USC and UCLA are Big-10 bound. Of the two schools, UCLA was a surprise. I would have bet on the duo of USC and Oregon. Alas, the Ducks remain in the P12 . . . for now.

The Trojans and Bruins bring the sizable Los Angeles television market (the B10 now owns the television markets of Chicago, D.C./Baltimore and L.A.). Both schools travel well, aka, alumni. I must address the mavens who criticize the travel factor afflicting the two CA schools: No. No, travel is not and will not be a factor in team performance. Two facts to always hold dear while addressing the addition of these two schools: Football and money. If the USC men’s soccer team needs to spend a week in the state of Michigan, who cares? Another positive for the B10 is the proximity of the two CA schools. A brief (okay, no auto/truck/bus ride in L.A. is brief), rather nearby destination is beneficial for any visiting B10 school while playing volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball and all the rest.

The money factor needs a separate paragraph. The most recent revenue numbers for the two conferences states $768 million for the B10 and $533 million for the P12. A difference of a whopping $235 million on behalf of the B10. That number divided by the 2022 B10 lineup equates to approximately $16.78 million per school as compared their P12 brethren who will never, ever see the aforementioned almost $17 million. A lot of extra coin will flow into the USC and UCLA athletic departments. The B10 media rights expire in 2023. Negotiations are underway. A combination of ESPN, FOX and CBS likely creates an offer near the $1 billion mark for the next contract. College football makes a ton of money.

The overall effect on the two conferences is substantial and heavily favors the B10. The invitation of the two CA schools is purely positive for the B10. Not so much for the P12. First, the P12 media contracts expire in 2024. Negotiations are surely underway. And those conversations have, um, paused and changed. ESPN and FOX are not about to offer the same cash with the loss of the southern California TV market. Would you pay the same amount of money for a double cheese burger as opposed to a baloney sandwich on white bread? Additionally, the P12 will feel the need to fill the void created by USC and UCLA. Ask the Big 12 if wishing away reality works well. Adapt or suffer more membership losses. Who the P12 adds is less than ideal from their view. I will not refer to the normal slew of Group of 5 candidates mostly from the Mountain West. I do entertain the thought of further P12 rupturing. My focus is on Oregon (they will not be pleased to witness two schools whose respective football programs pale in comparison to the Ducks make a great deal more money than the Ducks portion of the watered down P12 renewal offer) and Washington. Perhaps a partnership forms and phone calls are made to the Big 12. Another potential response is a handful of the more successful (football) P12 schools offer to form a new conference with all the B12 Texas schools and Oklahoma State. If a fusion of the P12 and B12 is created, the schools who stand a good chance to receive no offer of inclusion include Oregon State, Washington State, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia. In the case of the Mountaineers sometimes geography matters.

The departure of UT and Oklahoma from the B12 followed by yesterday’s good-bye/hello from USC and UCLA guarantees the Power 5 landscape will continue to experience monumental change as media rights expire and are then renegotiated. Fun times in the money house.

Red Sox Rant, 2022

Posted: April 4, 2022 in Uncategorized

Let us begin with pitching. Both kinds.

Until Chris Sale is healthy, the starting staff remains meh. Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck form a passable #2 through #4 rotation. Rich Hill (only a matter of time until finger blisters form) and James Paxton (dl forever . . . seemingly) are better than last year’s reality of Garrett Richards and Martin Perez which is akin to comparing a car with engine problems to a car with no brakes. The bullpen did not experience the complete make over I demanded. Chaim Bloom and Brian O’Halloran are deaf to my complaints. Why are the following wearing Boston uniforms rather than Worcester: Phillips Valdez (a guaranteed hit by pitch ever other appearance), Matt Barnes (he is past his prime and pointed in a downward direction), Josh Taylor (23 walks in 47.2 innings. Go ahead. Defend him, if you dare), Ryan Brasier (I’m waiting for a neck injury given his strange in-between pitches posture) and Austin Davis (lifetime 5.50 era and a whip of 1.49 creates extreme discomfort as he approaches the mound). Be gone! I find the beginning of hope with Garrett Whitlock closing, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Strahm and Jake Diekman making appearances the sixth inning forward.

Signing Trevor Story closes a defensive gap in the infield (Christian Arroyo injures himself making coffee) and also offers another considerable bat. Bobby Dalbec is a 30/90 guy in the making. Rafael Devers will continue to entertain with his bat, occasional wild ass throws from third and death battle with the wad of tobacco he tosses around his mouth. Xander Bogarts must complete the season with game 1 to game 162 offensive production. He fades the second half. Jackie Bradley, Jr returns. Yay. He settles right field and keeps Kiki Hernandez in the line up. Alex Verdugo is the next great left fielder in Fenway. J.D. Martinez, the human rain delay in-between pitches, starts fast or becomes late-July trade bait. Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki are the best catching combination in the A.L. A word on Jarren Duran: He needs to go away. I have no patience for Jacoby Ellsbury, II.

Minor bats to watch: Yairo Munoz, Triston Casas, Nick Yorke, Stephen Scott, Devlin Granberg, Tyreque Reed, Pedro Castellanos, Cameron Canon, Tyler Dearden and Gilberto Jimenez. Yep, I named my top ten.

Minor starting pitching to watch: Kutter Crawford, Connor Seabold, Victor Santos, Brandon Walter and Aldo Ramirez.

Minor relievers to watch: Zach Kelly, Durbin Feltman, Joan Martinez, Casey Cobb and Brendan Nail.

Finally, if Alex Erro continues with his 41% toss rate, Christian Vazquez is bound for “old man” help-the-kid status.

Go, Sox.

Reviewing a 12-2 finish coupled with a national ranking of 25th should not be cause for improvement, yet here I am.

Thank you to Lucas Johnson for salvaging the quarterback position. Jordon Brookshire was a train wreck of inconsistency. Mr. Johnson, certainly no role model of consistency himself, at least delivered during key moments of 2021. Their collective total of 16 passing tds averaged 1.1 per game. Yawn. However, all average things must end. These two will journey well elsewhere. Brady Hoke hopes to land a transfer quarterback to enhance competition between Jalen Mayden and Will Haskell for 2022. I trust Brady will seek a qb with pass first in mind. Pass way down field.

Speaking of elsewhere, time for Jeff Hecklinski to release the entire 2021 backfield. Greg Bell (overrated. He failed to deliver the anticipated yards), Chance Bell, Jordan Byrd and Kaegun Williams will be better served in a town not called San Diego. Their individual and collective result was minimal. I long for the days of a break away running back. Turn the corner and whoosh. Maybe someday.

The 2021 Aztec defense was laudable. The boys gave up a manageable 324 yards per game. An impressive 7 rushing tds were allowed along with a meager 2.7 yards per rush. 32% of third down conversions for opponents provides a measure for 2022 defensive success. So does 41 sacks for 258 yards. May Kurt Mattix remain the SDSU defensive coordinator for a long time.

Via the transfer portal, I hope for a mix of o-line, d-line, running back(s) and a quarterback to land on the roster as we pedal towards spring ball. Six to eight experienced players would be swell.

Winning a bowl game is the absolute best way to end a season. As Texans say, “Yee haw!”

The first quarter the Roadrunners of UT San Antonio were as advertised. Lots of offensive spark and a decent defense. The Aztecs first offensive series was a quick 3 and done. Thankfully, that sequence did not set the tone. Proof, you ask? In addition to the 38 points, I offer 488 total yards of offense.

Lucas Johnson had the game of his life: 24/36/333 with 3 passing touchdowns (2 to Jesse Matthews, who also had the game of his life to date, and 1 to Tyrell Shavers). Mr. Johnson also found time to run for 1 td. 5 appearances in the almighty red zone resulted in 4 touchdowns and 1 field goal.

Greg Bell had his first above average game since the New Mexico game (October 9th for those of you wondering). 101 yards on 26 carries. Good, but not great, though he did assist greatly in running out the clock in the fourth quarter. Mr. Bell ran 9 consecutive carries without mishap leaving the final 2 rushes to Chance Bell, thus eliminating the final 7:13 in the game. Well done.

Returning to Mr. Matthews, wow. 11/175 and above mentioned 2 td catches. He was everywhere. His facial expression was intolerant of loss. Thank goodness.

Next to the win, the highlight of the night was Kaegun Williams making a surprise appearance during a UTSA kickoff which he took for a healthy 52 yards.

The Aztec defense had a bit of an off night. Rare was the hit on Frank Harris, the Roadrunner qb. Giving up 388 total yards was indicative of a slow start generally improved upon as the game continued. CJ Baskerville’s third quarter pick at the SDSU 31 yard line was the defensive moment of the game. Good bye, UTSA drive.

The officials struck me as flag happy. They were quite fond of the little yellow hankie. 14 penalties for 124 yards? C’mon. We were not a band of pirates having a collective bad night.

2021 is a year to remember: 12-2.

Go Aztecs.

USU 46, SDSU 13

Posted: December 8, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

We were awful. Worse than the Fresno State game. Far worse.

Twenty players sidelined by C-19 provided a shaky start. Sure, losing Daniel Bellinger and Tyrell Shavers made the offense less impactful. However, starting Jordon Brookshire had more of an impact or non-impact or impact similar to a fender bender all your fault.

Not a single player of note on the Aztec defense was among the twenty C-19 players. The SDSU defense was solid and sound. Allowing Utah State to score 46 points has nothing to do with the Aztec offense. Our defense was somewhere far away from Carson. We dropped four potential interceptions. By the fourth drop, the protestation of the dropee was as old as rotten fish. Catch the damn ball. Of course, not catching passes is why you are not a wide receiver.

The Aztec special teams resembled Clown College: Blocked punts, dropped punts, missed field goals and running about with no apparent purpose was as unwelcome as cold soup.

Returning to my favorite scowl, Mr. Brookshire reverted to his specialty of throwing at shoe laces or far above outstretched hands. The first quarter featured three 3 and outs. He truly set the tone. 11/23/117 was mediocre, and mediocre does not stand during a conference championship game. May he sit during the Frisco bowl.

Watching Jaylen Mayden play (at last) bodes well for next year. 5/6/50 yards and the lone SDSU touchdown coupled with 4 runs for 36 yards is the stuff of effective dual quarterbacking.

Did I mention 120 yards handed to USU via penalties? No? We handed 120 yards to USU due to bad decisions and ill-timed emotion. Great timing for dysfunction. I will not mention the 1/14 on third down conversions. Opps.

We go bowling in Frisco, Texas against UT San Antonio. We finish 11-2. Candidly, at the beginning of the 2021 season, an 8-4/5-3 finish would have thrilled me. I can’t complain. But I do.

11-2/7-1. Ranked #24 in the CFP final tally. Not bad.

Go Aztecs.

SDSU 27, Boise State 16

Posted: November 27, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

A great game for a double digit win (the most recent was October 9 vs. New Mexico, 31-7).

The first half smelled and resembled the Fresno State game. The second half was another story.

I admit I rolled my eyes when Jordon Brookshire entered the game. On behalf of Jeff Hecklinski and Brady Hoke, they didn’t have much of a choice given Lucas Johnson’s poor first quarter and worse second quarter. Mr. Brookshire provided immediate hope with a 30 yard completion to Jesse “I Catch Most Anything” Matthews. The 29 yard td pass to Mr. Matthews quickly followed. I’m walking toward the light of briefly becoming a Jordon Brookshire fan. Briefly.

Jordon’s final passing numbers (11/15/192 and a td) and rushing numbers (9/46 and a td) emerged from dream becoming reality. He and Lucas combined for 20 completions for an average of 14.5 yards per completion. A true partnership.

Plays of note not immediately resulting in a touchdown: Our second possession featuring Daniel Bellinger in motion, then stopping under center to take the snap on third and one to plunge forward for a first down. Next up, our failed attempt at a fake punt with Garret Fountain taking the long snap for a whopping 4 yards. The Brookshire pass to Bellinger in the third quarter on fourth and one resulting in Mr. Bellinger rumbling to the eleven yard line which did set up Greg Bell’s go-ahead td. A few snaps later, Caden McDonald tips Hank Bachmeier’s pass into the hands of Patrick McMorris for his second interception.

Speaking of Mr. Bachmeier, the Aztec defense smacked him about and limited his day to 21/40/222 including Mr. McMorris’ two picks (Dallas Branch sealed the game with an interception of Jack Sears with less than a minute remaining). When Mr. Sears entered the game I had visions of Nick Nash in 2020 and Justin Rogers last week. Thankfully, he performed under duress given the fantastic three man Aztec rush.

Jonah Tavai was absolutely dominant with 3 sacks resulting in 18 lost Boise yards.

Jesse Matthews same as Mr. Tavai, but on the other side: 9/133 and a touchdown.

A few more numbers to consider: The Aztec defense shutout Boise in the third and fourth quarters, and held Boise to a total of 319 yards. The Aztec offense tallied 408 yards for the morning (the start time of 9:00 a.m. was insane). The Aztec defense set a record (I’m guessing) for most offsides in a game. Brady rolled the dice three times on fourth down and succeeded twice. We held the ball for 34:17 to Boise’s 25:43. Most helpful.

Utah State at Carson next Saturday for the MWC championship.

7-1/11-1. Quite the surprise.

Go Aztecs.

UNLV’s defense was to be admired. They played well and then some. They stuffed our run game for a total of 98 yards (if Jordan Byrd does not break off his second half sprint, our run game would have been less than 50 yards). The Rebel defense kept the Aztec offense to 290 total yards. Yet, we won. At times I wonder how and why.

Speaking of defense, the Aztecs gave up a whopping 394 yards of UNLV offense. We made Justin Rogers look like Nick Nash II. Mr. Rogers tormented us coming off the bench. He finished with a line of 15/21/305 and threw two touchdowns. Charles Williams did not torment us. The Aztec defense stuffed him for a line of 16/35 (2.2 yards per rush). Andrew Aleki returning an interception for a first quarter td and Seyddrick Lakalaka picking off Mr. Rogers at the 1:53 mark in the fourth quarter provided the defensive highlights for SDSU. And, yes, Keshawn Banks was offside prior to the snap that led to Mr. Lakalaka’s pick. Win some, lose some.

Lucas Johnson (look at his eyes and facial expression and tell me he does not look like a beach stoner) posted a 18/24/192 and 3 td evening. All while enduring 3 sacks and 1 interception. Jesse Matthews rose from the dust of little use the last few games and caught all three of Mr. Johnson’s td passes. Greg Bell gaining 2 yards on a fourth and one at the UNLV thirteen with 5:35 in the fourth quarter ultimately set the stage for Mr. Matthews third td. Sometimes football is ugly before beautiful. By the way, great call Brady Hoke.

6-1/10-1.

Go Aztecs.

Another pace and worry game. Yeah, I’m one of those guys. Nothing beats a two point win to sooth the mind. Not to forget that Nevada had the ball with 1:21 remaining before Noah Tumblin (who had a rough night) and Patrick McMorris batted down Carson Strong passes that would have resulted in first downs.

The Aztecs final drive started at the 30 and fizzled at the Nevada 17. Close enough for Matt Araiza to hit the winning field goal. Also, a timely catch by T.J. Sullivan for a first down at the Nevada 22 ultimately made Mr. Araiza’s attempt more manageable. I was quite pleased with his evening of three makes, all desperately required.

The halftime stats of 20 yards rushing for the Wolfpack shrunk to 8 by game’s end. Yep, 8 total yards rushing. A spectacular job by Kurt Mattix, his defensive staff and the guys on the field. The Aztec defense “contained” Carson Strong to a night of 34/48/350 for “only” 3 touchdowns. Cameron Thomas and Jalil Lecky chased Mr. Strong thoughout the game and did grab him for 3 sacks resulting in 19 yards backward.

Lucas Johnson continues to improve: 21/34/176 and most importantly no interceptions. Greg Bell returned from a third quarter injury to complete a line of 16/104 (6.5 yards per carry). Elijah Kothe (6/71) and Daniel Bellinger (5/26) were the best of the receivers.

Two games remain. Winning one of the two by double digits would do wonders for me. Think about that idea fellas.

5-1/9-1.

Go Aztecs.

SDSU 17, Hawaii 10

Posted: November 7, 2021 in Uncategorized

We were so-so. Hawaii was less than so-so.

Not many teams win while accumulating a meager 227 yards of total offense. Or featuring 99 yards passing. Or an anemic run game. Or 3.8 yards per play. Or suffering 9 penalties for 90 yards (yep, 10 yards shy of a football field).

Possessing the ball for 34 minutes was handy. As was 4 sacks and 6 tackles for loss that equaled 45 yards. Well done, Aztec defense.

A dreary game in paradise. Though, I’ve visited Hawaii and gave the state a “B”. Sure, the outrage and riots took awhile to quell.

Next week is Nevada. A tough game awaits. If we repeat the above the one repeat missing will be the win.

4-1/8-1.

Go Aztecs.

Bulldogs 30, Aztecs 20

Posted: October 31, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Our first loss. Cold comfort is game eight was our first loss. Nonetheless, boo.

Less time of possession, the Aztec offense for the most part was step for step with Fresno. Consider 165 rushing yards (us) to 179 (them). 23 first downs (us), 24 first downs (them). Red zone touchdowns registered 3/3 (us) and Fresno 3/5. Of course the passing game was no contest. Jake Haener’s 306 yards was far and away superior to Lucas Johnson’s 220. While displaying an ability to throw downfield, Mr. Johnson had the shame of 2 interceptions. Will Haskell piloting the last SDSU drive for a score was a peek into the near future. Jordan Mims ran, walked and skipped through the Aztec defense to the tune of 186 yards rushing. We made him a Heisman candidate.

Fresno outplayed the Aztecs. The first half especially. Not playing four quarters of defensive football was the root of our loss. Kurt Mattix will surely have a meaningful practice Monday morning.

I trust the the boys will be in a bad mood stepping off the plane in Honolulu next weekend.

3-1/7-1.

Go Aztecs.