Sunday, January 07, 2018

Getting A Leg Up

According to news reports a $570 million lottery ticket was sold in New Hampshire. Given that I have never bought a lottery ticket and never will the winner wasn't going to be me. If it was, however,  I might be tempted to buy an island in a warm climate after the mercury dipped to 17.8 below overnight. It's safe to say it has been brutal in these parts since Christmas.
The Associated Press has a story about former Columbia punter Cameron Nizialek, who will be booting the ball for Georgia in tomorrow night's national championship game against Alabama. (LINK) Nizialek is averaging just under 44.9 yards per punt after playing three years at Columbia.

From the story:
"I've got an Ivy League degree and I'm playing for a national championship," Nizialek said, breaking into an incredulous smile. "I'm really living the best of both worlds. I couldn't imagine a better scenario for me."
 Nizialek has taken a page out of the playbook of former Dartmouth basketball standout Alex Mitola, who graduated early and then finished his career at George Washington and Evan Boudreaux, who played two years of hoops at Dartmouth and will join the basketball program at Xavier next year.

Nizialek's move to FBS football was no an impulse decision. From Dawg Nation story earlier this year:
Once it became evident to Nizialek that he not only was a good punter but exceptionally exceptional, which was right around his sophomore year, he planned to graduate from Columbia early and seek a Power 5 school that could display his football talents on a bigger stage.
The move from a smaller program at an elite academic school to the big time is working for Nizialek, who is following in the path of someone who really made the move work. Steven Hauschka went to Middlebury with plans to follow his family into dentistry, graduated with honors in neuroscience and then enrolled in a masters program at North Carolina State in "parks, recreation and tourism management." He's gone on to kick 209 field goals in 239 attempts for four NFL teams and collect a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks.

Nizialek, who holds an economics degree from Columbia, earned his masters in sports management at Georgia.
North Dakota State won its sixth FCS national championship in six years yesterday with a thoroughly entertaining 17-13 win over James Madison. (LINK)
The American Football Coaches Association convention begins today and runs until Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. It bills itself as "the premier networking event for coaches from all around the country."