Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Was And What Will Be

This week marks the beginning of the college basketball season. Games began on Monday night at 7:00pm, though the Oakland Golden Grizzlies won't officially take to the court until Friday evening in Morgantown, West Virginia. Over the past six months leading up to now, we've been churning out as much content as possible during the off-season for a mid-major basketball program. We debuted with an essay series summing up the state of the Oakland basketball program, which talked about broadcasting, retention and graduation, and the community of students, fans, administrators, alumni, and the media currently being developed at Oakland. From there, "The Golden Grizzlies Fan" series was posted, bringing up issues of fanhood, fan transitions, and fantastic fan experiences. Those posts in the first month or two allowed us to create a content model with a focus on discussing pertinent OU issues from a fan's perspective.

As the summer rolled on, we were able to interview eight of the ten student sections in The Summit League in an attempt to further understand the fan's point of view in the conference. Sprinkled throughout that series were quantitative-based pieces on financial figures in the conference and attendance trends, qualitative analysis of positional flexibility, and an advocate post or two. Finally, we did a totally goofy series of posts looking for deeper meaning in Summit League logos.

We mention these partly for posterity, but also to highlight the content model that has been developed this off-season. We're fairly happy with the content that has been provided thus far, and feedback seems to indicate that many of you are, too. With that said, the season is uncharted territory for the Golden Grizzlies Gameplan. Our endurance will surely be tested as the team begins to play games and stories develop quicker. We've given these aspects a lot of thought over the past few weeks and will use the remaining space here to put into pixels some of the ideas that have been generated after putting on the old thinking cap. Here's what you can expect from the blog this season:

Game Previews
Once again, everything that happens during the season is brand new terrain for us; however, we think game coverage begins with a preview of some sort. Presently, there isn't a go-to source for pre-game coverage of Oakland University basketball games. We hope to alleviate that. Our game previews will aim to find the storylines that might not immediately surface, the interesting facts that won't appear in the school pre-game news releases, and the all-important "anything else that comes to mind." For the first few games, most of the content will be based on knowledge from last season and the off-season, and then as the year goes on that will quickly shift to more current discussions. While the key stories should be interesting on their own, there will be some key personnel match-ups that we see heading into the game as well as interviews with opposing team bloggers when they exist. Finally, think of these previews as very flexible; as the year goes on, we'll find out what works and doesn't work, and we'll adjust accordingly. The first one will debut Thursday afternoon, and it should begin the season forcefully for us.

Weekly Wraps
Currently, there are a number of ways for Oakland fans to get the scoop on what happened at a game. The website always has a recap, quotes, and now video highlights. Paul Kampe from The Oakland Press will also have a recap of the game with key news and notes along with video interviews and items at his Grizz Den outlet. The student newspaper, The Oakland Post, typically has some kind of story on the games of the previous week. And you can always count on Pat Caputo from The Oakland Press or the Detroit News' Terry Foster to weigh in with a column here and there throughout the season. Our goal has never been to duplicate Oakland coverage, and we feel that this kind of work is best left to the professionals who already do a superb job as it is. Our general feeling, then, is that we won't have posts up immediately following games with thoughts from the game. That would tend to be reactionary anyway, and we already get to do that on the forum. Instead, we're anticipating some kind of weekly wrap-up that goes over any and all happenings from the week that was: whether it's a game, a developing story, or impressions on certain players or teams. During the non-conference season, these will be a bit more sporadic, but during Summit League play they should be expected on a certain day of the week. (The big exception here is if Oakland pulls a major upset, in which case you can expect a post full of exclamation points to appear soon after said upset).

Stories from the road will be the bread and butter of our in-season coverage. No doubt inspired by The Mid Majority, our hope is to make it to a number of Oakland's road games this year. After each game, we'll have a piece that dives into the experience of being a Golden Grizzlies fan in an opposing team's arena. Our travel schedule is rather ambitious at present, with six games "planned," though time and financial restrictions could impact this plan when all is said and done. But still, these posts should be neat reads (and hopefully encouraging for other fans wanting to help develop more of an OU fan presence on the road).

Summit League Notes
We've spent too much time learning about The Summit League this summer not to keep a close eye on the conference's happenings. Look for weekly posts discussing the teams in the league as we expect to watch a lot of the other Summit teams in addition Oakland this year.

More Of The Same!
While most of the content during the season will be based on games, we hope to continue to provide unique analysis of the issues impacting the OU basketball program and Summit League in general. Ideas for posts on these topics pop up all the time, so hopefully there will be ample room for these pieces to coexist with those that are of the abovementioned ilk.

The good old Twitter account will serve as a useful means of communicating brief thoughts this season. This summer it has mostly been used to post links to OU coverage around the web as well as our own posts. Such tweeting will surely ensue during the season, but we imagine that the thoughts will escalate during road games. We promise to always relate any tweets back to Oakland basketball. Plus, our twitter is likely the only place you'll find sweet animated gifs like this one:
In addition to the plans we've mentioned here, stay tuned for other surprises as well. It should be a great season, one that we are excited to help chronicle from the fan's perspective. If you would like to get in on the conversation, please check out this forum, a place where OU fans have been virtually convening for, well, a long time now. If you have any specific questions, ideas, or opportunities for the Gameplan, we're always available via e-mail, Twitter, or simply commenting below.

Thank you for reading up to this point. We realize this post was heavy on blog minutiae and promise this will only happen once or twice in a year (should we make it to multiple years). We are excited about the content we have planned and hope you will follow along this season in our overarching effort to help increase Oakland's online presence and online community of fans. It's hoops time!


  1. Looks like a great "gameplan" for the Gameplan! Content has been outstanding to this point. Looking forward especially to the game previews and road coverage.

  2. Can't wait to see some of these game previews.

    Friday in WV is a very winnable game!