Posts Tagged ‘Mountain West’

Where to begin?

The Big-10 is the beginning, the end and whatever religious chant you want to invoke. No incense, though. Makes me sneeze.

Reading the agreement, $7.5 billion seems the minimum for B10 schools. I assume/forecast/know that the B10 will invite two more schools. Thus, the large end of the contract drifts towards $10 billion. Stop for a moment. Whether $7.5 billion or $10 billion, we speak of an astronomical, beyond the stratosphere, amount of money connected to college football. Couple theses billions of dollars with NIL money, and many a B10 athlete is sitting on a pile of money. Good for them.

The four participants: B10, FOX, CBS and NBC all deserve applause. The B10 commissioner, Kevin Warren, is a forward thinking man. Demanding a triple play of B10 games beginning at noon (Eastern Standard Time), followed by 3:30 p.m. and culminating at 7:00 p.m., or in Mr. Warren’s words “owning windows”, makes the contract groundbreaking. Of course, a new level of alcoholism will blossom as many a college football fan will revel in potentially 10.5 hours of football each and every Saturday from September through early December (bowl games are another conversation). A friend owns a beer store in suburban Philadelphia. He expects sales to increase and impress. Bottoms up and wallets empty.

NBC joining the parade was a surprise. Wed to Notre Dame football was/is smart, but far too confining in the media world of college football. Do know that N.D.’s agreement to accept a raise of $60 million per year was not an extension of the NBC contract, rather a butt pat for a job well done. Anticipate the Irish scheduling more and more B10 games at the expense of their pseudo relationship with the ACC. Please note, I speak solely through the voice of football.

CBS momentarily two-times the SEC (oh, the fury). CBS choosing not to renew their contract with the SEC was mind numbing, yet ultimately acceptable in light of their B10 inclusion. Imagine the indignation of the SEC nation at the reality of continuing Saturday 2022 and 2023 broadcast time with the floozy CBS! Concubine! Yet, SEC fans will tune into CBS until the bitter end.

FOX owns approximately 60% of the the B10 Network. Now they own so much more. FOX on Saturdays, with plenty of B10 games to offer, will receive the majority of love and cash from viewers, media and advertisers. L.A. kids wearing not only USC and UCLA gear will adorn themselves in Ohio State and Michigan shirts, hats, apps, shoes and whatever else is floated via algorithm. Southern California will become more and more confused.

Returning to the spurned SEC, fear not. The entity is angry and seeks revenge. The B10 better than southern football? Never! CBS dating, promising, sending flowers since 1996 suddenly turns away? Die, you bastard! ABC/ESPN (remember, one is the other) now pays $300 million annually to assuage the tender feelings of SEC football. SEC, baby, you remain beautiful, yet furious. A southern woman spurned feels no end of rage until she says otherwise. The ACC beware. The SEC will hunt your ranks for additions. Clemson and Florida State are the two most likely to receive invites. Perhaps others as well. Those of you who wield the shield of grant of rights agreement need to embrace “out of court settlement”. We speak of money, not pride, not tradition. The ACC may be as brittle as the Big-12 and PAC-12. Finally, will the SEC go bold and copy the B10’s coast to coast presence? The ACC is the portal to the east. How far west? Beyond Texas? Beyond Arizona?

The term “Power Five” must be removed from the lexicon of college football. The Two is now the standard. The B10 and SEC far outdistance the ACC, B12 and P12. Along with The Two, how about the Trailing Three?

The P12 is teetering on the edge of extinction. I know, who would have thought? Yet, USC and UCLA bolting for the B10 is the stuff of legend which will ultimately lead to the collapse of the P12. Candidly, I assumed Oregon would couple with USC, however, the southern California media market dwarfs the Eugene media landscape. Who knew? USC will compete in the B10. UCLA will join Rutgers and Indiana at the bottom. By the way, the UC system demanding an explanation from the Bruins regarding their P12 departure is truly stupid. Money, people. Money. Next objection? Speaking of cash and the P12, the annual pay received by USC and UCLA via the B10 is an amount only dreamed of by P12 schools.

The inevitable exit of Oregon and Washington implodes the P12. Both schools exit long before any other combination of P12 schools. To where, I know not. B10? B12? The ACC in a desperate move to remain on par with the B10 and SEC? I give marginal consideration to both Arizona schools joining the B12. Arizona has the academic aura, but not the football machine. Arizona State provides the opposite. I discount the conversation about Stanford and Cal (especially) receiving an invite from the B10. Utah and Colorado joining the B12 makes sense, yet both media markets are limited, but in the case of Utah, joining BYU in the B12 captures the vast TV market of the state of Utah. Yes, a smart ass comment. The two most likely what-the-hell-happened survivors are Oregon State and Washington State. Their respective egotistical nightmare scenario is nowhere else to go but the Mountain West. Trauma! Emergency response!

And now, what about San Diego State University? My beloved Aztecs. If George Kliavkoff, P12 commissioner and Larry Scott doppelganger of do nothing, but look busy, casts his net before further B12 expansion invites are delivered, the Aztecs join the P12. A big “if” given the B12’s Brett Yormark efforts to keep the conference within sight of the B10 and SEC. Is a Mr. Yormark issued invite possible? Yes. The Aztecs possess the last and final presence in the southern California college football media market. If the B12 wants a West Coast team or if the P12 wants to retain a kinda-sorta L.A. market, SDSU provides the opportunity. Snapdragon stadium offers a cherry on top to any conference considering the Aztecs. So does a 7-2 mark against P12 schools dating back to 2016. If both conferences pass on the Aztecs, life goes on in the Mountain West. With the Beavers and Cougars along for the ride.

Who knew?

After a horrible, expectation deflating 1-3 start, we run the Mountain West table to finish 8-0 in conference.  Never thought this would or could happen.  Did not cross my mind (but not much does).

Nevada arrived ready to play even in light of the poorly managed announcement of their offensive coordinator accepting the Hawaii head coaching job.  Best to keep such changes quiet until after the game is played.  Maybe next time.  The first half was tit for tat.  The SDSU defensive backs, less Malik Smith (a stellar first half effort), gave up far too much yardage via Wolf Pack passing schemes that reminded me of Air Force’s sneak-behind-the-defensive-backs strategy.  Regardless, Nevada scored 14 points.

Long before the second half arrives, along with improvement, so does my much called for replacement of Maxwell Smith.  But not in the fashion delivered.  Christian Chapman played well.  6/9 for 44 yards and handing the ball off with extreme abandon (kidding) while rushing for 29 yards himself gives pause for thought.  Dual threat?  We will know more after December 5th.  However, on Mr. Chapman’s behalf, he played the entire game from the 7+ minute mark in the first quarter forward.  Only 7 of the eventual 31 points were scored prior to his arrival.  Donnel Pumphrey (23/157) was certainly irked by comments from a Nevada defensive back.  I want to thank that young man for angering Donnel to another great game.  Chase Price (19/118) ran like a player who knows the end is near.

The Aztec defense had 4 sacks and 2 picks.  Just another day at the office.  The notable Wolf Pack running duo of Don Jackson and James Butler were held to 3.1 and 2.5 yards per rush respectively.  The Nevada offense gained a mere 10 first downs.  Perhaps most telling was the 1 for 6 effort in third down conversions during the fourth quarter.  A tip of the helmet to the Aztec defense for finding itself in the second half.  Also, no second half points allowed.  All this without the injured Christian Heyward.

We will host Air Force for the first Mountain West Conference championship game and rightfully so.  Undefeated teams should host games, not teams with two conference defeats.  I feel better.  Air Force is always a concern given their offensive sets and general intense play.  A tough bunch.  For the moment we enjoy an overall record of 9-3 to accompany the 8-0 MWC record.  First place in the West division.  An eight game win streak.  What shall December 5th bring?

The San Diego State Aztecs are a bad football team.  We are inept and ill prepared.  Five sacks, four fumbles, three of which were lost and the inability to catch a punt is indicative of a football team searching for its collective soul.

I, again, call for the end of Maxwell Smith’s reign as starting quarterback.  10 for 29 is not an Aztec quarterback.  Another anemic performance (and I’m being polite).  While acknowledging he was sacked five times, those sacks emphasize Mr. Smith’s lack of mobility that in turn results in an astonishingly bad 242 total yards of offense.  This is Aztec football?  Christian Chapman eludes some of those sacks because he can move from side to side, step into the pocket and actually run forward.  Mr. Smith was the primary author of 6 yards gained in the first quarter.  6.  The number found between 5 and 7.  In the second quarter, he revved up the offense to 72 total yards.  Feel the excitement.  Why does Rocky continue to start Mr. Smith?  Why does Jeff Horton remain blind to the need for change?  Finally, when a starting quarterback’s longest completed pass is 31 yards, the defense stuffs any and all attempts to establish a running game since the first seven guys can stand at the line of scrimmage and wave “hello” to Pumphrey, Price, Penny and Gordon.

Our field position was so bad that Donny Hageman was not handed a single field goal opportunity.  We converted a lousy 5 of 17 third down opportunities.  Boo.

8:16 represents the Aztecs time of possession for the entire first half.  Unbelievable.  In the second quarter, we had the ball for less than 4 minutes.  Incredible for the wrong reason.

The defense played better than the Cal and South Alabama games, but we continue to allow too many big plays especially on the back-end of the secondary.

Mountain West play begins this weekend.  We stumble into MW town with a 1-3 record looking disheveled, dirty and disoriented.  We haven’t played well the entire four games leading to MW play.  Cold comfort can be found that the rest of the West division played about as poorly as we did in non-conference games.  Fresno State and their loyal hordes of fans (yes, I’m jealous) roar into the Q next Saturday.  Candidly, the Aztecs must steam roll the rest of the schedule for any chance at a bowl game.  I trust change is underway and we will see a mobile, smart, redshirt freshman by the last name of Chapman directing our offense that will finally resemble an Aztec offense we can recognize.