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Saturday, September 29, 2012

BOTR Game of the Week, 2012 Week 5

Week 5 brings some awesome matchups to the table. Half of the Big Ten finds themselves in Band on the Road matchups, all three between a pair of Sudler Trophy winners. Indiana's Marching Hundred travels to Northwestern, Penn State's Blue Band makes the trek out to Illinois, and Ohio State heads up to Michigan State. The latter is a matchup between ranked teams and is this week's College GameDay destination, making it nearly a no-brainer for the Game of the Week.

But I'm heavily biased, and I show it.

Also today, the Florida State Seminoles head south to Tampa to take on my USF Bulls, and the Marching Chiefs are coming with them. The last time the two met, the FootBulls marched victorious in Tallahassee, though indications are the Chiefs' Big 8 drumline put in work on the HOTDL. This year a top 5 Florida State team will seek revenge against a sputtering USF squad. In the stands, both bands will likely be similarly relentless with their signature stands tunes.

High Notes, 2012 Week 4

The High Notes for week 4 of the 2012 season is a supersized edition. There are a few things, from both the old format and last week's new playbook.

My first marching band recognition goes to Notre Dame. Say what you want about them, but they've still got the best deal going, with all home halftimes broadcast on I tuned into their game vs. Michigan last week just past the half, but I was able to run it back online and catch a halftime show that included the likes of Rihanna and Neon Trees.

Looking to reprise their role as viral YouTube champions, Ohio's Marching 110 came through again with a hit that lit up the internet. This time, it was Gangnam Style.

Finally, in the realm of high notes that aren't directly marching band related, Greensboro came through big last week with the Spring Garden Food Truck Festival. Greensboro is a sizable city of about a quarter million, anchoring a metro area of better than one million. It's several times larger than Wilmington, DE where I grew up. Still, when you consider that Wilmington's part of the Philly metro area, Greensboro is a good deal smaller than any metro area in which I've ever lived. And while the city itself sometimes feels like an expansive suburb, occasionally we'll do something that makes me think wow! We're like a real city! This festival was one of those.

Monday, September 24, 2012

OC leaving the OC

Well they're movin' on up!

Drum Corps International has just announced that the Oregon Crusaders have been called up to the big leagues and will be making the move to World Class this coming season.

First of all, I'm happy for the Crusaders, and I was happy to see them win the OC this past year. I think both are good for drum corps, both as a national brand and in the Pacific Northwest, as they join Seattle's Cascades as the region's World Class corps. Still, there are two things that come to mind. The first is that one of the reasons I was happy to see Crusaders win Open Class this past year is that they weren't Blue Devils B or Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets. With all respect due to those two corps, I appreciate it when an Open Class corps can stand on its own two feet, rather than serve as a feeder corps in the hierarchy of a corps system. While some may still be passing through OC with their eyes on a World Class prize it isn't nearly as evident as it is in a B corps system.

The second is a precautionary tale. One of the most recent callups, Teal Sound, made the leap in 2010 after achieving som success at the Open Class level. Teal Sound toured just two full seasons before suspending their operations during this past summer, citing financial woes. I know everyone wants to sit at the big kids' table, but with great power comes great responsibility. I sincerely hope the Oregon Crusaders are up to the challenge in all facets.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

High Notes, 2012 Weeks 2 and 3

I'm opening up the playbook.

I mentioned before, as well as in the last post, that I feared the High Notes segment was at the risk of going stale. That fact combined with the fact that as much as I may like to, I can't spend every Saturday in front of college football, is leading me to expand my horizons a bit. While I won't always catch a full slate of games or marching bands, in any given weekend I'm likely to have an experience with football, marching band, other sports or marching/athletic music, or adjacents like pageantry, tailgating, travel, food, beer, and the like. No reason those can't be high notes!

 Back during Week 2, I made my way west to Winston Salem to catch Adam Goldstein on his book tour at Winston's Book Marks Festival. Adam wrote Tailgate to Heaven, which chronicles his trip to all 31 NFL stadiums and 40 football games overall in one season. Adam hails from the UK but fell in love with the Chicago Bears, American football and the NFL at a young age, and upon his journey, he became quite inculcated with tailgating as well. The book first hit my radar over the summer, both through the folks at Tailgating Ideas and through Adam reaching out early to me for publicity (before I had gotten into the rhythm of checking the e-mail associated with the blog; it was a missed opportunity on my part) and I picked it up shortly after its release. I'd highly recommend the book for those who want a peek into tailgating all 32 NFL teams, or even just an insightful, humorous take on what the experience was like, as well as a snippet of cultural anthropology as a chap from England checks out our strange American customs, particularly those surrounding football. Getting to catch Adam on his book tour and hear him speak was particularly cool, and I even got the book signed and got to chat with him for a bit following his talk.

Last weekend, during Week 3, The Spirit of America rolled through town. Spirit of America is a production that follows the United States Army and the experience of the American soldier from the American Revolution through present day, set to music and theatrics. Some would write it off as a traveling propaganda show for our armed forces, but I loved it for the music, the show, the history lesson, and sentimentally, as the brother of a soldier. The show featured several of the Army's ensembles, including the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, Caisson Platoon, and Drill Team; as well as the Commander-in-Chief's Guard, Continental Color Guard, and units of Pershing's Own, the US Army Band: The Ceremonial Band, Orchestra, Concert Band, and Downrange, its popular music ensemble. In addition to the retrospective, they gave a nod to our other armed forces by closing with each branch's song. If you should find Spirit of America in a city near you, I definitely recommend checking it out, especially since it's free.

Friday, September 21, 2012

BOTR Game of the Week, 2012 Week 4

I'm back!

As I told you in the last post, I was temporarily without my laptop, and so there's no Game of the Week for week 3. I'm picking up week for with a classic. The BoomBox Classic, to be exact.

While the matchup is known as the WC Gordon Classic this year, most have known it for years as the BoomBox Classic, perhaps the only college football matchup that takes its name directly from the battle of the bands. the BoomBox Classic pits Jackson State against Southern, and their bands, the Sonic Boom of the South and the Human Jukebox, respectively.

Because it's an annual matchup, this week's head-to-head won't simply be virtual; it's the 5th Quarter from last year's BoomBox Classic, courtesy of BandTube on YouTube. Check them both out!

And for the aftermath, you can check out The Marching Podcast's 90 Degree Show where the co-hosts Maurice and Chris will break down the matchup. It'll be live Sunday evening at 6 eastern or available in replay at BlogTalkRadio or via iTunes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pardon our dust...

The control station from which 80 Minutes of Regulation typically emanates is currently in the shop, so I'll be out of pocket in this space for a few days.

That said, while the phone's not ideal for posting, it's great for tweeting. Feel free to follow on Twitter, @80mins.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame Listens

And here I thought that we had eluded the Sword of Damocles.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football at a date to be determined (by lawyers, no doubt). In doing such, the Irish actually listened to a request I've often made.

I'll remind you of that request here.

I've gone on record as suggesting that the Big East offer Notre Dame an ultimatum: All the way in or all the way out. Clearly, they are doing the latter. I'll be honest, I thought they were ours until we offered such an ultimatum, because I didn't see them giving up their football independence (they still haven't) nor did I see any other conference playing the fool as the Big East has for so long. Looks like I was wrong and the ACC's down.

That's not to say that this can't be advantageous for the ACC, or that it doesn't hurt the Big East. Still, the great white buffalo of Notre Dame football continues to roam free, though they have agreed to five games per year against ACC foes This either mean that Notre Dame's usual slate of annual tilts will change or that the ACC conference games will be the only piece to change year after year.

There are a couple of ways that this hurts the Big East. The first is that the Big East is in the negotiation phase of a television contract. While Notre Dame football is the crown jewel, there's no denying that they bring eyeballs to TV sets, so not having that chip when negotiating rights will likely hurt the conference a bit.

Notre Dame basketball, while exhibiting some success lately, isn't dealing the Big East a blow we hadn't already absorbed with the loss of Syracuse and Pitt.

The biggest power swing, in my estimation here, between the Big East and ACC comes in the world of men's lacrosse. ACC lacrosse is now even more stacked than they had been--seven of the last ten participants in the championship game will soon be ACC schools, including four of those five champions. At six members, the ACC is now truly a conference in lacrosse, and will have access to an autobid--not that they'll need it, as all six teams will likely make the tournament field. The Big East, however, having already lost Syracuse, will now lose Notre Dame and would be at risk of dropping below six teams if Marquette weren't slated to start the sport in 2013-14.This blow is huge to a conference that upon beginning conference play just two years ago, was slated to be a powerhouse.

And then there's the matter of the Sudler Trophy. Because marching band is ultimately tied to football, I never believed the Big East had any claim to it, and I don't think the ACC does now. Sorry, ACC, you'll have to court UMass, FAMU, or Western Carolina for that one.

All in all, yes, this is a loss for the Big East. But I'm going to stick to my guns and say good riddance. ACC, hope you don't mind getting  bumped from your bowl games as Irish backs go marching by.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First State Throwback

This weekend, Delaware and Delaware State meet on the gridiron for the third meeting of the "Route 1 Rivalry" and just the 4th time overall. I was at the historic first meeting of my home state's two Division I programs, and while it's been posted on this blog once before (and once before this 80 Minutes of Regulation even existed) I hope you'll humor my retelling of it here.

*                *                *

So, the Battle for the First State: Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

No really. There's a t-shirt. I'll post a picture once I'm back home. (Editor's note. That's it, at left)

So today, as a native Delawarean and bona fide First State Representer, I traveled to Newark to watch Delaware history: The University of Delaware and Delaware State University facing one another in college football. I was firmly planted on the fence as to who to root for during this game. Here is the thought process that went into my (non)decision:
-I grew up in Wilmington, DE, and spent significant time on campus at UD, as my dad works there. Advantage: UD
-UD is clearly the aggressor in their previous 84 years of non-play. Advantage: DelState
-I've got friends at both schools. Advantage: none.
-I'm a Northern Delawarean. Advantage: UD
-I'm black. Advantage: DelState.
-Approaching Storm vs. UDMB: Advantage: none. (while very different, they are similarly good at what they do).
-UD likely has the best chance of bringing home another national championship. Advantage: UD.
-DelState success would be good, as they've never so much as been to the playoffs before. Advantage: DelState.

So with a wardrobe that was pretty much equal parts blue and gold and blue and red, topped with a Wilmington Blue Rocks (DE's minor league baseball team) cap, I was on my way.
The verdict on the field notwithstanding (44-7 in favor of the Blue Hens), I think most who attended would agree that this is a series that needs to continue as a regular season matchup. Anecdotally, I overheard several conversations between fans of both schools talking about how great it was, saw fraternity brothers from their UD and DSU chapters getting together, and what was more than just an amicable but actually an enjoyable relationship between the two sets of fans. And the elephant in the room, race, did not seem to be an issue at the game. There were many black UD fans and, admittedly surprising to me, a good amount of white Del State fans as well.
So while I snuck out a little early (the scoreboard, combined with the fact that the majority of my football attendance in the past few years has been in Tampa, not the mid-Atlantic in November, made it seem the right decision) I truly believe that a good time was had by all. My only regret is that there's not a bigger stadium in the state for them to play in.

BOTR Game of the Week, 2012 Week 2

While Week 2 is a bit slim pickin's both for football and marching, one matchup leaps off the page, as it pairs two Sudler Trophy winners. Only two states can boast three Sudlers. One, not surprisingly, is Texas. The other, a state which often finds itself at the epicenter of marching/athletic music activity, is Indiana. This weekend, two of those schools meet as Purdue's All-American Marching Band travels to Notre Dame.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

High Notes, 2012 Week 1

There's nothing like opening weekend.

As was probably evident in my posts from last week, I was all to ready for this football season to start. Now that it's upon us, I was able to settle back in and catch quite a few games. The fact that the opening weekend runs from Thursday to the following Monday doesn't hurt either.

This week, Alabama's Million Dollar Band is going wire to wire, identified both in my Game of the Week and now in my high notes. Simply put, as outlined as I demystified the High Notes process, victory plays a role, and the 41 points the Crimson Tide hung on Michigan gave the MDB plenty of opportunity to play. And of course, something that's quickly becoming a ground rule of this blog, despite no particular allegiance to Alabama, nothing beats a Rammer Jammer.

I was recently reminded of a plea I made around this time last year that I'll repeat here as I continue the High Notes column:

This is where I call upon you, the reader: I'm in my second third year of High Notes, and I can foresee the potential of it getting stale. In addition to the football itself, I will gravitate towards bands I like, and I've already laid my biases on the table. This is where you come in. Got a game you think I should be watching? Let me know--via comment, e-mail, tweet, or call to the "Phone Tap" Hotline - 302-364-0926. I'll do my best to watch!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

BOTR Game of the Week 2012 Week 1

Football's back, and we're back with another year of Band On The Road! 

There are weeks when the BOTR Game of the Week is the same as the consensus game of the week and College Gameday highlight, and this is one of those. With two Sudler Trophy winning bands matching up in the Metroplex, My BOTR Game of the Week is Michigan vs. Alabama. Both bands desire to leave the stadium like this: Michigan Marching Band with the backwards shakos of victory and the Million Dollar Band with a Rammer Jammer.

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