To paraphrase basketball wise man Allen Iverson – “We talkin’ about Previews – not a feature, not a feature, not a feature – we talkin’ about Previews…we talkin’ about Previews, how silly is that. I know that they are important, I honestly do. But we talkin’ about Previews man. What are we talkin’ about? Previews.
And that is what The Mess rant is about this week – Previews. As the calendar turns the page on October and we head into November, we have now stumbled into the preview season (cue the theme music from Twilight Zone). Forget about Halloween. The real scary late-October tradition is previews.
In the coming weeks you will see previews for conference championship meets, previews for league playoffs, previews for NCAA Tournaments, previews for upcoming seasons and even previews for the upcoming conference previews. There is one thing the Mess has learned about previews (once again to paraphrase a hackneyed line) – everyone has one and they all stink!
Put it this way – The Mess would rather get a spinal tap and a root canal, at the same time, than write a preview. Nothing good ever comes from a preview and nothing original is ever written in a preview. The Mess has never had a coach, player, parent or fan come up to us and say, “that was the best preview I have ever read – you really did a great job.” Nope, no sir. In fact it is always the opposite. Coaches, players, family and fans all get upset if someone isn’t mentioned or too many facts are given away.
Let’s take a look at the different ways The Mess has been criticized about previews over the years:
1) We have had coaches tell us that the preview was not very good because it had the audacity to point out that the team was going to be good that year (after the team had finished in the top 4 of the MIAC the year before and didn’t graduate a single player).
2) We’ve had coaches tell us that the preview was bad because it wasn’t positive enough or didn’t give the team enough credit (despite the fact the team finished in the bottom two of the conference the year before, hadn’t had a top 7 finish in the league standings for five years and lost their top two athletes).
3) We’ve received e-mails from parents who were upset that their son/daughter wasn’t mentioned in the preview despite the fact that the son/daughter hadn’t started a game in their career and had played less than half the games the year before.
4) We’ve even had players get upset because we wrote they were going to have a great season (it put too much pressure on them) despite the fact they were a two-time all-conference player and the top returning player at their position in the MIAC.
So you see Mess fans, nothing ever good – or original – comes from previews. We dare you to e-mail us with an original line, or quote, you have seen in a preview in the last five years. Go ahead, we’ll wait. How about we save you the time and just tell you it hasn’t happened. Coaches these days are too guarded about what they tell the SID for the preview. And then the SID is too paranoid they will upset someone, so they just stay right in the middle of the road.
Just once The Mess would like to write: “If this team doesn’t make the playoffs it will be the biggest disappointment in program history and the coach should think about getting into a new profession.”
There are other times we write previews for teams that are horrible, have no shot at winning – or making the playoffs – and we would like to write: “If this team wins one or two games (or finishes higher than ninth place in the MIAC) the coach should be given a bonus and named the Coach of the Year.”
Those things will never happen and so the reader is left to wander through word after word of milquetoast.
So, feel free to read all the previews coming out in the next few weeks – they are sure to REALLY (insert winking avatar here) shed some light on the upcoming playoffs, championships or seasons. As for The Mess, we will be in our office with all the windows open, our feet in an ice bucket and consuming mass quantities of Mountain Dew in order to keep from falling asleep as we type up these beauties!
The Mess Video of the Week
We are going to veer a little off course for The Mess Video of the Week. Since we spent this week’s rant on bashing what is bad about college sports information jobs, we figured we should pump up the tires of something that is great about college sports information. This week’s Mess Video of the Week was produced by the University of Miami Athletic Media Relations Office and was a 2010 College Sports Media Award Winner. Not only does it have a great inspirational message but it does a tremendous job at highlighting all the athletic programs at the university. It is original, engaging and will hold your interest – basically the exact opposite of a college sports preview.
It is only 2:45 which gives it another non-preview quality – straight forward and to the point.
We think that even non-Miami fans will enjoy this video as it could be about any college. It also has a great sports-related message about “heart”.
The Rest of the Mess
Another great weekend in Cobberville! The football team ran away from Hamline (no snide comments please) and the volleyball team swept both conference matches at home. It was a nice relaxing weekend before the big season overlap push (the fall seasons head down the stretch and this weekend the winter sports schedules start). The Mess was able to kick back and enjoy having only two home matches while watching the football game live via video stream.
We will leave you with the one great memory of the home matches over the weekend. The Mess enjoyed seeing the volleyball team’s opponents cheer like they were going to the World Series when they came close to winning a set. Not the match, or to take the lead in the match, just the fact that they might win a set off the most dominant team in the conference. Both visiting teams were all pumped up to win a set but then had their hopes dashed as the Cobbers, like Lucy does to Charlie Brown when he tries to kick the football, pulled the set away at the last second.
It was fun to see all the excitement generated by the home crowd, the opposing teams and the CC volleyball squad as they won their 27th straight set. That unheard of total is a school record and ties the MIAC record for most consecutive sets ever won. Which leads us to believe that – “it’s volleyball’s world and we are just living in it!”
The Mess Weekend Media Rewind
– Fargo Forum recap of the Cobber volleyball team’s win over Gustavus
– Fargo Forum recap of the Cobber women’s soccer team’s win over St. Olaf
– Video Highlights of the Cobber/Gustavus volleyball match
– Video Highlights of the Cobber/Carleton volleyball match
– Video Player Profile on Volleyball All-American Katie Vohnoutka
The Mess Picture of the Weekend
This week’s Mess Picture of the Week comes from the only home contests of the weekend. The Cobber volleyball team has steamrolled its opponents the past month and the Picture of the Week speaks at least 1,000 words on the dominance of the team. Once again the Picture of the Week has great levels of action and great facial expressions.
The picture is of All-American Katie Vohnoutka about to put the hammer down on another one of her 271 kills of the season. What makes the picture is the look on senior setter Amy Sykora’s (#6) face. She know what is about to happen and can’t believe Katie is so far above the ball. All that plus, CC fastpitch coach Megan Johnson and trainer Anna Bratsch make an appearance in the background! Special recognition goes to photographer Issac Vatnsdal who has taken his volleyball pictures to a new level.
(You can click on the picture to see the larger version to get the full effect)
The Mess Photo Galleries of the Weekend/Week
Check out the award-winning picture galleries from the weekend.
– Football vs. Hamline
– Volleyball vs. Gustavus
– Volleyball vs. Mayville State
– Men’s Soccer vs. St. Olaf
– Women’s Soccer vs. St. Olaf
* Special thanks goes out to Sheldon Green who took the awesome pictures from soccer, Isaac Vatnsdal for the volleyball shots and Tim Bye who is the road photographer for football.
“Now That’s A Big Mess” Stat Line of the Weekend
Once again it’s volleyball’s world and we are just living in it. The Big Mess Stat Line of the Weekend goes to Cobber All-Americans Jenna Green and Katie Vohnoutka. In the matches on Friday and Saturday the two combined for 43 kills, 44 digs and 48.5 points – in only six sets! That is almost half of the team’s total output for the two matches. The Concordia two-headed monster is poised to make a long run in the playoffs.
Since everyone at Concordia was away from campus and taking advantage of the mid-sem break, this week we are forced to go outside Cobberville to get the Social Media Mess of the Week winner. One of the Mess’ favorite follows is Deion Sanders. One of his hooks is the hashtag #HOP which stands for “Hold On Playa”. Basically a different way of saying “What’s up with that?” or “You can’t be serious”. Someone tweeted this gem to Deion: ”
“my 8yr son pos to go get 1$ out my pocket for school, I catch him at the bus stop
#HOP !! i knw u can count, give my 100 back! ”
The Mess can sympathize Dads who have 8-year-olds that are always trying trying to one-up them! If you don’t follow Deion, you should. He has great tweets about life and doing what is right.
Queens of the Mess
Let’s see. Who should we give this one too? Hmmm…oh…how about the volleyball team. Look up the term no-brainer in the dictionary and this decision is front and center. The Cobber volleyball team has been untouchable in the past nine matches. Concordia has won 27 straight sets which is a new school record. It is also believed to tie the longest streak ever in the MIAC. They have also won nine straight matches and are now 21-3 on the year. CC is also 8-1 in league play and tied for first place in the MIAC standings. Concordia also clinched its 11th straight MIAC playoff berth and its eighth 20-win season in the last 10 years. If they win their final two matches of the regular season they are assured of at least a tie for the MIAC regular-season championship (the first since 2006) and the No.1 seed in the upcoming conference playoffs.
King of the Mess
Despite having a sub-par year as a team, there is one player on the men’s soccer squad that consistently plays at an unbelievable high level. Senior Riley McGlynn has had a hard time backing up his record-setting numbers from last year. However, he has always worked hard and been a terror on opposing defenses. He takes a beating every game and, like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going and going and going.
The Cobbers played a pair of games out in California over the mid-sem weekend and came away with a tie and a loss. CC scored two goals in the two games and guess who got both? That’s right, Mr. McGlynn. He now has a team-leading six goals on the year. More importantly the four points puts him at 96 career points. He only needs four more points (2 goals, 1 goal and two assists or four assists – you get two points for a goal in college soccer) to become the second player in program history to reach the prestigious 100-point mark. The Mess couldn’t think of a better way to end a career than to go out and get a hat trick in his final collegiate game at home against St. John’s on Saturday!!!
The Tom Burnett Unsung Hero of the Week
Might as well stay with a good thing and recognize a pair of volleyball players that rarely get any attention. Once again The Mess will offer up a pop quiz. Quick – name a non-senior on the CC volleyball team that has played in all 24 matches? Bonus points if you said Rachel Wiinanen or Alison Bruggeman – this week’s Tom Burnett Unsung Heroes of the Week. Wiinanen, the team’s defensive specialist, had a team-high 35 digs in the two matches over the weekend. Bruggeman added 11 kills, 16 digs and three blocks as she continues to give the team solid play on the court. As every sports fan knows, it takes more than just a couple of stars to win titles and Wiinanen and Bruggeman have been huge the entire season.
The Mess Fans of the Week
This week’s Fans of the Week come from Friday’s volleyball match against Gustavus. The picture shows a part of the audience that made the atmosphere electric in the Cobbers’ 3-0 win. Despite the start of mid-sem break, over 300 fans flocked to Memorial Auditorium to cheer loud and proud for their beloved maroon and gold. So instead of saluting one fan, or a small group of fans, The Mess would like to say thank you to everyone in the crowd on Friday. (Be sure to enlarge the pic (click on the pic itself) and see if you can spot any Concordia dignitaries in the crowd!)
Once again we ask our 10’s of readers to submit Cobber fan pics! Please send your Cobber fan pictures to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember – the winning entry receives a special Cobber prize!
Upcoming Mess Games of the Week
Football at home vs. Bethel – 1 p.m.
Women’s Soccer at home vs. St. Ben’s – 1 p.m.
Volleyball at St. Ben’s – 3 p.m.
It’s time for another Judgment Saturday! This Saturday should be an awesome display of athletic pressure, quality teams and pure playoff drama! The football and women’s soccer teams play at “The Jake” at 1 p.m. The football season has come down to a two-game schedule. If CC can win the final two games against Bethel and St. Olaf, there is a great chance they will earn an at-large berth to the NCAA playoffs. And, as any cliché-filled coach will tell you, you have to take it “one game at a time”, which means the battle with Bethel will be the first playoff-like atmosphere.
The women’s soccer team is currently in third place and still has a chance to win the conference regular-season title as well as clinch their ninth-straight MIAC playoff berth. If they can beat Augsburg on Wednesday, that would set up a huge showdown with league-leading St. Ben’s on Saturday. Like the football game, tensions will be high and every play will take on extra meaning as it could be the last game for the three Cobber seniors.
Finally, the Cobber volleyball team plays at St. Ben’s. CC and the Blazers are two of the three teams tied at the top of the MIAC standings entering the final week. Both teams have tough mid-week matches and if they can pull out wins, will square off in a winner-take-all for the conference title. The two teams have a great rivalry at the end of the year and in the playoffs. It will be another high-level, nail-biter.
The Mess is hoping that the streak of five straight “Mess Game of the Week” wins continues and that all the CC teams keep their drive for the playoffs going! In any case, both home teams need all the fan support they can get so come out to The Jake on Saturday and be LOUD!!!!!
That’s a wrap for another Mess. Make sure you click away from any season or playoff previews you might come across. We paraphrased a famous quote to start this Mess and we will now en this Mess by paraphrasing another famous quote – this time from the movie “Billy Madison“:
“…what you’ve written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent preview were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who clicked on that is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points…”
And may you all be shown mercy if you do read the previews.
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