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Saturday September 20 2014
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The Numbers Game

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There’s nothing new about this time of year - we’re getting out the madness of winter as we march toward another form of madness. Then we turn our attention to April, pretty much talking and acting like summer is already here as we look to flee the ache that typically accompanies our winter.

We also hear about all kinds of numbers this time of year: Falling temps, raising temps. The growing number of potholes and phone numbers available for you to call reporting potholes the size of mobile homes. The over/under on how many games the Pirates will win. The number of games remaining before the NHL season begins. And, of course, the spot where the Steelers pick in the draft.

There are many March Madness numbers you also can’t avoid - what seed Pitt will receive, how many Big East teams will get in and the number of games Pitt will win, or which numbers you “need to have” in order to win your NCAA pool.  Anything to do with March Madness numbers could easily fill the rest of this space.

But what about the Madness television ratings – what about those?

The ratings went through the roof this year. Not just bumps overall compared to 2010, but also gains within specific key demographics, largely 18-54 year old men.

So what produced these numbers?

One major reason being offered is the new four-headed network monster of CBS, TBS, TNT and Tru TV, compared to last year’s CBS. After sifting through the predictable “I don’t know what Tru TV is or if I have it” questions, somebody sure found the answers, even if Pitt wasn’t playing. Again, the numbers speak for themselves, but it seemed like fans liked being able to “play producer” as CBS reminded us of early in the tournament, finding games they wanted, when they wanted.

No question, having all the games on all the time was keen.

Speaking of games, they may have had something to do with it, huh? Face it, there are better seasons of March Madness than others. For most of us, it’s simply better when David beats—or at least has a shot against—Goliath. That was more than the case this year. As a matter of fact, by the second weekend, a rare night of blowouts was considered unusual, as if the games weren’t living up to their end of the bargain. That’s how quickly fans had become accustomed to games going down to the wire.

Regardless, it was special this year and while that doesn’t happen without the teams, even if there indeed were too many Big East entries, give credit to television too. It gave fans what they wanted and largely got out of the way.

Maybe there’s even a lesson or two there, just maybe.

I spent three days late last month visiting 18 high schools across the WPIAL. I drove 533 miles, took hundreds of photographs, shook hands with dozens of coaches, athletic directors and principals and climbed way too many stadium steps. I loved every minute of it, of course.
Editor's DeskFeature OneHigh School
On the heels of two straight wins, the Franklin Regional Panthers are looking to improve to 3-1 Friday night as welcome the Indiana Little Indians (2-1) to Panther Stadium.
Feature TwoHSCOGOS2014Press Room
Belle Vernon will battle Hollidaysburg in a WPIAL Triple-A clash Friday night with both teams looking for their third win on the season.
Feature ThreeHSUSS2014Press Room
The Steelers traditional powerhouse defense has set a yearly standard for fans and pundits for decades. But an aging Pittsburgh defense has had a rocky time the last couple of seasons.
Feature FourPure Steel
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Pirates TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3USS HS GOTWHigh School TV Channel
Twenty-two WPIAL football teams will have new coaches pacing the sidelines this season, including a few that will be featured in the CoGo's Feature Matchup this season.
Custom 1HSCOGOS2014
Several of the most coveted recruits throughout the WPIAL have already made their college decisions, most notably Sterling Jenkins of Baldwin. Others, like Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead, are still being recruited.
Custom 2High SchoolKeystone Recruiting
Bill Cherpak misses the way it used to be. Back in the 80’s, when the current Thomas Jefferson High School coach was a player at Steel Valley, the recruiting process wasn’t publicized. It was low-key compared to the present.
Custom 3High School
The Mon-Valley has put plenty of athletes on Division 1 football teams over the years, including several who made it to the NFL. There are a few Mon-Valley natives playing D-1 ball this season.
Custom 4HSUSS2014