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2014 Know Your Foe: Akron Zips

August 14, 2014

As the 2014 football season approaches, it’s time to take a look at EMU’s opponents for the fall.

After the trip to East Lansing, EMU will continue their road trip — no home games in the month of September — with a trip to face the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium, scheduled for kickoff at 2 PM on October 4.

EMU trails Akron 12-17-0 in the all-time series, which began on October 1, 1949, but that record is a bit deceptive, as the Zips dominated the Hurons/Eagles from 1979 to 1993, going 9-1 in that span. In the last 20 years, the series has been reasonably balanced, with the Eagles holding a slight lead at 7-5. EMU’s biggest win came in Ypsilanti in 1997, by a score of 45-0, while Akron won 36-0 in 1976. Also worth noting is the November 24, 2001 game, which the Zips won in a 65-62 barn-burner. Read more…

2014 Know Your Foe: Michigan State Spartans

August 12, 2014

As the 2014 football season approaches, it’s time to take a look at EMU’s opponents for the fall.

Michigan State Spartans block SEMU’s fourth opponent of the 2014 season will be the most familiar so far. The Eagles have faced off against the Michigan State Spartans nine times losing every time, with the average score 36-7.

Like every game since their first meeting, the game on September 20 will be played at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Last time around, EMU played surprisingly well, leading the #21 Spartans at halftime before falling 23-7. It was the closest EMU has come against Michigan State since the very first time, when the Normalites lost 11-6 in Ypsilanti in 1898. Eastern Michigan is 0-32 all-time against current Big Ten members, with 19 of the losses coming against Michigan and Michigan State. Read more…

2014 EMU Football Podcast with Hustle Belt

August 11, 2014

Last week I joined the experts in all things MAC over at Hustle Belt for a pre-season discussion of the 2014 Eastern Michigan football team.

Also, Chris Creighton was gracious enough to sit down with me to discuss the prospect of a successful season for this year’s team.  Look for my football season preview early next week.

There Are….

August 8, 2014

…22 Days until The Factory is open for business.

2014 Know Your Foe: Old Dominion Monarchs

August 8, 2014

As the 2014 football season approaches, it’s time to take a look at EMU’s opponents for the fall.

I’m just going to put this out there: EMU should be above travelling to play at a football program that was just established in 2009, a program that is in its first year in the Bowl Subdivision.

But for the third game of 2014, that’s exactly what the Eagles will do, travelling to Norfolk, Virginia, to play the Old Dominion Monarchs on September 13.

Old Dominion University

Rollins Hall, one of the oldest buildings at Old Dominion.

Rollins Hall, one of the oldest buildings at Old Dominion.

In 1930, the College of William and Mary established a two-year branch in Norfolk. The next year, Virginia Tech also began offering classes at “The Division”, as it was known.

The school awarded its first bachelors degrees in 1956, became and autonomous four-year college called Old Dominion College in 1962, and with the addition of graduate programs became Old Dominion University in 1969.

The university takes its name from one of Virginia’s nicknames the “Old Dominion”, which was bestowed upon it by Charles II after the Restoration, in gratitude for the colony’s loyalty during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. In 1705, historian Robert Beverly Jr wrote that the Virginia colony “was the last of all the King’s Dominions that submitted to the Usurpation, and afterwards the first that cast it off”.

Read more…

2014 Know Your Foe: Florida Gators

August 6, 2014

As the 2014 football season approaches, it’s time to take a look at EMU’s opponents for the fall.

Florida_Gators_script_logoFor their second game of the 2014 football season, EMU will begin a prolonged road trip — no home games in the month of September — by heading more than 1,000 miles south to Gainesville, Florida, to face the Florida Gators. The September 6 game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, better known as “The Swamp”, comes almost exactly 10 years after EMU’s only other game against Florida; on September 11, 2004, the Eagles were trounced 49-10 in Gainesville.

Then, as now, the Gators were led by a coach who was heavily criticized by fans for failing to maintain the national championship-caliber program established by his predecessor. In 2004, Ron Zook was fired seven games into the season; will 2014 be any better for Will Muschamp?

Read more…

2014 Know Your Foe: Morgan State Bears

August 4, 2014

As the 2014 football season approaches, it’s time to take a look at EMU’s opponents for the fall.

Morgan_State_WordmarkEMU will kick off the season at home in Rynearson Stadium — newly rebranded as “The Factory” — by hosting the Morgan State Bears. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Bears and the Eagles — and just to be clear, the men from Ypsilanti never played Morgan State when they were the Hurons or Normalites either. The game is scheduled for 6 pm on Saturday, August 30, and is set to be webcast on ESPN3.

Morgan State University

Photomontage of the Morgan College campus, circa 1922.

The Morgan College campus, circa 1922. Carnegie Hall is the central photo.

Morgan State University traces its roots to a Methodist Episcopal seminary, the Centenary Biblical Institute, founded in 1867 and initially offering classes at Baltimore’s Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church. Over the next several decades the school expanded its mission from simply training black men for the ministry to educating men and women to become teachers, and in 1890 it was renamed Morgan College, in honor of Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of the board of trustees and a major donor of land to the school.

In 1915, the college received a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was used to pay all outstanding debts, purchase a new site in what is now northeastern Baltimore, and construct Carnegie Hall, now the oldest building on campus.

In 1939, a state study indicated that Maryland needed to provide more and better educational opportunities for black citizens, and the state purchased the school, renaming it Morgan State College. In 1975, the school added doctoral programs, and the Maryland General Assembly approved a name change to Morgan State University.

Read more…

Punching In At the Factory

August 3, 2014

I apologize for the title of this post, I wanted to get that cliche out of my system.  So I went to the unveiling of the field tonight.  If I weren’t photographing for this blog, I probably wouldn’t have been as interested but I do think Creighton is building an excitement for this team.  I was really curious how it would look especially after my attempt at a sneak peek on Friday.

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I will have to say, they did a really good job in putting this event on. It was very well thought out. They gave the little lunch boxes to everyone who RSVP’d in advance. The items they had at the silent auction seemed appropriate (but a bit on the pricey side). Coach Creighton thanked all the people that attended. Athletic Director Lyke gave a little bit of a talk on why they chose this color.

Now that I’ve seen the field up close, I’ll have to say I like it. As I said in my other post, I hope the gray doesn’t further creep into other things. Our colors are green and white and should remain that way.

A Sneak Peek at the Factory

August 1, 2014

I was heading home the other night and I noticed a banner near Rynearson Stadium that was announcing the opening of “The Factory”.  I also noticed a slight gap in the fence meaning that I might have a chance to get a picture for our fans here.  I don’t think this is an exclusive premiere though since I’ve seen pictures elsewhere.  However, since we have been talking about the field, I figured pictures would be good.

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Despite my reservations, I’ll have to say that the field looks pretty good.  When I first saw the posters, I thought it was going to be a lighter gray.  Now that I see it is more like a slate gray, I’m happier.  It provides a pretty nice constrast to the green and white endzones.  My only issue is that our colors are green and white and I’d like the efforts to throw gray into that mix go away.

Now as for “The Factory”.  I guess I can understand the rebranding but what obscure who was Eastern’s most successful coach.

I do plan on attending the official preview on Sunday, hopefully I’ll be able to get better pictures then.

Broken Justice

July 28, 2014

The trial of the second killer in the Demarius Reed case ended today with a not guilty verdict.  I call him a killer because that is what he is, and I don’t need a jury to confirm to me what I already know.  Demarius Reed is dead because the little boy accused in this case (I refuse to call him a man) cased him out and stalked him.  This ended in Demarius’s death.  When murder is the result of armed robbery, you are a killer. PERIOD.

The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office bungled this case so badly that now we have minimal justice for Demarius.  The person who pulled the trigger gets 15-30 years, and the person who masterminded the robbery goes free.

I held my tongue when the initial plea bargain for the shooter was struck.  It made ZERO sense to me, but I had to hope that there was a larger vision.  There wasn’t.  When the prosecutor’s office signed off on that plea bargain, they set the wheels in motion for this not guilty verdict.

Juries are only human.  People rightfully take the responsibility of sentencing a person to a long jail term very seriously.  So when the shooter pleads guilty, they assign the blame to him.  How easy is that?  It absolves them of a difficult decision.  The second player in the crime may be guilty of something, but not murder.  THE OTHER DUDE ALREADY ADMITTED SHOOTING HIM.  What did they expect the jury to do?

Sadly, the conclusion we are left to reach is that the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office appears to be riddled with incompetence.

And what of Demarius’s closest friends, and family?  They had to sit through the horror of this trial for what?  To watch a person who operates with complete indifference to human life walk free?

Emotions are mixed and raw right now.  Anger, frustration, disbelief.  Incredulity.  Our justice system has serious flaws, and most rational people understand this.  How long are we to tolerate long sentences for non-violent crimes while cold-blooded killers go free?

I love Philosophy, and at times like this I can’t help but get philosophical.   Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher who grappled with the nature of good and evil.  He claimed that there really is no evil in the world, because evil can be negated by love.  Spinoza said that the universe is a good and beautiful thing, and that any evil contained within the universe is only a part of a greater whole, and that whole is good.  Therefore, evil cannot touch us.

I see Demarius’s teammates grieving over their loss.  I read the words of his father talking about what a great son Demarius was.  This is love.  And it trumps the act of two deranged killers.  They may have killed Demarius, but the love that his friends and family hold for him is eternal, and cannot be touched.

Our EMU family is stronger than this verdict, stronger than the depraved hate of these killers.  We renew our call to put Demarius’s name on the ring of honor.  This gesture isn’t about football, it’s about family, and respect for life.

The prosecutor may have failed us.  The jury may have failed us.  The system may have failed us.  But we have the right to create our own justice, for Demarius, for Julia, and for all victims of violence.  If the only justice we can have is REED on the ring of honor, then so be it.  At least it will be something we can call our own, and it will be something no one can take from us.