Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp Returns This Spring

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Jon Gruden’s “Quarterback Camp” will return this Spring.

Gruden’s series of SportsCenter specials will return this spring for its fifth season.  Gruden mentors a handful of college football’s top quarterbacks in the series, as they prepare to take the next step in their careers.  This year’s installment of Gruden’s “Quarterback Camp” will see nine of college football’s top quarterback prospects.  Those names include the likes of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, two-time BCS National Champion A.J. McCarron of Alabama, and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville.  The complete list of this year’s “QB Camp” participants is noted below.

2014 Gruden’s QB Camp participants:

Quarterback

School

Blake Bortles

Central Florida

Tajh Boyd

Clemson

Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville

Derek Carr

Fresno

Jimmy Garoppolo

Eastern Illinois

Jordan Lynch

Northern Illinois

A.J. McCarron

Alabama

Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M

Aaron Murray

Georgia

 

Gruden prepares a specialized lesson plan of sorts for each of the participants in his “QB Camp.”  Through his specialized plan, he points out to each prospect, a balanced look at both their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to see where they need to improve in order to be successful NFL talent.  Over the past four seasons of his “QB Camp” Gruden has mentored no fewer than twenty-nine quarterbacks from twenty-seven schools.  Fourteen of those QBs went on to be NFL regular season starters.  Among the names that Gruden has mentored through his series are: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and current NFL Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks.

Gruden’s “QB Camp” moves this year to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena at Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando.  It replaces Gruden’s Tampa office, where the “QB Camp” was previously held.  The new set will replicate his Tampa office, playfully dubbed the “Fired Football Coaches Association.”  The 220-acre facility also includes athletic fields, which will be used for quarterback workouts.

More information on Jon Gruden’s “Quarterback Camp” and all things NFL is available online now at http://espn.go.com/nfl and http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Raise The Titanic Is Unsinkable In Its New Re-Issue

Courtesy: itv Studios/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: itv Studios/Shout! Factory

The sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic is one of the most talked about tragedies in the history of transportation.  The ship, said to be unsinkable, went down on its maiden voyage in 1912.  Over a century after that doomed cruise, that tragic event remains at the forefront of so many people’s minds.  That is thanks in large part to the countless documentaries and movies that have been churned out by movie studios and television networks over the past half century, the least of which being 1997’s story of a doomed romance, Titanic.  Thankfully there have been more enjoyable stories such as the famous The Band Played On and the 1980 drama that was Raise The Titanic.  Now twenty-four years after that movie debuted, it has been resurrected for the masses by itv Studios and Shout! Factory.  The movie, based on author Clive Cussler’s novel by the same name, uses the Cold War as a backdrop for its plot.  It’s just part of the writing that makes this movie worth watching at least once.  The movie’s script is just part of what makes Raise The Titanic worth at least one watch.  The movie’s soundtrack is another important aspect of the overall presentation.  John Williams’ score captures and creates so much emotion throughout the story.  And the special effects used throughout the movie are minimalist at best.  It actually makes the movie that much better.  It’s discussed in the bonus “Making of” featurette that’s included in this re-issue.  Each of the noted factors plays a role in the success of Raise The Titanic especially now in its new life.  Together, they make this a movie that any classic movie buff will want to check out at least once.

The first aspect of Raise The Titanic that audiences will agree to be a positive is the movie’s script.  Theories about what led to the Titanic’s sinking and how to potentially raise the ship have run rampant for ages.  However author Clive Cussler’s book based on those theories was the first of its kind to gain major success.  The same can be said of the final product crafted by screenwriter Adam Kennedy and his writing partner Eric Hughes.  To that extent, it can be argued that both the book and the script that it spawned were both quite original in their own right.  In hindsight, it’s interesting to see how prophetic this story turned out to be, even if it did change some things from Cussler’s original book.  Not that many years ago, the Costa Concordia wrecked off the Italian coast.  It sat there until recently when means were undertaken to lift the half-sunken ship and get it away from its crash site.  In the same way that many of the theories on how to raise the Titanic were deemed impossible (among other words), the method ultimately used to raise the Costa Concordia seemed impossible until one of those theories worked.  Having seen the Costa Concordia raised from its wreck site, one can’t help but wonder if it could be the foundation of a way to raise other ships as impossible as it might seem.

Raise The Titanic’s script is an important piece of the whole that is the movie’s success.  Just as important to the movie’s overal enjoyment is its music.  Legendary composer and maestro John Williams created a score for the movie that captures and creates so much emotion.  Nowhere is this truer than the scene in which the Titanic finally breaks the surface of the North Atlantic waters.  The moments as it makes its way into New York’s harbor are just as emotional, musically speaking.  Williams more than exhibits his ability to interpret any scene with these moments alone.  They are but a pair of moments that show how important the movie’s score is to the whole presentation.  There are far more moments throughout the movie’s near two-hour run time that exhibit just as much of Williams’ talent and that of the musicians that bring the movie’s soundtrack to life.  Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they buy or order the movie’s new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack re-issue from Shout! Factory.

The script and the soundtrack of Raise The Titanic both play pivotal roles in the movie’s success.  There is one more aspect of this movie that could be argued to trump those previously noted aspects.  That aspect is the movie’s special effects.  Watching this movie, one can’t help but make a quick comparison to the likes of The Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, and to a lesser degree, The Abyss.  The latter of that trio is perhaps the closest comparison.  The difference is that where James Cameron went completely overboard with his special effects, Raise The Titanic used minimalist special effects for even its biggest scene.  A couple prime examples of this less-is-more approach are the subs used to find the Titanic and the ship itself.  It turns out that the subs used in the movie were actually r/c subs.  The mock-up of the Titanic, it turns out, was actually a fifty-five foot “model” that weighed roughly ten tons.  And the methods used to raise the ship were just as interesting.  That minimalist approach to its special effects actually made the movie even more enjoyable because it forced its writers to focus on story development.  The end result was a movie that is just as rich in its special effects as it is in its story.  It makes Raise The Titanic a movie worth at least one watch by anyone that has never seen it before.

The special effects used throughout Raise The Titanic played a big role in the movie’s success thanks to the less-is-more approach taken by those behind the special effects.   There is much more worth noting, including the in-depth commentary on the movie shared in its bonus “Making of” featurette.  The commentary includes a rather damning statement regarding the over use of special effects in today’s major motion pictures.  The statement in question is made by one of the individuals that helped bring the movie’s special effects to life.  Fans can check out this statement and more when they purchase or order the movie now from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/node/218884.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Family Of Networks Get Big Wins Thanks To Football Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN heads have lots of reason to be happy today.  The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” lived up to its name once again as it took all key male demos and adult demos Monday night.  The win is thanks to ESPN’s weekly Monday Night Football broadcast.  Monday night’s broadcast of the Saints’ 38-17 victory over the Dolphins helped ESPN take the night in its key demos across both cable and standard broadcast networks.  The broadcast ranked a strong second overall for the night across networks and programs in total viewers.

Monday night’s MNF broadcast pulled in an 8.6 US rating.  That number represents an average of 9,945,000 households and 13,717,000 viewers according to Nielsen.  ESPN pulled its highest numbers in a fifteen minute window between 9:30pm ET and 9:45pm ET with a 10.4 rating.  In the Dolphins’ home turf of Miami, the game pulled a 13.1 rating on ESPN and a 4.0 on WSFL-CW.  The numbers combine for a total rating in the Miami market of 17.1.  On the other side of the ball, viewers in New Orleans helped the broadcast pull in a rating of 21.7 on ESPN and a 39.3 on the Saints’ home station, WDSU-NBC.  The ratings combined for a total 61.0 rating in that market.  This is a huge number for the New Orleans market as both numbers by themselves and together beat out the top 10 metered markets and the markets of competing teams.

Through the fourth week of the NFL’s regular season, ESPN’s MNF broadcasts now average an 8.8 rating, which is equivalent to 10,201,000 households and 13,985,000 viewers.  This ties the network’s numbers in the same period during the 2012 NFL season.

Next week on ESPN’s weekly broadcast, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons face off against Geno Smith and the New York Jets.  The game is scheduled to start at 8:30pm.

Monday Night’s ratings win is just one more reason for ESPN staffers to be happy.  That’s because ESPN also took the night Saturday night, too.  ABC’s Saturday Night Football presented by Windows pulled in an average of 6,751,000 viewers and a 4.0 household rating.  The night’s broadcast saw the Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Wisconsin Badgers 31-24.  The broadcast put ABC in the night’s top spot in all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49, and 25-54).

ESPN’s Saturday night doubleheader brought the network to a solid second place finish for the night across all key male and adult demos.  The University of Alabama blanked Ole Miss 25-0 in the first game of the night’s doubleheader schedule.  The match pulled in an average 4,022,000 viewers and a 2.3 household rating.  The second game of the night, Stanford’s 55-17 defeat of Washington State, finished with an average 1,851,000 viewers and a 1.2 household rating.

ESPN2’s broadcast of Texas A&M’s 45-33 win over Arkansas on September 28th averaged 2,761000 viewers and a 1.7 household rating.  That game, combined with those on ESPN and ABC , means that the networks together aired the four-most viewed college football games on Saturday night.

To put things into even more perspective for viewers, ABC’s Saturday Night Football presented by Windows is averaging 6,351,000 viewers so far this season with a 3.8 household rating.  That is an increase of seventeen percent and thirteen percent respectively over the network’s numbers for its broadcasts in 2012.  Overall, ESPN’s Saturday Night series is growing, too.  This season so far, it is averaging 3,899,000 viewers and a 2.3 household rating.  Those are increases of thirty-three percent and twenty-eight percent respectively.  And ESPNU’s Saturday night broadcasts are up thirty percent and thirty-three percent respectively in comparison to last year’s numbers at this time.  This year so far, ESPNU’s Saturday night broadcasts are averaging 651,000 viewers and a 0.4 household rating.

If these numbers aren’t enough reason to ESPN’s staffers and fans to celebrate, ESPN’s weekly Thursday night broadcast has seen significant growth over 2012, too.  It is averaging 2,681,000 viewers so far this season and a 1.8 household rating.  Those are increases of fifteen and thirteen percent respectively lover last year’s numbers at this time.  And its overall college football game coverage is averaging 3,104,000 viewers with a 2.0 household rating.  Those are increases of sixteen and twelve percent over 2012’s numbers respectively.

More information on ESPN’s latest ratings wins and more is available online at http://www.espn.com and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Family Of Networks Add ACC Football Games To 2013 Schedule

ACC Football Graphic

Fans of both college football and of the ACC will get a big treat from the ESPN family of networks beginning this fall.  ESPN has officially announced that it will broadcast no fewer than twenty additional ACC college football games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPNU during the course of the 2013 season.  The first three weeks of the upcoming college football season will see every home game from specific ACC teams, as well as a road and neutral site matchup across the ESPN family of networks.  This is in addition to five previously released ACC games.

As an added bonus for ACC football fans, the new deal between the ACC and the ESPN family of networks means that they will get to see the Dr Pepper ACC Championship from Charlotte, North Carolina and the previously announced quartet of Thursday ESPN College Football  Primetime telecasts.  Also, the deal has guaranteed at least one game on “Black Friday.”

The whole schedule kicks off with a matchup between the University of North Carolina and SEC #8 South Carolina.  The game is the first of the four scheduled Thursday ESPN College Football Primetime telecasts.  The game is currently scheduled for Thursday, August 29th at 6pm on ESPN.  Virginia Tech and two-time defending BCS National Champion Alabama follow on August 31st at 5:30pm on ESPN.  The game, the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game is scheduled to be played in Atlanta.  Miami will face #11 Florida on September 7th at noon on ESPN.  Also expected to be broadcast that day is a matchup between Virginia and 3 Oregon at 3:30pm on ABC and ESPN2.

The current schedule of games is listed below.  More games will be announced as the season moves forward.

The 2013 ACC schedule as of May 23 (additional selections to be announced):

 

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug 29 6 p.m. North Carolina at No. 8 South Carolina * ESPN
  6:30 p.m. Presbyterian at Wake Forest ESPN3
Fri, Aug 30 8 p.m. Florida Atlantic at Miami (Fla.) ESPNU
Sat, Aug 31 Noon Villanova at Boston College ESPN3
  Noon Elon at Georgia Tech ESPN3
  12:30 p.m. Louisiana Tech at NC State ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  12:30 p.m. Florida International at Maryland ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  3:30 p.m. BYU at Virginia ESPNU
  4 p.m. North Carolina Central at Duke ESPN3
  5:30 p.m. Chick-fil-A Kickoff: Virginia Tech vs. No. 2 Alabama (from Atlanta) * ESPN
  8 p.m. No. 7 Georgia at No. 12 Clemson * ABC
Mon, Sep 2 8 p.m. No. 14 Florida State at Pittsburgh * ESPN
Fri, Sep 6 8 p.m. Wake Forest at Boston College * ESPN2
Sat, Sep 7 Noon No. 11 Florida at Miami (Fla.) ESPN
  12:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee at North Carolina ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  12:30 p.m. South Carolina State at No. 12 Clemson ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  1:30 p.m. Western Carolina at Virginia Tech ESPN3
  3:30 p.m. No. 3 Oregon at Virginia ABC & ESPN2
  4 p.m. Old Dominion at Maryland ESPN3
  6 p.m. Richmond at NC State ESPN3
Sat, Sep 14 12:30 p.m. New Mexico at Pittsburgh ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  12:30 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe at Wake Forest ESPN3 ^ / ACC Network
  3:30 p.m. Nevada at No. 14 Florida State ESPN or ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. Georgia Tech at Duke ESPNU
  4 p.m. Wagner at Syracuse ESPN3
Thu, Sep 19 7:30 p.m. No. 12 Clemson at NC State * ESPN
Thu, Sep 26 7:30 p.m. Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech * ESPN
Thu, Oct 17 TBD Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina * ESPN
Thu, Nov 14 7:30 p.m. Georgia Tech at No. 12 Clemson * ESPN
Fri, Nov 29 TBD Miami (Fla.) at Pittsburgh * ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Dec 7 7:45 p.m. or 8 p.m. Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game (from Charlotte) ABC or ESPN

For all the latest ACC news, fans can follow the conference on its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/theACC and its official website, http://www.theACC.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Films Debuts New Film This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN/ESPNU

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPNU

ESPN Films will debut a new film in its SEC “Storied” series this weekend.  Miracle 3 will debut this Sunday, March 3rd at 8pm EST on ESPNU.  The latest in the series focuses on the events of March 14th, 2008.  It was on that date that an EF2 tornado touched down in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia during a matchup between Alabama and Mississippi State in the SEC tournament.  Alabama was trailing Mississippi State 59-56 in the final seconds of regulation of the first of the tournament’s quarterfinal games.  The game went into OT after Alabama guard Myka Riley hit a three-pointer to tie the game.  The irony of the shot is that not only did it keep the Crimson Tide in the game, but because it extended the game, it may have been to thank for saving thousands of lives.

Because of that shot, the thousands in attendance of the game stayed inside the Georgia Dome instead of going outside.  Had they gone outside, those thousands could have been injured or worse because only minutes after that fateful shot, a tornado touched down just outside the Georgia Dome.  Nobody inside the Georgia Dome was injured.  Though, the arena did sustain enough damage that it forced the remainder of the game to be delayed.  It also caused the last quarterfinal game of the day to be postponed.  SEC officials would end up having to find a new home for the tournament’s final games as a result of the damage to the Georgia Dome so as to finish the tournament on schedule.  The Bulldogs would end up going on to the NCAA tournament after winning three games in a 30-hour span.

The story of Miracle 3 is built around interviews with people involved in those affected by the tornado including players and coaches from teams playing in the tournament, SEC officials, referees, fans, meteorologists, and many more.  Along with airing at 8pm on ESPNU, Miracle 3 will also air earlier in the evening on March 3rd on ESPN.  It will air at 5pm on ESPN this Sunday evening.

To get the latest news on Miracle 3 and all programming on ESPNU and ESPN, go online to http://www.facebook.com/ESPNU and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN and the official website of ESPNU and ESPN, http://espn.go.com/college-sports/ and http://espn.go.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.