Why People Choose the Military

For many young adults, the military provides a tempting career alternative, especially when education funds are tight or jobs are hard to come by. Every year more than 180,000 people enlist in the armed forces.

The reasons for enlisting can vary greatly from person to person. From joining the military for no other reason than to give back to this great country, to looking for camaraderie and sense of belonging, or just not knowing what they want to do in life the military can provide a good starting foundation as they enter adulthood.

Here are a few pretty good reasons to consider enlisting in any one of the Nations’ armed forces.

Looking to stash away some money? The military covers all of your basic living necessities by providing no cost housing and food. How good the food is can be debated, but the bottom line is that when you live and eat on base it doesn’t cost you anything. In addition to free room and board, the Military actually pays you a salary as well!

The US Military also provides soldiers and their qualified family members with top of the line medical and dental insurance with no deductibles or co-pays. With the cost of health care on the rise, this may be one of the most attractive benefits the military can offer

Now most everyone has heard of the G.I Bill. This is basically where you earn money to pay for college while serving in any of the armed forces. Well with the cost of getting a college education going through the roof, this benefit has influenced a new group of people to enlist. These are the people who want a college degree. The Montgomery G.I Bill, the Post 9/11 G.I Bill and good old fashioned Tuition Assistance can help offset the cost of a college education.

Do you like to travel? Ever dreamed of visiting or even living Europe, Japan, Hawaii, Spain or Guam? The military has bases and installations all over the world and will not only pay for you and your family to get there but will pay to ship all of your household goods too. Off-duty time can your time to travel and see the world!

There are other reasons to join outside of the list above as well.  If you are looking to find a job where you have an opportunity to work with police or bomb dogs, keep a billion dollar aircraft carrier afloat, or get to blow stuff up the military may be the opportunity for you.

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Preseason Coaches Poll

It’s been nearly 7 months since the last game of the 2012 college football season was played, and we have a little insight as to how the NCAA coaches see this season going. Yes, we are talking about the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll.

Now, usually, you can get a pretty good idea of who the coaches will be selecting for the preseason top 25 by taking a look at last year’s final BCS rankings. This season’s poll is no different than those of previous years, as it includes 19 teams that finished in the top 25 of last year’s final BCS rankings. As a matter of fact, this year’s top 3 teams are the same three teams that finished in the top three of last year’s BCS final rankings.

Another not-so-shocking fact about the 2013 Top 25 is that 22 of the 25 teams come from the NCAA “power” conferences.  The list boasts 6 teams from the SEC, 5 each from the Big 10 and Pac 12, 4 from the Big 12 and 2 from the ACC. The three remaining teams represent the Big East, Mountain West, and like Donald Schoenstein from the 1978 classic Animal House, an Independent.

Not only does the SEC put 6 teams on the list, but those 6 teams all fall above the number 14 spot with Alabama being the consensus number 1. The other SEC representatives that made the preseason poll are Georgia (5), Texas A&M (6), South Carolina (7), Florida (10) and LSU (13).

The Big 10 looks like a tougher conference than they were last year by having 5 conference members on this year’s Preseason Top 25. Ohio State starts the season at number 2, and is the favorite to face off against the Crimson Tide for a chance to win the last BCS Championship before the college football playoffs start in 2014. Joining the Buckeyes in the poll are Michigan (17), Nebraska (18), Northwestern (22) and Wisconsin (23).

The Pac 12 is making the West Coast proud by placing 5 teams on the poll with the Oregon Ducks leading the way and landing at number 3. Behind the Ducks are fellow Pac 10 schools Stanford (4), UCLA (21), USC (24) & Oregon State (25).

After finishing the 2012 campaign with only 2 teams finishing in the final BCS top 25 rankings, the Big 12 seems poised for a bounce-back year by having 4 schools named to the preseason top 25. Oklahoma State is the highest ranking conference member at number 14 and is joined by Texas (15), Oklahoma State (16) and TCU (20).

ACC football may not be what it used to be, but that doesn’t mean that there are not some high quality teams playing ball there.  The Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles both finished in the top 25 in last year’s final BCS rankings, and both start this year in the preseason top 25 coaches poll at numbers 8 & 11 respectively.

Rounding out the poll is current Big East and future ACC member Louisville at Number 9, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at number 11, and Boise State at number 19.
Here is the complete list in numerical order.

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Oregon
  4. Stanford
  5. Georgia
  6. Texas A&M
  7. South Carolina
  8. Clemson
  9. Louisville
  10. Florida
  11. Notre Dame
  12. Florida State
  13. LSU
  14. Oklahoma State
  15. Texas
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Michigan
  18. Nebraska
  19. Boise State
  20. TCU
  21. UCLA
  22. Northwestern
  23. Wisconsin
  24. USC
  25. Oregon State
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As Long As It’s Still Wood

It’s no secret that the two biggest revenue generators in terms of collegiate sports are football and basketball.  So it stands to reason that what one sport does, the other will try to follow suit. That is certainly happening with the trend of dressing up playing surfaces.

In case you missed it, there has been a trend that is slowly starting to gain momentum around college football regarding colored turf fields.  The NCAA has blue fields, red fields and even a purple and grey field.

Not to be outdone, several schools around the country have updated their home hoops courts to make them more aesthetically pleasing. While we are not sure we would use the word “pleasing” to describe the changes, they are definitely more aesthetically interesting.

The Colorado State Rams court in Moby Arena features not only an image of Cam the Ram, but also has a representation of two large ram horns that run from baseline to baseline, and takes up about 75% of court space.

coloradost-court

From a historical perspective, no court comes close to the one at the Charles E. Smith Center. The home court of the George Washington University Colonials now includes images of the The White House, U.S. Capitol and of course the Washington Monument.

GWU

The University of Central Florida Knights parlayed a conference move into a brand new court. Tying in the school colors and giving a nod to the history of the game of basketball, the Knights unveiled a new “blacktop” court. However, UCF didn’t just paint the court black and call it a blacktop; Any wood outside the 3 point circle has been stained with a light black finish to make it look like the game is being played on a faded asphalt surface.

UCF

Not to be outdone by the schools listed above, the Florida International University Panthers will make players and fans feel like they are spending a day at a beach in Miami.  The FIU court is designed to give the appearance of a sandy beach complete with the surf rolling in on one sideline and the shade of some palm trees along the other.  I wonder if the players will try and get the sideline chairs replaced by hammocks and Gatorade cups replaced with hollow coconuts.

FIU

In addition to the approximately 45 new football and basketball uniforms the University of Oregon Ducks showed the college sports world in 2012, they also debuted a brand new basketball floor at Matthew Knight Arena.  At first glance, it looks like they tried painting the floor with a brown paint and stopped, either because they didn’t like it,  or they just got tired. Upon closer examination, you will notice that the brown color is actually a forest of trees outlining the floor.

oregon-floor-660x361

Being a traditionalist, I’m really hoping that these graphics are just a passing fad. Going forward, I hope schools look to the classic courts in Assembly Hall and Cameron Indoor Stadium when they are considering laying down a new floor.

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