I'm taking the Bull-ogosphere today while Ken serves a two-minute minor for knocking down one of the Sedins after the whistle during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last night. Anyway, yesterday was a pretty big day for USF athletics. To the links!
1. First, USF's financing plan to renovate the Sun Dome was approved by the school's Board of Trustees. Among the expected upgrades are reconfiguring the seating bowl to look more like a traditional arena, adding tunnels and eliminating the copious amounts of dead space in the current Sun Dome. They'll also improve the concourses and concessions, hang a scoreboard above center court, and do some external repair work.
Personally I'm excited to see the Dome get spruced up. It wasn't exactly in the greatest shape when I was a student, and that was a decade ago. When I went back to Tampa last November and watched a game, the building felt at least twice as old as it really was. Seats were broken and replaced with whatever was available, even if the colors didn't quite match. The aisles were narrow. The concessions were really bad. And the whole facility felt dark, dingy and not worthy of a Big East team. Short of an on-campus football stadium, this is the biggest project USF athletics could ever have on its list, and getting this done is going to be a huge bonus for not only the basketball teams, but for graduations, special events, and anyone who wants to hold an event on campus.
The only thing that any of us were really annoyed about was USF coming out before the money was in hand and saying when the project would be done. Now the renovations aren't expected to be completed until April, after the 2011-12 basketball season. That's a good 4-5 months after the original timeline. I know the delay was beyond anyone's control in IAF, but always underpromise and overdeliver, guys. That's a basic rule of customer service.
2. David Arustil will compete in the finals of the 400-meter hurdles on Friday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines. As Adam Adkins reports, Arustil put on a finishing burst to finish with a time of 50.10 seconds, placing him sixth after the qualifying heats and earning him one of the eight spots in the final. Best of luck to David as he tries to add his name to the unfortunately short list of USF national champions.
3. Apparently the Tampa Bay Storm are trying to reunite the 2007 USF football team. The Arena Football team is already carrying Jarriett Buie, Amarri Jackson and Grant Gregory on the roster (in addition to earlier Bulls Terrence Royal and Huey Whittaker), and now comes word that Matt Grothe is taking part in a two-day tryout yesterday and today. We should soon find out whether USF's all-time leader in total offense will become the latest player to turn in his green and gold for the blue and gold.
4. Congratulations to Kevin Quackenbush, Junior Carlin, Randy Fontanez, Jonathan Koscso, Jimmy Moran, and Sam Mende for all being selected in the MLB Draft over the last few days. The six Bulls ties a program record, set in 1987 and 1997 on the heels of probably the two best seasons (1986 and 1996) in the history of the program. Meanwhile this one was under .500 two years in a row. But that's OK, because Lelo's coming back next year! I cannot beat this dead horse enough.
5. Finally, for you NCAA Football 12 players, a site named Tradition Sports Online got their hands on all of the team ratings for the newest version of the game that hits stores next month. Big East Coast Bias shrunk it down to the eight league teams, and there's already some weirdness. USF's team rankings actually make sense, although you could argue the defense should be a little bit higher. Some of the other team's grades look way off, as BECB points out, and then there's the matter of the rankings, which are insane.
Coaching doesn't count for anything in a video game -- when you play the game, you're replacing the coaches' decision-making with your own. With that removed from the equation, there's no reason not to rank the teams based on their grades. I don't understand having a B/B+ team like USF ranked at #66, while a whole bunch of teams with equal or worse or much worse grades are ranked higher than them. (Or like Miami, which they have at #34 even though they grade out to an A-.) The rankings are basically rubbish. I could work in a Tiburon conspiracy theory here, but I'll pass.