MediaStrike Banner

Thursday, December 31, 2015

B4: College Football Playoff National Championship - Alabama vs. Clemson

The stage is set! I'm sure many in Dixie vowed the south would rise again after last year's all Yankee championship game, and a pair from south of the Mason-Dixon meet as the 1 and 2 seeds advance. While Nike outfits both football teams, Clemson and Alabama's drumlines are outfitted by Yamaha and Pearl, respectively.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

Staccato Notes, Playoff Eve Edition

A few short notes before we head into the New Year's Eve playoff and shortly thereafter, 2016.

So there you have it - several quick hits as the year reaches its coda. Happy new year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

B4: FCS National Championship

Don't worry, FCS, I didn't forget about you. The championship game is now set: North Dakota State's Gold Star Marching Band hopes to watch the football team win "one for the thumb" in their fifth consecutive championship game appearance, while the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are fielding a football team the esteemed Marching Southerners can be proud of.

North Dakota State

Jacksonville State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Lucky for us, there's YouTube.

ESPN fell regrettably short of its responsibility when televising black college football's national championship. Luckily, because of the importance of HBCU bands, there has long been a cadre of marching music media covering them at a level that is only beginning to emerge with PWI bands. While the Worldwide Leader left us without, several of those talented folks were in hand to serve.

Pregame Battle

Zero Quarter

Alcorn State Halftime

NC A&T Halftime

Thanks to both DaEdge1 Productions and ShowtimeWeb for these. Check them both out for other HBCU band footage, including more from the Celebration Bowl and its high school Battle of the Bands.

In other media, the conversation is taking place on the premier HBCU band forum, The 5th Quarter. You can also tune in tonight (Sunday, December 20, 2015) to the Celebration Bowl recap edition of the 90 Degree Show on the Marching Podcast.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Shoulda Known Better

Last January, the secret was out: The MEAC and SWAC champions would meet in a postseason game to determine the black college football national championship. In March, we learned officially of the Celebration Bowl, to be held in the Georgia Dome a week after Army-Navy. I was excited for a few reasons: I am a fan and supporter of HBCUs, and loved this move from that perspective, but, of course, the band implications couldn't be denied.

I wondered openly if the band experience would get its proper due from the Worldwide Leader, but I felt a little better when it was announced that MEAC games on ESPN3 would have halftime aired as well. That news said they got it. They knew that bands were important to HBCUs, and they would use them as part of the total package when presenting the conference and ultimately driving traffic to their latest property.

So the bowls, including the Celebration Bowl, began today. I was out and about, doing some Christmas shopping, and I tried to keep an eye on what was going on with the game. I took my daughter to the science center, and since she was spending all of her time in one place at about halftime, I pulled up WatchESPN on my phone to take a look. As luck would have it, I tuned in right at the half, in time for the halftime interview with A&T coach Rod Broadway.

Alright, cool. I can even see the band taking the field behind him. Here we go!

Wait, what?

That's right, the studio Halftime Report. I watched the better part of 20 minutes of Mark May and wasted a ton of data before resigning myself to the fact that they weren't going to show it.

My feelings about ESPN's relatively poor band coverage are no secret. I give credit when it's due, but they don't give me many opportunities. And while I'm aware of the limitations that exist related to televising halftime shows, they can overcome those if and only if they make it a priority. They do for the College Football Playoff games these days, but apparently didn't put forth the same effort for black college football's national championship. Oh, they loved paying lip service to the Battle of the Bands concept...

They simply couldn't be bothered to actually show the bands. My mistake for thinking they got it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

B4: 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

The season's penultimate game also matches a pair of Sudler Trophy winners in the Pride of West Virginia and the Sun Devil Marching Band. WVU will take the hike out to a relative home game for ASU, but given their conference affiliation, they're used to travel.

West Virginia

Arizona State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl

Oregon spent last postseason in the College Football Playoff and championship game, while TCU sat just outside, still making the New Year's Six and playing in the Peach Bowl.


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl

While the Big 12 was born from the old Big 8 and the Southwest Conference, K-State and Arkansas have never shared a conference. The Pride of Wildcat Land holds the latest awarded Sudler, and will meet 2006's winner in the Razorback Band.

Kansas State


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl

Penn State's director Greg Drane and Georgia's director Mike Robinson both return to the state of Florida for the TaxSlayer Bowl. Drane marched with Bethune-Cookman, while Robinson used to be Director of Bands at USF.

Penn State


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl

From the cotton fields to the wheat fields, both Ole Miss and Oklahoma State remain in their conference's championship conversations lately, and outside of the playoff itself, they're in their respective conference's top bowl.

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual

While the year began with the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band on a travel ban, it has since been lifted, allowing them to travel south to the Granddaddy of 'em All. While they're the conference runners up, Iowa returns to the Big Ten's biggest prize for the first time in 25 years.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl

Perhaps it's for the best that Michigan plays at the same time, so they don't have to watch two of their rivals in action. This bowl season is full of dual Sudler matchups, and here is another.

Notre Dame

Ohio State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl... I'm sure there's a sauce joke in there somewhere. The oldest and second newest Sudler Trophy winners head to Orlando for one of bowl season's most closely projected football games.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2016 Outback Bowl

Happy New Year! The Outback Bowl, while it overlaps with the Rose Parade, always makes a good football intro to the new year. The SEC-B1G matchup tends to produce a strong band pairing, and this year is no exception.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: College Football Playoff Semifinal - 2015 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

A pair of Sudler Trophy winners battle for the right to go to the national championship game, and Michigan State plays in their second 2015 Cotton Bowl. These two last met in the Capital One Bowl back in the 2010 season.

Michigan State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: College Football Playoff Semifinal - 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl

I haven't yet seen an announcement for a halftime performer for the Orange Bowl; here's hoping they break from their recording artist tradition and let these two bands at it, but I'm not holding my breath.



B4: 2015 Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl

Once again, Florida State finds itself matched up with a non power conference foe in a major bowl game, but Houston seems equipped to bring it to both halftime and gametime.


Florida State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Holiday Bowl

Despite numerous Pac-12/Big Ten pairings, the Trojans and Badgers haven't met since 1966. The Spirit of Troy and Badger Band promise a high-stepping good time, though infamously, Wisconsin won't be bringing the entire band.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

The bowl game is in Nashville, but don't expect the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band to abandon traditional marches for country music's latest hits. The Marching Cards, from just a short jaunt up I-65, may go there, though.

Texas A&M


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Belk Bowl

I hope I'm not offending anyone in pointing out that this is a battle of "cow colleges," but the land grant institutions of North Carolina and Mississippi will bring their cowbells and stylized Old McDonald arrangements to Charlotte.

NC State

Mississippi State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Birmingham Bowl

Until 1998, Legion Field was Alabama's "home" in the Iron Bowl, so the Auburn faithful are no strangers to the trip to Birmingham. Memphis, on the other hand, grew accustomed to the trip as former conferencemates of UAB.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

Houston: In the state of Texas, but half as far from Baton Rouge as it is from Lubbock. Does that make it Tigerland or Raiderland? The Golden Band and the Goin' Band will battle to claim H-Town.


Texas Tech

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

The fact that this game will air on Campus Insiders makes me curious: With that unorthodox broadcast, might we see a bit more of halftime than we otherwise might? The Arizona Bowl also notably pairs conferencemates from the Mountain West in this year's game.


Colorado State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl

This year's Russell Athletic Bowl is sneaky high profile. ACC runner-up UNC would have at least been in discussion for the playoff if they had won the ACC championship game, while Baylor just missed last year's playoff and was in the conversation before dropping a few games late.

North Carolina


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Fittingly, Air Force is making its fifth trip to the Armed Forces Bowl. They faced Cal here in the same bowl game back in 2007.


Air Force

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Quick Lane Bowl

The stadium will be filled with maroon and gold as the Marching Chips and Pride of Minnesota meet in Detroit. Minnesota will be wrapping up their new uniforms' first season, while the Marching Chips got their new threads a year prior.

Central Michigan


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

On a Sunday, you might find these two local fanbases rooting against one another in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry. Navy gets to stay home for this one as Pitt crosses the Mason-Dixon into Calvert's territory.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Foster Farms Bowl

The last time a sub .500 team went to a bowl game, it was UCLA, who petitioned after falling to 6-7 after losing a conference championship game in which they had to represent the Pac-12 South in USC's absence due to a postseason ban. They'll face Nebraska, one of three 5-7 teams slipping into the mix this year.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl

Virginia Tech fans are sure to show up big for Frank Beamer's final game as the head coach of the Hokies. With Camping World as the title sponsor, I'm certain the tailgating will be on point.

Virginia Tech

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Stop me if you've heard this one: Two basketball schools head to a baseball stadium for a football game... Indiana returns to a bowl for the first time since 2007, while longtime punching bad Duke is starting to feel like they've never missed one.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl

The two bands' fight songs find themselves at odds with one another: Will it be Southern Miss to the top, or will they Bow Down to Washington?


Southern Miss

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl

Hailing from opposite corners of the country, I'm guessing the 3,000+ miles from Coral Gables to Pullman might be the widest span between bowl foes. El Paso doesn't quite split the difference, but it's somewhere in between.

Washington State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 St. Petersburg Bowl

Bowl season's second Saturday gets underway early at 11am. Perhaps it's fitting that we begin Boxing Day in the box that is Tropicana Field.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Hawai'i Bowl

These red and black clad foes were almost conferencemates; during the most recent round of realignment, San Diego State was briefly headed to what was then the Big East.

San Diego State


Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

People make offhand comments about directional schools, but Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan will be just fine in the southeasternmost bowl game in the sunny Bahamas.

Middle Tennessee

Western Michigan

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 GoDaddy Bowl

A pair of birds of prey are descending upon Mobile for the GoDaddy Bowl. Bowling Green will take the field with an uptempo chair step and an uptempo offense, while Georgia Southern will pair their corps style pregame with the option.

Georgia Southern

Bowling Green

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Boise State was a regular representative from the have-nots in the days of the BCS; Northern Illinois made it to the mountaintop once in 2013. Blue Thunder and the Pride of the Midwest head to welcome warmer climates in San Diego.

Boise State

Northern Illinois

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Marmot Boca Raton Bowl

Both Toledo and Temple flirted with the possibility of a New Years Six bowl as a highly ranked group of five champion, and took their first L within days of one another in late October and early November. Still, headed to Boca from Toledo and Philly in December isn't a bad consolation prize.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Utah State actually opened the doors on this bowl, then the Humanitarian Bowl, back in 1997. At that time they faced another team from Ohio in the Cincinnati Bearcats; this time they'll meet Ohio's Pride in the University of Akron.


Utah State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Miami Beach Bowl

While USF lost their inaugural home game in their new uniforms, they first donned them at the beginning of the turnaround that got the Bulls to this point. They'll face Western Kentucky, Coach Willie Taggart's alma mater and former employer, in (actual) south Florida.

Western Kentucky

South Florida

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Arkansas State will represent the Sun Belt this year after four straight trips from the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. They'll match up with Louisiana Tech and the Band of Pride in a bizarro Battle for the Golden Boot.

Arkansas State

Louisiana Tech

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Appalachian State became a household name in football not on the threepeat as FCS national champions, but a stunning upset of a top five Michigan before they made the move to FBS. Ohio, meanwhile, makes a mark of their own in Big Ten country, as the Most Exciting Band in the Land is a regular viral sensation.


Appalachian State

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

I haven't been the first to point out the "Holy War in Sin City," and I won't be the last. In-state rivals BYU and Utah weren't scheduled to meet on the gridiron this year, but the Las Vegas Bowl clearly had other plans.



Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle

B4: 2015 Gildan New Mexico Bowl

While the Kit Carson Rifle rivalry trophy has been retired, this border war will play out once again - this time in the postseason - on the Spirit's home field.


New Mexico

Full 2015-16 Big Band Bowl Battle
discussion by