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Undone by the Plague, but announcing things

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Last week it was just a cold on my return from South Carolina. This week I appear to be fighting a developing sinus infection that is leaving my head in a cloud. I feel like I am walking around with this constant look of, "What?" on my face. That's not going to prevent me from having a mini-boilermakings with a few announcements and thoughts on recent developments. The first is the promised major announcement, since I have more information.

Earlier this week I was approached by the good folks at SB Nation who were interested in having me move the blog over to their network. There, I would be the leader of their new start up Purdue community. This is a move that means more exposure to my posts, more involvement in the Purdue community, and greater opportunities for ad revenue. Since one of my ultimate goals is to expand on my writing career this is a great chance to expand my audience and gain better exposure for myself (yes, I said expose myself. Feel free to giggle like 12 year olds). I have decided to accept this opportunity because it is a huge break for me personally and professionally. As is common knowledge, the job situation for me at the moment isn't very promising. If this can help that, I am all for it. So basically, it boils down to good, old-fashioned capitalism.

This means some changes for Off the Tracks. The first of which is unfortunately a new name. I currently own the domain I could not purchase the .com or the .net because someone beat me to them. SB Nation prefers a .com address, so I cannot move over there with the .org. The .com is currently owned by an Alaskan travel company. While my parents are being overly generous in taking the entire family on an Alaskan cruise this summer, the cruise line won't be offering me a chance to fight Sarah Palin to the death for the honor of owning I will keep some stuff over here at in order to fulfill some recent advertising obligations, but the updates will be few and none of the content posted on the new site can be reproduced here.

Which brings me to the name: I am willing to accept ideas from you readers since this will be your community as well. I have had a couple of ideas lately, but none of them have the zing that Off the Tracks has. The background behind that name is that it was the name of the very short-lived news show that I helped National Broadcasting Society produce from 2000-2002 when I was a student at Purdue. We only made like five episodes if that, but I liked the name and brought it over here. With that in mind, here is a short list of names I am considering, especially since I can't really go with The P Spot:

Decorating the Cowcatcher

From the Cab

Stoking the Boiler

Get Off the Tracks

Boiled Sports (kidding!)

The Switchyard

Blow the Steamwhistle

From the Depot

The Crossing Gate

Forged of Steel

Those are a few of the ones I have had, but if you have something better I am open to suggestion. As soon as I can come up with a name the changeover can begin, so it will likely happen some time next week. Once again, I have you readers to thank for this. If it wasn't for you guys stopping by I wouldn't have come even this far. It continues to be an honor to write for you guys and run this site. It does more for me personally than you'll ever know.

Curry dismissed from football team

In other news, another scholarship was freed up yesterday afternoon when Arsenio Curry was released from the team. By some counts we still have three scholarships open before signing day. It remains to be seen if this will help someone make a decision or not. We currently have three receivers and three "athletes" that could end up as receivers already in this class, so this could be a good thing for them.

I will say that Curry was a disappointment in his limited playing time. His drops, at critical times no less, easily outnumbered his two receptions on the year. I will miss his size, but if he wasn't going to put in the work I say good riddance. He knew what he needed to do, and he didn't do it. That's why I don't feel much pity for him. The top receivers now look to be Keith Smith and Aaron Valentin, but from there it is wide open for the other positions. Curry was supposed to be one of those top guys, so this obviously hurts our depth. We may start next season as more of a running team.

From the same article I do like the signing of Jermain Guynn and Nick Cavallo as graduate assistants. These guys were two of the harder workers in the program during the past few seasons. Their attitude can wear off on what is going to be an important recruiting class. One guy I'd like to see brought back in a similar role is Jake Standeford.

Baseball picked as #2 team in Big Ten

College baseball is just around the corner. Mrs. T-Mill and I already have booked our spring trip to Florida for the Miami-Florida State rivalry the first weekend in April. While our own Boilers don't have nearly as high of expectations as either of those two teams, 2009 looks to be a promising year. recently released its Big Ten preview and it picked Purdue to reprise its second place finish to Michigan from last season. The schedule does not have the non-conference heft that it did last year when the Boilers took on Baylor and Kentucky, but a good start could mean just the second NCAA berth in school history. Purdue begins by facing Cincinnati, South Florida, Michigan, and Notre Dame in the first annual Big Ten/Big East baseball challenge the weekend of February 21st down in St. Petersburg, FL. The biggest home game comes against 2007 College World Series team Louisville on March 31st. The Cardinals are ranked 16th in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll

This season is a little bit different than in past years. Instead of playing four conference games each week with Saturday being a double-header of two seven inning games each conference season will be just three games. Purdue plays everyone in a series except Michigan, which could hurt their chances at an at large bid. The Big Ten Tournament will be held on a neutral field as well with the new Huntington Park in Columbus, OH serving as the host. As usual, Purdue has to play its first 20 games on the road.

Women's softball begins season on a promising note

Purdue's softball team made the NCAA's for the first time ever last season and even won a game over Cal State Fullerton. They will begin the 2009 season with another first as they have received votes in the preseason top 25 poll for the first time ever. The season starts next weekend at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial tournament out in California. They will be tested early, as perennial power UCLA awaits in just the tournament's second game. On Saturday the 7th they get a doubleheader rematch with Cal State Fullerton, another team that is strong every year. The Boilers will have to be road warriors this year as they only have 11 home games on the schedule

Painter is pissed

And he should be pissed. Coach Matt Painter spoke publically today about Joe Krabbenhoft's hit on Lewis Jackson during Tuesday night's game. Painter was right about his team not calling out the screen, but it still doesn't make the hit right. My friends over at Boiled Sports have already posted a video of the hit and you can clearly see Krabbenhoft throw the elbow and shoulder into the pick. It is my hope that someone from the athletic department is appealing to the conference because there is no way this should go unpunished. As stated previously, I don't have a problem with the pick, but the fact he dropped the shoulder and elbow makes it wrong.

Non-conference opponents update

We're starting to get a little help here, but not enough from the teams we have beaten. Here is what everyone is up to:

Detroit (5-14, 0-5 Horizon) –
The Titans just broke a seven game losing streak with a non-conference win over independent Chicago State. They are by far the worst team in the Horizon League.

Eastern Michigan (3-17, 1-5 MAC) –
Yet another last place team. They still own just one win against Division 1 competition.

Loyola-IL (12-10, 4-6 Horizon) –
The Ramblers are in a cycle of alternating wins and losses over their last 10 games. Sadly, this makes them one of our better non-conference wins.

Coppin State (5-15, 3-4 MEAC) –
The MEAC is awful, but the Eagles have won two in a row over Hampton and Howard. Hampton is one of the league's better teams, so maybe Coppin State has just enough for a conference tourney run.

Boston College (16-6, 4-3 ACC) – Much our non-conference schedule heft is dependent on Boston College continuing to have a surprisingly good year. After a four game losing streak Boston College has won three straight, two on the road. I am thinking they will be a tournament team if they finish at .500 or better in a tough ACC, making our win look even better.

Oklahoma (20-1, 6-0 Big 12) –
they could be the #1 team in the country before too long and we controlled most of that game against them. Blake Griffin is possibly the best player in the country and we are the only team that has marginally contained him. If we had beaten them we would be 5 spots higher in the poll and fighting for a #2 seed.

Duke (18-2, 5-1 ACC) –
this is the only team we have played that completely out-classed us. They have played one of the most ambitious schedules in the nation and have come out with only two losses. Most teams would have a minimum of five against that slate.

Arkansas Pine Bluff (6-12, 5-2 SWAC) –
The Golden Lions are playing some good basketball, but it is in another dreadful conference. The only way the SWAC champion is avoiding the play-in game is if there are numerous teams with losing records that win automatic bids. They have now won three straight and are in second place in the SWAC behind Alabama State. Alabama State at 9-8 is the only team in the conference with a winning overall record.

Ball State (9-9, 4-2 MAC) –
The MAC is down this year, but it is still fiercely competitive. Ball State is a surprise so far in second place. Still, only the conference tournament champion is getting into the tournament.

Indiana State (4-17, 2-8 Missouri Valley) –
In a continuing theme, the Valley is another conference in a down year. The Trees sit at the bottom of it after losing five in a row. They are the only team that has beaten first place Northern Iowa though.

Davidson (17-3, 10-0 Southern) –
We're not the only team that hopes Davidson stays hot in the SoCon. Only College of Charleston (15-4, 7-2) is a realistic challenger and they have already dropped a home game to the Wildcats. If Davidson finishes 20-0 in the SoCon again they will likely grab an at large bid in the event they lose the conference tourney. As it is, they are winning games by 20 points or more.

IPFW (8-12, 3-6 Summit) –
they have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games and are mired in the middle of a low conference. They travel to league leader North Dakota State this Saturday.

Valparaiso (6-15, 3-7 Horizon) –
the only team they lead in the conference is Detroit, and we have the same number of victories against the Horizon League that those two have. They did upset Wisconsin-Milwaukee last week for their best conference win. They play Butler tomorrow night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.