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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.

Categories
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
San Diego State

Tim Shelton Uses His Influence for Good

When my family moved into the College Area 3+ years ago we had no idea how much impact San Diego State would have on us. We just knew that we were going to embrace SDSU because it was the neighborhood we live in and we always have hopes of being Good News wherever we live. (Yes, being season ticket holders is being Good News… right?)

What we didn’t know is that in these 3 years the entire university has begun a transformation no one could have anticipated.

In 2009, the major news story on campus was about a campus-wide, one semester ban, on the consumption of alcohol. (Including on campus fraternities and sororities.) There was concern about how this rule would impact the school’s Playboy’s Top Party Schools ranking and the economics that went with it.

SDSU was a party school and defined by it.

Truth be told SDSU is still a party school. It’s a fun place to be a student. But partying is not the first thing people think about anymore when they hear SDSU anymore.

Winning Changes Everything

Tim's knees have become a mascot, of sorts.

San Diego State is currently the most winning college in major sports. Football had back-to-back 8-4 seasons. Basketball was 34-3 in 2011 and is currently 20-3.

Winning has redefined campus. 3+ years ago you saw far more frat/sorority t-shirts than SDSU gear. Now, most students rock SDSU gear multiple times per week. Each home game 12,414 pack into Viejas Arena to cheer on the basketball team. Last year saw a huge increase in student involvement at football games. Students aren’t just coming to campus to party anymore. Now they want to be part of The Show.

Increased interest has created a groundswell of students trying to get into SDSU as their first choice. Consequently, the admissions standards have gone up, making SDSU more and more of an academic school beating it’s “fall back school” reputation.

As the video shows, winning also transformed the type of student-athlete SDSU attracts. Tim Shelton has been on campus long enough to see this transformation first hand. It’s obvious to point out that this transformation is part of his legacy. Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Hall of Fame-bound coach, sometimes refers to Tim in press conferences as “coach.” Tim has lots of talents and lots of influence on campus and with his teammates. (Case in point, Tim wrote and produced Aztec Motto, the video played during pre-game introductions at home games.)

So what is he doing with his talents and influence? 

Raising money for kids after school programs. $26 at a time, one t-shirt at a time, Tim is helping to fund an after school program to keep kids in school. $15,000 so far. He’s aiming at $26,000– enough to fund the program for 100 kids for 1 year.

Winning attracts winners and Tim Shelton is a winner.

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San Diego State

Huge Win for San Diego State!

This is our families first year as season ticket holders for men’s basketball. Yesterday was, by far, the highlight of that experience so far.

We made it to Viejas about 12:05 PM for a 1:00 PM tipoff. And there were already lines to get in, the student section was 90% full, and about 50% of the stands were full 45 minutes before the game. Where else does that happen? 

The student section "The Show" unveils their new massive banner

There were 6,000 plus people booing UNLV during a pre-game shoot around. That’s when you know it’s going to be a wild game.

The game lived up to the hype. 

Megan and I have our game face on to face the UNLV Runnin' Rebels

It was loud and crazy from 45 minutes before the game until the last second when Jamaal Franklin’s lay-up sent the stadium into a frenzy. The stadium roared for about 90 seconds after the game winner. Deservedly so. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear that the announcer was trying to tell the fans that the game wasn’t actually over.

What I loved about this win is that it was a team effort. Leading scorer Chase Tapley struggled to get open and never really got to go off like he normally does. But the added attention on Chase gave James Rahon and Jamaal Franklin opportunities to make significant buckets, which they did with more than 20 points each.

A lot has been said about this being a rebuilding year for SDSU. They lost Billy White, D.J. Gay, Kawhi Leonard, and Malcom Thomas after last years epic season. (2 of them to the NBA) And, truth be told, they don’t have the standout talent they had last season. But they are consistently outplaying and out coaching their opponents. That’s the power of great coaching and recruiting. (Next  year’s team, based on recruits and transfers, will be one for the ages.)

The Aztecs beat the #12 team in the country because they had a better strategy than UNLV, were slightly more disciplined, and had a huge home court advantage.

I’m loving bringing my kids to these games. The Show continues to live up to the hype. Yesterday, they unveiled a massive “The Show” logo right before tip-off that covered nearly the entire student section. Teams are completely intimidated to come into Viejas and our players are completely empowered.

With our throats and hands tired from screaming and clapping, Megan invented the High 1. It'll take over the nation. Notice the grumpy (silent) UNLV fans behind us. They all look like that, like they were just released from a cheap casino holding cell for the game.

If you’re ever in town when there’s an SDSU game . Let me know, I’ll score you a ticket to The Show. 

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?)

Categories
San Diego Living Sports

Why you should watch SDSU vs. BYU on February 26th

 

Categories
Notre Dame San Diego Living Sports

Basketball fever

I’m an Indiana kid. Growing up, I played 21 from the time the neighbors driveway thawed until school started. Sometimes dozens of games per day. Not to sound like a John Cougar Mellencamp song, but we played until our fingers bled. Then we’d have lunch and play until it got dark.

Where I went to school everyone went to every high school basketball game. This culminated in 1994 with Clay High School making an improbable run to the state Final Four and winning it all in a come-from-behind thriller.

That love of the game carried on into college when I played endless games of pick-up basketball and even had a little stint as student sports information director for both men’s and women’s basketball teams. I’ve sat on the sidelines, keeping score, operating the shot clock… hundreds of games. I love it.

Not quite like my love for Notre Dame football. (Or cheddar cheese) But love nonetheless.

Finally, this year I have a lot to cheer about on the hardwood.

Notre Dame is very good. At 18-4, having beaten some very good teams, they are a lock for the NCAA tournament with 5 weeks to go. I’ve watched them play on TV a bunch. They might not be the most dynamic team in the Big East but I think they may be the most feared. No one wants to try to stop Ben Hansbrough. Because if you do he’ll just pass it off to someone else who will light you up. I’ve not seem them play better, top to bottom, in the Big East than with the squad they have this year. If they keep this up they would be a disappointment at anything less than a Sweet-16 berth.

San Diego State is ridiculous. I know that many people outside of the West Coast have been able to see them play yet. The Mountain West has a horrid TV deal with its own network which keeps them off of ESPN. But they are 22-1 and easily the best team in the west. I have kicked myself since November for not getting season tickets when I had the chance. But tonight will be my third game and I have another game next week to go to… but that’s it. They are sold out the rest of the way. The thing most people don’t understand is that SDSU has no star. They have 8 guys who could each start and one of them goes off to dominate each game. I’ve seen Billy White take over a game. I’ve seen Malcolm Thomas destroy teams. I’ve seen Kawhi Leonard make teams look silly. And D.J. Gay has ruined some teams from the point. It’s the craziest thing. But Coach Fisher has somehow kept the whole thing together, kept everyone focused, and been quick to remind his team that NO ONE outside of San Diego respects them. They barely even make it onto SportsCenter!

My biggest fear is that these two teams will play in the 2nd round of the NCAA. Ideally, they will meet in an Elite 8 or (be still, heart) the Final Four. Both of them are that good. And neither would surprise me to be there.

Let’s go Irish!

S-D-S-U! Aztecs Fight!

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.
Categories
family

Daddy Days

This weekend, Kristen is off to Chicago with Erin for a girls getaway. Since I’m traveling a little over 1/5th of 2010, she certainly earned some time to herself.

Kristen’s definition of a girls weekend is Thursday afternoon to midnight on Monday. I like her style.

As we compared notes leading up to this trip we determined that this is the first time Kristen has ever done anything like this. It’s been fun to hear her talk about the trip for the last month or so, all the places she wants to visit, and of course– all of our favorite food places she wants to enjoy. (We lived there for 8 years. She is busy satisfying cravings for Johnnie’s Italian beef and Oatmeal shakes from Irazu. I’m totally jealous.)

The flipside is that I’ve earned some solo time with Megan and Paul!

So far, so good.

I’m not going to lie. I love that I get this time to be with them like this.

Last night, over a healthy dinner of tacos, rice and beans, and chips… we talked about all sorts of drama at school. Apparently, Foursquare provides endless playground theater that I was previously unaware of. There are some kids who like to steal the ball and throw it over the fence. Yeah, straight thugging.

We don’t have overly adventurous plans for the rest of the weekend. Which leaves plenty of time to do what they love to do most. Relax and be kids.

  • Thursday night I was impressed that I could make a healthy, well-balanced meal that they actually ate. Roasted fish, roasted apples, and whole grain rice.
  • Friday was a marathon of driving as we went from school to the San Diego State ticket office back to the YS offices to the house then to dinner at Rubios. I felt like a soccer mom with all of that carting!
  • Today we plan on going to the nursery so we can start seedlings of our winter garden, doing some weeding and cutting of grass, relaxing in the afternoon, then going to the Aztec game a bit early to enjoy some of the tailgate festivities before SDSU plays Colorado State tonight.
  • Sunday, I hope to keep it simple. Church in the morning and then finish painting the dining room while the NFL games are on. At some point, Paul needs to do his homework.
  • Monday, I’m just happy to get them to school. We will spend some time in the early evening making sure the kids rooms are clean(ish) before mom gets home.

Goals:

  1. Quantity time.
  2. No trips to the ER.
  3. Keep the house clean.
  4. Convince the animals to sleep in tomorrow for daylight savings time.
  5. Create some memories.