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Conference Preview for the Big East 2011

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This sums up the state of the Big East: Third-year Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is one of the league’s elder statesmen.

He’s not the longest-tenured Big East coach (that would be 10-year Rutgers coach Greg Schiano), but Marrone has at least a year on every other Big East coach.

This season brings new coaches at each of last season’s tri-champs: Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni, Pittsburgh Todd Graham and West Virginia Dana Holgorsen. They join second-year coaches at Cincinnati, Louisville and USF.

With that kind of turnover, it is not shocking Big East teams struggled to find their footing last season. When West Virginia lost its bowl game to North Carolina State, the Big East found itself without a 10-win team for the first time since 1998.

If only the lackluster numbers ended there. The league’s BCS representative, Connecticut, lost 48-20 to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, then lost longtime coach Randy Edsall to Maryland. The league’s 60.9 non-conference winning percentage was its worst since 2005. And no Big East team finished the season ranked.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is the league should be improved this season thanks to experienced quarterbacks. Big East teams returned only two starting quarterbacks in 2010, and one of those (Rutgers’ Tom Savage) lost his job and transferred after the season. In 2011, only Connecticut and Louisville do not return their quarterbacks.

Perhaps this was a by-product of shoddy offenses, but the Big East featured some of the country’s best defenses, at least statistically. West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense. Louisville and USF finished in the top 20. If offenses are going to catch up, the movement likely will be led by Pittsburgh and West Virginia, who hired coaches used to leading prolific offenses.

Here’s a look at the Big East in its final season as an eight-team conference before TCU joins the conference in 2012.


SUBHED: THE PLAYERS


BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Connecticut T Mike Ryan. A major reason the Huskies were able to reach the Fiesta Bowl was the play of the offensive line, which was the best in the Big East. Connecticut led the league in rushing (thanks to since-departed TB Jordan Todman) and allowed the fewest sacks in the conference (15). Ryan is a left tackle with good size (6 feet 5/333 pounds), but he’ll be put to the test this season blocking for an unproven backfield.


BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Pittsburgh E Brandon Lindsey. The injury to Greg Romeus in the 2010 season-opener could have been debilitating to the Panthers’ defense, but Lindsey became one of the best defensive players in the league. He finished with 10 sacks last season and will be an intriguing piece in Todd Graham’s 3-4 defense. He is listed as an end, but Pitt also will use him as a pass-rushing linebacker. He has shown up on some NFL draft watch lists, but he still has a few things to prove, mainly whether he can be a force without fellow end Jabaal Sheard taking some of the attention. And can he put up big numbers against every opponent (half of his sacks came in two games, against Rutgers and New Hampshire)?


OFFENSIVE PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Louisville RB Victor Anderson. Anderson was the top freshman in the Big East in 2008, with 1,047 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, but he has struggled since. He has missed seven games in the past two seasons with injuries, and his playing time further dwindled last season because of the emergence of Bilal Powell. But with Powell gone and an untested quarterback, Anderson will need to top the 759 yards and five touchdowns he has produced the past two seasons combined.


DEFENSIVE PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Pittsburgh LB Greg Williams. The Panthers’ linebackers as a whole underachieved last season, but the player who most needs to play to his potential is Williams. He looked like a future all-conference player when he was pressed into starting duty as a freshman (47 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions). He has shown flashes of playmaking ability, but he hasn’t put together the career year he hinted at three years ago.


BREAKOUT OFFENSIVE STAR: West Virginia QB Geno Smith. Smith was the first-team All-Big East quarterback last season, his first as a starter, but his ceiling looks to be quite high in WVU’s new offense. He led the Big East in pass efficiency and kept the interceptions down (seven in 372 attempts, though three came in one game against Syracuse). In Dana Holgorsen’s offense, Smith appears to have the tools and the receivers to become one of the nation’s most prolific passers and a potential candidate for national honors.


BREAKOUT DEFENSIVE STAR: Syracuse E Chandler Jones. His brother, Arthur, was a standout tackle at Syracuse. Another brother, John, is a UFC fighter. So Chandler Jones has some good genes. All he needs is the breakout season that appears to be inevitable. He had 9.5 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles last season. With star LBs Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue gone, Syracuse is looking for a disruptive player in the front seven. Jones shows the signs of becoming that kind of force as a junior.


BEST OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER: Rutgers RB Savon Huggins. No position group in the Big East has more important newcomers than tailback. The list includes true freshman Vernard Roberts at West Virginia and Colorado transfer Darrell Scott, a junior, at USF. The one who may be most critical is Huggins, the highest-ranked recruit to sign with a Big East school (No. 58 in the Rivals100). Huggins also arrives at a position of dire need for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers rushed for a total of 633 yards in conference games last season, nearly 200 fewer than the next-worst team. If Rutgers’ offensive line recovers from a dismal 2010, Huggins could be the league’s freshman of the year.


BEST DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER: Syracuse LB Dyshawn Davis. Syracuse is paper-thin at linebacker, so Orange coaches need Davis to make an impact rookie as a redshirt freshman. He arrived at Syracuse as a receiver, but he’s needed at outside linebacker. Marquis Spruill played admirably as a freshman linebacker last season and will start in the middle this season. Coordinator Scott Shafer seems to have a knack for getting the most out of his linebackers.


MOST OVERRATED PLAYER: West Virginia DE Bruce Irvin. He is receiving plenty of preseason attention for his 14 sacks last season, but he still has work to do to become a postseason All-American. His sack numbers are great, but he was a pass-rush specialist who didn’t start a game last season. This season, he will start. And though he has bulked up to 235 pounds, his ability to stand in against the run is a big question. In addition, opposing blockers now can concentrate on Irvin because of a weakened supporting cast. Just two starters in WVU’s front six (the Mountaineers run a 3-3-5) return, and one of those is 268-pound Julian Miller, who will move to tackle from end.


THE COACHES


COACH ON THE HOTTEST SEAT: Rutgers’ Greg Schiano. Schiano is the only coach in the league with more than three seasons at his current stop, so that makes him the default pick in this category. Well, that and a 4-8 season in 2010 in which the Scarlet Knights ranked last in the league in total offense and total defense. After enduring his first losing season since 2004, Schiano replaced his offensive coordinator and made some other staff tweaks. If those don’t pan out, Schiano really could be on the hot seat next fall.


BEST COACHING STAFF: Louisville. A year ago, Charlie Strong brought a long resume as a rock-star defensive coordinator to his first head-coaching job. The question was how he would fare as a head coach. There are no such questions anymore. Strong has Louisville thinking Big East titles again after a 7-6 season in which all but one of the Cardinals’ losses was by eight or fewer points. Running back coach Kenny Carter helped turn Powell into a 1,400-yard rusher. Louisville signed the top recruiting class in the Big East. Under Strong and coordinator Vance Bedford, Louisville also had a top-20 defense last season.


BEST OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Louisville’s Mike Sanford. The Cardinals’ offense wasn’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination; the Cardinals averaged ranked 71st in the nation. But despite starting two serviceable-at-best quarterbacks, Louisville improved its scoring output by more than a touchdown per game. How did Louisville achieve such improved results with many of the same personnel? One reason was Powell’s emergence. The other was a dramatic decrease in turnovers. The Cardinals threw single-digit interceptions (eight) for the first time since 2006 and committed the fewest turnovers (16) since 2004. Louisville averaged 14 interceptions and 24.7 turnovers per season during the Steve Kragthorpe years.


BEST DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: West Virginia’s Jeff Casteel. Casteel runs an unorthodox 3-3-5 system, but no one can argue with the results. The Mountaineers have allowed more than 20 points per game only once in the past six seasons. Big East opponents have averaged only 16.3 points per game against WVU since 2007. Last season’s defense was his best the Mountaineers ranked in the top three nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rush defense and sacks while holding every team to 23 or fewer points.


BEST POSITION COACH: Connecticut OL coach Mike Foley. Without the benefit of highly touted recruits, the Huskies routinely have had one of the best offensive lines in the Big East since Foley arrived from Colgate in 2006. Will Beatty and Donald Thomas became draft picks under Foley, and Zach Hurd, Mike Ryan and Moe Petrus followed as All-Big East selections. Foley’s lines especially excel at run blocking.


THE OTHER STUFF


TEAM THAT WILL SURPRISE: Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights were simply awful last season, especially in the second half of the season. Opponents outscored Rutgers by more than 17 points per game during a six-game losing streak to end the season. Rutgers may not get to eight or nine wins, but the Scarlet Knights can’t be as bad as they were last season. First, the Tom Savage-Chas Dodd quarterback quandary has been settled. The heavy use of the “Wildcat” formation is gone, meaning players such as Mohamed Sanu and Jeremy Deering can be used to their full potential. Schiano hired Frank Cignetti as offensive coordinator to return Rutgers to its power-running roots. Schiano believes a functional offense will boost the defense, too, which was just as ineffective as the offense late last season.


TEAM THAT WILL DISAPPOINT: Louisville. Normally, a team that loses a handful of close games looks as if it’s nearing a turnaround. For all the optimism surrounding Louisville, though, this season could be a transitional one. The Cardinals return just one starter on the offensive line, and their backfield presents questions. Anderson has battled injuries the past two seasons, and the quarterback will be a walk-on Will Stein or a true freshman Teddy Bridgewater. No one would be shocked to see Louisville back in a bowl, but the Cardinals remain a season or two away from seriously contending for a BCS bid.


GAME OF THE YEAR: Pittsburgh at West Virginia, November 25. “The Backyard Brawl” always is on the short list of must-see games in the Big East, but this season’s game will have even more of an edge. Once both schools sorted out their coaching situation, they ended up with coaches who aren’t particularly fond of each other. When both were in Conference USA, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen and Pittsburgh’s Todd Graham traded some verbal barbs. Graham, offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and secondary coach Tony Gibson were assistants at West Virginia under Rich Rodriguez (Magee and Gibson followed him to Michigan). The game almost certainly will play a major role in the Big East race as well.


TOUGHEST SCHEDULE: USF. The season begins with a difficult road test at Notre Dame especially difficult for a team used to playing Stony Brook, Wofford, UT Martin and Elon in openers. The next three weeks will be easy, but the Bulls have some challenges on the conference schedule, including road trips to Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Syracuse and four non-Saturday games. Miami visits November 19 to interrupt the Big East schedule, too.


EASIEST SCHEDULE: Connecticut. The Huskies’ non-conference schedule consists of Fordham, Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Buffalo and Western Michigan. If Connecticut sweeps that non-conference schedule, the Huskies only have to win one conference game to become bowl-eligible. They have a conference schedule that includes four league games at home. Connecticut may need time to get used to new coach Paul Pasqualoni, a new quarterback and a new tailback, but the Huskies’ schedule means there is some room for error.


THE 10 BEST GAMES

(listed chronologically)

USF at Notre Dame, September 03, 2011

LSU at West Virginia, September 24, 2011

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, September 24, 2011

USF at Pittsburgh, September 29, 2011

West Virginia at Syracuse, October 21, 2011

Syracuse at Connecticut, November 05, 2011

Miami at USF, November 19, 2011

Pittsburgh at West Virginia, November 25, 2011

West Virginia at USF, December 01, 2011

Syracuse at Pittsburgh, December 03, 2011


PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. West Virginia

2. Pittsburgh

3. USF

4. Syracuse

5. Louisville

6. Rutgers

7. Cincinnati

8. Connecticut

~~  By David Fox - Rivals.com ~~

Gilmer County Democratic Women’s Club Meeting – Tuesday - 08.30.11

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The Gilmer County Democrat Women will meet on Tuesday August 30, 2011(Today) at the Common Place Restaurant in the rear dining room at 5:30 PM.

We hope to see you there.

Norma Hurley, President

Free Creative Writing Class - Beginning 09.12.11

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CGCC Offers Night Classes for Adults

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Welding Technology Class at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center:  The class would be an evening welding course.

The class will run 3 hours per week for 10 weeks.

A minimum of 5 students is needed.

The following areas of study may be available:

•  SMAW (Stick)
•  GMAW (Mig) Steel
•  GMAW (Mig) Aluminum
•  FCAW (Mig) Steel
•  GTAW (Tig) Steel
•  GTAW (Tig) Aluminum
•  Oxy-fuel Cutting
•  Oxy-fuel Welding
•  Oxy-fuel Brazing
•  Plasma Arc Cutting
•  Air Carbon Arc (gouging)

The program also offers training and testing for WV State Certification in plate and pipe welding.

The cost of the class will be $250.

If you are interested in any of these areas of welding technology and would like to enroll in the course please call Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center at 304.354.6151 by September 09, 2011.

Classes would begin the following week.

All fees need to be paid at the beginning of the first class.

Public Notice: iVontronic Touch Screen Voting Machine Public Testing - 09.14.11

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PUBLIC NOTICE

SPECIAL SESSION

Pursuant to Chapter 2, Article 4A, Section 26 of the West Virginia Code, notice is hereby given by the Clerk of the County Commission of Gilmer County, West Virginia, of the public test, Wednesday, September 14, 2011, at 5:00 PM for the iVontronic Touch Screen Voting Machine to be used for Early Voting for the October 04, 2011, General Election, which will be conducted in the County Commission Room of the Gilmer County Courthouse, 10 Howard Street, Glenville West Virginia.

The test is open to representatives of the political parties, candidates, the press and the public.

                                                                                                        Jean Butcher

                                                                                                        Clerk of Gilmer County Commission

Burnt House: Annual Ox Roast 2011

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The Annual Ox Roast of the, Burnt House Community Building is on Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 4:00 PM.

Don’t miss out on this in-ground pit Ox Roast.

Everyone welcome.

Ron Paul: Mission Accomplished in Libya?

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Even as a major hurricane hit America’s eastern seaboard, the administration is determined to expand the war in Libya while threatening the regime in Syria.  Is there any limit to government’s appetite to create more problems for our nation and economy?

Americans may be tempted to celebrate the apparent victory of US and NATO backed rebels in Libya, since it seems the Gaddafi regime is overthrown. But I believe any enthusiasm for our Libyan misadventure is premature.

The Obama administration attacked Libya without a constitutional declaration of war, without congressional authorization, without meaningful consultation with Congress—and without a dollar being authorized from the House or Senate.  It was a war started by a president who turned to the United Nations for its authority and ignored the authority of the US Congress.

Are we better off as a nation by ignoring and debasing our Constitution?  Are we better off having spent more than a billion dollars attacking a country thousands of miles away that had not threatened us?  Are we more financially sound having expanded the empire to include yet another protectorate and probable long-term military occupation?  Are we more admired throughout the world for getting involved in yet another war?

Still, many will claim that getting rid of Libyan ruler Gaddafi was worth it. They will say that the ends justify the means. As the civilian toll from NATO bombs adds up in a war started under the guise of protecting a civilian population, even the initial argument for intervention is ridiculous. We should not forget that there were no massacres taking place in Libya before the NATO attack. The attack was a dubbed a preventative humanitarian intervention.  But as soon as NATO planes started bombing, civilians started dying.

Gaddafi may well have been a tyrant, but as such he was no worse than many others that we support and count as allies. Disturbingly, we see a pattern of relatively secular leaders in the Arab world being targeted for regime change with the resulting power vacuum being filled by much more radical elements.  Iraq, post-Saddam, is certainly far closer to Iran than before the US invasion.  Will Libya be any different?

We already see grisly reprisals from the US-backed rebels against their political opponents.  There are disturbing scenes of looting and lawlessness on the part of the rebels.  We know that some rebel factions appear to be allied with Islamic extremists and others seem to have ties to the CIA.  They also appear to have a penchant for killing each other as well as supporters of the previous regime.  The tribal structure of Libyan society all but ensures that an ongoing civil war is on the agenda rather than the Swiss-style democracy that some intervention advocates suggest is around the corner.

What is next after such a victory?  With the big Western scramble to grab Libya’s oil reserves amid domestic political chaos and violence, does anyone doubt that NATO ground troops are not being prepared for yet another occupation?

Neo-conservatives continue to dominate our foreign policy, regardless of the administration in power.  They do not care that we are bankrupt, as they are too blinded by their desire for empire and their affection for the entangling alliances we have been rightly counseled to avoid. They have set their sights next on Syria, where the US moves steadily toward intervention in another domestic conflict that has nothing to do with the US.  Already the US president has called for “regime change” in Syria, while adding new sanctions against the Syrian regime.  Are US bombers far behind?

G-Biz™: Hospice Care Thrift Shop in Glenville - Homecoming Dresses

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Bon Appétit: Grilled Crab Legs

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Ingredients:

  1/2 cup olive oil
  1/2 cup butter
  1/2 cup minced garlic
  4 pounds Snow Crab clusters, thawed if necessary


Directions:

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

When hot, lightly oil grate.

Whisk together the olive oil, butter, and garlic; generously brush onto crab.

Cook crab on preheated grill, turning once, until the shell begins to brown, about 6 minutes.

Daily G-Eye™ : 08.30.11

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Accident at Intersection of U.S. Hwy 33/119 and mineral Road
Glenville, WV - 08.29.11
No one was hurt


Submit photos for this daily feature. You may select to have your name listed as well.
Send your photo(s) to “tellus@gilmerfreepress.net”

Stargazing - 08.30.11

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The Moon is just emerging from the Sun’s glare, so it forms a thin crescent low in the western sky at sunset.

The bright crescent is illuminated by the Sun so it is daylight there, while it’s night on the dark portion of the Moon.


Future Skies

The year one trillion is a long way off. But an astronomer at Harvard says that if there are any scientists around then, they’ll still be able to deduce the basic properties of the universe—thanks to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

We know that the universe is expanding, because we see that most other galaxies are moving away from ours—a result of the Big Bang. And the expansion is getting faster. Within a hundred billion years, all galaxies except the few that are close to the Milky Way will be speeding away so fast that astronomers won’t be able to see them. Because of that, no one in that far distant time should be able to tell that the universe is expanding.

But Abraham Loeb thinks otherwise. Every now and then, a binary system—two stars that are orbiting each other—skirts past the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s heart. One star falls toward the black hole, while the other shoots away from the black hole at high speed.

Even a trillion years from now, the black hole will still be hurling stars out of the galaxy. Once those stars are a few million light-years out, Loeb calculates, the universe’s expansion will speed them up. From that, astronomers who monitor the stars should be able to deduce that the universe is expanding and that the expansion is getting faster. If so, then future astronomers will be able to “see” that there’s a big, wide universe out there—even if they can’t see it at all.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment - 08.30.11

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‘No prophet is ever accepted in their own country.’

Authentic prophets are not elected by the people to fulfil a role determined by them; they are called by God to serve a mission of God’s choosing.

As the God-given mission alone determines the role they are to play, they will often find themselves at odds with people’s expectations of them.

The disciples at Emmaus identify Jesus as ‘a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people’ (Luke 24:19).

Yet those same people put him to death.

How often in the history of the church have we seen prophetic women and men persecuted in their lifetimes and honoured after their deaths.

The words of Moses are relevant today: ‘Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’ (Numbers 11:29).


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Lord comes to judge the earth—Ps 95(96):1, 3-5, 11-13. Luke 4:16-30.

Ina Mae Allman

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Ina Mae Allman

Age 86, of Jane Lew passed away Saturday, August 27, 2011, at the United Hospital Center in Bridgeport following an extended illness.

She was born in McWhorter, West Virginia, on March 21, 1925, a daughter of the late Oscar Ocheltree and Laura Gay Lowther Ocheltree. Her husband, Russell Allman Jr., preceded her in death February 12, 1986.

Surviving are two sons, James R. Allman and his wife Sharon of Jane Lew, and Ronald H. Allman of Jane Lew; her daughter, Shauna R. Fesler and her husband Raymond of Weston, along with four grandchildren, Christopher Allman, Terrie L. Gregory, Jeffrey Allman, and Ronald H. Allman; four great-grandchildren, Shaylee and Rachel Allman, Shane Gregory and Chant Allman; and one sister, Marie Gladysz of Clarksburg.

In addition to her parents and her husband, Mrs. Allman was preceded in death by two brothers and five sisters, Charlie and Jessie Ocheltree, Theresa Campbell, Evon Jarvis, Madeline Huett, Pauline Caussin and Dora Turner.

Mrs. Allman was a Licensed Practical Nurse, having retired from the Louis A. Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Clarksburg. She was a member of the McWhorter United Methodist Church.

Family and friends were received at the Amos Carvelli Funeral Home, 201 Edison Street, Nutter Fort, on Monday from 4:00 - 8:00 PM.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, at 10:00 AM at the funeral home with the Reverend Richard Wilson presiding.

Interment will follow in the Broad Run Cemetery.

08.30.11

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