San Diego State

A Bunch of Amateurs

Featured photo by Ernie Anderson – link

What a bunch of f*******g amateurs!

March 1, 2016 – The Pit, Albuquerque

A fan yelled this at players last week in disgust. His team, the University of New Mexico, were in the closing minutes of a blowout loss to San Diego State. [In fairness, an Aztec fan yelled something similar at Viejas earlier this year.]

The irony of that moment has stuck with me. It’s ironic because his team, the New Mexico Lobos, are a bunch of amateurs. That’s the point of college athletics. It’s played by amateurs.

March Madness

College hoops dominate my free time January through March. As the conference season unfolds I find myself watching more and more and more college hoops. ESPNU is regularly on in the background like muzak while I work. Last night I watched conference tournament games from four different leagues. And by this point in March my attire has dwindled down to all-Aztecs-all-the-time… all red and black all the time.

For some people March Madness is the NCAA tournament. But for nuts like me? Sometimes I feel like March Madness is an actual illness. A happy addiction

Let’s Not Forget How This Ends

In our collective March Madness let’s not forget how this ends.

There are 351 division 1 teams in Men’s Basketball. Only 68 teams will make the NCAA tournament. And only one team will hoist a trophy next month in Houston.

Chances are very, very good that your favorite teams season is going to end in a loss. Even my beloved Aztecs are not likely to win it all.

You team’s season might end in a blow out or a buzzer beater. But in that moment… are you going to be mad at the team or are you going to appreciate all that they’ve done?

Here’s the advice of a long-time basketball nut:

  • Don’t let your March Madness turn into madness against the young men for whom March Madness celebrates.
  • Don’t blow up online, it just makes you look like a hater.
  • Don’t get a DUI or do something dumb under the influence, blaming a loss on your crimes.
  • Don’t disavow your allegiance to your team.
  • Don’t burn your house down. (Though couch burning in East Lansing is a quaint tradition, so that’s fine.)

And certainly don’t scream at players.

Disappointed? Sure. Sad? That’s normal. Bummed for the players? Totally understandable.

But don’t take it out on them, they are a bunch of amateurs.


San Diego State social media

Kingdom of the Trolls

In 2010, just as I was getting into San Diego State sports, I posted a video of the Aztecs taking the field on YouTube.

To my surprise it got a lot of traffic. Like, there were maybe 3,000 people in the stands for this game and 1,000 people watched my video in 24 hours on YouTube. And when I poked around to see where all the traffic was coming from, most of it pointed to a thread on an online forum, AztecMesa.

So I created an account and claimed the video as mine. From there I’ve been an occasional poster, mostly lurking, but sometimes jumping in and even starting conversation.

At AztecMesa I’ve met a couple new friends. But, quite frankly, I also met too many 1990s era internet trolls.

I’m no rookie to online forums. After all, from 2005-2008 I helped lead YMX, a forum with thousands of members who created hundreds of thousands of posts. And for 9-10 years prior to that I’d been actively part of many, many only forums.

Kingdom of the Trolls

It only took me a couple of days of poking around at AztecMesa to see that they had a troll problem.

What’s a troll? Wikipedia offers a good enough definition:

is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topicmessages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement.


AztecMesa topics consistently either started off negative or quickly turn to the negative.

In fairness, it’s not just that San Diego State fans tend to troll their own fans… it’s that San Diego sports fans, in general– even in real life— tend to troll their own teams. I’ve attended sporting events my entire life and I’ve never seen people who will pay good money to go to a sporting event just to complain. But that’s fairly common here.

When I first started engaging with folks at AztecMesa I was determined to help people see the positives. And there were a few fellow fans who seemed interested in the same thing, so it was fun.

You see, really, truly, and factually… San Diego State is undergoing an epic turnaround as a university. A school once known as a doormat on the athletic field now competes, sometimes dominates the conference in many sports. (except football) While hundreds of thousands of alumni remember State as a fallback commuter school, State has become much more residential and hard to get in to. It’s no longer a fallback school. In fact, it’s a pretty cool place to live near.

But, alas, I’m giving up on AztecMesa.

From time to time I experienced successes. I could help people see the positive. But, in the end, the trolls there are simply too powerful. It doesn’t help that moderators often participate in the negative bent unchecked and uncheckable.

Since it’s gotten to the point that I actually find myself less enthusiastic about attending SDSU games because of the trolls at AztecMesa… it’s time to walk away.

You know it’s bad when the local newspaper calls out a fan forum:

Chat boards had threads titled things like “SDSU football is stuck in coaching purgatory” and “The program has regressed under Long.”


Were moderators embarrassed that the unchecked stuff they allow on their forums got picked up in the local newspaper? Nope. They probably thought it was good publicity.

I’m not walking away from cheering for SDSU. I just am leaving that negative space to itself.

What Does This Have to Do With You?

99.9% of my daily readers are not Aztec fans or care about any of this, and so you may be wondering why I’m writing about this on my blog?

I’m sharing it because it’s relevant to all of us. 

I believe in engagement. I believe that we are called to bring Good News to the Neighborhood.

And with that in mind we sometimes we allow ourselves to step into negative space in hopes that we can be a change agent. Maybe we can be the voice or the person who makes an impact?

But you don’t always get to win.

Sometimes you need to give up!

You might “be the change” all day but you don’t always get to see the change you want to see.

That’s ultimately not your choice.

And so you have to decide… at what point are you willing to walk away? At what point is enough enough?

My advice?

  1. Enough is enough when you no longer find joy in it.
  2. Enough is enough when you find yourself alone in it.
  3. Enough is enough when you feel the vortex of what you’re up against pulling you in.

It’s one thing to be a change agent. It’s another thing altogether to get that negativity on you, literally feeling dirty with it, and see no real change for a significant period of time.

Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter. Sometimes quitting is necessary.

Farewell, Kingdom of the Trolls.

Hello, fellow Aztec fans. 

Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

College Football Thoughts – Week 6

Let’s start by offering a tip of the cap to Charlie Weis. Charlie is still getting paid by Notre Dame about $5 million per year through 2015 and after getting fired; on Sunday he got fired from Kansas with 2 years left on his $2 million per year deal. In other words, he’s getting paid about $7 million not to coach college football right now. By contrast, all Mountain West Conference head coaches will make a total of about $8 million in 2014.

Ain’t nobody mad at you, Charlie.

Hoke Watch hits week six. I’ve got to admit that I’m surprised he’s still employed in Ann Arbor. The second half of last week’s game against Minnesota was highlighted by two things: Chants loud enough to be heard on TV of “Fire Hoke. Fire Brandon.” And “Shane Morris Brain Gate” which was so bad that Michigan AD David Brandon issued a press release at 1:15 AM last night. Will Hoke get fired before seasons end? I am starting to think that he won’t… that they will Charlie Weis him instead of Lane Kiffin him. (See what I did there?)

Last week was another week of almost upsets among the top 25 with only South Carolina succumbing. But there were some scares which made the week interesting. But mostly, things played out as you’d expect.

San Diego State

I didn’t get to see any of the game because I was traveling. But I like that Donnel Pumphrey gathered 4 TDs before halftime. The key into this weekends game with Fresno State is going to be at QB. Fortunately for us, even though we’ll have a rookie signal caller, the plays will most likely involve handing it off to the left or handing it off to the right with the occasional screen pass. The Aztecs aren’t very good this year, but let’s face it… neither is the Mountain West.

Notre Dame

Haters gonna hate. Despite having the countries toughest schedule we’re already starting to hear that the Irish haven’t played anyone. They beat up on Syracuse last weekend and fell in the polls. With Stanford, Florida State, Arizona State, and USC left on their schedule… the bottom line is simple: An undefeated Notre Dame team would be #1 in the country come January and a 1-loss Notre Dame team would probably get a spot in the playoff. So then there’s that. Heading into this weekend I think we’re going to see  a tough game on the defensive side of things and the Irish just go over and around Stanford. (Who struggled mightily with Washington and couldn’t move the ball at all against a USC team who gave up 37 points to Boston College… and Boston College then got beat by the 4th best team in the MWC.)


Week 5: 8-5

Overall: 26-26

Week Six Predictions

Stanford at Notre Dame – Irish

Aztecs at Fresno – Fresno

Utah State at BYwho – Holy Rollers

Texas A&M at Miss State – MSU

Florida at Tennessee – Florida

Bama at Ole Miss – Bama

Oklahoma at TCU – Okies

Baylor at Texas – Baptists

Navy at Air Force – Falcons

LSU at Auburn – Tigers (of LSU)

Michigan at Rutgers – Rutgers

ASU at USC – Arizona State

Nebraska at Michigan State – MSU doesn’t lose at night

Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

College Football Thoughts – Week 5

Last weekend was the “big upset that wasn’t” weekend. Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all had near misses. In fairness, the Alabama game wasn’t that close at the end but Florida sure had them nervous in parts of that game. And let’s all admit that every non-Alabama fan wants to see them drop 4 games this season just because they are due.

Meanwhile, the Big 10 finally realized the college football season was underway, with everyone but Michigan beating a non-conference opponent. Raise your hand if you thought you’d ever hear: “Indiana with the conference leading upset of the day.” referring to Hoosier football? Yeah, no one outside of the delusional in Bloomington has ever uttered a phrase.

Finally, I don’t want to think about the college football playoff too soon. And while ESPN is desperate to get their $7.3 billion investment back by talking about the playoff at every stop in the season I want to take the time to enjoy the ups and downs of the season before making predictions about who is in and who isn’t. Flat out, while some teams are legitimately out of contention there are probably 20 teams with realistic scenarios to get in… it’s simply too early to think about it.

San Diego State

The Aztecs made of game of Oregon State in 2013. That wasn’t to be in 2014. We were simply overmatched by a Beaver team that was bigger on defense and run by a true NFL-ready QB in Sean Mannion. He was laser-like and we struggled to disrupt his passing lanes all day. He had plenty of time and just flat-out picked us apart. That said, at 1-2 the season is hardly over. We were in the same spot in 2013 and ended up winning 8 games in a row including a bowl game. I look forward to the Aztecs heading into conference play… I think we’ll walk all over UNLV on Saturday.

Notre Dame

The Irish had a bye last week. So they got a little healthier and the pressure came off of them a bit for a week. This week, they get back 2 key starters on defense, and play in their second Shamrock Series game of the year, this time in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. (For those keeping track the Irish haven’t had a true road game yet. They are just relocating some home games to neutral sites for recruiting purposes… because they can fill any stadium, any where.) I think that Syracuse will play the Irish tough this week but ultimately Golson’s legs will remind the Orange that this is football and not basketball. (The Irish get 5-star recruits in football while the Orange get 3-4 star recruits.)


Week 4: 7-6 (Another Michigan reference!)

2014 total: 18-21

Week Five Predictions

Syracuse at Notre Dame – Irish

UNLV at SDSU – Aztecs

Fresno State at New Mexico – Bulldogs


Tennessee at Georgia – UGa

Northwestern at Penn State – PSU

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M – A&M

Minnesota at Michigan – Gophers

Stanford at Washington – Cardinal

Cincinnati at Ohio State – Cincy

Missouri at South Carolina – Gamecocks

Boise State at Air Force – Broncos

Oregon State at USC – Beavers


Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

College Football Thoughts – Week 4

It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the college football season is already in the books! It’s a reminder that the senior league (aka NFL) drags on ad nausaem whereas every game counts in college.

San Diego State

Last week was their bye. This Saturday they play their toughest opponent of the year, Oregon State.

Notre Dame

I’ll confess that I didn’t get to see the game and I only saw a short package of highlights on ESPN. As I suspected, the Purdue game was way closer than it needed to be. That’s what happens when you play teams like Purdue… it’s their bowl game, it’s their best shot at recruiting for the year, and it’s their only time on National TV. Watching a team like Purdue hang around is one reason I wish Notre Dame would get out of their NBC deal. But who turns down $15 million per year to have their own network? No one. 

The Irish take the week off to heal up and get ready for Syracuse. Sitting at #9 and an easy match-up with Syracuse, they are posed to be ranked in the top 6-7 when they take on Stanford, at home, on October 4th.


Week 3: 8-5 (Speaking of 8-5… this would be a dream record for Michigan this year)

Season total: 11-15


San Diego State at Oregon State — OSU

Auburn at K-State – Roll Tigers

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech – Hokies

Hawaii at Colorado – Guy on a Buffalo

North Carolina at East Carolina – UNC

Florida at Alabama – Bama

Virginia at BYU – Virginia

Utah at Michigan – Michigan

Miss State at LSU – LSU

Clemson at Florida State – Noles

Miami at Nebraska – Huskers

New Mexico at NMSU – New Mexico State

Oregon at Washington State – Ducks

Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

College Football Thoughts – Week 1

A new season has dawned in college football. Off-season storylines fade into the past as new storylines emerge on the field. All of the hype about who is the best without playing a game gets set aside now that we’re at full-contact and full-speed.

Some questions going into the season:

  • Will Florida State maintain?
  • Will the SEC continue its dominance?
  • Can the Big 10 catch up with the SEC and ACC?
  • Will a new coach at USC elevate the Pac-12’s stature?
  • Will any non-P5 conference emerge as relevant?
  • And, of course, what will be the impact of the new playoff?

San Diego State

State continues it’s climb. Our fans and program aren’t just interested in being competitive. We want to consistently be the best in the conference. We’d love to see ourselves as the replacement for Boise State. (Even thought State fans cringe at that comparison.)

We will see how close we are to that goal this weekend as the Aztecs travel to Chapel Hill to take on #25 North Carolina.

It was tough to tell how good we really are from last week’s game against Northern Arizona. We dominated them from the kickoff until the final whistle. It was bad enough where the aging, rusted haul of a stadium known as The Q was mostly empty by the middle of the third quarter. (We left at halftime with the score 24-0.)

But we moved the ball and we played decent enough defense. I think we have a chance to beat UNC if we find some strength at the linebacker position.

Notre Dame

With all the pre-season drama I wasn’t sure what to expect against Rice. What we saw was an Everett Golson who isn’t just interested in a comeback for the Irish, but wants to collect the Heisman on his way to a return trip to the National Championship.

Big questions remain for the Irish. With Austin Collinsworth out at corner for a few weeks, the defenses quarterback, I expect them to struggle against Michigan. But I also fully expect the alma mater to be played at the end of the game. Really bummed to see this on-again-off-again rivalry go on hiatus. Reminds me of when Lou and Bo couldn’t get along and we took the last pause. The Wolverines will be back on our schedule in a President or two.


For those new to this football post, I make predictions for each week and tally them. I did pretty good in 2013.

Week Two Predictions

Michigan at Notre Dame – Notre Dame (in a squeaker) – CORRECT!

San Diego State at North Carlina – SDSU (coming out party!)

Mizzou at Toledo – Toledo

Buffalo at Army – Buffalo

Central Michigan at Purdue – Boilers

USC at Stanford – Cardinal

NIU at Northwestern – Cats

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt – Ole Miss – CORRECT!

Michigan State at Oregon – Sparty

BYU at Texas – Texas

Virginia Tech at OSU – Buckeyes

Air Force at Wyoming – Cowboys – CORRECT!

Colorado State at Boise State – Rams



San Diego State Sports

College Basketball Rankings – Week 19

This is basically my last week of doing the rankings. Next weekend I’ll do much the similar background work but turn my attention to individual NCAA match-ups and team stats.

Week 19 Rankings

  1. Florida
  2. Wichita State
  3. Villanova
  4. Arizona
  5. Duke
  6. Virginia
  7. Wisconsin
  8. San Diego State
  9. Louisville
  10. Kansas
  11. Creighton
  12. Michigan
  13. Syracuse
  14. Cincinnati
  15. Iowa State
  16. New Mexico
  17. North Carolina
  18. Saint Louis
  19. Oklahoma
  20. UConn
  21. Michigan State
  22. VCU
  23. Memphis
  24. Gonzoga
  25. Kentucky
San Diego State Sports

College Basketball Rankings – Week 18

Week 18 College Basketball Rankings

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. Wichita State
  4. Duke
  5. Villanova
  6. Kansas
  7. Syracuse
  8. Virginia
  9. San Diego State
  10. Louisville
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Michigan
  13. North Carolina
  14. Cincinnati
  15. Creighton
  16. UConn
  17. New Mexico
  18. Iowa State
  19. Michigan State
  20. Kentucky
  21. Memphis
  22. SMU
  23. Gonzaga
  24. Green Bay
  25. Saint Louis
San Diego State Sports

College Basketball Rankings – Week 16

Week 16 College Basketball Rankings

  1. Syracuse
  2. Florida
  3. Wichita State
  4. Arizona
  5. Duke
  6. San Diego State
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Vilanova
  9. Kansas
  10. Creighton
  11. Saint Louis
  12. Louisville
  13. Michigan State
  14. Virginia
  15. Texas
  16. Iowa State
  17. Iowa
  18. Kentucky
  19. Wisconsin
  20. UConn
  21. Ohio State
  22. Memphis
  23. UCLA
  24. Michigan
  25. Stephen F. Austin

Week 15 Results

Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

College Football Thoughts – The Bowl Predictions


2013 was a memorable season. Without a truly dominant team we were all left to wonder who’d survive to the national championship. Outside of a few Alabama fans, everyone in the country thinks Florida State and Auburn are the two teams most deserving to play for the the trophy.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the schools in college football made themselves eligible for a bowl and are rewarded with some extra days of practice and a made-for-tv exhibition game. They too will play for a trophy. Even if the trophy is just a logo. Or a potato.

What’s Wrong With Bowls?