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San Diego State

Ideas for the SDSU Priority Points System

Like most college athletic departments, SDSU has a point system for allocating tickets. Whether its NCAA basketball tickets, moving to better season ticket locations, or seating priority for a bowl game, the point system is valuable to all fans who like to attend games.

The Problem with the Current SDSU Priority Points System

With that said, the current SDSU point system is struggling to adapt to an exploding fan base. Starting in about 2009, the football and basketball programs have gone on a tear, moving from regional doormat to a blossoming national awareness. The net effect has been that there are two different San Diego State fan bases.

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Notre Dame San Diego State Sports

Football thoughts: Sixth Edition

Oh baby! Week seven was full of drama as the top teams jockey for all-important position in the first BCS rankings this week. There were significant tumbles at the top as the rest of conference play begins the shuffling which will eventually result in bowl play.

Notre Dame

Finally. The Irish proved they could slug it out in a messy, mistake-filled game. In some ways the Stanford game was legendary. Two highly defensive teams slugged it out in the mud until one team finally broke through. Fortunately, it was the Irish who prevailed.

Manti Te’o continued to show why he’s on Heisman watch lists as a linebacker. His impact on the game was much more than his game-high 11 tackles. He leads the team in every way. The Irish defense is legit. It’s now been 4 games since they’ve allowed an offensive touchdown. (They haven’t given up a rushing touchdown all season!) None of those were rollover teams. Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, and Stanford.

How far can Notre Dame go? Clearly, if they win out they are in the title game. But I don’t think it’s very likely that they will do that. I’m still preparing to see them stumble in a game… either BYU or Boston College. And I’m pleased if they beat either USC or Oklahoma on the road but I’m not expecting them to beat both. Does a 10-2 Notre Dame team get into a BCS bowl game? Easily.

San Diego State

Well, we’re 4-3 now. Ryan Katz has the offense rolling along and the defense looked OK as they sailed to an easy 38-14 win. In truth, this was a very boring game. All of the home games this year have been boring. I love going to the games and the Aztecs are clearly going the right direction. But I don’t think I’m alone in my excitement for basketball overpowering my desire to watch a s0-so team battle for an invite to the New Orleans Bowl.

Back to football, it is good to see progress on the defensive line. Those guys are starting to create the gaps needed for the linebackers to create chaos in the back field. But its tough to know if this was real progress or if it’s just a measurement of how bad Colorado State is without their starting QB.

We’ll see how good the Aztecs are over the next few weeks. They need a road win against Nevada or Boise State to have a shot at a bowl game.

National Title Race

With Notre Dame in the hunt I’m interested in today’s BCS rankings. I suspect to see them as BCS #3 because of their strength of schedule. (#5 in both polls) I think we’re on a collision course to see a very entertaining Alabama vs. Oregon game in the national championship. But, the Irish included, there are some outliers who have a legit chance of getting there which make the whole thing interesting. I don’t think Florida can get there with their remaining schedule and a potential SEC championship game vs. Alabama. K-State? They still have murderers row on their schedule with road games against West Virginia, Baylor, and TCU. Add a season ending home game vs. Texas and a Big 12 title game? There’s at least one loss in there for them. My outside show at it is Oregon State. The Beavers have a powder schedule leading up to a home game against their rival… the Oregon Ducks. In a rivalry game with everything on the line? Gosh, anything can happen.

The Big 10

Now that we’re in conference play its easy for Big 10 fans to think their league is legit. Yeah, right. Let’s not forget that they got ripped in non-conference games vs. ranked opponents. An ineligible Ohio State team does look good. But Michigan and Wisconsin, both allegedly the class of the conference, really aren’t any good. They are both so one-dimensional that they can’t play up and beat teams. I’m still seeing Northwestern as the Rose Bowl delegate to get the loser of the Oregon-Oregon State game.

My Current Top 10

(I don’t include ineligible teams. Sorry Buckeyes, at least your players got free tattoos and great deals on cars!)

  1. Alabama (6-0)
  2. Oregon (6-0)
  3. Notre Dame (6-0)
  4. Florida (6-0)
  5. K-State (6-0)
  6. LSU (6-1)
  7. Oregon State (5-0)
  8. South Carolina (6-1)
  9. Florida State (6-1)
  10. USC (5-1)

Categories
Church Leadership

Outsmarting Your Opponent

Rocky Long is crazy. Yesterday, he told reporters that as head coach of the San Diego State football team he is planning on always onside kicking and always going for it on 4th down.

Rocky Long is genius. By telling his opponents he is not going to traditionally kick the ball off and not planning to punt on 4th down, they have to prepare for that potential even if he has no intention of doing it.

This is Rocky Long’s Moneyball moment. After 40 years as a head coach he has a wild idea and he’s toying with the gamble. He sees something that his opponents don’t. And he’s convinced that this could give him the competitive advantage over more talented teams that he needs.

He told the Union-Times:

And yes, Long — who apparently hasn’t yet tried it all in his 40 years of coaching — is serious about this. “It makes sense,” he said, seeming almost giddy in talking about the possibilities. “Additional plays would allow you to score a lot more points,” he said. “It also puts a whole lot of pressure on the defense.” source

As a season ticket holder I know that this announcement is influenced by his personnel and not just a crazy idea he woke up with. He lost 4 of his most crucial players to the NFL and wasn’t able to replace them with players of equal/higher quality. (QB, RB, MLB, Punter) Additionally, they are one year away from entering the Big East where he will likely have a competitive disadvantage every single week of conference play. He’s interested in a gimmick because he is desperate to give his team any sort of advantage. And just the threat of this makes other teams prepare for it.

That said, the person he’s learning this philosophy from is pretty successful with it.

The possibly not-so-mad professor of this “punting-is-for-wimps” practice is Kevin Kelley, the head coach of a small private school, the Pulaski Academy, in Little Rock, Ark. In nine years, Kelley’s teams have posted a 104-19 record, winning three state titles. Last season, Pulaski went 14-0 and averaged 51 points per game. source

It’s crazy. But it might just be crazy enough to work.

What’s your competitive advantage?

In ministry, the head coach of the other team is Satan. And he’s been doing some winning lately, hasn’t he? Sick of him winning yet? He has more resources than you. He’s got great recruiters. He’s actually smarter and more experienced than you. You are losing, not because you’re a bad person, but because you’ve been outsmarted.

My prayer is that you’re ticked off about this. My hope is that you’re tired of losing. And my eye glimmers with the possibility that maybe you are ready to start playing with the team you have and not the team you wish you have.

Maybe it’s time to try that idea you’ve always wanted to try but thought was too risky? Maybe it’s time to look around and discover something that’s way outside of the box but is totally working? And maybe it’s time you took a 48 hour retreat and figured something out?

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San Diego State

Donate your New Orleans Bowl tickets to the Marshall Faulk Foundation

Like a lot of San Diego State fans, I’m not able to attend this years bowl game in New Orleans. Besides having plans for December 17th already it would have cost more than $1000 to attend. (airfare, hotels, tickets, food, etc.)

That’s why I was thrilled to see that the SDSU ticket office has made it possible for season ticket holders and the general public to buy tickets for the game and donate them to a deserving child* in New Orleans through the Marshall Faulk Foundation. (see above)

As a fan and supporter of Aztecs sports I wanted to partner with SDSU in selling their allotment of 9500 tickets. I’ve donated my ticket allotment to the Marshall Faulk Foundation and I am encouraging all fellow season ticket holders, Aztec Club members, alumni, and fans of the Aztecs to do the same.

Here’s the link to buy tickets to sponsor a child

Note: *To comply with NCAA rules on recruiting the ticket office has made it clear that tickets donated to the Marshall Faulk Foundation will not go to high school students. (Hence the works “child” and not “youth.”)

Categories
Notre Dame parenting San Diego Living San Diego State Sports

Passing on a love of sports

My dad took me to lots of games at Notre Dame. Later in middle and high school it became more about football than the other sports. But I have lots of fond memories of spending time with my dad at Notre Dame basketball, hockey, and football games. I even remember a couple baseball and soccer games along the way.

Even though no one in my family went to Notre Dame, we lived so close and experienced so much there, that I have a pretty strong connection to the campus. My friends and I rode bikes all over campus. (Don’t tell my mom!) We played hide-n-seek near the Grotto and skateboarded the trail around St. Joeseph’s Lake. We yelled and made echoes between the giant buildings and dared one another to go into the administration building. (aka Golden Dome) I spent hundreds of hours in the library (aka Touchdown Jesus) during my senior year of high school and still have 10-15 unpaid parking tickets for parking in the basketball coaches spot when he wasn’t there.

But most of my memories of Notre Dame are from Saturday’s in the Fall. My dad had a group of friends who put on epic tailgate parties. 75-100 people would hang out and party between 3 motor homes starting before dawn and going until dark. When I was really young we went to almost every game because you could always find a ticket for free or almost free. That changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Lou Holtz had them in National Championship form year after year. But I managed to find a way in to a lot of games in those days. My stepdad had a brother who was an usher who could sneak me in. I’d get to the stadium several hours before the kickoff and sit in his usher seat during the game. When it was too cold or I’d get bored I’d climb into the scoreboard and watch the game from that little window, listening to the TV cameramen shuffle their feet above my head as they operated the endzone camera. For a couple of years my stepmom was an MBA student and we had tickets at the front of the student section. During those years I got to go to the games it was too cold for my dad and stepmom to enjoy. Cemented in my memory for a lifetime is freezing my butt off and hunting for hot chocolate during the 1992 snow bowl.

San Diego State

There’s no comparing Notre Dame to San Diego State. Pretty much everything that could be different about the two schools is different. But what isn’t different is the proximity of where we live. I grew up about a mile from Notre Dame’s campus and my kids are growing up about a mile from San Diego State’s campus. So I want my kids to experience the campus. (Um, the positive sides of campus activities!) That’s why I’m commited to taking them to football and basketball games and other fun/educational things offered on campus for kids.

I’d love for my kids to build happy memories about a place with their dad. Just like my growing up around Notre Dame… every moment isn’t memorable and not everything is going to make a lasting impression.

What are you doing to build memories with your kids? What kinds of things did you do with your parents which built lasting memories? 

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San Diego State

SDSU vs. Texas Christian University video

First, a patriotic start.

SDSU vs TCU pregame

Then we honored Marshall Faulk as the team took the field

Then, the game started and SDSU laid an egg

  • TCU marched down and got a field goal.
  • SDSU got the ball back and due to a penalty drove it to the red zone, before botching a field goal attempt.
  • They woke up from their slumber in the 3rd quarter and brought the game to 20-14 at the beginning of the 4th quarter.
  • Then… Ryan Lindley showed why he will be playing in Canada next season and not the NFL. He telegraphed a couple of passes directly to TCU players, pretty much securing a loss.
  • TCU dominated our defense for most of the game on 3rd down. I think they had 11 third down conversions in a row.
  • Mix that stat with 4 turnovers and you get a loss every time.

That said, Megan and I had a good time. The stadium felt great with 44,000+ fans. I’m sure that will drop for the next game vs. Wyoming though. We shall see.

Categories
San Diego State

San Diego State beats Washington State

I took Paul to tonights game between SDSU & Washington State. Here are a random list of highlights.

  • College football is officially “our thing.” Paul & Megan are really into going to the games with me. The game day experience always includes a trip to Rite Aid (to score candy/snacks) and a ride on the trolley.
  • I love, love, LOVE spending this extended time with each kid at the games. And my evil plan seems to be working, they are both getting interested in sports. Paul was going to bed and told Kristen, “I can’t believe I spent 6 hours with daddy. It really happened!” (That’s why I added SDSU basketball & Padres baseball tickets to the mix, love going to the games with my kids. Worth every penny.)
  • I still pinch myself at our season ticket locations. We’re on the 18th row, behind the home bench, and on the 47 yard line. Perfect seats if you ask me. I only wish I had 4 seats instead of 2. Loving my 3rd season as a season ticket holder.
  • This was a huge game for San Diego State. I think a lot of people expected SDSU to get worse because Rocky Long took over for Brady Hoke. (Who went to Michigan) We are now 3-0 for the first time since 1981. Full of confidence– I’m eager to see how they do against Michigan next weekend.
  • Washington State was very good offensively. But by the end of the game the Aztec defense was just teeing off on receivers, running backs, and the QB. The Aztec defense played great tonight against an overmatched opponent.
  • Speaking of defense… there were some monster hits applied tonight by the Aztecs. I’m loving the intimidation factor I see. The QB was visibly shaken after a few hits. And a few WRs dropped passes because they looked up to see if the hit was coming. Love that.
  • Ronnie Hillman was incredible tonight. 191 yards on 32 carries with 4 touchdowns. He’s one stellar running back. I’m looking forward to seeing him on the big stage next weekend. I hope he drops 200 yards with 5 TDs on a horrible Michigan defense.
  • Ryan Lindley? I feel like his stock is slipping. Maybe it’s that his receivers aren’t that great. But he threw some awful passes in the 3rd quarter tonight.
  • The crowd was huge tonight. And it was awesome that they got to see what the Aztecs can do against a quality opponent. 57,000+ in attendance is legit across college football. It seems that the basketball team has fed enthusiasm for Aztec football and that’s awesome.
  • Of course, 20,000 of those tickets were just to see the Sky Show. That was great and way too loud as usual. I’m not sure why they need to make the event that loud. It would be 50% more enjoyable at half the volume from the PA system. But the show itself? Every time I see it I realize how much I love living in San Diego.
Categories
Notre Dame San Diego State

College Football predictions

Today is opening day for my two favorite teams, Notre Dame & San Diego State. Here are my predictions on their seasons.

  1. Notre Dame – The Irish have a tough schedule. The first five games are as tough a schedule as you’ll see anywhere because teams always “play up” for Notre Dame and their National TV audience. If you look at their order of schedule and the style of football each team plays… it’s really hard to adjust. This team is better, but not quite of the power to roll over teams just yet. I think they will handle USF today and Michigan next week, stumble at home to Michigan State and again at Pitt. But then go on a bit of a tear until and beat Purdue, Air Force, and USC. Then they will lose to Navy before beating Wake, Maryland, and Boston College. Then we’ll see how good they are in November at Stanford. If Andrew Luck is healthy they will be tough to beat. Overall- I’m seeing 8-4 and a trip to the lowest BCS game. (It’s about money, friends.)
  2. San Diego State – Last season, the secret weapon was the defense which made the offense look better than they really were.. They’ve leveled up a bit on D. But I think the combination of Rocky Long (a defensive-minded guy) and the flip-flop from a talented WR core to an all rookie one will kill their ability to move the ball. Ryan Lindley is a great pocket passer. He’ll need to depend less on the long ball and more on short passes and screen with the weapons he has available. Ronnie Hillman, if he is healthy, is explosive and rips yards off in a Barry Sanders kind of method. He’ll got 2-3 yards at a time, then rip off 25 when you aren’t looking. That will all depend on their ability to spread teams out with WR and TE. The opposite of the Irish, they have some playing styles with opponents that will help them. Secret weapon of the Aztecs? Kicking. Holy cow they have guys who can kick it miles. Remember last years 88 yard punt in New Mexico? I think they’ll beat Cal Poly and Army before losing to Washington State, Michigan, and TCU. Then they’ll win four in a row against Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado State. They’ll get pounded by Boise State and then beat Fresno and UNLV. As long as Hillman and Lindley stay healthy they will be 8-4 and play again in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Other thoughts on college football, in general.

We need to see some teeth from the NCAA. Both Ohio State and Miami deserve the death penalty. Their fans disagree. But the reality is that they completely ignored NCAA rules and made a mockery of the whole thing. I think USC got off easy and it’s awesome they can’t get ranked in the coaches poll. (If only Pete Carroll had gotten punished…)

I hope the Mountain West defectors get pounded this year. TCU lost to Baylor last night. I hope Utah loses 8 games in the Pac-12. And BYU has just become BY-Who? (Who do they think they are to go independent? They are no Texas or Notre Dame.) None of the Mountain West teams want to schedule them. (I see one MWC game on this years schedule. What’s that tell you about the cheating they do?) Speaking of, I heard Texas A&M is looking for a conference home. I hope they jump on the bandwagon for next season with Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Is it the year of the Ducks? They sure are fun to watch. And I’d love to see the tomahawk chop back in prominence in Tallahassee. If you just look at the mascots… it’s a great year. Could it be a BCS game of the cowboys vs. indians? (Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl?)

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Notre Dame

Notre Dame in New York

I was happy to catch some of the game last Saturday. A big win for Notre Dame. And a great way to bring the game to a core group of awesome fans in the city that never sleeps.

Categories
San Diego Living Sports

San Diego State Aztecs Go to 7-2

Who would have thought that the college team in town would be the best team to play at Qualcomm Stadium this year? I know I didn’t.

I took Megan and Paul to the Aztecs game last night and had a blast. We didn’t get home until about 11:00 PM, but I think we’re slowly making Aztec fans out of them.

  • They begged me to go early for the game so they could play in Aztec Village. (Bounce house, live music, food we didn’t buy, etc.)
  • When I told them it’d be easier to just drive to the game… Megan put her foot down. “No daddy, the best way to go to the game is on the trolley. It’s faster and kids ride free.
  • The stadium is starting to fill with actual fans. Having 40,000+ for the fireworks show is one thing, but to attract 34,000+ for a game against a lesser opponent– we’re now getting somewhere.
  • The football team now controls their destiny. If they win out they will win the Mountain West. But if they beat either TCU or Utah they will likely finish 9-3 and enjoy some respect going into the off-season. But 8-4 is now very likely. (I can’t see them beating either TCU or Utah.)
  • I’m totally bummed that I’ll miss the Utah game. (I’ll be at NYWC in Nashville)
  • I’ve officially decided to increase my season ticket order for 2011. Two tickets per game is now not enough. Anyone want to join me?
  • Speaking of 2011. Rumor has it that we’re adding Boise State and dropping BYU. Toss in a game at Michigan with the fact that they are recruiting local talent like crazy (100+ local high school players on the field to watch warm-ups) and I think Coach Hoke is starting to capture lightning in a bottle.
  • We all got a kick out of the streakers. The first one made it about 100 yards. The second one was a kid, he didn’t make it very far.