Wednesday, October 14, 2015

College Football Fandom-Tenure over Alma Mater

After having a hate filled back and forth friendly debate with a CSU fan questioning my "fandom", I decided I had to give my two cents on college football fans and some parameters, or rules for the more simpleton people, that warrant your fandom.  (Side Note:  This can be used for basketball as well but let's be honest the only team most people care about college basketball begins long after college football bowl season).

This also ties into two articles wrote by Brian Curtis known as the Rules of CFB Fandom.  Like most Grantland pieces that don't go into excessive amounts of analytics, formulas, etc. this is a pure opinion piece.  It is funny and interesting, but his overriding factor is attending the school you are a fan of.

Well, the simple truth is some Chicago kid or California kid that is 18 years old doesn't earn fandom automatically, it is done through an undying passion and knowledge of the history of that school's football program.  Part of Mr. Curtis' acceptance in fandom is a college drop out from a school but a person that has rooted for a school since they can remember watching college football and stayed a fan for years is shunned?  Wrong!   That college student wasn't even born when I was watching my team win a national title.  He probably knows more about the team down the road that he cheered for growing up but he chose to get away from home or get a better education in the things he was seeking.  This is not meant to be gender biased, so she can be swapped for he you wonderful women that are college football fans, but I don't have time to write each sentence to please each gender.

#1 Rule of College Fandom is Years Invested
My family grew up in Colorado and I was steered towards cheering for CU because they were on TV all the time and I got to grow up seeing something special happen as I got into playing football, a perennial Top 25 team that had a national title, a Heisman trophy winner and success. 

My father-in-law grew up in Pennsylvania and rooted for Penn State but spent his teenage years in Colorado during the 70s and hooked on to Eddie Crowder's Colorado Buffaloes.  His family was raised right and grew up cheering for the Buffs.  He went to the National Championship game CU won against Notre Dame and the family has been season ticket holders in some capacity for approaching 30 years.

So, to read that some 18 year old out of towner that has very little idea or true personal connection to of the history of the team they are just now cheering on being a fan over me and especially my in-laws is humorous at best.

Rule 2-Passion Towards the Program/Unwavering Support
I work with a CU alum.  He likes the team, but he may only get to a game or two a year.  There is a hunting and skiing season that takes precedence over CU football.  For us passionate fans, there is only one thing to do on Saturday during the game.  Be at the game if at home or watch the game at TV on the road.  You have inked yourself (Barela), you support the team no matter what and even when they are down see the bright side (Aaron Lott) and you care and will be there no matter what to see your team get back to that peak, that's a fan.

Which leads to Part 2 of this, I don't skip out because my team sucks that season.  A real fan attends every game whether it is a blowout win or loss and stays to the bitter end.  And I have had plenty of bitter colds hit across the face over the past decade as a CU fan.  There is no, I'll hang around and bitch about how bad they suck still but won't attend a game.  I cheer them on.  I rip them for their deficiencies but every Saturday, there is no question, I hold out hope and believe this is the game they finally get over that peak and take the next step.

Rule 3-You Have a Direct Connection
Being a student that sits in the same class as the team's star running back is not the equivalent to going to those games and sitting in tickets the player on the team gave you because you have been friends with/played high school ball with him long before he was on the team you rooted for.  You got to hear about the crazy workouts and the personalities of some of the guys you just stared at idolizing even though they were the same age as you.

Rule 4-Standing Strong Even When You Marry Into It
 If I was stupid or desperate enough to lower my standards to marry a CSU or NU fan, under no circumstance would I root for their team when we played each other.  I may be a bit more cordial like I am with my friends that attended/have cheered for those teams since they were kids, but I sure am not changing my allegiance.  I take my NFL standards for one in me being a Broncos fan and in-laws Packers fans.  I cheer for my wife/in-laws team because we aren't in the same division and have no history, but when we play each other this year, I am watching the game upstairs or in another house because when it comes to playing your spouses team, if it's different than yours, there should be some friendly tension.  If my wife were a Raiders fan, I would never root for her team, I would constant take pot shots at them and it's the same way I feel about the rival college programs CU has had in CSU and NU.  Be cordial, but take every direct jab you can.

Rule 5-Being an Alum/Student of Said College and INVESTING into that Program
This goes back to an earlier point, but the worse argument comes from simply being a student.  Now if you are a student that grew up a fan of that program, move to the front of that line but if you are a poser and can't name over half the team and the majority of the team's starters, you are simply just there.  Did you go skiing or go home and not come back to watch that Thanksgiving Weekend game?  That's not investing.  Are you a student of your team, but if the team you grew up cheering for comes into town, you are rooting for them, you certainly have NO RIGHT to lay claim of being a fan over me and so many others that have truly invested themselves.  Now if you went there and completely bought in, go to games and stand by them, applause to you, you've earned your right into the place we fans since childhood earned before you even were born or chose to attend your school.

I chose a Division II school with a strong academic respect in the engineering field, Colorado School of Mines.  At the time of my attendance, Mines was widely acclaimed as a Top 20 program in ALL fields and Top 5 in many.  I chose education but two weeks into school, I attended my first college football game as a student... as a CU fan at the Rocky Mountain Showdown in 1999.  Since then, my fandom went from admiring CU growing up and trying to see what I could when I didn't have my own sport to being consumed with CU football every Saturday and every recruiting class and every spring ball and every fall camp.  So, Mr.Curtis, you are wrong in tying fandom directly towards the school you attend(ed), the overriding factor in being a fan of any program or team is to remain passionate about them whether in the valleys of the darkness or peaks of the sunrise and to have it be what you look forward to every Saturday.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dream Changer: The Life of a Division I Power 5 Level College Football Walk-On (Year 1)

Preface: This is a 5-part series that goes into the life of what walk-on Division I college football players go through in their “career”, mainly drawing on the highest level possible of Power 5 conferences.  It is 5-parts because ach walk-on that sticks it out with a power conference is usually a 5-year window.  My background is seeing the life of a former walk-on from age 15 through today and some of the stories I have shared or been shared with me.  Yes, this story is my opinion and thoughts, but a lot of it draws on the discussions I have had with him and still do to this day on the subject.
A walk-on football player at the Division I level is the most grueling “job” in sports.  They work as hard as or harder than any scholarship athlete.  They do what the head coach, their position coach and others ask on a greater scale than any of the scholarship players and every day they have to earn their keep on the team.  It is comparable to that of a life of a NFL practice squad player, you are part of the team but you are just a body to help the team improve.  The main difference is a practice squad player gets some pay for his work, while a walk-on player pays his way onto the team beyond what any typical college student can imagine paying for their education.  A walk-on player typically plays for a Division I program for one main reason; the dream of playing at the highest level they possibly can.  In the end it’s a dream that starts one way as a high school player and is changed over their college football career.
His First Year-The Dream Begins
The Division I walk-on story doesn’t start the day he sets foot on the field at campus, it starts back in high school like any other player on the team.  The walk-on typically fits multiple criteria of the following that differ ever so slightly from their scholarship athlete teammate:
  • The best player on his team or amongst the best player on his team.  Typically this person is from a team that doesn’t have a lot of Division I athletes produced.
  • The complete opposite is the player that would be the best player for a number of other high schools and is very solid but is outshined by big-time Division 1 recruits that he plays alongside.  This happens at many of the football “factories”.
  • Has very good Division II offers, may have Division I-AA/FCS offers, one of the service academies schools think his athleticism would fit their model and offer him to file paperwork or may have a scholarship to a lower level Division I school.
  • Lacking the intangibles that earn a scholarship for a player with less stats or ability potentially.  These range from height to weight to speed or strength.  A gangly 17 year old is tough to predict how their body develops over the matured body of a 17 year old that filled out earlier.
  • Competition level that they face.  This is especially true for smaller divisions and schools where a kid can’t choose to go play at a bigger school that is an hour away.
  • Playing out of position-Often a high school will play their best player at a position they are most needed based off their abilities.  Typically this is the quarterback position for a player that is probably better suited to play wide receiver or secondary at the next level.  On the defensive side of the ball, they may play a player suited to play Linebacker at the defensive end position because they are the biggest player on that team.  Or they may play a safety type at the next level as a linebacker.  Usually a player plays out of position because their team lacks other players that can highlight where that player may be most effective.
  • It is their Dream-An athlete that is good enough to be Division I but doesn’t get the offers may dream of playing for their long-time favorite team or a BCS level team they see regularly that told them they could walk-on but no scholarship was available.
  • And last, that player grew up a fan of the team he decides to walk-on at and his dream has always been to be on THAT field.
So the combination of these amounts to the fact that a walk-on wants to prove they can be as good as the scholarship players and that they “earn” the right to be part of a prestigious program.  They want to show the people that doubted them, and told them to take the free money at a lower level school, that they can make it.   Often this is a discussion that may be difficult for many families that can’t help support an athlete through a larger university.  But ultimately the walk-on wants to be part of the highest level of completion and to be on television, they want to take the field in front of 10s of thousands and they want to live their dream.
Their path differs long before signing day:, there are no official visits, there are no hat ceremonies, there is no sitting at a table signing a letter of intent for a school and having your picture all over the paper and internet with your parents and coaches at your side.  These guys don’t get their names mentioned in the paper most of the time while the Division II and smaller Division I FCS signees accolades are noted along with the big name scholarship players.   This is followed up by going from February until the beginning of August where they have to work out at their local high school.  They will probably get a work-out program from the university if they are a preferred walk-on (usually meaning they can show up when practices begin for the team) but if they are another walk-on, it is at the coaches discretion and a program’s needs if they are allowed on the field to even prove their worth.  Either way, any walk on is always doing one thing for the program: proving they are worth keeping on the field. 
The Internship Begins-Fall Camp
Whether a freshman walk-on is allowed on the field the same day the rest of the team begins camp or comes out during open try-outs, it is like an internship or 30-day probation period in the job world, you better show that you are worth keeping on and taking the time and effort to deal with throughout the season. 
They aren’t even that last scholarship guy that the team took that at least has the entire season to improve, but are now a number or name on athletic tape on a helmet where they better be good at following a coaches orders and not doing too many dumb things, along with giving the old adage of 110% on everything asked of them.  They will run harder than that other guy because even though they are both the same speed, the walk-on can’t go 80% on those sprints like the other guy is because they lack the security blanket of a scholarship while the walk-on is trying to earn the chance to represent the university. On every drill, play or anything you see them do, it requires them giving maximum effort because if they get ran over, that may be the last time they are allowed in that drill or to run a play or maybe even be on that field representing the school.
If you started with the rest of the team on Day One, your camp has a life changing moment happen during the middle of camp, you’re now a college freshman!  You not only have to be at practice and bust your butt, you have to pay for your college and already start counting your debt.  That walk-on balances football along with living with a roommate he just met, a lack of funds after paying for what the loans didn’t cover and taking the most difficult classes they have every taken.  While the other first-year freshman are able to maybe enjoy the college scene (aka party and other fun troubles), that walk-on is either at practice, doing homework they couldn’t do while the typical college student studied or doing extra work to develop the area they were lacking in order to get a scholarship in strength and size.
After all this,  the walk-on athlete is exhausted and has gone from being the big man in high school to the no-name player on campus, but that young man has earned the right to be a part of the program he worked his rear end off and already started to live part of his dream.  In Game 1 of the season his name will be in that program, he will be on that sideline (if at home) and unlike the guys that showed up to wear a jersey in high school he earned that name on the back of that jersey to represent the program on the front.
The Season Begins
The excitement of the season is amazing for a fan, but living out a dream of being part of a Division I program trumps it.  The walk-on is now actually a part of that team and gets to dress or at least wear their jersey to every home game.   They are part of the team and getting very few reps but they can say every week when they stay home while the team is away that they practice against that guy on or laid the wood (or most likely got laid out ) by that guy on TV in practice the other day.  They get to experience everything they were hoping to do when they first had this wild dream of playing Division I football.  In most every walk-ons case, they aren’t ever going to walk on to the field on game day as a true freshman other than in a rare occasion to walk on to do warm-ups and after the game, but there won’t be any live action.
Practices remain the same as fall camp.  They are just a warm body that helps provide depth on the scout team and maybe be a practice dummy.  They get yanked around here and kicked over there.  They still have to give 110% but that walk-on better know their role.
There is the rookie hazing for all freshmen that began with singing your high school fight song and/or a skit that better get laughs or entertain or you’ll start to get more shit than the typical freshman.  This is typical of any freshman in college sport, especially football, not just the walk-on.  The walk-on just has less protection than a scholarship guy from the coaches.  The walk-ons best chance at making a good impression on both the staff and players is to work his ass off but not piss off any of the players.  It is a tough balance and during the season it is difficult to not draw a more well-known player or older players ire at some point.  It’s how you handle it in both the players and coaches minds that will determine what is next.  Most of the time, if a freshman walk-on gets through an entire season and makes a fair impression, it means they get to go to a bowl and enjoy the luxuries the other regulars do and it means a chance to continue to show your worth come spring.
End of Season through Spring Ball
Again the walk-on player is on probation, bust your butt and come spring you will be there.  You don’t show up to off-season workouts and try to get better every day, they don’t need you and will wait for fresh blood the next year.  A walk-on is owed nothing and as their time with the school goes, this becomes more evident.  However, for the guy that is giving that effort, there is little doubt that he is probably still in dream mode.  He is thinking, “Next season I can maybe play.  Heck I will play, since the coaches said I could play in some of the blowouts if I’d like.  But I’ll play when it matters, not just when we are winning by 30!”  How the next few months shake out will determine what happens in August, but first it’s off-season and spring ball.  For the walk-on, the weight room and the strength coach are his new best friends.  While they were acquaintances before, the group better spend every day possible together for hours.  After all, there is a reason the walk-on is not a scholarship athlete because he most likely lacked the size of the fellow freshman that got less reps and less chances in practice because he doesn’t care, he’s got a scholarship and he doesn’t need to show as much fire if he’s not going to get the chance to show how good he is?  That is the mindset of the unsuccessful scholarship kid and most are not that way, but still a walk-on must push like the hardest working scholarship player, not the lackadaisical scholarship player.  The team isn’t going to rally around him due to his hard work in one year, but the strength coach and the players that push every day like him will take note and spread the word eventually.  The respect will be there.  That is one aspect that the hard working walk-on with talent gains over the scholarship athlete with a lack of drive has the advantage in, RESPECT.  Respect is earned after all!
That walk-on gains 5-10 lbs from end of season to spring ball and while he has ate a ton with the team meals, meal plans, etc. this is hard earned muscle.  That scrawny or a little pudgy freshman glamour shot for the program is now turning into a young man, redshirt freshman that has grown muscles and looks like he belongs.  That same walk-on will have a great spring where he gets some reps with the second team and even though he’s not going to make the rotation, the coaches see the work he has put in to date and know how that will increase with a great summer off-season.  Still, they did just sign a freshman receiver from a dominate conference in a recruiting hot bed, so come August camp, they’ll let him have the reps he had earned and showed he was worth.  It is an endless cycle he will continue to experience.  Still, the now Redshirt freshman walk-on just had a great spring and there is talk of playing time on special teams before the summer training or camp has even begun.
Off-Season Workouts-A Job But No Pay
The walk-ons summer isn’t relaxing and having a good time or taking classes he needs for the next season in order to be eligible aren’t in the cards.  It is spent trying to find a job that can pay him whatever is possible for him to have a life other than school and football, as well as pay the extra that loans won’t cover in order to attend school.  Mainly, for his dream of continuing his stature as a football player with the University, it is continuing his love interest with the strength/conditioning coordinator and the weight room.  There is working around your schedule that pays you in order to make the workouts that you MUST do to only pay for a better body and chance to play.  If you are lucky enough you may have a strength coach that will work with the schedule of the players and give you options so you may well be able to balance workouts while maintaining a 40-hour a week job while having friendships and family.  That walk-on will have to put in roughly six hours a week in the weight room and another half a dozen in organized activities and cardio workouts that are meant to push players to the point of exhaustion.   There is no break for a walk-on if they want to live their dream.
 Epilogue of Part 1 :  Many of this story, I am referencing what may be an exception to the rule here and the walk-on maybe isn’t busting his tail off in every case.  Some may do just enough to keep on board and be a scout team tackling dummy.  This walk-on is the type that earns playing time within the first couple years, typically on special teams but he sees the field.  He travels because the team actually needs him and doesn’t just replace him.  Not all walk-ons deserve praise, but from the main one I have known and seeing and reading and watching the stories of many others, the overriding factor is hard work and not quitting. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

CU Football: Take the Hand Off the Panic Button

The gap between the top of the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado football is not the size of the Grand Canyon any longer.  No matter how much you try to point to not being able to beat an Oregon team that is reeling or how CU still doesn't have a signature win under the past two coaches, the fact is the gap looks more to be like the Cherry Creek path that separates Speer Boulevard.  CU just needs to find the right bridge to end up downtown and getting caught in one way traffic.

Oregon has more 4 and 5 star recruits on their current roster than CU has amassed in the last dozen or more years.  Almost all of Oregon's recruits have been offered by numerous Power 5 conference schools, while CU is playing with a group that gets 2 or 3 guys that have legit Power 5   Colorado outplayed that group for an entire half and their start to the third quarter pretty much ended their chance at playing to Oregon's level with the Ducks being allowed to use their 4* track speed and NFL sized front lines.  Oregon just ran the ball down CUs throat to end the second half.  Oregon is down because they lost one of the best college QBs of all-time and don't have an answer for the teams that knock them on their ass right now.  CU can't answer that bell because CU lacks Power 5 depth and quality of player at so many starting positions.  Here are the guys that would start or get significant snaps for any Pac 12 team on CUs roster:
Nelson Spruce, Stephane Nembot, Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson

Signifcant Snaps:
Kenneth Crawley, Kenneth Olugbode (at strong safety and not ILB!)

To be fair, those six guys are probably 4-5 more than CU has had over the past 4-5 seasons for a team, so there is better talent, but the point is the talent gap is monumental, yet last year and to start this year, CU has already shown the ability to play with teams that on paper should destroy them.  The positive is they are scheming and coaching at or above the level of most of the teams they face, the problem lies in talent and depth.  But that area is less of a gap than it was from 2011-2013.  CU has one of the top secondaries in the Pac 12.  They have depth they have not seen and are finally closing the talent gap because they have a vision that can actually be seen. 

The Champions Center and Indoor Practice Facility were the closer that CU needed to sell the university.  CU's campus is consistently a Top 10 campuses in the country for setting, aesthetics, etc. but the stadium and the big dog on any relevant Power 5 college program is football and CU just didn't have what they needed.  After the Indoor Practice Facility is finished this winter/early spring, there will be no question, CU has the extras to attract recruits that ignored them not only due to their product on the field but the subpar facilities those overmatched athletes were receiving.  CUs finished product will be amongst the Top 3 facilities in the Pac 12 with no better setting.  The changes have already made impacts on this recruiting cycle.

Colorado has landed three commitments from the state of Florida with Craig Watts Jr, Johnny Huntley and Anthony Julmisse.  Rarely has CU had a player from Florida with 20 all-time.  That group alone could have been a trio for a multitude of other Power 5 schools with Watts Jr. pretty much being able to choose any school in the country.  CU hasn't had those sort of recruits in many years but got three in one class.  They additionally got commits from two Georgia products with one of those players being Ronnie Blackmon who has over half a dozen Power 5 offers.  The class is going to be small so it will look like a very subpar class, but it has guys that could probably have helped CU on the field during their respective visits as high school seniors.  Hell, in the end of Hawk Love and Embree days they would have been starting already.

But what about this year and will Mike MacIntyre do enough to prove the "gap has narrowed" as he put it in his post-game press conference?  The Pac 12 is still the Pac 12, strong and a lot of good teams with a lot of likely bowl teams.  Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Utah, USC and UCLA seem near locks to make a bowl while Arizona State should also and Arizona and Washington have good chances.  The question is can CU get in that as well.  The next three weeks says a lot about if CU has truly narrowed that gap.  CU plays an ASU team that beat a Top 10 UCLA team but has also got trounced by USC and Texas A & M along with a late 4th quarter rally to put away FCS Cal Poly.  Arizona has got boat raced in both of their Pac 12 games and looked only marginally better than UTSA at home.  2015 Arizona is not the 2014 version of the Cats.  The last game in the trifecta is Oregon State.
  Oregon State has lost a lot of talent and not recruited well along with bringing in a new coach, it is a road win that CU must end their road woes at and take command of that game and put a beating on the Beavers. The following 3 weeks, CU faces a similar talent gap issue that they did versus Oregon but UCLA, Stanford and USC have much better QB play but probably not as strong OL/DL that Oregon has.  CU has to play those games competitive and try to steal a win out of those 3 if there is any hope for a .  To quit being doubted, the Buffs have to keep from getting boat raced all year.  Washington State is no better than the team CU beat in the past with less talent and CU may be as talented as Washington State, it's a game they have to win.  Utah looks unstoppable to end the season but the Buffs have always played Utah competitive and it's the same team for the most part that CU should have beat to close out the season last year.  

Doesn't sound like anything is sure; So my answer is, I don't know if MacIntyre and CU will prove that just as much as people claiming to believe the Buffs are still in the cellar.  The Buffs have two very winnable games in the next three weeks.  They have to show those close losses and morale victories can become tangible proof in getting a mark in the Win column.  To prove the gap has narrowed, one win won't cut it and two is marginal, the Buffs MUST get at least three Pac 12 wins to prove they are moving up and just need more depth and some more talent.

The positive is more talent appears to be on the way, but this game is won in the trenches, so some decent offensive line recruits must prove they can fill in and be as good or better than their predecessors with a year of college under their belt.  Right now the Buffs are battling injuries, but for the first time in ages, there is at least more than a warm body filling that role.  To get those three Pac 12 wins, we are going to need to see a healthy Michael Adkins and Addison Gillam along with some cohesion on the offensive line.  24 points isn't going to cut it in the Pac 12, the Buffs need to get to high 30s to low 40s consistently in this conference.  CU has improved greatly on defense and seems to have stayed stagnant from last year's offense.  The offense must improve and keep leads and not turn over the ball because against better competition, that is going to lose the game as evident by the 14 points off turnovers Oregon had.  The best part of Saturday may be, the Buffs are now being questioned and told they are bottom of the barrel and after a tough loss to Hawaii, CU bounced back strong and found a way to destroy two lower level teams and have a bad day keeping consistent against in-state rival CSU but still come out with a win.  Bury CU in 3 weeks if they go 0-3 or even 1-2, but for now, CU still has a legitimate shot at shutting up the haters.  Finger pointed squarely at you lazy local media!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mile High Sports Radio Re-Boot, BSN Denver Explosion and Drew Soicher

Mile High Sports Radio Re-Boot
I am biased, I am a sports fan so I will talk up franchises, colleges and players on my fantasy team higher than I should.  Maybe the same can be said for how I feel about my sports talk, but I present some fact with my bias so keep on reading whether you prefer Mile High Sports, The Fan or ESPN Denver.

Mile High Sports Radio re-launched on July 27th on 1340 AM.  Over two months has lapsed and the long break may have truly made Mile High Sports Radio better.  The segments have been trimmed down to allow the same amount of air time but keep them off the same schedule of commercial breaks that The Fan or ESPN Denver use.  This has always been something I found to make no sense.  Why take the same commercials as your competitor?  I do most of my channel surfing when commercials hit, so I applaud this move.  Nothing worse than 3 sports talk shows running commercials at the same damn time.  It's a way to steal listeners if your show is rocking.  So a quick breakdown of the changes are in order.

7-9 a.m. for Morning Mayhem: I have been impressed by Morning Mayhem with the addition of Dee White as their producer.  Dee is no Joshua Dover but he is the glue holding Morning Mayhem together.  I have and always will be a fan of the show but without Dee squashing some of the bad takes, my finger may have hit my SAT button in my car.  Cello has came back stronger.  Danny needs to get back on point.

9-11 a.m for BSN Denver Sports Desk: I truly enjoyed the takes of Adam Kinney and Joshua Dover when they had their own show, Denver Sports Nation, before.  It is good to hear them on daily and the only live and local sports talk show after 9 a.m. in Denver.  The two make a great team and bring a lot of different talk to Denver and then bring in BSN staff to help give knowledge on other local sports teams like the Buffs, Rockies and Rams.  It's nice to hear their eclectic sports show.  Dover has always been a good dude both on the mic and off of it.

11 am-1 pm Gil Whitely: Dude is older than my grandparents but he took the couple months to give people the most information of what was going on at Mile High Sports.  Hard working, different sort of show.  I still can't do more than 15 minutes at a time but he's the perfect headed to the job site or lunch talk.  This is my brief Scott and Sandy tune-in just to see if they can save me from Gil's voice for a few minutes.

1 pm-2 pm Irv and Joe: These old dogs were good in the 90s and early 00s.  Bronco Billy, Clyde, etc. are the reason they still have a show because I can't do it any more.  Cecil Lammey gets my attention at this time.

2 pm-4 pm The Big Show: Kent Erickson is the unbuttered bread to the delicious omelet with home style potatoes covered with tabasco that Benny Bash and Benjamin Allbright are.  This show is good.  It is entertaining.  I tune in strictly for Ben-Squared.

4 pm-6 pm Goodman and Fogg: Eric Goodman is a machine in every phase of advertising to sports talk.  He has a good partner with Zach Fogg which is something he has not had in a long while.  The two are entertaining.  They must outshine Nate Kreckman.  My ears bleed the instant I accidentally have 104.3 tuned in.

6-8 p.m. Notaro and...: Littering and, littering and, littering and... That's a Super Troopers reference.  Notaro has always been good.  I enjoy him solo.  I enjoyed him partnered with Tom Helmer but that was short lived and 2 months after that experiment ended, Big Dee White took Helmer's spot.  White needs some non production air time and this is a great move.

After 8 p.m. I have not tuned in.  The only time I would, I would be in my car and the AM radio signal is scratchy once the sun starts to descend behind the Rocky Mountains.  The addition of Will Peterson to the staff on a permanent basis has already brought great things like partnering up with SB Nation and a clean website and appearance.  I truly have enjoyed these changes and applaud the work Mile High Sports has done, but if they want to get back on the stage with the big dogs, they need that FM dial as soon as possible.

BSN Denver Explosion
While at Mile High Sports took their hiatus, Brandon Spano took his Brandon Spano Network website and turned it into a force in online sports media for Denver.  I hardly click on the Denver Post because I either get Rockies, Broncos or CSU talk that I can get everywhere else.  He has added some talented young writers and hard chargers.  The best thing about the site is it has added different takes for all sports that you aren't getting from the tired old Denver Post that lost it's most talented writer in Benjamin Hochman and has no connection to Denver Nuggets or CU any longer.  Even their Broncos takes are bland with the departure of another writer in Mike Klis to 9 News and monotone Troy Renck trying to talk Broncos when he is more of a fit for the sport he covered in between his Broncos stints, Rockies baseball.

Brandon Spano has made a lot of great moves, from the RKs covering CU and CSU athletics to the very honest and talented David Martin covering Rockies but his biggest get may have been bringing Nate Timmons over.  Timmons was an excellent writer for Denver Stiffs and all things Nuggets talk.  Internet media has taken over print media and the amount of content and effort Spano has put together along with giving up the radio gig to give better suited guys in Dover and Kinney. 

But all things are not rainbows in BSN Denver land.  As I was typing this I saw that South Stands Denver is joining the BSN Denver team.  If you have followed Colin Daniels and John Reidy's podcast or twitter feeds, some of the most inappropriate and limited sports information comes from these two.  Their takes are for the truly lowbrow, thickheaded, meek minded, idiotic, uneducated sports fans.  Proceed with caution when dealing with these two.

Fire Drew Soicher
There isn't a much better way to put it but with that, Drew Soicher should be fired.  I could care less  he had a stupid segment on the Broncos season.  It's the fact he brings very little sports knowledge or hard work to the table.  He has somehow kept a job and on top of the sports department at 9 News for far too long.  I haven't tuned in for years, but every time I read or see a video of his, I just shake my head and say "How the hell does this guy still work at 9 News?"  Hopefully, for the sake of Denver, we won't have to endure him past this year.  It's time for a fresh start 9 News. 

Enjoy your weekend.  Don't go sliding down a handrail after you have taken edibles and are drunk off your ass like Colin Daniels did this summer.