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August 18, 2011 9:41 am

SPORTS GUY: Let’s get it started in here

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The vacation is over. The school year is here. Practices have begun. Here are some quick hits and short bits to get things started!

• If you’re looking for an excuse to take a couple hours off work this Friday, I suggest a trip to the Northwest College campus where the Trappers’ new soccer field should be getting its christening when the NWC women’s team hosts the University of Great Falls in a scrimmage. Sure, the game doesn’t matter in the win-loss column, but you know you’re salivating for a taste of the local college sports scene. Opening whistle is scheduled for 2 p.m.

• Not to be outdone, Powell High School also raises the curtain on the 2011-2012 athletic season with a golf outing to Lander. That will merely be a teaser before the grand curtain rises the following week with virtually every Powell team in action.

• After a wild 3A football season last fall that featured a number of close games across the state of Wyoming, the first poll of the year would appear to predict more of the same. Powell debuts at No. 5 in the WyoPreps coaches and media preseason poll. Every team in 3A received at least one vote for a place in the top five. The Panthers appeared on 10 of the 18 ballots submitted.

• The breakdown on the Powell votes, for those curious, was two second-place votes, two third-place votes, three fourth-place votes and three fifth-place votes. Powell will open the season against Miles City, Mont., a week from Saturday. The first official game for the team comes the following Friday against Riverton.

• I’m not aware of a state cross country poll, but if there was such a beast, I imagine the Panther girls’ squad would be sitting atop its preseason hierarchy. Every year there’s a small sampling of teams that I just can’t wait to see compete again the following year for one reason or another, and I have to confess that I’ve been itching for the start of cross country this year ever since the Panther girls pulled away from the rest of 3A down in Douglas last autumn.

• For those curious, the other fall team that I’ve been anxious to watch this fall is the NWC men’s soccer squad. A Region IX runner-up finish in its first year of existence naturally begs the question of what might lie ahead as an encore performance. The road will be a little tougher though — Region IX adds a new team in Northeastern, making it a six-school race on the men’s side of things this fall.

• We’re one week into the NFL pre-season and two things have already become abundantly clear to The Sports Guy. First, I absolutely loathe the decision to move kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line. They may as well have just added an extra 30 seconds onto the commercial break after scores and set the ball on the 20 for each sequence.

• Second, with the flurry of free-agent signing that took place after the NFL lockout ended, I have absolutely no idea who plays for anyone any more. The most common questions at Casa de Sports Guy last weekend were “who is that?” and “when did he join the team?”

• The added volume of inbound mail in the Miami area this week would have to be thank you cards being sent from Ohio State to officials at the University of Miami. Say what you will about the Buckeyes’ merchandise-for-tattoos mess unveiled earlier this year, but it looks positively saintly in comparison to the accusations being lobbed around South Florida this week that could implicate up to 73 current and former ‘Canes players, a handful of coaches and even school officials. If true, the allegations, which include lavish booster-financed parties, money under the table, illegal merchandise purchases, bounties for injuring opposing team players, prostitutes and more, should lead to sanctions that make USC’s recent penalty in the Reggie Bush scandal look like a mere time out.

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