Sideline Guy: Gagliardi, the matchup, snow

Time for a catch-all blog entry, as the weather has caused things to be a little erratic around your broadcast crew. I’ll update the weather situation, among other things, throughout this entry.


For the first time in any of the Divisions’ highest college football awards (the Heisman, Walter Payton, Harlon Hill and Gagliardi Trophies), we finally have an offensive lineman as a winner in Blaine Westemeyer. I know the arguments will be forthcoming concerning whether the Gagliardi is akin to a “player of the year” award, but that’s not what Gagliardi night is about. It’s about showcasing the epitome of Division III Football — great student-athletes playing the game simply for the love of it. We met Blaine Westemeyer earlier in the day during the initial interview pool for the Stagg Bowl teams, and it was obvious right away that Westemeyer was a confident, smart and poised individual who does not embody the unfortunate stereotype many people bestow on linemen. It was a whirlwind week for Westemeyer, with a trip to Mexico City, a flight from there to Roanoke, Va., and then a return flight to Mexico City for the Tazon de Estrellas all-star game. If he was tired, you couldn’t tell it throughout the day.

Westemeyer’s speech was classy and a tribute to offensive linemen who have played and currently play football at any level. Keith Jackson used to call linemen the “Big Uglies” in the trenches, but there was nothing ugly about the setting nor the situation Thursday night. I think the interview Pat Coleman did with Westemeyer that we’ve linked below speaks to Westemeyer’s handling of the moment and the fact that the soon-to-be medical school attendee was a great recipient of this tremendous award.


I sensed a lot of frustration from fans concerning the idea that Mount Union and Whitewater are back for the fifth consecutive year. Sure, there have been plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes about the teams’ familiarity with the area and the game. In reality, though, how true is that?

I think we often forget that a 52-man roster means that only about 30-35 underclassmen on average will have the chance to participate in the events of the week. How many of those 30-35 players were sophomores or freshmen? Not that many. With our fifth consecutive year of the matchup, we’re essentially guaranteed a complete turnover of players on both teams that have had Stagg Bowl experience (and likely a second turnover if you consider the shrunken rosters). Whitewater experienced a coaching change a couple years ago, meaning that, in essence, the only real high-profile stalwart in this fifth rendition of the matchup is Mount Union Head Coach Larry Kehres — and he always provides a certain level of unpredictability and wisdom to everyone that knows or meets him.

So is Division III football stuck in a rut? No. Two things make me answer that way. First, looking at the semi-finals, we had some real good competition for both teams, meaning that the “gap” may be closing between the rest of the Division and these two teams. Second, as I’ve said above, for as much as we hate to admit it, there are plenty of new faces every year appearing on the field at Salem Stadium for the Stagg Bowl. The mascots may be the same, but the game is different every year.

That’s why I’m still energized by this game for a third year on the sidelines.


As of this writing (1:15am EST Saturday morning), Roanoke, VA has seen about seven inches of snow fall — with some slowing over the last few hours. However, The National Weather Service has advised that there may be up to 12 to 15 more inches of snow overnight and into Saturday afternoon. There could be white-out conditions during the game, assuming the game kicks off at 11:03am EST. However, that is still an “if” — it is highly unlikely that the game will be pushed to Sunday since both teams and the officials are in place in Salem. The only possibility that seems possible is pushing the start time of the game to a later point Saturday if the weather appears to allow for improved conditions past the 11:03am kickoff. Could ESPN2 still broadcast the game? There is no other live event scheduled for the network until around 4:00pm, so there is some chance for a push of the kickoff. ESPN also has other networks, including ESPN Classic and ESPNU that could potentially broadcast the game in the event of a major problem. The answer to this question will not come until an early morning meeting of the key players of the NCAA and grounds crew. When we know more, we’ll fill you in.

For now, plan to join us live on the Pregame Show, being videocast live starting at 9:00am EST. We’ll have a lot more on the weather story and will release the 2009 All-American Team live.

48 thoughts on “Sideline Guy: Gagliardi, the matchup, snow

  1. Thank you from the UW-Whitewater Band for the weather update. We’re on the road (and hopefully staying there) and are hoping to make it on time. Keep us updated with any changes!

  2. The West Virginia Turnpike (I-64 and 77) is closed. Any updates on game time in case we can find an alternate route?

  3. WarhawkTrombone –

    In case you didn’t see our other notices:


    Due to the inclement weather, kickoff for Stagg Bowl XXXVII is being moved to 4:03pm EST.

    With about a foot of snow on the ground and the greatest remaining accumulations likely between now and 9:30am EST according to weather advisories available this morning, the NCAA Committee, ESPN and the City of Salem decided to allow for extra time for snow removal to allow for the safety of all involved.

    The game will now air on ESPN Classic starting at 4:00pm EST. Your pregame show will now begin at 1:30pm EST. Please go to the front page for more information.

  4. Thanks Frank, we got the message. Unfortunately with the Turnpike being closed we won’t make the game. Can’t even get home before the game ends to see/hear it. Hope it’s a good one!

  5. Will there be video anywhere besides ESPN Classic? If you are like me and have Directv and don’t have the sports pack, you dont get ESPN Classic anymore. A few months ago they switched it from the regular package and replaced it with ESPNU.

  6. realitycheck posted this on the OAC board:

    “It hasn’t been updated with the new kickoff time but you might try You just find your game, click the link and watch the tv channel on your computer. I was just told about it at school a couple weeks ago and now I pretty much have sportscenter rolling on my laptop during the entire workday.”

  7. just checked my tv list I can get the game on my ch 108….thats the good news…on the other hand my daughter & granddaughter are headed back from N C left this am…GOOD LUCK and SAFE DRIVING TO ALL ON THE ROADS THIS WEEKEND…..iths clear now in Ithaca,NY

  8. If anybody has Charter as an ISP, you get ESPN360 for free. The original game time showing was scheduled to be shown on there, so I think there’s a decent chance it’ll be on there. Go to to check it out.

  9. I had it confirmed this morning at about 6:45am that ESPN Classic and were all confirmed for the new kickoff time. Thus, any inconsistencies in schedules will be resolved by game time — remember to listen to Pat, Keith and me simultaneously with the video stream if you can. The link will be available at — we go live at 1:30pm EST officially.

  10. this sux . was really hopeing to go until they cancelled our over night bus trip. hope some fans will be there.

  11. Will the game be on the internet? I don’t get ESPN 360 or Classic. I’m somewhat computer challenged. Does video streaming mean I can see the game on I don’t like Pam Ward’s style of broadcasting anyway. So someone help me out here and give me some feedback, please.

    I really think the Stagg Bowl should be played in a warmer climate. I have said this for years. Many of you on this site disagree and that’s ok. However, I just think it would be more tavel safe and pleasant for everyone. I would like to see the game moved to Texas. Anyway that’s just my opinion.

  12. I had the TIVO all ready to record the game on ESPNHD. I’m upset the game has been moved to channels I don’t get, crap!!

  13. I was without internet all morning and I was flipping out not knowing what was up with the game since I had to go to work … now that I’m at work and have a good 3 hours before I need to be home I’m pumped…maybe a blessing in disguise…sorry to all those who attempted to make it and couldn’t…

  14. Psycho-
    Yes, we are planning on pulling the band bus (along with the two UWW fan busses we met up with) over to watch the game. Thanks to Coach USA and a game Buffalo Wild Wings manager, we might just have a little Warhawk party in West LaFayette, IN (complere with pep band)!

    Things still looking good for a 4 PM kickoff in Salem?

  15. Crush-
    Looks like you’ve got a couple options: Check if you get, quickly upgrade your package to get Classic, or head out to a bar (or buddy’s) that has Classic and watch there. Good luck catching it! (Do keep in mind that if all else fails there’s the audio broadcast from Pat and Keith right on this here website.)

  16. I was going to say I was not happy that the game was moved from ESPN HD to classics, but then I thought, “We’re in the Stagg Bowl again” so who cares!!

  17. WarhawkTrombone
    I’m not sure they did, not even sure if the cheerleaders made it. Havn’t heard if they one bus with fans made it or not. The weather channel had shot of the turpike shut down cars all over the place. Did you make it as far as Charleston WV last night?

  18. Yeah, we passed Charleston but not by much. We turned around at about mile marker 85 (not sure of the town). Our driver said that if we didn’t turn around when we did, we wouldn’t have gotten much farther before getting stuck. Heard a report of a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reporter getting stuck on I-81 for about 20 hours and getting rescued by the National Guard. We’re sad to be missing the game, but glad to not be stuck on the way.

  19. Directly from Dr. Glenn Hayes, UWW band director: “The Warhawk Band wishes all fans, regardless of team, safe travels to and from Salem. Have a safe game.”

  20. Murdy-
    I’ve got a comment waiting for moderation that explains it best I can. Not in West LaFayette yet, should be there around kickoff time.

  21. Bambord-
    That stinks for you guys. At least you’re all safe though and can hopefully cheer from home.

  22. I live in Upstate New York in the heart of loyal D3 Football territory. I think the Carrier Dome in Syracuse would be the perfect venue for the DIII title game. The game could be hosted by a combination of the Liberty League, Empire 8 and NJAC schools. The indoor facility of the Carrier Dome would eliminate any weather problems. Also there are no other bowl games in the area so it would get full attention from NY,NE, NJ and Pa DIII football fans.

  23. The Stagg Bowl Game broadcast just began on ESPN Classic. I’m getting it on Time Warner Cable Ch. 610(CLSP) in the NYS Capital District. I hope all D3 fans that want to see the game are safe and able to somehow get the feed.

  24. Big snowpiles in the endzone and along the sidelines but the field looks great. Super job by all those who worked on the preparation.

  25. Good job in the pre-game Frank. I went ahead and picked up the Sports Pack so I can see the game (also will save me a lot of $ b/c the SP has NESN which is pretty much why I had the MLB package in the first place).

    Good luck to both teams.

  26. UKnow:

    Salem does a fantastic job, but that’s an interesting idea. Of course, 16 inches of snow is even more common in Upstate New York this time of year.

  27. MOST sports bars have all the feeds from ESPN. If you call them in advance, generally, they will dedicate a television to the game.

    Buffalo Wild Wings generally will show any game that you want … but you have to eat that food.

    One hint though. Have them turn on the game BEFORE you order the food.

  28. Congratulations Whitewater great game, You deserved the win.
    Also to Mount Union, with all the question marks at the beginning of the season, well never thought we’d make it this far.

  29. Great game by both teams! The UWW Pep Band and fan busses stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in West Lafayette, IN and had a great time. Not the experience any of us anticipated having when we left but it was truly tremendous. Special thanks to the staff at BW3 for serving us and putting up with the nearly constant “U-Dub-Dub” chants. Itwas a great setting for watching a great game. Congrats to the champion Warhawks and to the Purple Raiders for making them earn it in every way. Hope everyone who made it to Salem gets home safely and we’ll see you next Fall! Let’s go Hawks!

  30. I am bummed ESPN Classic disables the “record” button. I was counting on rewatching this one tonight but no dice.

  31. An interesting off-season piece might be to interview the people at the West Lafayette IN Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

  32. Ralph-

    We’d be happy to help out with that. An added angle to the story that I didn’t mention before, the Coppage family was there in IN with us. According to my ‘sources,’ this was the first Saturday that Lavell’s mother was able to get off of work to see him play. They were a great crew and made the atmosphere even more special.

  33. Well a great game. Mount Unions 4th Qrtr slide again cost them. UWW always comes back in the 4th. Final 10 year stats for MUC 139-5, 6 Championship, 3 runnerup not to bad. 2010 should be great for someone….

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