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FBS Independents rundown

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The 2011 season will feature a new kid on the block in the college football independent world.  The Brigham Young Cougars made the move from the Mountain West Confernce to independence.  BYU has a long and strong tradition in college football and should do fine as an independent.  The Cougars have a solid fan base, great alumni and their own television network.  The other FBS independents are as follows: Army, Navy and Notre Dame.  Here are my top returning quarterback’s from independent schools:

1. Dayne Crist, Sr, Notre Dame- 2010 stats: 174-294 (59%), 2,033 yds, 15 td’s, 7 int’s. Perspective: Crist returns to the Irish for his senior season but is not the outright leader in the quarterback race.  Crist is the favorite to win the job but has been battling fellow sophomore Tommy Rees in a hard fought battle.  In the end I expect Crist to win the job.  I think he has to tools to have a great season in Brian Kelley’s high powered attack.  I see Notre Dame as a dark horse to play in a BCS game this season.

2. Jake Heaps, So, BYU- 2010 stats: 219-383 (57%), 2,316 yds, 15 td’s, 9 int’s. Perspective: While Heaps struggled early on in his freshman campaign at BYU, he finished the season strong.  Because of this, most of the fanbase expects Heaps to have a breakout season and lead BYU to special season.  There is no denying Heaps talent.  He has all the tools to be yet another great BYU quarterback and now has a year under his belt.  Look for him to have a monster season and lead BYU to a double digit win season.

3. Trent Steelman, Jr, Army- 2010 stats: 71-133 (53%), 995 yds, 7 td’s, 3 int’s; 197 car, 721 yds, 11 td’s. Perspective: Steelman is the perfect quarterback for Army’s triple option attack.  He has great quickness and makes great decisions.  The key for Steelman is to stay healthy as he was injured of and on in 2010.  Army had one of its best seasons in a long time and capped it off with a 16-14 win over SMU in the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl.  I see them doing better in 2011.  I predict the Black Knights to go bowling again.

4. Kriss Proctor, Sr, Navy- 2010 stats: 2-5 (40%), 33 yds; 32 car, 304 yds, 4 td’s. Perspective: Proctor takes over the Navy option attack from Ricky Dobbs who had a stellar career for the Midshipmen.  Proctor has done well in the time he has played as a backup.  The Navy offense should not miss a with Proctor as the starting quarterback.

2011 Predictions:

1. BYU- look for the Cougars to have a breakout season led by the sophomore Jake Heaps.

2. Notre Dame- the fighting Irish should be back in 2011.  Expecting a big turnaround in Brian Kelley’s second season.

3. Navy- expect the usual from the Midshipman.  They will have one of the top rushing offenses in the country and get to a bowl game.

4. Army- the Black Knights had one of its better season in a long time in 2010.  They won 7 games including a win over SMU in the Armed Forces bowl.  Look for more of the same in 2011.

 

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Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23

Anthony DiMoro

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Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.

Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”

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Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl

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It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.

A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.

Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic ,  As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.

The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.

In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”.  Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?

I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.

Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.

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An Agency Changing the Sponsorship Game for Athletes

Anthony DiMoro

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The following is an official press release from Eight Seven Media

Sponsorships and endorsements have changed significantly over the past few years. Historically, we know them as mainstream commercials and endorsements by top apparel and shoe brands with professional athletes and celebrities at the forefront. Until recently, the huge rise of influencer marketing has changed brands perspective and they have gravitated towards using social media stars as their advocates. Influencers are compensated with hundreds of thousands of dollars and brands have turned away from the traditional celebrity or professional athlete. Eight Seven Media is looking to turn that model on its head and bring sponsorship dollars back to professional athletes.

Founded by Dylan Scance and Derek Flodmand, Eight Seven Media creates social media content for professional athletes. Working on the talent buying side, they noticed that brands were only picking talent based on either their audience or their content. When they would pitch athletes to certain brands, they knew they were a perfect fit for the brand from a personality and lifestyle perspective, but the athletes had a tough time getting deals from brands. Aside from the lack of resources these agencies provided, the number one reason was their lack of content. Most athletes understand that having a social media presence is crucial in today’s market, but they don’t necessarily understand exactly how to leverage their channels to their maximum potential.

We’ve outlined Eight Seven’s process below:

Step 1: Identification

Along with a data-backed strategy, their team works hand-in-hand with both the athlete and agent to understand what types of brands they are interested in partnering with.

Step 2: Content Creation

Their team then works directly with the athlete to create rich, bespoke lifestyle social media content, specific to the verticals they have identified. They will meet directly with the athlete to bring this content to life.

Step 3: Amplification

As the athlete pushes out bespoke content via their social channels, their team leverages a specialized software called Social Ads to amplify top-performing content to target audience(s) based on the verticals we have identified. This provides the athlete with increased reach and exposure within the right audience segments- thus increasing their potential value to identified brands.

Step 4: Reporting

Via the Social Ads software, their team provides intuitive reporting on content performance, inclusive of demographic and geographic data which highlights the extended audience that has been exposed to the athlete’s content.

Athletes are a perfect fit for brands for many reasons. They have a highly engaged audience that’s not filled with bot accounts (something that’s been plaguing the influencer industry for years). They are inspirational, motivational, and have overcome many challenges and hardships in life that inspire generations of fans. They are the perfect example of a true “influencer”, but they are still getting overlooked for sponsorship deals.

Eight Seven Media also offers their “Athlete Incubator”, a service where they work with newly signed athletes that are being developed by agents and teams and completely rebrand their social channels out of college. These athletes go through a 12-month process with Eight Seven where they advise them on best practices for their social channels, how to create and leverage high-quality content on their own, what brands look for from a social media perspective, and how to engage with their audience. Along with content creation, Eight Seven Media provides its clients with an analysis of how well their athletes social channels are performing.

The content being created is leveraged by agents when they’re pitching an athlete for sponsorships or endorsements. With the huge rise in lifestyle and fashion brands, non-traditional endorsements are something that’s taking the industry by storm. Kyle Kuzma signing with the GOAT app is a perfect example of how optimizing your content to fit the brands you want to work with pays off in the long-term. Brands not only want to partner with athletes that they can trust to produce high-quality content, but they want to ensure that this can be pushed out to their brands owned and operated social channels by repurposing these assets.

Learn more about Eight Seven Media here or reach out to dylan@eightsevenmedia.com.

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