NEW ORLEANS -- Welcome to the Big Easy, GPP Nation. It's yours truly's 2nd rodeo in New Orleans and unlike last year no sight yet of the Scarlett Johanssen look-a-like bartender at the Sun Belt Hilton hotel here in downtown.
Anyways, let's get to the Sun Belt matters at hand today on a busy Monday and also got a photo of the new FIU football helmet.
First, although it won't be announced until Tuesday morning, which by both Eastern (Miami) and Central (New Orleans) time, it's already Tuesday morning as I write this, the Sun Belt will tell us in about 6 hours that 3 bowl games have lined up Sun Belt teams with winning records as alternates.
Here's how that works: the Papa Johns Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.), St. Petersburg Bowl and Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.) have all agreed to take Sun Belt teams if the conference teams with tie-ins to those bowls do not have winning records. That plus the New Orleans Bowl (the Sun Belt Champ gets an automatic bid to that) makes 4 bowls that could have SBC teams this season.
In a perfect world, the way the SBC gets 5 teams bowling is if a SBC team pulls a Boise State or Hawaii and goes undefeated and forces their way into a BCS bowl. Like I said that's in a perfect world, but it's happened before. Hey, didn't Billy Bob once marry Angelina and Billy Joel marry Christie Brinkley? Stranger things have happened.
Still, overall it was a good day for the Sun Belt here in the Crescent City on Monday. MC and Scott Bryant are here representing the Golden Panthers and you can catch an FIU football story in Tuesday's Miami Herald.
So what will Bryant and the rest of the Golden Panthers be wearing on their heads this season.....here are a couple of photos of the new FIU helmet, notice the Golden Panther has been lowered from the letter I to clearly spell out F-I-U: (you may need to enlarge to get a better view)
FIU Fanatic: Do you know anything in terms of how many season tickets have been sold so far?..and compare it to last year?...club seats and suites sold?...What about the USF game tickets sold?
Max: Got any info on the basketball schedule?
GPP: Although it's not confirmed yet. I've heard that FIU will play two traditional college basketball (NOT Purdue or Kentucky) powers this season in the non-conference schedule. When it's a done deal, I'll post on here. Like recruiting season, I'm a firm believer of when it's signed on the dotted line, then it's true.
Quijote: What's your take on the soccer corner kicks, proximity to the sideline in the new stadium?
GPP: There is plenty of room for corner kicks in the new stadium and same with the proximity to the sidelines. As you'll see when I post the end zone photos I took with the new out of bounds area installed in the stadium last week, you can see there are about 12 yards to the sidelines and 7 yards after the back of the end zone. No worries for the futbolistas and their jewels.
FIU Fan: What are they intending to do with the empty patio space that's there now (in west end zone)? Those suites wont be done by Sept. 20...or will they? Will they have additional seating? The band? FIU Beach? Closed off?
GPP: The empty patio space in the west end zone will be closed off for this season while they build the conference rooms/suites and patio area inside the west end zone stands. BTW, FIU Beach is gaining some steam from what I've heard from some good sources at FIU. Clawing Cancer's idea seems to be a hit with the people it needs to be a hit with at FIU.
FIU Florida Power & Light: Can we get an update as to how many tickets have been sold for the USF game?
GPP: Will try to get a number on that for you, but heard the tickets are going quick, especially with USF begging for more -- not that they're going to get more.
FIUJM: I wonder if there is going to be someone paying for naming rights at stadium?
GPP: FIU is currently in negotiations with several South Florida businesses for naming rights to the new stadium and also to FIU Arena.
FIUFan: By the way, has Odebrecht, Pete, Mitch or anyone come up with an idea on how to personalize THE CAGE?
GPP: Ideas are being tossed around like "FIU Beach", there will likely be something unique to the stadium.
gpantera: With our new FIU logo, can you get us an example of the "Panther" logo, that is how will FIU write the word "Panther" with the new logo brand guidelines?
GPP: Going through all the media stuff here at the Sun Belt event, there are no renditions of the font the "Golden Panthers" will be written in. In all the Sun Belt media stuff, Golden Panthers is written in block letters, but I don't think that's how it will appear in the end zones of the new stadium. When I get a hold of the new font, I'll post it on here.
GPP: Only if you have a live satellite truck is SBC Media Day available. Otherwise, you have to go on-line to sunbeltsports.org to read about the 2 days. If there's significant news like the 3 new bowl games and FIU's helmet, it will be on the GPP.
Clawing Cancer: Hasn't that framework been there for a while?
GPP: Yes, although that area looks like the sandpit, it is not after I asked MC about it today, but MC said that would be the area where the football training sandpit will go.
As Apollo Creed would say "Ring the bell, ding, ding". Phoenix, Arizona has joined the Prowl. Someone in the land of the cactus wants to see the suites/patio area up already in the west side of FIU Stadium.
Here's the latest tally: The 31 states the GPP is read in: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS. 9 Countries: Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A. 1 District: Washington, D.C. and 1 Territory: Puerto Rico.
So what's the verdict on the new FIU helmet?