PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Today’s photo courtesy of Joey Rodriguez. This tweet got me thinking, what if? What if Rodriguez picks one of the other schools in this stack of letters? We’ll never know, and I think we’re all pretty happy about that.

THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR

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I wrote two features for the The Ram Report the last two days. If your annual donation to the Ram Athletic Fund does not exceed two goats and three sheets of fine silk, then you don’t get the magazine. However, due to space constraints, I can never get all the good quotes and tidbits in there, so you guys get to reap the benefits here on the blog.Think of this stuff as like a Nirvana box set. It’s a collection of stuff that didn’t necessarily make it onto the original album.

The first feature was on new Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Jamion Christian.

Shaka Smart, on keeping short lists of coaches in case of potential openings:

“They’re pretty big lists. You’ve always got to be ready. We’re in a profession where head coaching positions change quite a bit and assistant coaching positions change even more, so you always have to be ready.”

Smart, on Christian emerging as a candidate:

“What happened was, the more his name came up, the more everybody liked him. Good things kept coming out. Mike Jones and Kyle Getter were on their way out of Richmond to Radford, but they spoke very highly of them. Mike Morrell was on his way from Charleston Southern and he’s known Jamion longer than any of us. There was just a lot of common ties there. Mike Rhodes recruited Jamion at Randolph-Macon…”

Smart, when asked if he was concerned about bringing another young coach on staff (Christian is 29):

“No. I’m young. But, I’m at a different place than I was two years ago, going into my first year. The biggest criteria was someone that was going to be good with our guys and develop great relationships. I don’t care if the guy was 22 or a 100 years old, that’s who we were going to hire.”

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CAA RACES HEAT UP

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On Sept. 25, the VCU Women’s Soccer team lost a 1-0 decision to Hofstra to fall to 2-7-1 overall and 0-2 in the CAA. Dead in the water.

Since, they’re 5-0-3, including a stunning, 1-0 win over 18th-ranked William & Mary yesterday at SportsBackers Stadium. The Rams clinched a CAA Tournament bid with the victory, their first since 2007.

VCU is in second place in the CAA right now, one year after finishing 10th. According to Scott Day, who apparently stayed up all night crunching tiebreaker scenarios (he should’ve spent more time thinking about his decision to start Curtis Painter in fantasy football this week, but I digress), the Rams will clinch a first round bye with a win or tie Friday at home against James Madison. If they lose, they’ll be third or fourth.

Kudos to VCU Coaches Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Tim Sahaydak for an outstanding turnaround this year.

VOLLEYBALL
The Rams might’ve saved their season when they climbed out of a 2-0 hole to beat George Mason 3-2 Saturday night. VCU (10-14, 4-5 CAA) will now eye an increasingly important match with Hofstra Friday in Hempstead, N.Y. The winner has the inside track to the sixth and final CAA Tournament seed.

FIELD HOCKEY
VCU is looking for its second consecutive CAA Championship berth. The Rams are facing a tall task if they want to earth that final tourney bid, and they need help. More Scott Day scenarios. Field Hockey makes CAA Tournament if:

*Towson loses to Northeastern and Hofstra this weekend + Delaware loses at JMU on Friday night + The Rams beat Delaware on Sunday

MEN’S SOCCER
VCU Futbol dropped a 2-1 double OT decision to Drexel on Saturday, which isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered. However, the Rams do still control their own CAA destiny.

VCU is currently tied for sixth with Georgia State. The Rams have home games remaining with Towson, Georgia State and Delaware.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

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I wish I had time to talk to every CAA coach, but I did manage to get to a number of them. Here are some of their thoughts on the 2011-12 season from media day.

YEAGER BOMBS

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You can thank Mike Voyack for the title. Me, Yeager, CAA Basketball. What else do you need?

BETH SPEAKS

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I had a nice chat with Beth Cunningham at CAA Media Day Tuesday. Behold, the fruit of that labor. The Rams are picked second in the CAA Preseason Poll and are returning an All-American. Safe to say that expectations are high.

MEDIA DAY MEDIA

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VCU’s Shaka Smart ready to move past Final Four run (USA Today).

CAA Media Day: CAA no longer a ‘faceless’ mid-major (Richmond Times-Dispatch).

Winning takes more than just talent (Richmond Times-Dispatch).

Latitude adjustment? Dragons aim for first northern CAA hoops title (Wilmington Star News).

Things I learned today (CAAHoops.com).

This little ditty has been burning up the basketball forums. Blaine Taylor being Blaine Taylor, taking thinly veiled shots. He should just have gotten on the roof of Champps yesterday and screamed, “Hey, I won two CAA Championships! Somebody please notice! Please?” ODU Coach Taylor: “The tournament can make rock stars out of very average people.” (Commonwealth Times).

THE (OTHER) LINKS

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I’m trying to throw together a list of good links from media day yesterday, but before I do, here are a couple others worthy of a read.

I don’t know J. Cole from Adam, but he and Eric Maynor grew up near each other. SLAM got them on a conference call, which, in essence, results in Maynor interviewing J. Cole. Off the Sidelines (SLAM).

Former VCU pitcher Jerry DiPoto, the program’s first major leaguer, is in the running for both the Angels’ and Orioles’ GM openings. DiPoto made some shrewd moves as the interim general manager of the Diamondbacks last year, and that grabbed people’s attention around baseball. DiPoto Sought by Angels, Orioles (Fox Sports Arizona).

Those Navy managers can talk all the trash they want. They just got dominated by trick shot kings Dude Perfect.

MEDIA DAY = GREAT SUCCESS!

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The whole gang is back from CAA Basketball Media Day. It was a successful and productive affair. We were able to tape interviews with Ron Hunter of Georgia State, Paul Hewitt of George Mason, Blaine Taylor of Old Dominion, Tony Shaver of William & Mary, Bruiser Flint of Drexel, CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager and Rams’ Women’s Basketball Coach Beth Cunningham. We hope to have those videos up shortly.

I’d have loved to shoot more, interviews, but it was a beehive of activity up there. I don’t think Shaka Smart stopped talking for more than a minute all day. He was the star of the show today, much like Jim Larranaga was for George Mason in 2006 following the Patriots’ Final Four berth. The event gets bigger and bigger every year. In the past, there were periods where certain coaches would sit around twiddling their fingers, but not anymore. It’s actually quite and event now.

With that said, I’ll try to sift through and deliver a bunch of the good links tomorrow as well.

ALL APOLOGIES

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Jamie Skeen was named All-CAA Second Team at the end of the 2010-11 regular season. He was not on any of the All-CAA preseason teams.

On Tuesday, the Colonial Athletic Association will hold its annual men’s and women’s basketball media day in Arlington, Va., where it’ll reveal its Preseason All-Conference Teams. I think this is the perfect opportunity to apologize for my profession and the rest of my media brethren. These preseason All-Conference teams, they’re our fault.

I know how fun it is to prognosticate, to predict how an entire season will shape up on a single sheet of paper. Believe me, I’ve done it and enjoyed the heck out of it.

As a former voting member of both the All-CAA Men’s and Women’s awards body, I have contributed to this affliction for the preseason crowning of the best of the…well, I don’t know, actually. What are we rewarding people for with these preseason All-Conference teams again?

It’s a simple equation. Take last year’s All-Conference team, subtract the graduating seniors, injured players and suspended/ineligible/dismissed troublemakers. Move everybody up into the available spots. Then, with what’s left, take some educated guesses to fill the remaining slots and voila! You have voted for your very own preseason All-Conference team.

There’s the rub. There’s little or no science to this. We’re not rewarding an accomplishment, unless we’re talking about last year’s accomplishments, which we already rewarded – last year. It doesn’t – and can’t – account for so many unforeseen circumstances. How about an underperforming junior who figures it out as a senior? May I present, Jamie Skeen? How about the player whose career arc levels off, like, say, Julius Wells? What about new transfers or breakout freshmen?

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