« Vegans Begone! It's Beef O'Brady's Bowl for FIU | Main | More on FIU vs. Marshall »

Some Things About Saturday...

ADDING ONTO THE TOP: Several folks have told me they've heard a Division I quarterback out of Miami, a spectacular sophomore with a spread option skill set, isn't terribly happy with where he is and might want to transfer back home. If he did, it wouldn't be to the offense in Coral Gables.


FIU got what everybody connected with the program wanted because athletic director Pete Garcia got proactive. As I wrote months back, I think Garcia's done an excellent job in understanding what a pivotal year this is for the football team and athletic program overall.

Garcia's been talking to the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl for over a year, lobbying hard the last two months and building an overall relationship with them and the bowl folks at ESPN, owners of the game. If you're a college football program that still could use some broader exposure, there are worse friends to make.

"The fact that ESPN had us on national TV seven times in the first eight games...I keep (talking) about ESPN because they believe in us," Garcia said. "We've got a great relationship with them and we've got to do everything we can to keep that relationship going."

As stated on a blog going into last week's season finale, FIU gives ESPN fun football: big plays, speed, usually some drama. Frankly, if I were ESPN, the only thing I'd want to tell FIU as far as its games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU is let's not do Tuesday anymore -- on TV, the crowd for the Troy game came off as embarrassing for a good program.

I asked Garcia how much he thought he the online fan blitz of the Beef O'Brady's folks affected the bowl's decision.

"I thank all our fans for their enthusiasm and support. We take our hats off to them. But this is something without winning the eight games, I'm not even sure if we had won seven, if we would've gotten the invitation. I've got to give credit to our football team for putting us into position to be invited. The quality of football they're playing...I don't want to single any one player out, but we play pretty exciting football and TV likes that."

"It's a team effort. We're the FIU family." 

Garcia kept giving props to the football team, as if needing to hammer home that the team had a good season: "I want to brag on our football team a bit. They're 8-4. That's not only the best record in Florida. They are the only football team south of Orlando and Tampa going to a bowl game."

Earlier, Cristobal was finishing answering my question about comparing the feeling this year to last, he also threw in a reference to FIU's unique position locally. He said the way last year ended, with a tough loss to Middle Tennessee, made it hard to fully enjoy the bowl game invitation that came the next day.

“What makes this one just as special is that we won our last game at Middle Tennessee with a better regular season record. And the ability to play a game right here, in our home state that speaks volumes. To represent the city of Miami and South Florida in a postseason game. I haven’t checked who’s playing where, but I do believe we’re the only South Flroida team representing in the postseason. It speaks volumes of our athletic department, our student-athletes and the university.” 

Check out Bowl Central at http://www.fiusports.com for oodles of Beef O'Brady's Bowl information stuff.

Also want to say again -- it's in the comments of the previous blog -- why there wasn't a headlined story online sooner than a few hours afterwards Saturday.

This season, this blog is where I've put breaking news first. On a few occasions, I've updated this blog several times until it's time to write the story that'll appear online or in print, then I've come back to the blog later for a more analytical look at the news. I've done it that way because it's faster, allows more flexibility in posting (a few blog posts, including Saturday's first, were made off my BlackBerry while doing Daddy stuff) and it's the way I've seen it best handled in other places at this paper and others.

That's the way I did it Saturday. Could I also have taken much of the same information, juggled it around a bit and done a regular story that would've appeared online earlier? Yes. But I didn't. I was slammed and felt the news was out there in a blog post that would be noted on the front page of the site and the sports site page. As it was, I wound up filing the last item 30 minutes late, an eternity in this business. If you want to say the "tease" to the blog post off the front or the one off the http://www.miamiherald.com/sports page should've been more prominent, maybe you're right.

I just grabbed the print Sports section. Top story, stripped across the top, Dolphins vs. Raiders. It's an NFL Sunday, folks. Two columns, one by Dan LeBatard on NFL violence and one on Howard Schnellenberger's last game coaching. Below the fold, my column on FIU/Orange Bowl/bowls, focused on FIU. You can say that's playing FAU over FIU, so it's bad story placement. Or you can say that's a column on the last game of, arguably, the most significant figure in modern South Florida college football, without whom neither program would exist (see my postgame FIU-FAU game blog or my pregame print/online story), so it's correct story placement.

To say I or The Herald were trying to "sit on the story" or downplay it is ridiculous. I wrote about FIU's bowl situation several times in stories that ran online and in print -- it was the advance story for the Louisiana-Monroe game -- and even more often on this blog. Though Thursday was my day off, I blogged as soon as the West Virginia-South Florida game ended with the result, a few things about the game and what it meant for FIU's chances to get to St. Pete. Saturday, as soon as the Cincy game ended, a blog post went up saying that alone might've been enough to get FIU into the St. Pete game. I texted, called furiously Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hoping to find out FIU's bowl fate as soon as possible for both professional and personal purposes (in 24 holiday seasons of this profession, I've been extremely lucky to be home every Christmas and all but two New Year's Eves.).

No blog appeared Friday nor story in Saturday's paper advancing Saturday's games and what might happen for FIU. I was on furlough Friday. That means I'm off, no pay and not allowed by company policy to have anything to do with The Herald. My Twitter account is personal. I chose that furlough date back in September.

Some of FIU fans' dissatisfaction with The Herald I understand from living it as an FIU beat reporter back when 70 percent of the buildings on campus now were no closer to reality than being on the Brady dad's architect drawing table. It wasn't a "we hate FIU" attitude at The Herald, but just a mindset that FIU was the other Division I program in town, the one without a football team, with good baseball, soccer and women's basketball teams. I'm not sure anybody cared enough about FIU to hate FIU. It wasn't even a full stand alone beat. I got into some blistering arguments with editors -- all of whom have gone on to retirement, other papers or their reward in the hereafter -- over decisions they made out of habit. ("I did it right the first time. You butchered it. You made the mess, you clean it up!" a 22-year-old me snapped often in a running argument with an editor over one story.)

I'm sure slights have happened that nursed anti-Herald feelings in the many years between then and when I re-took this beat in June. But I'm also sure there's been a plethora of good coverage from each beat reporter and The Herald. Good coverage isn't always pretty. I'm comfortable with most of what we've done since June. Nobody's ever going to be perfect and complain when you want here. You can be mean, just keep it clean (relatively).

But when I or The Herald doesn't handle something in the manner you like, do me a favor and at least assume an absence of malice on our part. I'm not sure who in The Herald has time or energy for malice these days. I sure don't.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Some Things About Saturday...:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

David, you have been now and will always be a class act.

I apologize on behalf of the fans; a lot of them have a bit of a grudge (for their own reasons, maybe even justified -- but that's not for us to discuss). A lot of them feel that the Herald doesn't give FIU a fair shake. But I know that's changed since they put you in place of writing the FIU Sports stories, because you've been nothing but awesome since you've taken over the job.

I also tremendously appreciate your candor and transparency, even though no one should expect any explanations for why you do what you do.

I hope to see you at St. Petersburg on the 20th, and I can't wait to see who we'll be playing against, and how we do on the field. If I see you at the game, you've got a drink on me. Go Panthers!

David, we aren't angry with you, we're angry with your bosses at UHerald. Why does FIU get only one guy who can write anything about FIU? You are merely the "bone" that they threw to us. And this after Rojas promised expanded FIU coverage a few years ago. Nothing has changed. In fact, putting aside the improvement in quality of writing you bring, things have gotten worse. At least there were two guys that were allowed to write about FIU (Beasley and Azpiazu) back then. If you can't acknowledge the institutional bias that exists at your employer against FIU, then I've given you too much credit for your intelligence.

SP, there is another guy. Walter. He wrote the basketball story for last night's game and has written a number of other stories. And, in defense of DJN (not that he needs it), he said before that he asked for the job, so I disagree with you calling him a bone. Not only that, but he responds to all our "grassy knoll" stuff.

Also, I am taking the grassy knoll thing and running with it.

We've got a good thing going with DJN. Show some restraint, Panther Fans.

No, we may never secure the full backing of The Herald sports department (too many Cane fans involved) to ever get a fully fair shake, but DJN is our guy now and he's the best we've seen since Pelegrin. (I hope mentioning Pelegrin doesn't get me banned - #WeHEARTPelegrin).

If we keep up the hostility, the may assign Adam Beasley to us again and no one wants to see that.

DJN, you rock for FIU. Keep rocknin' - We appreciate it. Please forgive our hostility...it's been a rocky road with The Herald.

Nothing has changed because FIU's football team still sucks and there still isn't a single non-alumni fan who might be interested in what's happening to it.

Thanks, as always, DJN for all your hard work. And I do realize that FIU is not as important as the UM in sports at this point in time. I have previously argued (mentioned?) that it will take time. Count on that folks. But are we getting better every year? Heck yes. Are we going to have disappointing years in the future? You betcha. Are we going to eventually catch up with the UM? I say absolutely. And if you don't believe me then take a look at all the UM fans on our site (if they didn't see at coming they wouldn't bother to come here.... ever see them hazing FAU fans, Bethune Cookman fans?). It may take a long time, but it will happen.

The formula is simple: Keep improving (there will be down years look at USF) over the years, keep making the product better (more traditions, better facilities, etc.). Remember we graduate thousands of students each year. Imagine the future implications. Finally, in response to grasping at straws, I went to 2 UM games this year, and you surely keep your non-alumni fan base. I went to the games with several UM grads/alumni and even they complain about the rough (kind word as opposed to what they call them) non alumni base

DJN has done a freaking amazing job, but yesterday's mess up was still a mess up. I'm not saying there was a conspiracy against FIU - I'm saying that it should never take over 4 hours for BREAKING NEWS to appear on the Herald online website, especially when we had 3 weeks of build up.

DJN himself admitted it may not have been the right thing to do to wait. I'm ready to move on.

Neil I think the coverage has been damn good so far. Since June I have actually visit your web page close to everyday. I still refuse to get my subscription back from the Herald for reasons you can probably figure out. BUT on the positive note you have been great. As FIU fans we want ALL the stories to be positive and happy but many times our athletic programs play a really bad game and that has to be reported as well.

You and Pete have covered FIU better then any reporter I have ever met. Keep the Bowl info coming (there is plenty that we want to know).. And KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Go Golden Panthers!

Only reason UM fans (just me) are here is that FIU has a blog in the Miami Herald.

If FAU or Bethune-Cookman had blogs they'd have the same UM traffic (just me) as FIU.

Read the "Gator Clause" blog if you want to contrast with a team UM fans are actually concerned with.

You are doing an incredible job David.

You are appreciated

DJN your the man! Keep up the good work..We all appreciate u!!Thanks for taking the time to explain it all to us.


Well said DJN. You're doing a fine job.

While I can't just turn a blind eye to the obvious unfavorable slants (being kind there) that this paper has shown us in the recent past, as some other more trustworthy (being kind there too) FIU fans do, I fully recognize your intentions appear to be unbiased and appropriate.

Overall, I'd say the Herald coverage has improved over your predecessor and have no complaint over how this Bowl announcement coverage was handled given your honest explanation.

David, I will second many of the sentiments already posted on here. You're doing a great job of covering FIU. Keep it up!

Great Post as always DJN! Look forward to your future coverage of FIU sports!! Hope to see a huge caravan of cars heading up to St. Pete the weekend and week of Dec. 20th!!! LETS GO FIU!!!

The AP published a story within 4 hours of the FIU bowl press conference.

The Miami Herald? This not a diss to DJN, but The Herald, The Institution, continues it's "Who, me?" not so subtle operation of slighting FIU.

It's all good. I prefer the coverage from The AP, ESPN and the other national outlets that chose to cover our pretty cool story.

Who cares about a printed story? If you get your news from a dirty piece of dead tree someone throws at your doorstep, I have no respect for you. If you want breaking news, follow the right people on twitter and blogs. This is 2011, people. I found out about this bowl announcement hours before by just checking the right places. Let DJN do his job and forget about the printed Herald. This is where it's at.


When Pete Pelegrin quit the Herald, the quality of FIU coverage took a steep downgrade when Adam Beasley assumed Pete's duties. Since then, he's been "reassigned" and we've all been very appreciative of your blessing.

The consensus here supports my conclusion. Our problem is with the Herald, and the continued bias that is blatantly displayed. When UM made their self imposed ban official, it was splattered on the front pages of Herald.com MOMENTS thereafter. Similarly, had UM even accepted an invitation to what would've been a third string bowl, the Herald would've splattered that breaking news all over the front pages of this site, even if it meant taking down news of a presidential assassination.

We are not asking for equal coverage in relation to UM. The Hurricane's history is legendary, and with that they have created a solid fan base (albeit clearly diminishing...).
Its become obvious that the two programs are headed in different directions, and that FIU has power in numbers. All we ask is for our "fair share".... that's all.

The "UM bias" is because UM sells the newspaper and we don't. It's that damn simple. The Herald is obviously in financial trouble because people all over the staff have to take furloughs every now and then. DJN is no exception. Adding more FIU coverage isn't going to improve the economic situation at the Herald.

Although, honestly, with the way things are going and print media suffering as it is, there's not a whole lot the Herald can do to improve its position. The only thing we can do is pray for FIU's continued success, because then the Herald will write more, because people will be more interested. Welcome to South Florida.

We ARE getting our fair share. Yes, maybe DJN should've fired up a temporary blurb to let us know he was putting something up, but instead he decided to write a full article and let time pass a bit first so that something better and more complete would go up instead. I like that. Let's relax, people.

Bottom line it is a great time to be a Panther! We should be proud of what our program and university are accomplishing.
Is the Herald perfect? Far from it. To be honest I don't care. I am more concerned about what FIU does. THe good news is we are doing exactly what should be done.
David, I like your blogs and your articles thanks for all your support.

If my team had a .500 record, a loosing in-confernce record and their best excuse for not going bowling is an impending NCAA investigation, I'd show some restraint before attempting to take shots at a team with a winning record in-conference, overall winning record and on their way into the post-season. But that's just me. Must be a U thing. Haters gonna hate. See ya in St. Pete ;-)

#TeamFIU #FIU Family

DJN, unfortunately some Panther fans are never going to be satisfied i fear... I for one have really enjoyed and appreciated your coverage this season thus far. Hope to see everyone in St. Pete!!

Let's not confuse our appreciation for DJN to mask the The Herald Hate.

DJN is a pro re: his FIU assignment.

With that said, when UM sneezes, it makes the cover. FIU earns a bowl game, and the first news outlet to provide coverage is an AP Story outta Orlando. That's shameful by any measure.

Let's move on. Go Panthers.

Hey David,

The Sun-Sentinel placed you piece as third story on there webpage after the Phins and Heat free agency. Kinda ironic, huh?

*their webpage

Interesting on that QB from Miami wanting to come back home. Good Job DJN!

One thing though, notice how a UCG story is on front page and is coming from a blog. That is all Herald had to do yesterday.

gpantera - if I couldn't spell the word "losing" I would show some restraint before trying to make some convoluted point comparing apples (any real conference) to oranges (sunbelt).

DJN, your smart writing and entertaining coverage of our Panthers is GREATLY appreciated. Not much to complain about here. But like most everywhere else online it's the malcontents who have the loudest voices. :-) As an aside though, for those of us who remember the FIU of 10 or 20 years ago, got to love the passion exhibited by current Panthers. Same goes for the haters.
If you would have told me a few years ago that UM people would be giving any attention to an FIU blog I wouldn't have believed you. Every new troll that shows up here is a testament to the relevancy of what FIU is doing.
That's the irony, It's helping us much more to have 50 posts saying how much we suck than to have nobody coming here. And personally I always get a kick out of the haters coming here every day to tell us how disinterested they are, it's just perfect, lol.

GFS: I really don't like to feed trolls, but why do you expend actual energy with the intention of being a jerk? What kind of person does that? What are you hoping will come of it?

Great, honest explanation by DJN on the coverage situation. I believe, like gpantera and so many others here, the dedication and professionalism and good work exhibited by DJN greatly supersedes the previous one, and lets us remember the years Pelegrin did his work as FIU's writer with passion. I also remember reading and enjoying a much younger Neal covering FIU back in the day....Good job and thanks for your feedback and passion. It wasn't necessary, but it is greatly appreciated.

Interesting information on that QB from Miami area high school.....

"If my team had a .500 record, a loosing in-confernce record and their best excuse for not going bowling is an impending NCAA investigation, I'd show some restraint before attempting to take shots at a team with a winning record in-conference, overall winning record and on their way into the post-season. But that's just me. Must be a U thing. Haters gonna hate. See ya in St. Pete ;-)"

That's why.

Grasping for Straws,

You got me. That darn typo (loosing v. losing)should discredit my entire point. The focus should be on a grammar misstep, not the core premise of the statement. Well played...for an internet tough-guy troll.

As for the so-called "convoluted" argument, it's not. I understand how it's convenient for you to position it as such. Quite simply, you're a hater. Your team earned a .500 record in a "real conference." You earned a losing record in a "real conference." You've never won your "real conference." The NCAA will hold your program accountable for your real infractions.

As for FIU, we'll go to our real bowl game while you continue to troll FIU boards spewing hate. Good luck with that. I will ingore starting...now.

Mr Neal, I enjoy your work and appreciate it. Thank you.

who is this QB that wants to come back home? sounds interesting! details please!

Jeffrey Godfrey, UCF QB

The comments to this entry are closed.