Sunday, June 27, 2010

Does USA Soccer Model Work?

The USA got knocked out of the 2010 World Cup knockout round and the pundits are out like vultures.

ESPN/ABC announcer Jürgen Klinsmann (pictured) had some interesting points on the uniqueness/inferiority of American Sport in producing World Champions.

He blames the American soccer system for much of the USA's failure.

The American focus is to get kids to play sports, get on travel teams and earn a college scholarship. In essence, parents foot the bill to develop kids for college athletics.

The rest of the world? By early ages, kids get identified and sign on with a professional team. They play with the younger kids and matriculate their way up to the top level of that team's program.

Back in 199 MLS started Project 40, which encourages early entry (without college graduation) of American players into MLS and with the hope of producing World Class talent. The program is now called Generation adidas and has had impressive results.

The program has included Tim Howard, Josh Wolff, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Ben Olsen, Bobby Convey, Sacha Kljestan, Michael Parkhurst, Danny Califf, Freddy Adu, Brad Guzan and Michael Bradley.

On the bright side, that's eight players on the 2010 World Cup Roster! The others have had a decent amount of pro and international success.

On the other hand, a number of the above mentioned did not go to college. That includes Bradley, the son of Princeton-educated Bob Bradley.

No doubt Michael Bradley will earn enough without a college degree in his pro soccer career. He had a great World Cup and likely improved his standing more than any other American.

College education has always been an important of American society. The United States seems to compete well in just about every sport we play internationally, and that includes soccer.

If you look at the roster of the USA team, most are part of the "rest of the World" sports model. There are only a handful of college-educated players on the American team.

The USA competed in its sixth straight World Cup this year. The 1994 team went as far (second round) and the 2002 club advanced to the quarterfinals of those tournaments. Those teams were made up of players who competed extensively at the collegiate level.

Klinsman brought up another interesting and controversial point. He said that the lower and middle class kids are playing other sports, particularly basketball. The German noted that individuals in this demographic are hungrier and have the required grit needed in soccer.

That's a fair point. Poor kids don't have a lot of money to play on travel teams. However, I've never heard of a youth organization in any sport that would turn away a talented kid who wants to play.

Also, America is a melting pot. Their are a number of immigrants who have soccer in their heritage and they continue to play here (see Edu, Adu, Altidore).

Klinsman also brought up the formidable Hispanic presence in the USA. There are only four players with Spanish surnames on the team. However, expect that number to continue to grow as the population of the USA becomes more Latino. Additionally, US Soccer needs to continue to reach out to Mexican and other leagues that are not as connected to the federation as AYSO, for example.

One would thing the traditional American model the a hybrid of Generation adidas and other talented players can be successful.

The sky is not falling in American soccer. It's intriguing to consider the source of the theories: Jürgen Klinsmann.

He was the top candidate to succeed Bruce Arena after the 2006 World Cup. He didn't want the job at the time.

So, four years later, does he still think we have it backwards in the USA or does he believe he can lead America to the 2014 World Title?

USA Soccer in 2014?

The USA men's national team had a solid 2010 World Cup. They won their group for the second time since 1930. They did not lose a game in group play.

However, the team had a bad habit of allowing early goals. The Americans also lost a huge opportunity (a beatable Ghana team) in the knockout round.

So let's look a the USA possibilities for 2014.


The USA appears solid at the midfield with cornerstone Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, joined by budding stars Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu.

Dempsey and Donovan can also play up front. The duo will likely be the heart and soul of the USA in Brazil.

Will Freddy Adu finally break into the lineup in four years?

That said, the Americans need work in the back and up front.


On defense Captain Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo (solid World Cup) have likely played their last World Cup. They both will be 35 in four years.

Hopefully, this country can produce replacements. If Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein improve, they could be the starters. A healthy Oguchi Onyewu could be the rock of the back four. Marvel Wynne is another possibility.


The USA forwards scored no goals in the 2010 World Cup. However, let's remember that Wayne Rooney will return home without a goal, too.

Jozy Altidore emerged on World stage. He wreaked havoc on the opposition and was integral in other scoring opportunities. Can Altidore (pictured) turn in physical gifts into becoming the Americans go-to scorer?

The Americans missed exciting Charlie Davies. Robbie Findley did little to impress in South Africa.

Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez were one-shot wonders who Bradley hoped would find their recent for the net. They both had their moments. It's too bad they did not get hot earlier. More time with National Team could've produced more continuity, and more goals from the forwards.

Brian Ching might’ve been a good complement on this team. Tim Howard was the best “in the air” the USA had, and that was a brief extra time stint against Ghana.

Which brings us to Howard and to goalkeeping. He was at times outstanding and keep the Americans in the World Cup. However, he should’ve stopped at least one of Ghana’s two tallies.


While Howard is considered one of the best keepers in the World, there are doubters. He will be 35 in 2014, a prime age for a netminder.

Would you not feel better with a younger Kasey Keller between the pipes than Howard?

I thought so...

It will be interesting to see how Brad Guzan progresses over the next few years.

Change the NC Lottery?

With recent budget cuts at our schools, the question comes up what about that North Carolina Lottery? Where is that money going?

Having lived in California when its lottery passed, the same concerns were present. Just like here, lottery money ends up being a small part of the education budget.

With that said, is that the best way spend our lottery winnings?

Georgia’s winnings fund the HOPE Scholarship, and has become a successful model for otherv lotteries, including the South Carolina Education Lottery. Our lottery is not the envy of all.

I have only heard good thing about the HOPE program, where good students get free college tuition at in-state schools. This program seems to offer more direct and tangible benefits to its residents.

The North Carolina Lottery passed in 2005. I don’t recall being asked (or if there was a debate on the subject) how to spend our winnings. I would have favored such a scholarship to our current program.

Can we change our program?

Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup Knockout Round Predictions

It's do or die time now in the World Cup. The second round gets under way on Saturday. Here are my projections.

USA vs. Ghana: Ghana knocked the USA out of the 2006 Cup on a questionable call. Sound familiar? The USA, however, is playing with confidence and will be able overcome adversity.

Uruguay vs. South Korea: The South Americans have been good and the former two-time champions get the nod here. This sets up a very tough match between Uruguay and the Americans.

Netherlands vs. Slovakia: The Dutch should be able to handle the Slovaks. Holland will not win the 2010 Cup, however.

Chile vs. Brazil: Chile is a nice story but the Brazilians will write their final chapter. I'll go ahead and take them over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Germany vs. England: At leas the Brits got to the knockout round, unlike European theilor kindred spirits from across the pond: France. The tabloids can get back to dogging Rooney and Co. after Sunday's loss to Alemania.

Argentina vs. Mexico: I've been surprised with the Mexicans run in group play. However, look for Messi and Maradona to advance in extra time.

Paraguay vs. Japan: One of the toughest matches to pick. I'm going with the Blue Samurai as they've been a hair more impressive.

Spain vs. Portugual: The Spanish are getting their grove on. Look for Espana to beat their neighbors by 2 goals.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soccer Karma on the Way Up

The soccer gods shined on the USA.

The Americans had a goal and win taken against Slovenia.

Today looked to be more of the same. The yanks lost a goal after a close and unlucky offsides today vs. the Desert Foxes

However, the better team prevailed and advanced.

Here’s what Landon Donovan said.

“When there’s adversity you moan about or you can move forward.”

They did the later!

You can, however, still turn on the radio and hear national sports talk stars dis soccer. That's too bad, but so what?

Soccer are used to spending the entire World Cup defending 0-0 draws. Almost dead sportswriters would crack one-liners about futbol.

If onlookers can't appreciate Americans excelling at the highest level or the World's most popular sport, it's their problem.

The numbers don't lie:

-The ratings for the World Cup have been good.

-The American soccer following is the biggest in South Africa.

-The Americans went undefeated in group play for the first time.

This club is something to proud of. Former President Bill Clinton noted the heart and determination of this team.

I enjoyed the game at a sports bar here in town with former Greensboro College men's soccer coach Bill Brady.

We shouted, jumped and cringed. After Donovan scored, we celebrated and chanted "USA! USA!."

Ignore it or not but this was going in Greensboro, Gastonia, Gardena and Glendale.

Next up is 2:30 p.m. on Saturday vs. Ghana in the knockout round.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Got Tech Tips to Help Others?

We are trying to launch a new column, "Tips from the SID," but need more tips! (You can view sample tips below.)

Please take a moment to send one (2-3 would be better) tips. If you think a tip might be "too basic," don't worry.

These tips will appear on You will be created with any tip that is used by this column. Simply send tips to


Tip #1: Email Extensions

Did you know that email extensions are NOT needed to send to another recipient with your institutions domain? For example, If I write an email to from, I can just put “blowe” in the subject line.

Please note, however, that if you are sharing an email address book with other email accounts (Yahoo, gmail, Outlook), you’d need to send to Also keep this in mind if you import address books as they may need to be edited for the different email account.

Tip #2: Cut, Copy and Paste

This tool is a great way to save time and can be used move text from web sites, Word Files and event .pdf files to other formats.

-Highlight the text you want with your mouse (or, CTRL-A for the entire document)
-Next, hit CRTL-C for “copying” the text.
-Finally, use CRTL-V for “paste” in your document where you’d like to place the text.

One last tip: Try Notepad (free with PCs) as a holding area for text. Notepad is a “straight text” application. You will find it easier to import straight text into your documents and adjust formatting later.

-Tip #3: Calendar Importing

Today’s calendar functions are impressive. For example, our web site allows me to download all of our athletic events—or specific sports--as a VCAL file.

When you click on the VCAL tab, our site has a pop-up that allows you to “open” directly to your preferred calendar application (Outlook, Google) or you can download the file named: add2calendar.vcs

If you choose the later option, open your other calendar (Outlook, Google. Then, choose the import function. This great feature will automatically place the desired games in your personal calendar. One other note: Schedules change, so you’ll need to re-import the calendar regularly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Final Score: Deceit 7, FIFA Credibility Nil

Final Score: Deceit 7, FIFA Credibility Nil

That's not the score of the North Korea game (I am praying for their safe futures), rather the verdict on Sepp Blatter's regime.

The long-awaited report on World Cup officiating is in. There's no problem. All is well in South Africa.

Well that's what FIFA says. So what if the rest of the 3 billion watching see otherwise on the tele.

I'm using a few clips from an AP story and I'll comment on them.

"The duty of the referees is not to explain their decision ... [but to] try to do their best on the field of play," Garcia-Aranda said. "[Otherwise] they are not focused on the game, they are focused on the media."

Say what? Officiating needs to be transparent. If a coach has a question, answer to the best of your ability. American sports have accountability due to past incidents like the Black Sox scandal. To not have this accountability only calls into question the legitimacy of the game.

Are these officials tied to organized gambling? Do they have bets on the games?

These are fair questions if the public that supports this enterprise is stonewalled.

Video replay isn't an option so long as Sepp Blatter is FIFA president, and he's all but certain to be re-elected to a fourth four-year term next year. And the idea of adding an extra set of eyes behind each goal has been kicked into the long grass and not likely to resurface anytime soon.

Then I will start the "Fire Sepp Blatter campaign" right now. He has the votes for a fourth reelection? How?

Oh, I forgot that this is international sport. Just like the Olympics, you get a cast of elite characters not always doing best for athletes or sport itself. Money and power can corrupt.

The lack accountability regarding officiating is the big concern. However, I will give the referees the benefit of the doubt on the "diving issue."

These World Class athletes have spent as much time with their soccer skills as their thespian abilities. That said, the human eye can't always spot a dive in real time.

That said, limited video review is needed at the World Cup. How limited? I don't know but something has to be done.

I've gained a great respect for top-level soccer. American coaches and administrators shrug their shoulders as if to say "That's international soccer, we must live with it."

It's a shame that FIFA--the group most invested in keeping the game's integrity--is driving the sport backwards.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Accountability & Transparency at World Cup: Part II

Monday there's supposed to be word from FIFA on World Cup officiating.

Don't hold your breath if you're looking for an explanations for the recent gaffe(s) in the USA-Slovenia match, for example.

Rumor has it the Mali referee received a bad review. How bad was it? He was the fourth official on the Italy-New Zealand game on Sunday!

I can only imagine what type of smokescreens or shenanigans will emerge from Monday's briefing. There will be no specific address of particular plays.

Now, my avocation is officiating so I can speak with some relevance in this case. Officials should NOT cause the outcome of matches. That has not been the case of a few games in this year's World Cup.

Also, as an official, you are subject to review. We talk about plays, what we saw, if we got it right, etc. If an error was made, the proper people are informed.

The USA has long been scoffed at by international soccer. Yet the Americans are better at soccer now, bring more fans than any other nation to the World Cup and people now watch and follow the games.

In short we've grown as a soccer nation. FIFA, on the other hand, has not grown.

How can they make amends? Take the initiative of American sports where integrity and accountability to the public are part of the checks and balances.

That photo above shows New Zealand celebrating after its improbable draw with Italy. The blew that one, too, as Italy dived to earn its match-tying PK.

That brings up another issue. The naked eye can't see these dives, but video can. Video is needed in these other instances. That's just another thing Sepp Blatter and FIFA need to address ASAP.

Credibility can kill the goose that laid the golden egg. FIFA is in jeopardy of doing just that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Accountability & Transparency Needed at World Cup

We recently had a very special event in sports when an MLB umpire miss a call at first base that cost a pitcher a perfect game.

A very good umpire (Joyce) made an error. He owned up afterward. He was forgiven. Good sportsmanship was evident. Very nice.

Then we get to the World Cup.

The USA was obviously robbed of an incredible 3-2 win vs. Slovenia. Replays showed one Slovenian tackled (American-styled tackle) Michael Bradley. Two others were at least held. Maurice Edu broke through for the would-be winning goal. The USA was called for the foul and there was no goal.

A phantom call with no explanation as to what happened.

Who can solve that mystery?

But there was another boner. Robbie Findley was yellow-carded for a hand ball that hit his face.

If the yellow stands, he sits the next game. Apparently, FIFA rarely overturns such calls.

They should in this instance. And the Mali referee should not work another game in this World Cup.

If he offers no explanation for the phantom call, I say never again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where West is not Best

As a California native, I've lamented being a sports fan on the East Coast.

Monday Night Football and World Series start too late.

There's nothing like a Fall California Sunday with coffee, menudo and a 10 a.m. NFL kickoff.

However, with the Copa del Munidal in South Africa, I like Carolina over Cali. I'll take the 10 am over 7 am World Cup start time in a heart beat.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pac 12 Means Who Goes East?

The addition of Utah and Colorado makes the Pac 10 now 12.

That causes me to change my Pac 16 to Pac 12 logo (see below).

And, according to an LA Times report: "The conference probably will divide into two, six-team divisions in football and play a conference title game beginning in 2012."

Obviously, the newbies join Arizona and ASU to from 4 of the 6 for the eastern division. But there's no easy answer for the other two.

My hunch says it will be Washington and WSU. Perhaps WSU is the closest to Colorado and that'll be the excuse.

There's no other alternative that will work.

If the Starbuck's schools complain, remind that them that in football USC is in the other division.

U of Phoenix Stadium seems like a good spot for the championship.

To appease the Northern schools however, perhaps Qwest Field is the venue for championship game #1.

Nellie Brings World Class Pub

It's not often that a small college sports information department gets to trumpet (should I say vuvuzela?) on a global scale.

Ryan Nelsen, captain of the 2010 New Zealand "All Whites" World Cup team, attended Greensboro College for two academic years: 1997-98 and 1998-99. He was an exemplary student-athlete and led The Pride to a national runner-up finish in his sophomore season.

He moved to a larger stage--Stanford University--for his last two collegiate seasons. He later matriculated to the DC United (won an MLS CUP) and now captains the Blackburn Rovers of the EPL.

Those laurels are indeed rare for a former NCAA Division III athlete. Most of you probably know that D3 schools can't offer athletic scholarships.

I arrived in Greensboro from Southern California just days after Nelsen left for Palo Alto in August of 1999. I was fortunate enough to provide publicity for a GC soccer team ranked second in the nation.

He was the first of a number of Kiwis who came to attend and play soccer at Greensboro College. The Pride made five straight and advanced to 8 of 9 NCAA tournaments after I got here. (Enjoy that kind of success when it comes!)

I got a chance to meet Nelsen back in 2002. He was a kind and humble dude. He made an impact here and The College is following both the USA and New Zealand this year.

Team Captain Nelsen and New Zealand garnered their first World Cup point in its draw with Slovenia.

Greensboro College inducted Ryan Nelsen into our athletics Hall of Fame in April. Check out the induction video we did for him: HERE

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PRK and Brazil: Opposites Attract

Not since Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett has there been a worse grouping than Brazil vs. North Korea in the World Cup.

Brazil is the top team in the tournament and North Korea the worst.

Brazil is all about Samba and brings to mind the free love of Haight Ashbury of the 1960s.

On the other hand, the PRK is regimented, repressive and reminds me of the Iron Curtain.

Ahhh, those were the days of the Olympics: the USA vs. USSR. American college kids vs. unemotional and robotic Soviet block athletes.

The Soviet block nations didn't travel very well. Communism didn't allow many fans to travel to Montreal or even Munich. They did have enough resources, however, to build a dominant sports power.

In addition to the USSR, Romania, Bulgaria and especially East Germany had success. The Germans also invested a lot in performance-enhancing drugs.

After the wall came down it's just North Korea and Cuba carrying that communist flag. Dictators Kim Jong-Il and Fidel Castro are doing their best to keep the commie dream alive. (China qualifies as repressive dictatorship but they now dig capitalism.)

But what an outdated philosophy in today's World. The information revolution makes it nearly impossible to control the media and minds of the masses.

Cuba has suffered because there's no more Soviet blank check. North Korea still has China's back, if you count sending a few hundred "fans" to root for their Korean neighbors.

You can't make this stuff up. North Koreans can't afford or can get a visa to South Africa to watch their team play. The theater of the bizarre, but that kind of thing would've been normal in international sport in the 1960s or 1970s.

Here's hoping the tyrant dinosaurs and their regimes won't survive much longer.

The Korenas did a great job today. They were aggressive early and their keeper gave up a tough goal to the near post. Let's hope he doesn't end up in a forced labor camp in a few weeks.

A 2-1 loss to Brazil was no disgrace for North Korea.

The people of the PRK, however, deserve more than a decent soccer team and nuclear weapons. Food and freedom would be better.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup 2, NBA Nil

You can count on some things every four years. A Presidential Election, the Olympics and newspaper writers ripping the World Cup.

But I love the World Cup. Especially with the USA playing.

There were no televised games or Internet when I began following international soccer in the 80s. My sources were the L.A. Times and Sports Illustrated. (BTW, they both have GREAT soccer writers today in Grahme Jones and Grant Wahl.)

There wasn't much good to report back then. The underfunded USSF sent undermanned teams to wilt against many, most noteworthy: Mejico.

As the decade came to a close, our nation was assembling an improved group. My hunch is this was partly due to the soccer boom from a decade earlier, and the better play of NCAA Division I soccer teams.

Pau Caliguiri's "shot heard around the World" beat Trinidad, 1-0, and new era of USA soccer began. The USA qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

While the USA did not advance, I recall going toe-to-toe with the host Italians. I'm sure we were "packing it in" but, please, this was Italy and the Americans. I can remember Eric Wynalda (he led San Diego State to the NCAA title game in 1987) getting a red card. Actually, I forgot but according to Trivial Pursuit, he did.

1990 was a start, however.

That era was better, but not by much, than the previous decade for soccer fans. Other than the World Cup and a qualifying match here or there, no games were available on television.

Well, at least ENGLISH speaking television.

I spent a number of late nights viewing Univision. My three semesters of Espanol came in handy. A few years later, Andres "Goalllllllllllllll" Cantor would become a celebrity.

The 1994 World Cup came to the United States. I was lucky enough to attend.

I wasn't in Michigan wheWynala blasted a goal vs. Switzerland in the Silverdome. I had tickets to the Yanks game vs. Colombia. However, my wife Kim and I owned a computer magazine back the--Coast Compute--and it was our deadline. While I couldn't make to the Rose Bowl, I was able to watch the exciting game on the tele.

Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna, Joe-Max Moore and John Harkes were a few of the stars back then.

Romania and the USA met later at the Rose Bowl. I attended that game with a friend, Mitch Fenton. However, that was the Americans only group loss (1-0).

The 2002 Cup brought more fun. The Amebericans upset Potrugual and should've beaten Gremany (Google "handball by Frings for more details).

The next Cup was not a huge success, but the US Soccer men's program was still at high level. That talent level is getting better every year. Shoot, we had Brazil down 2-0 in the Confederation's Cup championship last year!

Landon Donovan and Tim Howard are likely the best players we've produced. We've also got game Clint Dempsey (above) and Jozy Altidore, who might be the most exciting player this nation has produced.

Team chemistry appears to be great on this club, which could go a long way.

Because of the headline of this story, you may wonder where is the talk of the NBA. Well, many others will write about that. I'd rather watch the US in the World Cup than the NBA finals. And that's coming from a Laker fan.

I'm looking forward to the Americans next games in the World Cup. If it means setting the alarm early or watching in Spanish, I'll do it!

A Good Walk Spoiled or a Spoiled Golfer?

I went golfing on Friday. I hooked up with Greensboro College women's basketball coach Randy Tuggle and we headed to Jamestown Park Golf Course.

Now, I like Jamestown. It's five minutes from my house. It's affordable and not too difficult. It's also walkable.

And usually it's a breeze to play. But not on Friday.

We showed up a about 1 p.m. and took another duo's tee time. (Well, we didn't take it, they did not show.) We paid our 18 hole fee to ride and were off.

The first few holes were smooth. However, at the par 3 fourth hole we got backed up. No problem.

The next five holes we were caught up to two groups ahead of us. We found out why we were on their backs.

One guy sat in the cart while the other teed off. After that, the second guy sauntered to his bag, grabbed a club and got ready to tee off. There was no urgency and certainly none of the "Ready Golf" I try to play when there's a hint of crowds.

The other g group? We then got a glimpse of a guy throwing up blades of grass for his second shot. Trust me: there was no wind. It was 95 degrees and windless all day.

Another clue came on a later hole. A group of duffers were playing from the back tees. One tee shot hit a house adjacent to the same hole's white tees.

After 9 holes we asked for a rain check. The good folks at JPGC gladly obliged.

I started thinking and realized how lucky I am. It's rarely like this in Greensboro, N.C. We usually can walk up, get a tee-time and play hassle free.

This was not the case in my home state of California.

There, I always called for a tee-time--if you could get one. A party of two would be slotted with another duo. I would have to wait on tee boxes like I did on Friday more often than not.

C'mon golfers, read the Ready Golf rules posted in the cart.

Then, I got to wondering am I being a curmudgeon, am I spoiled or should those dudes be banned from the links for life?

Feedback requested.

Super-conference is Dead?

The Super-conference is dead, long live the Super-Conference!

1. Great move to add Boise State as a preemptive strike. With the Utes all but gone, the MWC will be in a similar spot in one area (football) and behind elsewhere (the rest of the teams).

2. Good luck to the reformed U Texas conference. Looks like the rest of the schools will never make as much as UT. The Longhorns are to their conference what the Yankees are to MLB.

3. The super-conference is now gone? Maybe, and--when you think about sharing money 16 ways--it makes sense.

4. Does the WAC stand pat when Utah exits? They could one to get to 10. Or, add three to get to 12 for a playoff. Fresno State, Houston (if TCU allows ;-) ) and... that's the problem... not enough talent out there. (Nevada? Hawaii? Utah State?).

5. The WAC now needs to add at least one. And there are no DI FBS football programs to pluck. Unless CUSA West folks are unhappy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Conference Expansion Recap

With the weekend here, it's a good time to recap what's happened in conference realignment. Nothing should happen this weekend, but if it did nobody would be surprised.

Nebraska going to the Big 10 (which now has 12) from the Big 12 (which now has 10).

The whole idea of Cornhuskers heading north seems an odd fit in many ways. Television markets are driving most expansion, but not here. The Big 10 already has a network and Lincoln, Neb. is not high on the TV market list.

The Huskers have a big following, but their tradition adds good content for the network. I'd be concerned with losing the Texas recruiting market if I was a fan of the "N."

Big 10 championship game will be at: Lucas Oil Stadium? Soldier Field? Lambeau Field?

Boise State to the Mountain West from the WAC?

While this move is not of the Colorado or Nebraska magnitude, it's significant for a number of reasons.

1. It puts the MWC in a good position to regroup if Utah, BYU and/or TCU bolt.

2. It gives the conference 2 eilte teams (TCU, BSU) and 2 more second tier clubs (Utah, BYU). That is good collateral in the BCS sweepstakes if the B12 goes belly up.

3. BSU has been the darling of college football for the past few years. That cachet is a bonus for the MWC.

4. Boise is a fast-growing area and 10 years down the road will be an even bigger player in college athletics.

Colorado from the Big12 to Pac 11.

The Pac grabs a nice TV market in Denver. They will add one more team to make 12 or, more likely, five more to make 16.

Texas legislators meet on Tuesday to discuss the football futures of UT Austin, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

(Note: Baylor is a private school and not officially in the mix. The way things work in the Lone Star state, however, back room deals may be occurring but don't expect BU in the P16. Waco to the WAC?)

If Texas is the only one to head west, the Pac 12 has a football championship game. In this scenario, which teams other than the Arizona schools go with Texas and Colorado? Wash and WSU?

Also, if Texas opts out, look for Utah to take spot #12.

We've already discussed the Pac 16 with the other B12 transfers.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. The Longhorns still hold many cards.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Power of VPN and Remote Desktop

I implemented a beneficial tool recently that all sports information professionals should be aware of: VPN and Remote Desktop.

For those of you that know me, I’m not a big fan of doing tasks twice (see the Smart Reporting Initiative:

I found VPN/RD because I was looking for the best solution for updating cumulative stat files.

There are many convoluted ways to update your stats remotely. They involve jump drives, ftp, etc. Given the nature of our jobs—that we cover many teams—it’s no wonder that many wait until the following morning--or Monday morning on a weekend-- to update cume stats.

VPN, or virtual private network, and remote desktop was easily setup on two of my laptops by Greensboro College IT personnel. Once installed, the technology is similar to “Go to My PC” or similar services that allow a remote computer to take over another.

My IT support people placed VPN and RD shortcut icons on my laptops. I simply click the VPN and RD icons from an Internet active computer. I enter a password and I’m browsing on my office PC from 10 miles away. I download and import the files as usual and my stats are updated.

There’s one drawback to using VPN/RD. It’s slower than normal. The technology is ideal for updating stats, grabbing photos from your hard drive but is not recommended for Adobe InDesign, or Photoshop, for example. (If you want to enter Bizarro world, watch a video on your desktop computer from your laptop at home.)

Additionally, working on a remote computer can be confusing at times. For example, the remote computer cannot read a USB drive that is connected to your laptop at home. It’s a light bulb moment when you figure this out.

In addition to statistics updates, there are many other times I’ve benefitted from VPN/RD and saved a late-night trip back to the office. Here are just a few tasks I’ve accomplished:

-Accessed and forwarded high resolution photos from my hard drive for the media.

-Accessed and updated a report on a sick day (that’s what SIDs do!).

-Caught a typo and was able to remotely update a postseason guide.

-Used Photoshop and InDesign (I know, I said it wasn’t a good option) from my laptop that does not have Creative Suite installed.

-Multi-tasked by having my desktop perform one function and a laptop do another simultaneously.

Many products claim to be the latest and greatest, but not many deliver. While VPN/RD may not be the reinvention of the wheel. However, for the SID, it’s about as noteworthy as the coming of sliced bread!

Bob Lowe, Greensboro College's assistant AD for communications, is the CoSIDA New Media-technology committee chair

Worst Case Scenario for SDSU After the Carnage

OK, things are getting a little crazy. There's a lot of speculation and misinformation sand the unknown.

The best case scenario would be: PAC 10/16.

However, just so we have a baseline, what would be the worst case scenario?

Please respond. Put your tongue in cheek if you like.

My worst case: we get left out of Big12/MWC reshuffle and get bounced to a watered down WAC (no Boise St.). SDSU then becomes the big fish in the Wacky pond.

However, it's a rocky road back to the WAC. Some members are disgusted that we worship the waves at SDSU.

With no BCS ties, the WAC will play the MAC in the revived California Bowl in Fullerton.

We renew rivalry with Fresno State. Even though they beat us sometime, we remind them that live in Fresno.

The point is SDSU would still be in the academics and athletic business.

Go Aztecs!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pac 16 a Reality? reports Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, OSU and Colorado to Pac (16).

This is about as good as it gets for the Pac 1o. They don't have to take Baylor and get the Denver TV market with the Buffs. They still get Texas (the state and the U. in Austin) and the other two big schools in the state.

Oklahoma has had a little success, too. With OSU you get a sugar daddy (T-boon Pickens) to rival Oregon's Phil Knight.

This will a boon for Texas schools to tap into California recruiting, and vice versa.

My guess is ASU and U of A foes with newbies to form East Division. Old Pac fans will like this as the original 8 are in the West division. For the far left Pac-ers, good news in football will be to face east champ ONLY in a championship game.

Venues for a championship game: Jerry Jones Palace, U. of Phoenix Stadium or new 49er park (check out the drawings!).

Or, perhaps, this could kick start a new L.A. stadium to house NFL team(s), Super Bowl(s), bowl game (hopefully this news means we're heading to a playoff), etc. That's more wish than reality.

Then again, rumor has it there might not even be a Pac 16 playoff. If that's the case, why even be a conference of 16?!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wooden: Pyramid Begat Trapeziod

I grew up in Whittier, CA-- 30 miles from UCLA. An uncle turned me onto UCLA basketball at age 9. I was hooked. The home game used to be replayed at 10 p.m. and I never missed a game.

John Wooden’s teams were disciplined and efficient: The Bruins’ press could turn a close game into a blowout in an instant. More importantly, his teams won with class.

When Austin Carr and Notre Dame ended a winning streak in 1971, I was shattered. My family still reminds me today that I cried after that defeat.
I was upset when the Irish stopped an 88-game streak in 1974, but by then I was able to hold back the tears.

Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and inspirational quotes touched so many of us--and not just basketball fans. Respect, personal responsibility, humility, hard work, self- satisfaction: classic Wooden attributes, which resonate in 2010 as much as they did back in the day.

A few years back, I sought to bring some of John Wooden’s tenets to my profession. With an assist to Wooden, I dubbed it the “Sports Information Director Trapezoid of Achievement.” (To view a .pdf copy pf the Trapezoid, click Here:

Although Wooden despised the name “Wizard of Westwood,” the man was a giant in Southern California and beyond. He may have chosen coaching as a profession, but saw himself as a teacher.

If John Wooden had opened a ministry, I would’ve been the first at his church door.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wooden: A Humble Hero

My uncle turned me onto UCLA basketball and John Wooden. I watched one of those 10 p.m. replays and was hooked. Perhaps an early season win over Rice.

What a program, what a man. I cried when the Austin Carr and Notre Dame ended the Bruins win streak as a 10-year-old. My family still brings that up.

I'm 48 now and work in sports. I see many more Anti-Woodens than those who play, coach and compete with dignity and class.

There may be many ways to succeed in life. Wooden had immense success and helped mankind along the way.

I had my UCLA shirt on when he passed.

He may be gone but his legacy and pyramid lives on.


The NHL is killing itself with the Outdoor Life--I mean Versus--deal. The midweek Stanley Cup finals need to be on network TV or a real sports network, such as ESPN.

Gary Bettman and the owners may have gotten greenbacks to go with Vs. Hope you bought something good with the coin. This short-sighted deal stinks for fans, the NHL and hockey as a whole.

Apparently, we've got at least one more year of this stinker deal. According to Wikipedia "In 2007, the NHL signed an agreement to extend the NHL on Versus to the 2010–2011 season. Versus paid $72.5 million for 2007–2008 and will pay inflationary increases over the next three years."

Well, this DirecTV subscriber won't pay the premium for this weak channel. So I'll get weekend games on NBC next year, too.

What hasn't been mentioned, however, is the promotion value (or lack thereof) of being on Versus.

Remember the days of ESPN and the NHL? There was much more hockey talk back then. That is good for the sport.

If you think the NHL needs to go back to ESPN, send Mr. Bettman at note at: