Waiting on the sun, we’ve prepared a fresh batch of "David’s Appetizers," assorted musings and observations on the sports scene:
An interesting situation has developed concerning the bidding process for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Championship Game for 2010-2012. Hosted for the last three years by Tennessee-Chattanooga, the title game is now open for bidding for the next three-year cycle. The FCS playoffs will be expanded to 20 teams by 2010, and the championship game, normally in mid-December, will be moved to something during the period of the NCAA FBS games, likely in January of 2011.
What’s fascinating is the University of Central Arkansas is now in competition with its own conference, the Southland, in the bidding war.
War Memorial Stadium, in conjunction with the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission and UCA, has submitted a bid. If successful, UCA will serve as the host institution for the championship games for three years, meaning it will provide the staffing and support for several major events and the game. Frisco, Texas, with co-sponsorships from Hunt Sports and the Southland Conference, has also submitted a bid to host the games at 23,500-seat Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. The SLC offices are in Frisco, about 25 miles north of Dallas. Another known bidder is Missoula, Mont., home of perennial NCAA FCS power the University of Montana.
Little Rock offers a central location and a large stadium, which has been nicely updated and remodeled into a fine facility for an older stadium. The Little Rock Metropolitan area has vigorous support and offers a college sports setting free of professional distractions.
Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, home of the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer, is part of a 17-acre sports complex in Frisco. In has hosted two MLS championship games and has 18 luxury suites, a large stadium club, an open concourse and four large covered pavilions for concurrent group events.
All of the potential bidders are not known. Among some others, Chattanooga beat out San Antonio, Texas, the last time bids went out. Texas-San Antonio is one of the Southland’s newest football programs. It is not known whether San Antonio has bid this time, although there seems to be a movement among FCS officials for the title site to be a "destination" city to upgrade the exposure of the championship game.
The finalists will be announced in about a month. Until one is eliminated, UCA cannot expect the Southland Conference to lend its clout to the Little Rock efforts because it is a co-sponsor of a competing hopeful.
We expect the game to be in a more central location than Montana, which will not be a neutral site if the University of Montana is playing on hits home field.
The development in the bidding process between Frisco and Little Rock is natural. NCAA championship events require a host institution or conference in the immediate area of the contests. Frisco had to have SLC sponsorship to make the bid, and UCA is the only logical institution to host the event in Little Rock.
There are no real losers whether the game goes to Little Rock or Frisco. Both cities, viable locations in one of the strongest FCS conference, will offer strong promotion and leadership in giving a good and exciting level of football more exposure.
It’s a tug of war right now, but eventually it can become win-win.
On a rainy morning that cried "sleep-in," Tuesday’s Hendrix/FCA Bob Courtway Memorial Breakfast, featuring NFL official Walt Coleman, attracted a packed house of student-athletes, coaches and business leaders spanning the breadth of the Conway community. The event began at 6:30 a.m.
It would have been easy for the students not to show up considering the weather. It would have certainly been easy for many local business leaders who purchased tables to be no-shows.
They weren’t. It’s a tribute to the quality of the program, the concern for a faith-based program aimed directly at young athletes the respect the late Bob Courtway, (former Hendrix coach, athletic director and community leader) still has and the leadership of former Hendrix coach Cliff Garrison, who has made the event one of his personal passions. Under Garrison, a strong broad-based FCA board has been established and the members have used multiple contacts and pulled many strings to make the event both a continued success and source of inspiration.
One of the wildest games of the college football season occurred Saturday at San Marcos, Texas, where Southeastern Louisiana trailed 44-20 with 11:44 left and rallied to defeat Texas State 51-50 in overtime.
In the comeback, the Lions blocked a punt, scored three straight touchdowns and incredibly made three straight 2-point conversions to force the overtime. Texas State lost in overtime when an extra-point kick hit the crossbar.
Most teams go into a game with only a couple of 2-point conversion plays. To execute three in a short period is incredible. Southeastern head coach Mike Lucas attributes that to offensive coordinator Tommy Condrell, who coached pro football in Canada.
"We have multiple play options from 5 yards in," Lucas said. "Tommy Condrell spent time in the Canadian Football League, where they go for two points so much that he made those plays part of our normal installation."
On the SLC’s weekly teleconference, UCA coach Clint Conque, whose teams have practiced outdoors only a handful of days in a month and a half because of weather said, "They shot a rocket at the moon and apparently hit the sun."
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)