Inside TSL: Short Takes
by Will Stewart,
TSL Extra, Issue #12

This month's "Inside TSL" brings you a contest, information about subscription renewals, a correction from last month, and other miscellaneous notes.

Subscriber Contest: Win a $300 Attache/Laptop Case!

In the month of August, we ran a contest that awarded a $100 shopping spree to the TSL Extra's 1000th subscriber. I had a couple of folks who were already subscribers point out correctly to me that I should think about running a contest that would reward those who were already subscribers.

I agree, and to celebrate the TSL Extra's 12th issue and first year, and to thank all of our subscribers, we're giving away a whopper of a prize: a $300 VT Attache/Laptop case!

The Prize: Our attache/laptop case is made of black, supple, fine-grained Nappa leather, with the official Virginia Tech seal embossed on a 23K gold plated medallion. A laptop computer fits nicely into one of the attache's twin padded compartments.

This is a striking piece of merchandise. If you're reading this TSL Extra on the web, you can click here to see it. If you're reading this issue as a PDF, you can look at the attache/laptop case by going to and doing a search on the word "laptop."

This is the most expensive item we carry in!

The Contest: This contest is related to the TSL Football message board, but even if you're not a poster, it's easy to participate. The objective? Predict when the 500,000th message will be posted to the Football board.

Here are some numbers that will help you make your prediction. As I write this, it's early in the morning on October 17, 2001, and post #465,430 has just hit the board. That leaves 34,570 posts to go before 500,000 is reached.

To help you out, I'll tell you that the board is averaging 1,190 posts per day over the last week, and that traffic should stay very steady -- or rise a bit -- over the remainder of the football season.

How to Enter: Now it's your turn. Do the math, adjust for temperature and wind, and make your prediction. When you've determined what your guess is, then drop an email to with the subject: "TSL Extra Message Board Contest," and include the following information:

Your full name
Your email address
The date and time of day that post #500,000 will occur

Please predict the time down to the second. For example, if I wanted to predict that the 500,000th post will occur at 12:23 and 57 seconds on Oct. 21st, I would write:

Name: Will Stewart
Email Address:
Date and Time of Post 500,000: Oct 21st, 12:23:57

Your entry must be received by the end of the day November 1st for you to qualify.

The closest guess, whether you go over or not (this ain't "The Price is Right"), will win. So send in your guess now, and good luck!


In last month's "Inside the Numbers," I made a pretty big gaffe. The article compared the 1995 Tech defense to the 1999 Tech defense, and one category compared NFL draft choices. I mistakenly said that the 1995 defense had one draft choice (J.C. Price) and the 1999 defense had four (John Engelberger, Corey Moore, Ike Charlton, and Anthony Midget).

The following letter points out my error:


I really enjoyed the article "Inside the Numbers: The 1995 Defense Versus the 1999 Defense". It is a subject my friends and I have debated many times. My only beef with the comparison is with the category NFL players drafted. You have listed the 1995 number at 1 and the 1999 number at 4.

This seems to only account for players drafted that year. It seems that it would make more sense if you included players drafted in later years as well. So the comparison would look like:

1995 (5)
J. C. Price (drafted 1996)
Cornell Brown (1997)
Antonio Banks (1997)
Torrian Gray (1997)
Pierson Prioleau (1999)

John Engelberger (2000)
Corey Moore (2000)
Ike Charlton (2000)
Anthony Midget (2000)
Cory Bird (2001)

This would result in a tie for the time being, however, the 1999 team has players on the current team who might still get drafted (most notably Ben Taylor). So the results after the 2002 draft will likely still favor 1999 team.

Tom Brooks

Thanks for the correction, Tom. All I can say is, sometimes, when the TSL Extra deadline is fast approaching, I can really put my foot in it if I'm not careful.

TSL Extra Renewals

The TSL Extra has been out for almost a year now, and in about a month and a half, the earliest subscriptions will start to expire. Those of you who signed up on day 1 of TSL Extra availability will expire on December 5th of 2001.

When your subscription approaches the expiration date, you'll start receiving automated emails reminding you to renew. I believe the first one will arrive four weeks before expiration, the next one will arrive two weeks prior, and the last one will arrive on D-Day.

When you renew (notice I didn't say "if," Hokie fans!), a year will be added to your expiration date. So you don't need to "time" your renewal. Renew at any time.

KJ Cover Photo

Perhaps you noticed that this week's cover photo of Kevin Jones shaking hands with Tech fans in Morgantown was taken by none other than yours truly.

I worked the Tech/WVU game in Morgantown as credentialed media (WVU's SID is Web-friendly and will grant credentials to legitimate sites like, and although I spent the large majority of the game in the press box, I and the other media were on the field for the last few minutes of Tech's 35-0 blowout.

I took my digital camera with me and managed to grab the shot of Jones reaching up into the stands and shaking hands with Hokies. After I got home and downloaded the picture from the camera to my computer, I realized how perfectly suited it was for a TSL Extra cover photo. Jones is almost perfectly centered, a title can be put in the turf at the bottom of the picture, and at the top of the picture, the crowd is a perfect back drop over which the TSL Extra logo can be laid.

So I thought, "Man, I've got to use that as a cover photo and write a cover story to go with it."

Since we hadn't planned a feature on Jones, I wasn't sure what to do that would relate to the picture. I found myself thinking that Jones represents the future of the tailback position at Tech, and a few mental leaps later, I decided to write a story analyzing the Hokie football team's future and predicting which year in the coming few years will be Tech's best shot at a national championship.

So I inserted the KJ photo into my TSL Extra cover template, slapped "The Future" in big bold letters at the bottom, and the next thing I knew, I had my cover and the accompanying story.

Most of the time, the cover photo is driven by the cover story, but this time, it was the other way around: the photo led to the story.

A Compliment from a True Professional

The middle of the month, when the TSL Extra is due, is a tough time for me (I stayed up until 3 a.m. two nights in a row getting this issue out), but on the day before this issue was due, I received a phone call that lifted my spirits.

The phone rang late in the afternoon, and a quick inspection of my caller ID box showed "Private Name" as the caller. That means that the caller's phone number and/or name are not available for identification. That usually indicates an unlisted number or some such case, and isn't necessarily to be avoided -- unlike an "Unavailable" indication, which is nearly always a solicitor.

So I picked the phone up and said hello.

"Hi, may I speak to Will Stewart?" the caller asked.

"This is he."

"Hi, Will, this is George Dohrmann. I'm a staff writer at Sports Illustrated."

Gulp. The Mecca of sports journalism! I wondered what in the world George could want from me. Was I about to be interviewed for some reason?

Alas, no, you will not see any Will Stewart quotes in the next Sports Illustrated. It turns out that George had acquired a copy of the first installment of my "Money-Makers" series that appeared in issues 6-8 of the TSL Extra (how he got a copy, since it's pay material, is beyond me, but so be it). He explained that he was doing an article on small colleges making the jump to Division 1 in basketball, and he wanted to crunch some financial numbers and include them in the article.

In short, he wanted my spreadsheets, so I gladly sent them on. But at some point early in the conversation, he said, "I read your article -- which was very good, by the way -- and "

I don't mind telling you that when a fellow pro who writes for an outstanding publication like Sports Illustrated compliments me on my work, I get a lot of satisfaction out of that. That ought to keep me going for another month.

Speaking of which that's all for this month. See you next month.



Copyright © 2001 Maroon Pride, LLC