Gary Laubach

About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

Behind the Mic: LI – Which Teams?

Green Bay vs Atlanta; Pittsburgh vs New England:  Which teams will make it to the Super Bowl?  It’s hard to believe they could be more evenly matched, with each team led by some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.  If your fantasy draft was held tomorrow would you take Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, or Matt Ryan?  Would it even matter – they are each that good!  No team would really seem to have the advantage at the quarterback position, but which one is better at crunch time?  Here is how I see the match-ups for this Sunday with the winner making a trip to the Super Bowl.

Green Bay at Atlanta – 3:05pm (Fox)
As I write this the over/under on this game is 60!  That’s right – 60 points.  Someone forgot the adage that “defense wins championships”.  So, obviously, Las Vegas does not believe either defense can stop Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan.

The Packers have won eight straight and Aaron Rodgers is the reason for the streak – 24 TDs and one interception.  And he just finds a way to win the game – the throw to Jared Cook on the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal is the most recent memory of Rodgers’ ability to just make something crucial happen.  And speaking of game –winning field goals, the Packers’ placekicker, Mason Crosby, has made 23 consecutive playoff field goals.  He last missed one in 2010.  At the end of the game, getting in field goal position is Rodgers’ job and winning the game has been Crosby’s job and both are getting their jobs done.

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons will most likely be the NFL’s MVP and he has a receiving corps led by Julio Jones that is better than the Cowboys.  The Packers have all kinds of trouble stopping both the run AND the pass.  If Atlanta can run enough to keep the Packers concerned about that aspect of the game, Matt Ryan could have quite a day.  Statistically, the Falcons run the ball almost as effectively as the Steelers and the Steelers’ rushing attack is very good.  Dallas was able to exploit the Packers’ secondary.  Most fans, I think, would agree that the Seattle Seahawks’ defense is more formidable than the Packers’ defense.  I am beginning to understand the over/under.

WHO WINS?  – The Falcons are favored; they are at home; but can I bet against Aaron Rodgers?  No!
GREEN BAY – 34     ATLANTA – 31 

Pittsburgh at New England – 6:40pm (CBS)
Is anybody better than Tom Brady in these situations?  Is anyone’s pass rush in the playoffs been better than the Steelers?  The answer to both questions is “No”.  But there are some troubling stats if you are a Steelers’ fan.  The Patriots have lost only once to the Steelers (Brady was injured in that game) in New England in the past 18 years and the Patriots have won nine of the last 12 match-ups between these two teams.

For Pittsburgh to win, and they have won nine in a row, they must be able to run the ball and I believe they will.  Le’Veon Bell was exceptional against Kansas City – 170 yards on 30 carries.  Throw in DeAngelo Williams and the New England rush defense will be severely tested.  Balance that rushing attack with the wisdom of Roethlisberger and his talented receivers, especially Antonio Brown, and life could get miserable for the Patriot defense.  But the Steelers did not score a touchdown against the Chiefs.

“Ho hum” for New England.  Aren’t the Patriots always in this playoff position – in the playoffs and at home?  They are 4-1 in the AFC Championship games and 16-3 all-time at home in the playoffs.  And Tom Brady is Tom Brady!  With the exception of Brady, the Patriots do not have the “name players” that the other playoff teams have, but they do have Bill Belichick.  And those two are the true “killer Bs”.

WHO WINS?  New England is favored; the game is in Foxboro; and Brady and Belichick do not lose.
NEW ENGLAND – 24     PITTSBURGH – 23

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
 

  1. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin made a valid point after the Steelers’ late Sunday win at Kansas City. New England has a day and a half preparation advantage over the Steelers due to the Patriots playing early on Saturday and the Steelers late on Sunday night and having to fly back to Pittsburgh.  Just what the Patriots need – another advantage.
  2. I hate to harp on the officiating, but do you agree that splitting up the NFL officials’ crews was a bad idea. There have been so many incidences where the crew just does not seem to be on the same page.  It makes them look bad and most fans think they are bad anyway.  There sure seems to be many more “booth reviews” than ever before.  Suffice it to say, no team is angrier with the officials than the Kansas City Chiefs – a holding call on the two-point conversion kept them from tying the game and sending it into overtime.
  3. Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby has been unbelievable – he became the first kicker to make two field goals of 50 yards or more in the last two minutes of a playoff game. His 56-yarder was the third longest in post-season history.  He had to make the game-winning 51-yarder twice after the Cowboys called time-out right before he made the first one.  That makes 23 in a row, a record.
  4. New Lafayette football coach John Garrett is certainly not a fan of Crosby’s. His brother, Jason, is the Dallas head coach and he had just put his team in position to go to overtime.
  5. Congratulations to both Allen and Bangor as they continue to stay undefeated in the high school basketball season. Allen is 6A and Bangor is 5A so they will not meet in the playoffs.  That’s a shame.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 2-2; Overall – 167-94-2 – 64%)
SEE ABOVE
 

 

Behind the Mic: 2017 Resolutions

Each New Year, we are made to feel guilty because we adopt resolutions for ourselves that we rarely keep.  Supposedly, this tradition was started by the Babylonians when they promised to pay off their debts.  I’m sure even the Babylonians had trouble keeping that resolution just as I am sure we continue to make resolutions and not keep them.

I guess the overall concept is for each of us to aspire to self-improvement.  That’s not a bad thing so I guess we could all be due for a little introspection.

Again, as in years’ past, since I rarely ever even think about New Year’s resolutions, I sought some guidance to come up with some.  I found a list of the top ten so I analyzed them for myself:

1.  Stay Fit and Healthy
Not only is this a good idea, but our company really tries to help us do this.  They offer a weekly tip on exercise and diet.  But the cuisine at most stadiums and gymnasiums is not usually made up of greens and vegetables.  For my workout, I do try to run to the refreshment stand to get my two hot dogs.

2.  Lose Weight
Much like Oprah, I struggle to lose the poundage.  Now if Weight Watchers would just offer me a small percentage of Oprah’s contract, then I think I could wrap my waist around the idea, but NO CONTRACT = NO DICE!

3.  Enjoy Life More
Now here is a resolution I can wrap my head around.  I will do my absolute best to fulfill this resolution, so if it looks like I am ignoring #1 and #2, you have the reason why.

4.  Spend Less, Save More
Why tell me?  Tell my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and the people who run the Sands Casino.  They could all REALLY help here.

5.  Spend More Time With Family and Friends
I like the concept, but I think my family and friends see just about enough of me.  I have no way of gauging this, but no one seems to be clamoring to spend more time with me.  In fact, my wife often says, “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”  So, until they make it perfectly clear that this is one of their resolutions for me, I am going to ignore this.

6.  Get Organized
Check!  I am organized – on getting work done at work and avoiding it at home.  It’s an art, you know.

7.  Learn Something New/New Hobby
I already do crosswords, read, play golf, watch the NFL, college football, college basketball and attend hundreds of sporting events.  Leave me alone!

8.  Travel More
Okay, but does anyone know how to do that and “Spend less, save more”? (See #4)

9.  Read More
Look – I have a Nook Reader and  use it quite a bit.  I could probably work on a more intellectual reading list, but I like Stephen King.

10.  Don’t Make Any Resolutions
This was actually a resolution made by 16% of the people polled by the Nielsen people.  So I think I have figured out this resolution thing.  If you have a good job, a nice family, good friends, and a wonderful wife, there is only one resolution that really matters –Don’t change anything!!

I’M GOOD FOR 2017!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. As bad as Wild Card weekend was in terms of interesting and competitive games, this weekend should be just the opposite. When you look at the match-ups – Seattle at Atlanta; Houston at New England; Pittsburgh at Kansas City; and Green Bay at Dallas, only the New England game looks like a rout.  I was 4-0 making the picks last week.  That won’t happen this weekend.
  2. It was reported by ESPN that Odell Beckham, Jr. punched a hole in the wall and banged his head against the door outside the Giants locker room in Green Bay after their loss on Sunday. As uncharacteristic as his performance was on Sunday, his reaction in the locker room seems just about normal for him.
  3. Penn State star and Whitehall graduate Saquon Barkley attended the Freedom at Whitehall game this past Friday just days after his amazing Rose Bowl performance. It happened to be Whitehall’s Hall of Fame night.  Saquon already has a lock on admission to that group.  Many fans wanted “selfies” and autographs. Saquon was cordial about it all, but seemed shy about his fame.  He better get used to it.
  4. Lafayette’s Matt Klinewski scored a career high 34 points this past Sunday. It was his second 30+ performance in the last four games and his third of the season.  No Leopard has ever had three 30-point games in one year since Lafayette joined the Patriot League in 1990.
  5. I don’t know if you noticed, but the Philadelphia 76ers are not the worst team in the NBA at the moment nor the second worst team. As I write this, they are 1.5 games ahead of Miami and 2.5 games ahead of New Jersey.  It must be a “cold day in…” the Lehigh Valley and it is!

 

Garys-Picks1

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 4-0; Overall – 165-92-2 – 64%)
PLAYOFFS – WEEK 2
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
KANSAS CITY
DALLAS

Behind the Mic: Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very happy 2017!

Image result for happy new year free clip art

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last wek – 11-3-2; Overall – 161-92-4 – 64%
NFL Playoffs

HOUSTON
SEATTLE
PITTSBURGH
GREEN BAY

Behind the Mic: Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the staff at RCN-TV, we wish all of you a Happy Holiday season!

Image result for happy holidays free clipart

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 10-6; Overall – 150-89-2 – 63%)
Week Seventeen

TENNESSEE
BUFFALO
BALTIMORE
WASHINGTON
GREEN BAY
INDIANAPOLIS
PHILADELPHIA
MINNESOTA
TAMPA BAY
PITTSBURGH
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
ARIZONA
KANSAS CITY
SEATTLE
DENVER

 

Behind the Mic: “Their Christmas Club”

Do any of you remember Christmas clubs?  I’m not sure if banks still have them, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t offer another way to keep your money and pay you very little for that privilege.  Christmas clubs began during the Great Depression so that bank customers would set aside a given amount of money each week so they would have some to spend at Christmas time.

My first Christmas club was a whopping $12.50.  I would put aside $0.25 every week (I could afford it because I had my own business – a newspaper route) and receive a check from the bank the first week of December for $12.50.  My younger sister also had a similar account except that she was subsidized by my parents (which didn’t really seem fair since I worked for my December windfall).  I’m not sure what my youngest sister or older brother did for Christmas money, but I sure do not remember any significant gifts coming my way from those two sources.

After receiving our checks, my sister and I would get on the local bus and head downtown to buy gifts for the five members of the family (three siblings and mom and dad).  Do the math – that’s $2.50 for each one.  I assume this is where the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” was originated.  The bigger problem, however, was that my sister always found something SHE liked while we were shopping.  She would always make her first purchase a gift for, you guessed it, HERSELF.

It was at that point that her shopping dilemma would rise up – she had about $2.50 left to buy five gifts.  She knew I had money – heck, I was an entrepreneur.  How could I refuse her?  She would always come home with a gift for everyone and the best gift for herself.  I didn’t like it, but I did it.

This is a long introduction to the main topic – what kind of a Christmas “club” might a top athlete have at their gift-giving disposal?  I decided to look at the highest-paid sports figures of the year and imagined what they might spend on each person on their list.  I’ll use 25 people to buy for as the cost basis and one day’s pay as the available amount of money (in essence, their Christmas club).  And I will use the 25 highest-paid athletes as the gift givers.

The athletes fell into the following categories: one boxer, three tennis players, three race car drivers, three NBA players, four golfers, five soccer players, and six NFL players.  Their annual incomes ranged from $35.9 million to $88 million.  The average yearly earnings for those 25 athletes were $50 million a year.  If you divide that number by 365 days, they make $136,986.30 per day or $45,662 per hour.  I’m thinking for their list of 25 people, some nice gifts are on the way.  On average, their Christmas club would allow them to spend almost $5500 per gift.

Now, I figure I have spent a great deal of my life working with and getting along with athletes.  I’m wondering if I could just convince one of them to let me take them “downtown” to do some Christmas shopping.  I think I remember my sister’s ploy.  Plead poverty.  Get them to financially help me make some wonderful purchases.  It worked on me for years.  Perhaps, it would work on them.

Heck, I would even buy my sister a nice gift.  After all, that’s the Christmas spirit.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Who is the best team in the NFL at the moment – New England or Dallas? Might it be Oakland or the Giants?  Or are Seattle or Pittsburgh sleepers?  No pro sport does the post season any better.  The playoff scenarios are mind-boggling and maintain interest to the very end of the season.
  2. Eagles’ fans can moan all they want about their coach, their quarterback, and the defensive secondary, but no one deserves more criticism than Nelson Agholor. He is a wide receiver who does not receive.  In this past Sunday’s game against the Ravens, he caught one pass, dropped a few, never fielded a punt as a punt receiver, and never got the one-yard necessary for a very important first down because of a poor decision.  He did receive $14.5 million as part of a four-year deal with the Eagles.  I’m sure he RECEIVES that money.
  3. The Roundball JAMboree held at Allen High School on Sunday was a huge success. The event was scheduled to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and honor Mike Schneider for his service to Lehigh Valley athletics.  Mike is afflicted with Parkinson’s.  Our local teams split the four games with Parkland and Allen winning while Liberty and Whitehall were defeated.
  4. RCN-TV finishes up the year with Emmaus at Parkland and Nazareth at Whitehall on Tuesday night beginning at 7:00pm and Whitehall at Parkland on Thursday at 7:00pm. It was another great year for Lehigh valley sports.
  5. This is my last blog until after the New Year so I want to wish all of you a very happy holiday and thank you for spending time with the RCN-TV team this past year.

 Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 12-4; Overall – 140-83-2 – 63%)
Week Sixteen

GIANTS
WASHINGTON
BUFFALO
TAMPA BAY
ATLANTA
GREEN BAY
NEW ENGLAND
TENNESSEE
SAN DIEGO
OAKLAND
SAN FRANCISCO
SEATTLE
HOUSTON
PITTSBURGH
KANSAS CITY
DALLAS
 

Behind the Mic: Who’s #32?

This time of the year football fans’ cries and debates always center around “Who’s #1”?  Very rarely does anyone ask or care which team is the worst.  It is hard to determine in college football because there are just so many teams, so we are content to argue the merits of the Top 25.  But the NFL is much easier.  There are only 32 teams and by week 13, I think one could certainly stir things up by looking at which teams are the absolutely worst ones in the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns are the obvious choice as the worst team in professional football.  With this week’s loss to Cincinnati, they have now lost 16 straight games (includes the final three from last year).  The Browns have been playing in the NFL since 1950 and they have never lost this many games without a win.  They are 1-23 in the past 24 games.  Just to pile on a bit, counting last year and this season, they are 3-26.  They have games at Buffalo, home against San Diego, and at Pittsburgh.  To be realistic, none of those games seem winnable.

Going back to 1960, there have only been four other teams to go winless and two of those teams played to a tie.  Only the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14 in their debut season and the 2008 Detroit Lions were the only team in history to go 0-16 and the first non-expansion team to lose every game.  So, as you can see, the Browns are among some pretty elite company.

But is there an argument to be made that there are teams just as bad?  Well, the 49ers are 1-12.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-11.  It’s hard to believe I am leaving the New York Jets out of the discussion, but they did just beat the 49ers this past Sunday in overtime so I will give them a pass.

Just to emphasize how bad these teams are: the 49ers two weeks ago had a TOTAL of six net passing yards and, this past week, they threw for 17 yards in the second half against the Jets.  As far as the Jaguars, let me throw this stat at you – QB Blake Bortles has thrown more interceptions for touchdowns than he has wins as a Jacksonville starter.

It does make one ponder whether these teams could beat Alabama, considered by most to be the best team in college football.  It would be men against boys for sure, but a terrific well-coached team against, well, the Browns.

San Francisco has the Giants and you could make the case they also have the Raiders, Athletics, Warriors and Sharks.  In Cleveland, thank goodness for the Indians and the Cavaliers.  Jacksonville only has the Jaguars.  Right now, none of them have a competitive NFL team.

So what’s your answer to “Who’s #32?”  Could it possibly be, “Who cares?”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy, signifying the best player in college football. It was the first Heisman ever for Louisville.  He is only 19 years old and a sophomore, the youngest ever to win the award.  For those of you who go way back, the great Johnny Unitas played at Louisville in the 1950s and went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.  Lamar has some big high-topped black shoes to fill (an analogy for just those who remember Unitas).
  2. This past weekend, Army defeated Navy for the first time in 14 years. It wasn’t easy.  After leading 14-0, Army lost the lead and trailed 17-14.  They fought back to win the game 21-17.  Emmaus’ Andy Davidson scored the first two Army touchdowns.  Both teams will play in a bowl game.
  3. CBS sports announcer Verne Lundquist did his final college football game as the play-by-play man for the Army-Navy game. He announced college football for 42 years.  Watch his goodbye:

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/12/10/13909272/verne-lundquist-army-navy-goodbye

  1. Villanova, the defending national champion of college basketball, is off to a 10-0 start. They are #1 in the nation for the second straight week and may have the player of the year in Josh Hart.  Years ago, head coach Jay Wright sat in my office for about an hour and we talked basketball and coaching young men.  He was here to appear on an RCN interview show.  I have rooted for him ever since.
  2. More high school basketball next week with Emmaus-Parkland and Nazareth-Whitehall on Tuesday, December 20. We will have Whitehall-Parkland on December 22.

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 9-7; Overall – 128-79-2 – 62%)
Week Fifteen

SEATTLE
MIAMI
DALLAS
GIANTS
GREEN BAY
BALTIMORE
MINNESOTA
BUFFALO
KANSAS CITY
HOUSTON
ARIZONA
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
OAKLAND
PITTSBURGH
WASHINGTON

Behind the Mic: Four Is Not Enough

If any college football fan doubts the wisdom of a four-team College Football Playoff system, this past weekend should eliminate those doubts.  The Selection Committee has no choice under the current system.  They can choose four and ONLY four.  The idea in the beginning was that conference champions would fill the four slots.  The only problem there is that there are five power conferences, but I’m sure the founders felt they could surely eliminate one of the champions.  But this year, the committee eliminated two – the Big 12 champions and the Big 10 champion.  The ACC will send Clemson; the Pac 12 will send Washington; and the SEC will send Alabama.  It is hard to argue with any of those choices.

Now we come to Ohio State.  Should they go or should the committee have chosen Penn State – the Big 10 champion?  I have no argument with Ohio State’s pedigree.  They lost only one game; they beat Michigan; they were ranked in the top three all year; and they beat Michigan.  That’s good enough for me.  EXCEPT….

Penn State won the Big 10 championship, while Ohio State did not play at all last week.  Penn State gave Ohio State their only loss of the year 24-21.  Penn State’s losses were to Pitt, which, by the way, beat Clemson and they lost to Michigan.  Both of those losses were on the road.  And if “playing well at the end of the year” means anything, Penn State has not lost since September.  They have won nine games in a row.  Ohio State lost to Penn State in October and Michigan lost two of their last three.

Winning a conference title is supposed to give the winning team a 13th data point.  Penn State earned that point; Ohio State did not.  Conference championships should matter.  For two teams, it did not.

As I said earlier, Ohio State, with only one loss should be in the mix for a national championship.  My fault with the system is four teams.  If you make it eight you add only one more week to the schedule and that should be palatable.  I know if you add eight, then nine and ten will feel shunned.  But eight gives you the five conference champions,   (the Big 12 will start playing one next year) and three “wild cards”.  A similar system works quite well for the NFL and six of those teams have gone on to win the Super Bowl.

So Penn State will play in the Rose Bowl against USC and that certainly is a justified reward for their season, but should they have been playing for a national championship?  What if you were on the committee – how would you have voted?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. I really started to watch Penn State because of Saquon Barkley, the former Whitehall Zephyr. Now I watch them because they are one of the most exciting and dramatic teams in college football.  Their win over Wisconsin, after being down by 21 points and being totally dominated early in the game, was nothing short of miraculous!
  2. The Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks played almost as well on Friday night against undefeated Imhotep Charter out of Philadelphia. Imhotep is the defending state champion and has won 28 games in a row.  No team stayed within 30 points of them this season.  Until they met the Hawks!  The Hawks lost 24-13 when Imhotep scored a TD late in the game. Beca was in it right up until the very end of the game and actually led at one point.  It was a great year for Coach Kyle Haas and the Beca football team.
  3. Notre Dame High School did not win a game two years ago. On Friday night, they played in the PIAA state semifinal game against undefeated Middletown.  The Crusaders lost that game, but their resurgence in the past two years has been amazing.
  4. The Eagles looked like a team that cannot make the playoffs this past Sunday. The Bengals just crushed them.  Maybe it’s not a good thing for the coach to say they are looking towards the future before the present is completed.  The Eagles took major steps in the wrong direction this past Sunday.
  5. High school basketball begins next week with Freedom-Allen and Liberty-Easton on Tuesday, December 13. We will have Liberty-Central and Saucon Valley-Wilson on Friday, December 16.  The wrestling season begins on Wednesday, December 14, with Liberty taking on Nazareth.

 

 Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 12-3; Overall – 119-72-2 – 62%)
Week Fourteen

OAKLAND
PHILADELPHIA
MINNESOTA
DETROIT
CINCINNATI
ARIZONA
INDIANAPOLIS
DENVER
CAROLINA
PITTSBURGH
JETS
TAMPA BAY
ATLANTA
SEATTLE
DALLAS
NEW ENGLAND

Behind the Mic: Dream Come True

High school football is winding down and college football has come to a close.  College basketball has begun and high school basketball is right around the corner.

That can only mean that it is once again time for one of my favorite nights of the year and it has nothing to do with athletics.  It is the night that I co-host the Dream Come True Telethon. Believe it or not (and I am a “not”), we will be doing the Telethon for the 31st year.  I did not host in the early years, but I have been around for most.

Dream Come True, in case you did not know, was founded in 1984 by Kostas Kalogeropoulous, a local businessman.  The goal of the organization is simple – fulfill the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically, and terminally ill and reside in the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Children are referred by family, friends, clergy, doctors, social workers, etc. and the dreams usually fall into three categories – trips, contact with celebrities, and special gifts (computers, shopping sprees, for example).

Scott Barr will be co-hosting again this year. We have spent this night together for many, many years and I would not want to work with anyone else. He handles the auction area and, boy, is he terrific!  If you watch Home Shopping Network or any of the other television all-day shopping channels, just watch Scott do his thing during the three-hour night.  He is as good as, if not better, than the professionals.  Here are the specifics:

The TELETHON will take place live next Monday, December 5, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RCN customers in the Lehigh Valley (Channel 4, 1004 in HD), Delaware County (Channel 8, 608 in HD), and Washington, DC metro (Channel 8) areas can watch live on RCN TV.  A popular component of the telethon each year is the auction.  This year, we will again utilize the on-line auction.  The bidding began on Sunday, November 6, and ends Monday, December 5 at 8:00PM. You can get to the auction here:

Great auction items include:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
  • 2 Ski passes and 2 Snow Tube passes to Blue Mountain Resort
  • Autographed Eagles football helmet signed by All-Pro tackle Jason Peters.
  • One year subscription to the Morning Call
  • Sony PlayStation 3 Slim Harry Potter 3D Experience
  • Relaxing Spa treatments at Bear Creek Mountain Resort
  • And much, much more!

Again, you can find all of the items by clicking here:

You will find a variety of unique items donated by local businesses as well as our friends from the cable TV networks.  If you want something really unique and not found in any store, tune us in and bid on the items.  You will make Scott’s night and, more importantly, some child’s dream.

The interviews with the children who have had their dreams fulfilled will demonstrate to you just how valuable your donations are.

The important facts again are:
The Date:         Monday, December 5
The Time:         6:00 – 9:00 PM
The Purpose:    To fulfill as many hopes, dreams and fantasies for seriously, chronically, and terminally ill children as possible
The Phone Number to Make a Donation:          1-800-749-8099

All proceeds from the online and on-air auctions go directly to Dream Come True.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!  Your donation will help make a child’s dream come true!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. As Penn State fans are well aware, the Ohio State win over Michigan on Saturday put Penn State in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin. Now, if Penn State wins that game, what does the FBS committee do to create a final four – put in Penn State or will they stay with Ohio State even though Penn State beat them?  Up until now, every final four has had only conference champions.
  2. And with all the turmoil as to which teams belong in the top four for college football’s championship game, is it time to go to eight teams? Or does this past Saturday prove that the final games leading up to the FBS final four ARE playoff games?  You judge.
  3. Notre Dame University is 4-8! Will they fire Brian Kelly?  Kelly says no, but Notre Dame does not go 4-8 without some coaching change.
  4. Congratulations to the Whitehall and Parkland football teams for making it to the PIAA state quarterfinals, but, once again, both ran into Philadelphia private school powerhouses and were eliminated. There is no shame in losing to those teams.  They put an outstanding product on the field.
  5. Two teams remain in the PIAA playoffs from our area – Bethlehem Catholic and Notre Dame. Beca will face one of those Philly powerhouses when they take on Imhotep Charter.  We will have that game on RCN-TV LIVE on Friday night at 7:00pm.  The Notre Dame-Middletown game will be on at 11:00 pm from Hersheypark Stadium.  No matter the outcomes, this weekend will end our football season.  The state championship games will be on PCN next weekend.  Thank you for spending Fridays and Saturdays with us.  Basketball is up next!

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 11-4; Overall – 107-69-2 – 61%)
Week Thirteen
DALLAS
ATLANTA
BALTIMORE
CHICAGO
PHILADELPHIA
GREEN BAY
DENVER
NEW ENGLAND
DETROIT
OAKLAND
ARIZONA
PITTSBURGH
TAMPA BAY
SEATTLE
JETS

Behind the Mic: Oh, Those Eagles

I know this will show my age, but when I was a little kid, I was a Baltimore Colts fan.  Does anyone remember the Baltimore Colts (not the Ravens, not Indianapolis – Baltimore).  I was seven years old in 1953 when the Colts took the field at Memorial Stadium.  I don’t remember if I became a fan then, but I do remember when Johnny Unitas took over the quarterback position in 1956.  His crewcut and high top shoes and, more importantly, his great right arm and the ability to make the Colts winners made him an instant hero in my eyes.  Penn State’s Lenny Moore, Alan Ameche, and Raymond Berry were also stars of that team.  They won back-to-back NFL titles in 1958 and ’59 defeating the Giants both of those years.  They won another in 1968 when I graduated from college.

But after 30 years of rooting for the Colts, Bob Irsay took the team in the middle of the night to Indianapolis.  Baltimore lost the Colts and I lost my team.  From that point on, I watched NFL football, but never felt a real attachment to any team.

And then the Eagles signed Carson Wentz of North Dakota State.  In 2011, I flew with the Lafayette football team to North Dakota State to do a football game.  The fan base out there was so passionate about their team.  They closed down the town at 4:00pm on game day so everyone could go to the game.  Realistically, there wasn’t much else to do in Fargo anyway.

So with that small professional reference, I decided to jump on board and root for the Philadelphia Eagles and “Wentzylvania”.  And I am not sorry.  I have watched every Eagles game from start to finish, thanks to TIVO and, in all honesty, they have all been entertaining.  Even though they are 3-5, they were competitive in every game.  I think I will enjoy watching this team and their young quarterback develop under first-year head coach Doug Pederson.  But like any fan, there are some things that are already starting to bother me:

  1. Nelson Agholor cannot catch the football. He is a “wide dropper”.  Wide receivers are supposed to catch the football.  He seems to have more “drops” than catches and Sunday against the Seahawks Agholor had no catches and a touchdown was called back because he did not line up properly.  Give me a break.
  2. Jason Peters is a penalty machine. Does anyone in the league hold more often than he does?  And he is really good when he is not costing the team yards in crucial situations.  Then he is really bad.
  3. Do the announcers have to put all of the Eagles’ woes on their young quarterback? They make it seem that he is responsible for every drive that stalls.  Between penalties and dropped balls by his wide receivers, he seems to always be in 3rd and long.  I, for one, think he has actually played quite well for his first year.
  4. The Eagles seem to turn the ball over at the very worst times. Two more wins would have been there for the taking if not for costly fumbles.
  5. Doug Pederson has sadly managed games, at times, like his mentor Andy Reid. Is poor clock management contagious?  If so, Andy passed on the virus.

The fact that I even now care about these things tells me that I am starting to become a fan of the Eagles.  I hope, like the Baltimore Colts of old, they take me to the promised land.  E-A-G-L-E-S!  Go, Birds!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. The 152nd addition of Lafayette-Lehigh was not competitive. Lehigh dominated in every aspect of the game.  Most disappointing was the lack of a sellout crowd.  Blame that on the Lafayette season.  Due to their record, it did not look like a good match-up and it wasn’t.  But I still look forward to 153.
  2. What was good about the broadcast, however, was the use of a drone for aerial shots. The drone really added to the very professional look of the game and gave us some beautiful shots during the game.
  3. Even more ironic, however, concerning the drone is that one flew over J Birney Crum Stadium on Friday night during the Parkland – Freedom game. The officials stopped the game and ordered both teams to their respective locker rooms which are about a quarter of a mile away.  Luckily before the long walk was completed, the drone left the area and the players came back.  So, one drone enhanced a game and another stopped the game – go figure.
  4. They are still playing golf. Jordan Spieth won the Australian Open on Sunday in a playoff with two Aussies.  It was the second time he won the title.  Up until this week, it was still nice enough to squeeze in a round here.
  5. PIAA playoffs this week are on RCN-TV. Whitehall will play Archbishop Wood on Friday at 7:00pm.  Parkland takes on St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday at 1:00pm.  Both games will be LIVE.  Good luck to Bethlehem Catholic and Notre Dame as their football teams take on Johnstown and Delaware Valley Charter.  Both games are on Saturday.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 10-3; Overall – 96-65-2 – 60%)

Week Twelve
DETROIT
DALLAS
INDIANAPOLIS
TENNESSEE
HOUSTON
BUFFALO
BALTOMORE
ATLANTA
MIAMI
NEW ORLEANS
GIANTS
SEATTLE
OAKLAND
DENVER
NEW ENGLAND
PHILADELPHIA

Behind the Mic: When Worlds Collide

If you were a Seinfeld fan, like I was, you probably remember the episode when George shouted, “The worlds are colliding, Jerry, the worlds are colliding!”  He simply meant that Jerry’s girlfriend and his girlfriend were friends and, therefore, sharing secrets about the two of them.  It was not good.

This week, my worlds are colliding for a whole other reason.  It is the time when sports seasons begin to overlap.  The collision takes place when basketball begins as football is continuing.  The other two “worlds” are high school athletics and Lafayette athletics with a sprinkle of other internet work on the Lafayette campus.   Trust me, I do not want your sympathy, but as a response to the many people who ask, “Do you just do games?”- Here is my schedule for this week:

Monday

  • Choose the Patriot League offensive, defensive, special teams and rookies of the week and submit my ballot.
  • Notify the Parkland and Liberty head football coaches that I will be doing their championship game on Friday night so I ask them to send me their starting lineups and season stats as soon as possible.
  • Get the season stats off the internet for Lafayette and Lehigh. Do my stat sheets for the Lafayette and Lehigh game charts.  This entails putting all the offensive and defensive stats on my game charts.  I alshave to update the starters, the individual and team sheets to be used during the game.  I put together a pre-game sheet for the opening and come up with Keys to the Game.
  • Now it’s on to writing this blog which I will submit Tuesday morning after all the NFL games are played.
  • Make a recording for ESPN Radio discussing Lafayette’s outlook for the game. This will be played prior to their broadcast of Lafayette-Lehigh on Saturday.
  • Prepare my notes for a one-hour interview with Lafayette President Alison Byerly, discussing the state of the college.
  • Arrive at Lafayette at 5:30PM to rehearse. Interview the President LIVE on Monday night for the internet from 7:00-8:00 PM.

Tuesday

  • Make the NFL picks for next week and submit this blog.
  • Begin to put together the information for the high school game on Friday night. Hopefully, the coaches and stat people will have gotten me the information requested (often not the case by Tuesday).  This also requires doing all the offensive and defensive stats for these two teams.
  • Begin the preparation for the Lafayette-Robert Morris women’s basketball game on Wednesday. This means filling in my game sheets with all the stats and researching pertinent information.
  • Attend the Lafayette press luncheon for the Lehigh game; do an internet preview of the game; talk to the coach and a few players, and gather up the game notes (@50 pages combined for both schools).
  • Spend the afternoon digesting the game notes and taking my own notes.
  • Eat dinner at home for the only time this week.

Wednesday

  • Complete as much of the high school prep as possible. This means profiling each team, keys to the game, starting lineups, stat charts, getting game officials and coming up with a trivia question.
  • Finish all preparation for that night’s Lafayette-Robert Morris women’s basketball game and create another trivia question.
  • If time permits, begin preparation for the Lafayette-NJIT men’s Thursday night basketball game.
  • 5:00 – arrive at the Kirby Sports Center. Prepare the broadcast table.
  • 7:00 – Tip-off for the women’s game.

Thursday

  • Go over the weekly checklist to make sure all is done for the two football games.
  • Complete preparation for the Lafayette-NJIT basketball game that night (another trivia question).
  • Start to prepare for Sunday’s Lafayette-Cornell men’s basketball game.
  • 5:00 – arrive at the Kirby Sports Center. Prepare the broadcast table.
  • 7:00 – Tip off for the men’s game.

Friday

  • Read all the articles in the local paper about tonight’s high school game.
  • Check out all the possible individual records and numbers of significance that might be important as the game progresses that night.
  • 5:00 – Arrive at the stadium and prepare the broadcast booth.
  • 7:00 – Freedom vs. Parkland for the District XI AAAAAA championship in Allentown.

Saturday

  • Read all the articles concerning Lafayette-Lehigh football in the local papers.
  • 10:00 AM – arrive at Fisher Stadium for the game and set up the booth for the game day broadcast which is going around the world on the internet and on a number of broadcast networks.
  • 12:37 – Kickoff for the 152nd game of college football’s most played rivalry.

Sunday

  • Finish the preparation for the Lafayette – Cornell men’s basketball game by completing and reviewing the game notes.
  • 12:00 Noon – Arrive at the Kirby Sports Center and, once again, prepare the table for the broadcast.
  • 2:00 – Tip off for the men’s game.
  • I should arrive home around 5:00 on Sunday afternoon from just doing the games, realizing how right George Costanza was when he complained that “The worlds are colliding, Jerry, the worlds are colliding!” Indeed, they are!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
No musings this week.  Did you read the blog?

Gary's Picks

Garys Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week 8-7; Overall 86-62-2 58%)
Week Eleven

NEW ORLEANS
PITTSBURGH
DALLAS
DETROIT
TENNESSEE
KANSAS CITY
ARIZONA
MIAMI
NEW ENGLAND
SEATTLE
WASHINGTON
OAKLAND