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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Best of Both Worlds

For those who follow college football and the NFL with equal fervor, this weekend - in fact, Thursday on - might at well be a holiday. The NFL Draft is upon us, and we'll finally get to see where our favorite college players end up, who our pro teams pick up, and if any of these mock drafts actually knew what they were talking about.

On the pro side, I hope we'll finally get some sense of the method to Chip Kelly's madness. On the college side, well, 17 Bulls from last year's squad came out for USF's pro day, and I wish them all the best of luck. I've always put more stock in the college side of the equation, since there's no telling how a standout college player will perform in the league, but having gotten to know them as players for the past 2-4 years, it's also cool to imagine they'll do when they get to teams filling a need. After all, it's still fun to speculate; everyone's still undefeated!

While my primary sports-adjacent is marching band, a few others come into play come draft time. While it's possible that there'll be folks out in Chicago tailgating, draft parties are a more likely scenario. And if the lack of live football since the Super Bowl has left you off of your betting game, the draft gives you the great opportunity to pick it back up, with plenty of draft odds available in American football betting site at William Hill. Of course, when the preseason rolls back around, there'll be opportunities for stadium travel, catching your favorite team or others on the road.

Now more than ever, football has become a year round sport. I've found that recently, my sports/activity attention has become sequential. Football gives way to basketball season, which then yields to lacrosse, followed by drum corps. Still, more than any other sport, football is the one I keep an eye on in the off-season. It certainly doesn't hurt that there's plenty of media available to feed my passion, with networks and podcasts also covering the sport at both the pro and college levels year round. In that sense, the Super Bowl is followed by National Signing Day, spring ball and spring games, release of the NFL schedules, and the NFL Draft before we're plunged back into the darkness of offseason shenanigans and waiting for the fall. Draft day's almost here - drink up, football fans!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Style Guide

Dear major conference bands and conference networks: Your excuses are invalid.

I've argued before that a conference- or team-specific network would do well to create a marching-related show for all of the time they need to fill with a narrow focus. While far from a crusade, I'll admit it's something I've mentioned more than once. At least one of these times was within social media earshot of the Big Ten Network who offered the reasoning that getting reproduction rights to some of the band's music was a barrier to being able to do this sort of program justice.

Enter Bama State Style.

Debuting on Friday, April 17 on the Lifetime Network, Bama State Style follows the Alabama State University Marching Hornets. While music is certainly played, it is far from the focus as the show thus far as chronicled drum major auditions; the band's two dance squads, the Stingettes and the Honey Beez; and tree shaking in the percussion section. The show does deftly what was said couldn't be, while also chronicling the band's relationship in the social strata of an HBCU. And it's not the first.

Frankly, it has been HBCUs who have gotten this right. ESPNU aired two seasons of The Battle, focusing first on the Grambling's World-Famed Tiger Marching Band and then on the Marching Wildcats of Bethune Cookman. The Marching Wildcats continued on their own, producing Beyond the Fifty for YouTube. And now, despite there being plenty of players in the sports media game, it's Lifetime that brings us halftime through Bama State Style.

Your move.
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