that game last night, Kansas City might have lost game 6 and then there you are again – facing a game 7.â€But the Royals have pulled off a World Series crown which allows a fan base to celebrate in rabid style.The Hatfields, along with many Wellington dwellers, are heading north tomorrow afternoon to bask in the glory of a World Championship parade. Hatfield doesnâ€™t know where he is going to park his car and he knows he needs to get back to school on Wednesday. But heâ€™s not going to miss this once in a lifetime event. Never, never, NEVER!â€œIâ€™ve waited too long to see this,â€ Hatfield said. â€œIâ€™m not going to let this moment pass by.â€Follow us on Twitter.
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