July 28 News: American Sports Network Outpaces FS1


The Group of Five conferences may a surprisingly sizable ally in their efforts to compete with the Power Five’s television reach. Harry Minium of The Virginian-Pilot offers details of the quiet distribution giant American Sports Network, Sinclair Broadcasting’s sports brand.

American Sports Network is entering just its second season, yet reaches more homes than Fox Sports 1. I only heard of American Sports Network in the last few months, as the Sinclair arm has had a much more public role in various Group of Five and FCS media day events.

Conference USA in particular, which also has games occasionally telecast on Fox Sports 1, has been cozying up to American Sports Network this offseason. Old Dominion beat writer Minium points out the network aired its first game from ODU’s Foreman Field, and C-USA held its media days in Boca Raton to co-brand with ASN’s opening of new headquarters.

Investment in the Division I leagues with less exposure is an intriguing strategy, quite reminiscent of ESPN in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It originally launched the Thursday night telecasts as a showcase for Div. I-AA games, for example.

American Sports Network is going in with a more aggressive approach. Along with its partnership with C-USA, it just announced a deal with the FCS Southland Conference.

Ray Lawry Becomes the Face of Old Dominion Football

Kevin Minnick, Courier-Post

Of the C-USA names to know for the coming season’s American Sports Network broadcasts, one is Old Dominion running back Ray Lawry. Kevin Minnick explains Lawry’s emergence as the Monarchs’ top offensive weapon with stat sheet-stuffing quarterback Taylor Heinicke now working for a spot on the Minnesota Vikings roster.

Lawry put up some ridiculous numbers on the ground, despite Old Dominion’s offense relying heavily on the pass. At 7.1 yards per carry with 16 touchdowns, his presence forced defense to remain honest. In 2015, he’ll be the focal point.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun Is College Football’s Most Overlooked Head Coach

Bruce Feldman,

Troy Calhoun took over a legend at Air Force, Fisher DeBerry. But entering his ninth seasons at the controls, Calhoun has made his name as head coach of the program he once quarterbacked. Bruce Feldman writes that after Calhoun’s 10-win season, the Falcons’ success deserves more recognition.

Coincidentally, earlier this month I posited pretty much the same thing about another service academy coach, Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo. It’s worth noting Calhoun and Air Force claimed this year’s Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, so the Falcons have bragging rights over Navy for now.

Speaking of Air Force, on the eve of Mountain West media days, the Academy unveiled new uniforms for 2015.

Bowling Green did, as well, including a brown alt that is, well…very brown indeed:

Bret Bielema Explains “Borderline Erotic” Comment

Quintessential offseason: Bret Bielema talks eroticism. The Arkansas head coach’s comment, made at SEC media days earlier his month in reference to the Razorbacks’ blowout win over Texas, will probably be the most remembered two words of the 2015 offseason.

Charlie Strong certainly won’t forget it, nor will he allow his Texas Longhorns to.

Bielema offered an explanation on Monday and…yeah. It’s still Bret Bielema talking about eroticism.

Fun fact: Running a search for “Bret Bielema erotic” on Bing actually brings up the mosaic’d-out “Adult content” windows under Images. I don’t plan on turning off the SafeSearch filter for that.