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Friday, December 2, 2011


BASKETBALL----Really appreciate all the great comments and emails, even the ones that totally disagree with what I write at My column on Comcast is reserved strictly for D-1 basketball, but it is important to note that there is lots of other basketball to watch and enjoy especially this time of year.

NAIA, D-3 and D-2 basketball offers a great product, so if you live close to one of these schools, get out there and support the program. Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention great high school basketball to see on all levels. And speaking of high school basketball, one of the great high school tournaments ever will soon be here and if you are anywhere around Portland, Oregon at the end of this month, it is a must to see a game or two.

The Les Schwab Invitational is classic event, which appears for now has found a permanent home at Liberty High School outside of Portland. I personally love this tournament, have gone to it most years since its inception and always look forward to great games. This year will especially be exciting as once again, the legendary Oak Hill Warriors will be in the field. Always fun to watch Oak Hill as many of their players go onto great college careers and often continue  into the pros. I also feel it is important to recognize one of the classiest people I have ever met in sports, Tony Dorado, Nike's national manager of high school basketball, who knows more about high school basketball than anyone I know and is a big supporter of the Les Schwab.

Bottom line here, no matter what the level of basketball, get out and enjoy it, it is still an awesome sport.

OFFICIATING--- Please allow a short personal note here. As I live in Oregon and was an official in the Portland Basketball Officials Association for 25 years, retiring in 1997, I still have many friends in the Association and follow what is going on.

After the 2012-13 season, longtime PBOA commissioner Howard Mayo will retire. This coming February, the PBOA will select a new Commissioner, one year ahead of Mayo's retirement. At this time it is  pleasure and honor for Craw's Corner to officially endorse Steve Scott to become the new Commissioner. While I am sure there are many good candidates running, Steve Scott is the person to move the PBOA forward. Steve is not only a friend, but I have worked with Steve on various projects and know his work ethic and dedication to officiating. He will do an awesome job.

DUCK FANS---Oregon has a great football program, with one of the best football coaches around. But it is getting a little old all the complaining that went on about the changes to Autzen Stadium and the fact that Don Essig can't say "it never rains in Autzen Stadium", in regard to the Pac-12 championship game in Eugene.  Essig is a legend as a PA announcer, but Ducks, this in not an Oregon showcase, this is a showcase for the Pac-12. Your reward was getting the home field advantage and besides, I have been to Eugene when it has been raining, even during football games.

And as long as I am ranting, Pac-12 do not underestimate the knowledge and ability of sports fans. By bringing in Paul Olden to be the PA announcer for this game, once again it is your showcase, but please do not try and oversell us on things including the credentials of Olden. All we hear is this guy is the PA for the Yankees and Super Bowl. Well that is only partially right and accurate. After all, Olden has only been the Yankees PA guy since 2009 and he has not been the PA person for the Super Bowl since 2005. Lesson always, even from the great Pac-12, do not overhype the credentials of anyone.

GOLF----My friend Phil Baker, a great guy, has known Tiger Woods for since they were childhood friends. For the record, I do not know Tiger Woods and am not name dropping here, but I do respect Phil Baker. Phil has told me that he thinks Tiger is as close as he has ever been to getting his golf game back in shape and expects a big year out of him. For all golf fans, we can only hope.

More on golf, what is the deal with the slowness of the Champions, Nationwide and LPGA not having their 2012 schedules out. It is especially disappointing as I write this column on December 2nd that the LPGA does not have their schedule up. Often the LPGA feels they do not get the respect they deserve in the sports world, so here is another example to separate yourself from the rest of the "field" and once again a blown opportunity by the LPGA in my mind. I like the LPGA Tour, but is just seems like they do not get it and they might never get it when it comes to promoting your game and relating to fans. Little things matter in sports and little things turn into big successes down the road. By the way, for some great LPGA news, it is always fun to read the great blog written by @tonyjesselli. Tony is one of the best golf blog writers in the world and I really respect his work.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 15

Crawfacts is news, notes and commentary on various sports items. Always loves your comments and also do not forget for lots of good college basketball info, please go to
each Wednesday and Sunday night.

Pac 12 Football--- After all the media interviews and hype during the summer about how the Pac-12 would improve their football officiating program, I for one see ZERO improvement. I actually was pulling for a big improvement and fix, but I am just not seeing it. Every week there seems to be issues in at least one game in the league and for sure there are way too many calls, rightfully so, that have to be overturned by the replay booth.

I would not be as concerned, but if you recall, we heard all summer long from the Pac-12 office that things would get better. The poor showing on the field this year by Pac-12 officials, also once again is proof that throwing thousands of dollars at program to make it better does not always work. It is people that make things better often, not money. The Pac-12 still does not have the right people in place, both on the field and off.

And I really have to think the Pac-12 coordinator of football officiating has too much on his plate. Tony Corrente is a respected longtime NFL referee, but he is still working every week in the NFL. Instead of being in the city on Saturday the day before he is working an NFL, he should every week, be at a Pac-12 game live, modern technology or not. Everyone likes to see your boss in person on occasion. And do not kid yourself, at least at present, the NFL when it comes to officiating is a priority for Corrente, only natural in the pecking order.

Even if you do not know one thing about officiating, if you watch football you can just tell the difference between the Pac-12 officiating and how much better other leagues' football officials are compared to the Pac-12. Just watch a Big 10 game as an example, I need say no more.

President's Cup---Is it time to do away with this event in golf? Yes. Is it going to happen? No. As an avid fan of golf and more important the business of golf, this event does nothing for me. The Ryder Cup every two years is special, the President's Cup is just another event and also it is a poor attempt to bring the drama of the Ryder Cup too us. Golf fans and sports fans are smarter than that, they do not like over saturation and they love anticipation. If you asked five golf fans, I bet that only about one of them could actually tell you the score of the President's Cup. I guarantee you that all of those people could tell you the score of the Ryder Cup after completion. Trying to copy events in sports never works and the President's Cup does not work for me. If it were not for Tiger Woods playing, no one would have been watching.

NCAA---It was interesting reading the study on the revenue and profitability of the 120 FBS schools through the years 2004-2009. I ams sure that not much has changed with the 2010 figures. Of those schools only two sports were profitable, football and men's basketball. And even worse, in both football and men's basketball, both were at 57 percent of the schools making a profit. That obviously means that 43 percent out of the 120 schools made ZERO profit in any sport.

Out of the 120 schools, only 14 were in the black for their athletic department. Per my calculator that is 12 percent. In case you are wondering, the average cost of running an athletic department for all of the 120 schools was 10.2 million dollars  per year. The literal bottom line here is that it costs a lot of money to run an athletic program and it is obviously very hard to make a profit.

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As always thanks for reading, greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Awful Announcers---Salaries, Salaries, Salaries

Friday edition of Craw's Corner is now here for you. And please do not forget for college basketball news, every Sunday and Wednesday night, you can read Crawford's Court,

Ok here we go. A couple of weeks past I gave you my top five sports announcers. Boy, I had no idea of the emotion that would stir and all the great comments from everyone, including several people who who wrote to myself and told me who the top five announcers were that they turn the channel. (Do we still turn the channel?) Just checking.

So here are my announcers that I turn the channel and let me know for you. Full disclosure, some of these choices are based on where I live, Oregon, so I happened to hear these people more often, but please feel free to give me your local choices as well.

1. Erin Andrews----Sorry guys she does nothing for me as sports reporter. I have never been impressed with her work and never will be. If you break it down to females, there are probably 12 female reporters at ESPN that are better than Andrews. 

2. Mike Parker---As the voice of the Oregon State Beavers, I love listening to Mike on Beaver football and baseball, but when it comes to basketball, it is an instant channel changer for myself. I do not think Mike understands basketball that much and does not paint a good picture of the game on the radio. It is a good example of why a school should not be afraid to use different announcers for different sports.

3. Rick Sutcliffe---As an analyst for ESPN baseball, all I can say is boring, boring, boring. Has a bad habit of saying the same things over and over again, basically has put me to sleep for years, so I do not listen anymore.

4. John Strong---Oh yes had to get a soccer guy in here. Strong is the voice of the Portland Timbers and I do enjoy watching some soccer, but when the Portland Timbers are on, I have to turn the sound down. Sometimes when I listen to Strong, I am not sure if he is even at the same game I am watching on TV, plus he has a horrible habit of getting way too caught up with the officiating.

5. Rebecca Haarlow--Reporter for Fox, NFL network and Big Ten Network. Not much you can say here, except it takes her five minutes to tell what could be said in one minute, if you are allowed to scream when someone comes on TV, she is a perfect example.

 More important, let me know your five top channel turners, as I know you will.

Moms and Dads, you need to raise your sons and even daughters to be a football coach. Did you see the latest stats on the salaries of FBS football coaches at public universities? Maybe you don't even want to look. Mack Brown at Texas leads the group, 5.2 million per year. Couple other examples, Oregon's  Chip Kelly ranks 12th at 2.8 million and just recently released from jail for drunk driving charges, Missouri's Gary Pinkel comes in at 16th, making 2.7 million.

The average salary of an FBS coach is 1.47 million and even more powerful stat, 64 FBS coaches will make over one million this coaching year. The heck with playing, coaching is not all that bad as well.

A great event with take place Saturday, November 19th, when the NAIA national cross country championships will come to Fort Vancouver, in Vancouver, Washington. Great athletes who strictly compete for the love the sport. Great job by Commissioner Dave Haglund, of the Cascade Collegiate Conference bringing this event to the Pacific Northwest, which really is the running mecca of the United States.

Equally important, a great shot in the arm for Vancouver/Portland area economically, as the event has booked 1,800 hotel rooms. And who said sports on any level does not contribute to the economy.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

NBA Economy and Woods' Future Forever

I sure hope you like the new design of Crawscorner, I spent days developing this with some of the top designers in the world, so it better work (just kidding).

Also, I have gone back and forth on what to do with Crawscorner, as I want to keep this blog going, but also during the basketball season need to spend my time covering D-1 basketball for CSNNW, while not shortchanging Crawscorner. So my final decision and this is final, I will write Crawscorner on Monday and Friday, until the college basketball season ends and cover everything in sports except D-1 college basketball, which you will get plenty of on my Wednesday and Sunday night edition of Crawford's Court at

Ok, let's get started with the Monday edition of Crawscorner.

NBA--- Developing as this is written on Monday, it appears there will not be an NBA season this year and what I have not heard anyone say, if this season is cancelled, there will be a good chance that part of the 2012-13 season could be cancelled. Some points that are important here:

1. As much as most people who care about the NBA want to blame the players and there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone, keep in mind that part of the problem here is the owners gave the players a very stupid deal in 1999, which was not economically sound and was certain to not withstand the test of time and now they want to take a lot of deal back, as they probably should, but easier said than done.

2. Speaking of owners, one difference between this negotiation  this time and compared to the 1998-99 labor negotiations is that David Stern does not have control over the owners this time as compared to the past negotiation. Many of this present group of owners have given Stern fits this time around and we have all experienced it in life, when big egos get involved, it can only create nothing but misery.

3. I get a kick out a few college economic professors who are saying that the NBA lockout will have very little impact, if any on the economy. Just glad I never  had any of  them as professors. One very small, small example, but it gives you some idea of what a labor stoppage can do for anyone associated with the stoppage. Official scorers in the NBA average making about $100.00 per game. Each scorer on average probably works a 50 game schedule, when you throw in playoffs and exhibition games, so let's figure they make on average $5.000 per year. Even dividing that in half, considering taxes and possible savings, that is $2,500 in 30 cities that would more than likely go directly back into the economy.

Now before you think I have lost it, the above example is one which shows how the "little people" in this horrible mess lose out. But the bigger picture is that when you multiply this example by thousands, which is an accurate picture, how can this NBA lockout not have a big bearing on the economy. Heck, I didn't even start to think about players and what they might be spending. So yes, this lockout will hurt an already stagnant economy, just no way around it.

(NOTE: Speaking of the "little people", for most of these people this is a second job or a job that helps supplement social security. It is a proven economic fact that most people who work second jobs, spend most of that income and it goes directly back into the economy. Enough said.)

Tiger Woods---In my lifetime I have never seen a bigger fall in sports than Tiger Woods and I am not not talking about the off course stuff (which he was totally wrong) and all the cutbacks in his endorsements. I am talking about Tiger's ability as a golfer. He is not even close to being the same golfer as he once was, which can be somewhat  expected as to what he went through, but not to show any signs of life in his game is disturbing.

I am a Woods fans, always have been, I loved his dedication, work ethic and wanting to bury the competition in a manner never seen before in sports, even greater than Michael Jordan. But in this case it seems that Tiger Woods never will be able to overcome his character flaws..... the fire and game is gone.

With all that said, I think the upcoming President's Cup matches will tell us everything on whether Tiger Woods will ever be back as a golfer. These matches will either destroy his game forever or will give him the confidence to get back to his old self. Woods loves playing for his country, so he will give it his all, he has plenty of friends to be around for several days, which at this time he more than ever needs a support system and he loves match play.

While many may not even care about the President's Cup, being a lover of golf, I will be paying close attention as this lone event could determine the total golf future of Tiger Woods. If he plays great, then he is back, if he lays an egg, we may never see him as a factor in golf again. Not to mention most people did not even think he should have made the team, so he has a golden opportunity to prove many wrong.

These three days, will be the most important three days in the entire history of Tiger Woods' golf career. I hope it turns out great for him and for the betterment of golf. I can forgive most and golf more than ever needs Tiger Woods.

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And as always for college basketball coverage, Crawford's Court,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Craw's Corner: CRAWFACTS

Here we go with another edition of Crawfacts, news, notes, opinions and whatever else you would love to call it. Of course for all the latest college basketball news,  please check in every Wednesday and Sunday at

Congratulations---- Two people I have known for a longtime, should be very proud this week. Greg Barton's son Taylor, who does such a wonderful job with his football camps, is getting married in Hawaii tomorrow. Tough duty, but congrats to the entire Barton family and Taylor great place to have a wonderful day in your life.

Also congrats to the Warkentien family, as the regular season in college basketball gets underway, Kreigh Warkentien will begin her duties as the director of basketball operations for UNLV men's team. It is good to see more women getting involved on the men's side of college basketball coaching/operations. Of course I am sure Kreigh has picked up few tips along the way from her famous father, Mark, longtime NBA executive and at present the director of player personnel for the New York Knicks

Tony LaRussa---- As I have stated before, for the past 15 years, year in and out, Tony LaRussa has been the best manager in baseball. I also do not feel that he will stay retired very long, despite all the talk will stay retired. I say he will be back in baseball soon, he is for sure not going to practice law, so at this point baseball will never leave him. It is also my hope that no one in sports media hires LaRussa. He was at best a boring interview and often very snarly with the media. He had the right to conduct himself the way he wanted, but at the same time don't turn around and give him a job in profession he has pretty much zero respect for.

NBA Lockout---- I have followed the NBA closely for 51 years. I have to say this lockout is getting to me and I have lost respect for everyone. To hear some players say that we are so important we need to be paid what get, is just about too much for this fan of all of basketball. I have never been a person who has worried about what people get paid, but some things I have heard lately are disturbing to say the least. And while I am at it, the owners do not get a hall pass here either, they are ones who gave the players the deal that they now want adjusted and basically shredded. Both owners and players, shame on you. As well, how many people in the world have not taken a 12 percent pay cut in the last three years. Note to players, you make on average 3-5 million per year, a space shuttle astronaut makes on average $71,500 per year. Players, realize what you still have and come to your senses.

Oregon Sports Hall of Fame---- As you prepare for the class of 2012 next fall, do the right thing and after missing a year, please induct all of these famous sports official/referees. Al Lightner, Frank Buckiewicz, Terry Gierke, Vern Marshall, Terry Durham and Dale Scott. These six people should have been in the hall of fame in Oregon, long before this and I might also add should have gone into the hall of fame prior to the two sports officials the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame have  already inducted. That is water under the bridge, but the bridge can always be adjusted, it is never too late. This blog is read nationally, so I put this in today's column, because all six of the people I mentioned are known nationally and sometimes internationally. All represented Oregon with dignity and class and Scott who is still working, does the same. Get off your high horse Sports Hall of Fame and bring your organization into the 2000s. Officiating his a huge part of sports and why deny men and in the future many women, who have done themselves proud and represented the state of Oregon famously.

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And please do not forget the next edition of Crawford Court, will be out, Wednesday night, November 9th.

Couple more interesting blogs and websites you might want to look at:

Thanks for reading this.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Are These Guys The Greatest Five?

For all the wonderful and great readers, please do not forget that for all the latest college basketball news, please go over and look at my coverage, Crawford's Court, which will come out every Sunday and Wednesday night.

In the meantime, not to worry, I will continue to write Crawscorner, three times per week, on variety of sports subjects. The bottom line here, your readership is greatly appreciated and not ever forgotten. Now for today's topic and I sure hope you will weigh in on this for sure, as it creates lots of thoughts and memories.

Just who are the five greatest sports announcers of all time. Here are my top five and as always I am totally correct. NOT.

1. Vin Scully--No one can even come close to the the great Vin Scully. If you had to pick one guy to do the last sporting event ever held, he would be the person. He has just signed on to his 63rd year of doing Dodgers baseball and on November 29th Scully will turn 84 years old. Most people would just love to be 84, let alone calling major league baseball on a high level. If you listen to Scully doing Dodger games, he sounds like he is 35, he has not missed a beat all these years. It is also important to note, when Scully had time he was terrific doing NFL football games and did an awesome job as the lead announcer for many years on NBC golf. A total gentleman and total credit to sports. Sadly, we never get to hear much from him as he does very few, if any interviews, of which I am sure we could learn lots.

2. Dick Enberg---Smooth as silk, famous for the great line, "Oh My". He has done it all in sports and is still going strong into his 70s. Who can ever forget Dick Enberg, doing UCLA basketball in the 70s, wow what memories. His work on tennis is great nowadays, as has been his skill in calling baseball and football over all these years. I met him once, what a gentleman and I interviewed him once on the radio and one of the top five people I ever interviewed. (For the record, Chi Chi Rodriguez was the best person I have ever interviewed.)

3. Dan Schulman--Perhaps a surprise pick for many, but it was an easy pick for myself. Schulman is the  ''voice" of ESPN. Great on Sunday night baseball and great on NBA/NCAA basketball. Schulman is the Michael Jordan of sports announcers. He makes everyone around him look much better than they are indeed. There are just some people in life that are a "cut above" and Schulman is a perfect example. He might not have the star power of other announcers, but if you listen to him, he is a superstar.

4. Dick Vitale--Think what you want of him, but no one can dispute the fact that Dick Vitale made college basketball on TV. The state of Oregon's own Tom Jernstedt made March madness what it is today and Dick Vitale is solely responsible for the huge popularity of college basketball on TV. When Vitale goes to a college campus, he is bigger than any rock star. I also have to give him credit, the greatest marketing person for anyone is yourself and he is the greatest self promoter in sports. Also, always has time for the "little guy". A lost art.

5. Brent Musburger--- Born in Portland, Oregon, actually wanted to be a professional baseball umpire. Brent continues to excel and once again living proof your life is not over once you are in your 70s. People that have worked with Brent Musburger either from a production side or as an analyst all say the same things, they learn much from him and he is totally a team player. All of this is great, but in my mind he has sustained the test of time, he is still outstanding after all these years of doing his craft.

Let me know your thoughts please, and please follow myself on twitter @wchoops.

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Thank for reading this, you readers are truly the best

Saturday, October 29, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 14

Crawfacts is an assortment of news, notes and anything else you wish to call it, in the world of college basketball.

1. Arizona----Ouch, my preseason pick to win the NCAA tournament this year, right now is making me look awfully bad, after losing their opening exhibition game to Seattle Pacific. There is no other way to put it, an awful loss, even though it was exhibition and the opening game of the season.

The final score was 69-68, helped lots by the fact that Seattle Pacific was 12-12 from the free throw line, while Arizona was 12 for 19. Now you can see why I have harped so much on free throws in the last few months in my blog. Free throws are never given among importance by everyone in basketball.

So telling was this loss, was the fact that the last time Arizona lost an exhibition game to a much inferior opponent was 1984. To Seattle Pacific's big credit, not only this great victory, but last year in exhibition games, they defeated two D-1 opponents, Eastern Washington and Nevada. Ryan Looney is an outstanding coach and he has quite the program at Seattle Pacific and he will be an D-1 coach very soon.

If there is any room for optimism at Arizona, all you have to do is look back 10 years, when Syracuse lost their opening game to a D-3 opponent and then went on to finish 30-5 and got the number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Sean Miller has a young team, but I am not backing down from my pick and they will be there in the end.

2. UCLA---While many are picking the Bruins to win the Pac-12 and everyone expects them to finish in the top three of the Pac-12, I still say the "fallout" from not playing any games in Pauley Pavilion this year will have a big impact on the play of the Bruins. The history of teams who have to play out of their  own arenas cause of renovation has not been good throughout the years in college basketball. And when you think about it, it makes sense. Comfort is great for everyone, including college basketball players.

3. Oregon---Finally after making all of us suffer, the Oregon Ducks will have a center court line this year and that players, officials and fans can see. While better late than never, shame on you Ducks for taking so long for this to happen, but plaudits for making the change.

4. Watching----I am going to be real interested to watch what happens this year at Pepperdine and Eastern Washington, when it comes to coaching. Both schools have first year coaches, Jim Hayford at Eastern Washington and Marty Wilson at Pepperdine. Wilson appears to have so much energy and has made a huge effort to connect with the past at Pepperdine and has reached out to so many people, including the media to bring attention to the Waves' program. As for Hayford, he makes the jump that very few have ever done and even more important, done successfully, coming from a D-3 program at Whitworth, where he dominated the Northwest Conference for many of his 10 years there. Some people in the media have picked his team to finish as high as third in the Big Sky, somewhat of a reach. But I can tell you one thing, if he wins and wins consistently at Eastern Washington, he will be one of the most sought after coaches in the country in a few years.

5. Don't Forget---Shameless plug here, I apologize, but starting November 2nd, this blog will move over to, so bookmark it now please. I have a bit of a name change over there as it will be called Crawford's Court, but I am thrilled to be there, with so many talented people. And even more good news, I will continue to write Crawscorner here 3 days a week, covering some small college basketball, sports business and golf, so if your sick of me, then you now can be doubly sick of me.

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As always thank you for reading this blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Please allow me for one day not to talk so much about sports, but to talk about life, which is much more important. Sports for the most part have shaped my life and allowed me to meet wonderful, wonderful people.

I hope you will take the time to read this column, it means a lot to myself to write this and is as important as anything I will ever write. It is going to be full of thank yous, which I never can say enough to so many people who have been there for me in my life, in not only the good times, but more importantly the bad times.

Big news, on November 1st, my blog will move to, which is a wonderful website that enhances greatly the work that is done at Comcast Sports Net NW. It is a great opportunity for myself and I want to thank Kevin Berry/David Kamens, for the opportunity. No worries, you will still get a link to the blog on  daily basis and my work with Comcast will continue to be about college basketball and west coast college basketball.

But today, I am not going to tell you about college basketball for one day, but instead tell you about so many wonderful people who have not only supported this blog to get it where it is, but more importantly are just wonderful people and have a huge impact on my life.

Number one always, I want to thank my great family, who made sure I could always be a part of sports, despite limited funds. I would never trade my Mom, Dad or Sister for anyone, period, end of story. Awesome people and so lucky, oh I am fortunate.

My blog would have never gotten off the ground without the technical help of Tim Marsh. I went to college with Tim and he is the model for never asking for anything and always willing to help. Thank you Tim.

The first reader ever of my blog, was my GREAT friend Terry Durham. Thank you Terry, along with my friends Dale Scott and Terry Gierke, it is criminal that all three of these people are not in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, for being legendary sports officials. But more important, terrific human beings and readers of this blog. Very funny people as well, who make me laugh often.

In 1991, Tom Christy and Bob Senseman, had the brilliance to hire myself to work with golf course superintendents. One of the best things that ever happened in my life. Out of that came my great friendship not only with them, but with golf course superintendents Russ Vandehey and Gordon Kiyokawa. Gordon, Bob and Russ, are there for me everyday, through thick and thin. Golf courses superintendents are not only the salt of the earth people, but there is a reason why every survey ever taken by golfers, they are voted the most important people at the golf course. You guys I can never thank enough. Beautiful human beings to say the least.

Since 1999, I have had the honor to work with Marv French. Another person that it is criminal he is not in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. All he did was found Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, one of the five best 36 hole golf facilities in the world. Out of working with Marv, I would never have been able to meet Mike Trimboli. Marv and Mike, thank you so much for all you do for me, you are not only legendary sports people, you are even better world class human beings.

And the list goes on, oh it goes on. Jonathan Heins, Jim Moore (great writer, Coug fan), Dr.  Steve Brenner, Ivan Kafoury (radio legend), Mark Sanchez (great journalist), Doug Merlino, Kenny Vance (NBA guru), Cody Harrod, Ken Kuzmaak (brillant basketball evaluator), Dave Haglund (best sports commish in college sports), Chris Maples, Bobby Thompson, Bruce Hubbard, Mike Smithey, John Melonas, Lanny Bennett, Mitch Copp, Gavin Amato, Dr. Dan Beeson (congrats Dan for being inducted into the Phoenix/Talent hall of fame this weekend) Harry Yewens (Texas golf legend) and Rob Closs, thank you so much for being devoted readers of my blog and thank you so much for being friends, who care about giving back to people everyday.

Also a big thank you to basketball coaches, Danny Miles, Andy McClouskey, Kerry Keating and Eric Reveno. With the exception of Andy, I have never met these  gentleman, but I feel like I have, for every time I write something about them, they take their valuable time to thank me. They would not have to do that, it shows something about the quality of individuals they are indeed.

Thank you to media people Tom Hewitt, Ron Callan and Jay Reese for mentioning my blog and having myself on their radio programs. Great professionals and great guys.

I would be totally remiss, if I did not mention my boss at Adventist Medical Center, Kim Earp. Kim runs our cancer unit at the hospital flawlessly. When you work, as I do part time in the cancer unit of a major hospital, it brings you back down to earth quickly. It is  humbling and a great honor to be a small part of a great team of compassionate professionals, who bring it everyday.

Dan Belluomini, you are a treasure. You are the historian of west coast college basketball, no one knows more about college basketball than you do and you have always been a class act. It is an honor to know you.

It is also an honor to know my good friends Mike Lund and Jim Jorgensen, you guys are great and it is not often you can say, you have known someone for 25 years plus and never ever had a cross word or argument. Thank you Jim and Mike for being friends.

Jon Spoelstra and Jack Garrison all I can say is thank you for being great friends and truly being there in the bad times as well as the good. You ask nothing and give everything.

So once again thank you to everyone who reads this blog, friends or not. It has been great fun to write this and I will continue on this site until November 1st, when I move to Comcast and be able to be part of a great website and work with legendary sportswriter Dwight Jaynes, who I have known for 53 years. Ouch.

And thank you Kerry Eggers and Steve Brandon from the Portland Tribune. I knew both of you before you became famous, now you are icons in the Oregon media scene.

Lastly, thank you Cleveland High School (If not for Cleveland, would never have met my friend Jim Clair, Hall of Famer and who reads my blog everyday). Best time of my life and learned so much, as well as thank you Eastmoreland Golf Course, where so much of my life was shaped and I met so many wonderful people and where ironically, my great father died on the 18th green of heart attack. Miss you so much MOM and DAD.

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Dan (the Generals Fan)

You guys are great and thank you for supporting my blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CRAWVELOUS TOP 12 Teams/ October 20th

Ok here we go with my first ever Crawvelous Top 12, west coast college basketball. As the year goes along I will update this often, might even have my top 12 coaches list, maybe even have my top 12 referees and top 12 arenas, or whatever else you might ask for.

The list will be based off the six conferences that play D-1 basketball out west, which are, West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Big Sky, Big West, Pac-12 and Mountain West. Do you agree that there are too may wests in those conferences and as well, too many bigs.

As I say, always dangerous, always controversial and but never wrong. Right.


1. Arizona---- Will win the NCAA championship this year.

2. Gonzaga-- To be the champ, beat the champ. No better regular season team in all of sports.

3. San Diego State---No Steve Fisher is not 90 years old, but  he is a great basketball coach.

4. California--- It is time to bring Mike Montgomery back, might be Cal's year

5. Utah State---Never challenge Stew Morrill, like Mark Few, needs to win in NCAA tourney

6. UCLA--- Every game will be on the road for Bruins, never can figure out Ben Howland

7. BYU--- Dave Rose, one heck of a coach, plus he beat pancreatic cancer for now, enough said.

8. New Mexico--- As long as Steve Alford is with the Lobos, they will win, win big

9. Oregon---  Dana Altman will make big dance, slowing building national program in Eugene.

10. Santa Clara--- Great coach in Kerry Keating, does wonders at Santa Clara, nice person as well

11. Hawaii---Biggest surprise in the group, but have to go with the WAC Daddy, he knows WAC

12. Weber State---Talented, but Randy Rahe will figure out how to get them out of Top 12

So there it is, lots to chew over for you great readers and lots to think about as the season is less than 10 days from starting. And I would be the first to say this is not your normal Top 12, but I can also tell you I know basketball and I look beyond just the norm. More often than not, I am right more than I am wrong, but one thing I can do is always laugh at myself and I never take myself too seriously and neither should any of you.

Basketball is a sport, granted also a business, but LIFE is REAL. Enjoy and let me know as you will, where I went wrong here.

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As always thank you for reading this column, greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Any Of These Guys Would Make Winners

I am always interested in the coaching side of basketball, especially college basketball, where the head coach might be more important than any other sport around.

And without question the two best leagues on the west coast in college basketball are the West Coast Conference and the Pac-12.

So with my interest in coaching and with the help of a nameless famous retired NBA executive, together we created our list of top five coaches in both the WCC and Pac-12 heading into the 2011-12 season. We based our selections off of three different categories, 1)Bench/In Game Coaching 2) Recruiting 3) Could this person win anywhere they are coaching.

With that into account, here is our ranking, but instead of ranking by league separation, we thought it might be better to have top 10 list, combining the two leagues and for sure a lot more fun for you readers which is much more important.

10. Tad Boyle, Colorado--- Most people could not even tell you who coaches Colorado, but basketball people know what a good coach Boyle is. He did wonders turning a dismal Northern Colorado team around before going to the Buffalos this past season. Excellent recruiter, who is always going to be on lists to be hired at other schools. Pac-12 coaches should be nervous about him in the league.

9. Kerry Keating, Santa Clara---A coach to watch for many years to come. It took him awhile to get things going at Santa Clara, but now he appears to have the Broncos in a great position for years to come. There are people that are made to be Doctors and there are people made to be basketball coaches. The Broncos will have trouble keeping Keating, he is on the short list of many schools. Enough said.

8. Randy Bennett, St. Mary's--- For sure at present he belongs in the top 10, but also could easily drop out. While having lots of wins at St. Mary's, he has not been able to break through the Gonzaga dominance and create a real WCC rivalry, but none the less, for coaching at a small school, in a small arena, Bennett has done a nice job. He has been on short lists of teams seeking coaches, but he might just be a lifer at St. Mary's.

7. Dana Altman. Oregon--- A lot of people wondered what the heck the Ducks were doing hiring Altman. Now they know, the Ducks did know what they were doing. 21 wins in his first year with inferior talent, says much, this year as documented in my previous columns, the Ducks should go dancing. If they do, Altman will be one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country, but who would leave Oregon..... money, facilities and an athletic program that is totally committed to winning.

6. Dave Rose, BYU---For now, he has beat pancreatic cancer, probably that is all you need to know about Rose. Sure he is at BYU, but he still has to coach talent and he has done a great job of doing so over the years. There is not a shortage of programs in the country who would love to have Rose as their head coach. He oozes winning.

5. Lorenzo Romar, Washington--- In one of the richest recruiting areas in all the country, Seattle, Romar continues to win, year in and year out. With his talent pool to choose from each year, it appears that Romar will finish out his career at Washington, but if he said he would like to leave, there would be no shortage of jobs offered to him. Romar someday will win a national championship at Washington.

4. Mike Montgomery, California--- Actually it would be easy to throw darts at this choice with his failure in the pros at Golden State, but Montgomery has withstood the test of time at Stanford and at California. Some people have picked him to win the Pac-12 this season, I do not agree, but his consistent winning, makes his an obvious top 10 choice.

3. Eric Reveno, Portland--- As I have told you many times, the best coach in the country that most people have never heard of. What he has done with the Pilots is nothing short of miracle. There is no way the Pilots can keep him much longer. One other key point, high school coaches love the guy, so important in the ongoing recruiting battles. He could turn the Washington Generals into a winner.

2. Mark Few, Gonzaga--- Quite possibly the might be the mistake on the list, but how can you argue with 11 straight WCC championships and 13 straight NCAA appearances. Horrible success in the NCAA tournament, but maybe the greatest regular season accomplishment in sports with the domination. The big question here is would he win at another school, we might find out next year as I think Few will leave Gonzaga after this season.

1. Sean Miller, Arizona--- Of course I have picked the Wildcats to win the NCAA championship this year. Miller is the best head coach recruiter in the country. He makes great in-game adjustments and he will soon be on the east coast coaching somewhere. When a job opens, he is the number one choice of everyone. He is the definition of winning.

Ok, where did I go wrong, please tell me as I know you will and the first batch of emails I am sure will come from my friends at UCLA, just a hint.

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As always, thank you for reading this column.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It Is Up To "U" Of Portland

The great part about sports is that there is always another game the next day, your team is always in contention on opening day and the most important thing about sports it allows fans to DREAM about so many what ifs.

I even am even so certain about dreaming that somewhere in the country today there is somebody dreaming about Kansas City/Houston in the world series. I also am certain that a good friend of mine in Sacramento, Jim Jorgensen dreams everyday that NBA basketball will return to Sacramento. (It has been missing, even since Rick Adelman was fired as coach of the Kings). As a native Portlander, I am also dreaming that someday the Rose City, will have more than one major league team. (And yes I know before someone corrects me, Portland has soccer and even though it is a great game, fun for many, you can never call the MLS, major league, when players leave their teams during the season to play in other events and your referees are not even employees of the league).

But back to basketball, more specifically college basketball, which opens today for real with the start of practices and some creative marketing people trying to outdo each other by coming up with new ways to create a buzz about what use to be called "Midnight Madness". It is an exciting time for everyone who loves the college game and even more exciting we only have to wait 2 1/2 more weeks for the first games.

Since you already know, if you paid attention above, I am from Oregon, so please allow me occasionally in this blog to become a little provincial as I am going too today.

Keeping with my dream theme, I have forever dreamed ever since Portland State brought back basketball in 1996, that all four D-1 programs in Oregon would go to the NCAA tournament in the same year. Sometimes dreams do have a chance, sometimes is the key here. Is 2012 the year? I have not woke up yet, so I think it has a chance of happening, of which I probably will never have another dream like this again.

And in case you think my dreams are crazy, a little breakdown here.

In the last 10 days I have documented  that I feel strongly that both the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers will go dancing in 2012. Dana Altman oozes with winning, what he did in his first year at Oregon as I documented in my last blog was nothing short of amazing, now he has some talent to work with and with his coaching, his players, I am calling the Ducks a lock for NCAA in 2012.

Continuing the trend, the Oregon State Beavers as I have noted over the past several months, have not been to the NCAA since 1990. For the first time in ages, they have some depth, an almost certain all Pac-12 performer in Jared Cunningham and a favorable schedule, to possibly win 24 games. And if they do win 24 games, the "Committee", which is alway looking for great stories to put in the NCAA, is not going to leave out the President of United States' brother-in-law.

Moving on to the Portland entries in the D-1 basketball.

Full disclosure, I have been following the Big Sky for so many years I can't remember. I have discovered if you have two high quality players you can win the Big Sky and Big Sky tournament and advance to the NCAA. My call this year is for the Portland State Vikings to go to the NCAA tournament. Speaking of two quality players the Viks have two potential first team Big Sky players in Chehalis Tapscott and Charles Odum. While everyone is picking Weber State to walk away with the Big Sky title, keep in mind that despite almost every year he has the league's best talent, Randy Rahe has really underachieved in Ogden as coach of the Wildcats. I think he is to a degree an overrated coach.

Ok, now we have three in the NCAA and for you math people out there, my dream is 75 percent complete. Now the big pressure, falls on the Portland Pilots. Of course as I have told you for months the Pilots have the best coach in basketball that hardly anyone has heard of in Eric Reveno. He has done some magical things with Portland and each year, he has been able to get more and more out of his players. Although this is predicted to be a rebuilding year, nothing surprises me from a Reveno coached team. And even though they might suffer a little in the pre-season with a very tough schedule, the Pilots do open at Gonzaga and I am dreaming of a big upset. And I am dreaming of an NCAA beth for the team from North Portland, something they have not accomplished since 1996, so your on notice Pilots, the pressure is on.

It is often that you do get a pretty good recap in your dreams, so my locks for the NCAA tourney are Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State. The theme here is let's go Pilots, let's go Pilots, please make my dream come true.

I know what your thinking and the answer is NO. I am not going to wake up from this one, I have waited so long in this state to see some good college basketball from our D-1 teams all at the same time, you can only wake me up in March.

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Thank you for reading this always.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oregon Ducks Came Out Much The Better

In the Oregon Duck's bungled procedural effort to find a basketball coach to replace fired Ernie Kent following the 2009 season, they just might have stumbled upon what could go down as one of the best coaching hires in the school's history.

Quietly Dana Altman is building a powerful basketball program in Eugene. Still to this day in the state of Oregon, if you walked down the street and talk to all non-ducks, probably only 1 in 10 people could tell you who the head basketball coach at University of Oregon is. As a matter of fact, despite a pathetic performance so far, Paul Westhead, the women's coach is much more famous.

And knowing what I know about Altman, while he cares deeply about Oregon basketball, he could care about who knows who is he is or even what he does. In a high profile school, that is known around the world for many things involving their athletic department, going into his second year as head coach of the Ducks, Altman continues to fly under the radar. 

But most of the time, in sports at least, flying under the radar is often very good and I can tell you not only from my standpoint, but from people in the basketball know, they all tell me two things, Dana Altman is a terrific bench coach and no one is going to outwork him in the ongoing college basketball recruiting battles. And while it is still going to take Altman sometime to really get things going, it is not all bad to have the glitz and glamour of the Oregon Duck athletic machine behind him, not to mention that fact the Ducks might just have the best arena in all of college basketball, in Matt Knight Arena.

And I  would go even as far as to say, while all the attention these days is on the Oregon football program, Dana Altman will bring a national championship to Oregon, long before the Ducks win one in football. He is that good at what he does.

 Where in the past, people would often say if someone in basketball is successful they will leave for better job, there probably are not that many better jobs in the country for a person like Altman than in Eugene. He is at a school that is always going to support athletics, as mentioned plays in a great arena, in a superb conference and he loves golf and has access to one of the great golf courses in all the world, in Eugene Country Club. What more can a guy ask for?

While in the first two years coaching the Ducks, Altman often had to will hjs teams to victories with great coaching, this year he will have some really good talent to work with. All the attention of the new players coming into the program has been on potential super-star Jabari Brown and rightfully so, but a player that everyone should get familiar with, is newcomer from the Seattle area, Brett Kingma. Kingma is player in high school that all of a sudden you would look at the boxscore and he would have 40 points. He should fit in great with the Altman system.

In Altman's first  season, his Ducks played some pretty good defense, considering the lack of overall talent on the team, now I am sure they will play even better defense with more  talent, but as compared to the first two years, there will be plenty of offensive punch on the team, which was lacking badly in the past two years.

I have always felt that teams who have taken advantage of the NCCA rules that allows you to take your basketball team in the summer to play games in different countries gives them a huge edge. The Ducks took a trip to Italy earlier this summer, it will help them lots in this coming season.

This Duck team has the potential to do something special this year and surprise everyone. I not only have them going to the NCAA tournament, but I also feel they will make it all the way to the "sweet 16".

And while Chip Kelly for near future always gets the headlines when people talk about Oregon athletics, upon further review, the best coach at Oregon might just be Dan Altman. He for sure will not fly under the radar much longer, keep an eye on him in 2011-12, he will become a headliner.

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Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Is Now Or Never

It is pretty hard to fathom that 30 years ago, before a lot of readers of this blog were even born,  the Oregon State Beavers basketball team was ranked number one, yes that is right, number one in the country for 25 straight weeks. They finished the season that year 26-2, losing a devastating game to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

It also hard to fathom the following about the Oregon State basketball program.

1. The last time they went to the NCAA basketball tournament was 1990.

2. Since 1990, the Beavers have had six coaches, none of them having a winning record as head coach of the Beavers, including present coach Craig Robinson.

3. Even with one of the most consistently poor college basketball program since 1990, the Beavers still rank as the 16th winningest all-time program in NCAA history.

4. Up to the year 2000, the Beavers had the most all time wins of any college basketball program west of the Mississippi, no longer the case.

5. Since 1990, the Beaver have had only two all Pac-10/Pac-12 first team all conference players.

6. There are four D-1 basketball programs in the state of Oregon and all but the Beavers have been to the NCAA tournament at least once since 1990, including Portland State, which brought back their program in 1996 after a 17 year absence from even having a basketball program.

The above says lots about the past, but what about the future.

Beaver head coach Craig Robinson is not on the hot seat, you are not going to fire the President of the United States' brother in law, plain and simple, but Robinson is on the hot seat to produce a better showing than he has since taking over the program in 2008. The last two years under Robinson have been dismal to say the least.

Fast forwarding to this year, on paper the Beavers will have the best and deepest team they have had in years. As I have said in this blog before, paper is only good to look at visually. We are really going to find out this year if Robinson can coach and get out from under the huge amount of publicity he has received for logical reasons.

Plus the Beavers have a real chance to win 20 games this year, they have a pretty easy pre-season schedule, adding to that is they play most of their pre-season games at home and in league play should be helped that they can beat newcomer Utah twice.

Of course all of this has to done with good players as well and Oregon State have good players on their roster. Jared Cunningham should challenge to be an all Pac-12 performer. He has had the great opportunity to work out this summer with Beaver all time great Gary Payton. That will help. Ahmad Starks has year under his belt, should play much better this year and even though he is small, is a lockdown defender. Roberto Nelson is a question mark, if he can play even slightly up to his potential, he can become a big time player in the Pac-12.

The Beavers will be the most weakest at center, which will a committee of centers, with the lead being taken by Joe Burton, who at times has shown flashes of brilliance, but only at times. Two players that could really be keys this year for the Beavers will be newcomers Daniel Gomis and Challe Barton. Gomis is fighting a leg injury, but once he recovers, any player coming out of the famous Oak Hill program, including Gomis, will help any basketball team. Barton could be the surprise of the Pac-12 and a big surprise player for the Beavers. He is  really good, even as a freshman, he should see plenty of playing time.

To the credit of Craig Robinson, he for now has ditched the 5:00 a.m. practices, instead the Beavers will practice at 1:30. I never have gotten any college coach scheduling practices before the sun comes up. Sure it sounds real macho for teams to say they do this,  I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, but these players are still kids and they do like to sleep in, I do not know a kid who does not. You want practices to be productive, not something kids dread going too.

Now for the shocker for Beaver fans and fans of college basketball. I am saying right now, right it down, the Beavers will go dancing this year for the first time since 1990. They have the players, they have deep team and they have the schedule which sets up nicely to make the NCAA tournament.

And last but equally as important, I can guarantee you that if Oregon State is on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, no one on the selection committee is going to leave out the President of the Unites States' brother in law. That committee may be foolish at times, but they are forever political.

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Thank you for reading this blog.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 13

Crawfacts is an assortment of info, unknown facts, suggestions and even an occasional gripe, so enjoy and feel free to comment about anything you wish.

DANNY MILES COURT---It is my understanding that the good folks in Klamath Falls, Oregon are getting closer to their goal of raising $150,000 for a new basketball court at Oregon Tech. The present floor is 46 years old, so a new court is long overdue. Of course the court is named after iconic Oregon Tech basketball coach Danny Miles, who will begin his 41st year this season heading up the Owls and one of the very few great basketball people in the country that is not in the basketball hall of fame, that should be. I learned in the last few months in writing this blog, that Klamath Falls and Oregon Tech, which is headed  up by its classy president Chris Maples, are some of nicest people on the planet, so I really would have hoped instead of doing all this awesome fundraising, it would have been nice for Jeld-Wen, an international company with a huge presence in Klamath Falls would have not just stepped up and built Oregon Tech a new floor, after all Jeld-Wen is one of the largest window and door makers in the world and they did just do a naming rights deal for a new soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon. As is all politics are local, all charity should be local.

ANNOUNCERS---And speaking of classy people, you will not find two finer than Dan Belluomini and Rob Closs, who both have had a large presence as basketball analysts on the west coast. Belluomini as I have documented is the historian of west coast basketball, no one knows more about west coast basketball than Dan and has worked so many games over the years for ABC, CBS and Fox.

Closs has been the analyst for Oregon Ducks' basketball for years and knows his stuff and is always studying the game like crazy. I also give him big plaudits for not being afraid to criticize the Ducks when they have it coming to them and when your an Oregon alum and your doing their broadcasts, trust me, you will hear the wrath from many in Eugene and beyond for even the slightest peep of Duck criticism.

I bring these two fine people up because as we are a year away, I really hope that Fox, ESPN and the Pac-12 will take note of their historic work over the years and find a spot for both to continue on their stellar careers. As a matter of fact, big suggestion to the Pac-12, bring both of them on as studio hosts for your new TV network. Pac-12, you could not make a better move, not only from historical standpoint, but also from the fact, it would totally enhance your broadcasts.

NBA LOCKOUT----If you are not on twitter, shame on you. By the way you can follow myself if you are on twitter @wchoops. Twitter is fun for many reasons. It is educational at times, downright hilarious at times and for all you business people out there, it is a great way to promote your business or even a great way for some people who want too, to promote themselves, as many do, or at least try to do.

As sad as the NBA lockout is and please do not say you do not care, cause you should, as by conservative estimates it is going to affect around 50,000 jobs in this country either eliminating them or cutting way back on income and these jobs have nothing to do with players, owners or agents.

But back to twitter, there were a couple of hilarious comments yesterday about the lockout. One person claimed the players are such important people to the culture of sports and the game,  that they are underpaid and they are some of the most important people in the world and he was serious. My one answer to that is, the average NBA players makes upward of 2 million per year, in comparison, the average space shuttle astronaut, when the program was running made $71,000 per year. Yau those NBA players are really important. Another great tweet, which made me laugh hard, it is no longer, "Occupy Wall Street", it is now, "Occupy NBA". So true.

MATCH UPS---Here are several reasons why my pointed columns about Portland State-University of Portland and Utah-Utah State not playing this year in men's basketball is a complete joke and should be a total embarrassment for whoever is at fault for the elimination of these rivalries.

1. New Mexico and New Mexico State, in different conferences, are playing each other twice in the pre-season. The state of New Mexico has great people and great basketball fans, both schools say their fans deserve this game, not once, but twice.

2. Despite the Washington Huskies having nothing to gain, they are once again playing cross city competitor Seattle Redhawks. Hats off Lorenzo Romar, for doing what is good for basketball and what is good for the city of Seattle.

3. San Diego State is going across town, to play the horrible basketball program,  San Diego. Steve Fisher you are a credit to the game.

4. Despite Boise State leaving for the Mountain West and now not in the same conference as cross-state  Idaho which competes in the WAC, the only two D-1 programs in the state will continue to play each other on neutral floor on New Year's Eve in Nampa Idaho. (Before someone corrects me, Idaho State is a D-3, program, who just happens to play in a D-1 league).

5. California will play San Jose State. Schools fairly close, once again, Cal has lots to lose here, but hats off to Mike Montgomery and along these lines, Arizona State will play Northern Arizona in pre-season. another good in-state battle, of which Northern Arizona has a chance to win, against a weak ASU team.

6. Lastly, why is it that the Portland State/U of Portland women are going to play each other this year and not the men?

Do I need to say anymore on this subject? No, I probably do not, but who knows, I might break my word and have even more to say once the season starts and then tons of people will miss these rivalry games and I will be even more hot under the collar, as are hundreds of other fans of the game.

MIZZOU---I have made strong suggestions to Missouri who seems to relish the fact that they continue to tease their huge fan base and alumni, as to where they will finally wind up, either staying in the Big 12 (or whatever it will be called) or bolting for the SEC. A better choice would be to join the Big Sky. They actually then might be able to be competitive in football for a change and also they would make a strong showing in basketball. Hey, why not. Doug Fullerton, get on the phone.

MATCH UPS---No I am not going back to my forever rant, so relax, but here is a great match-up for all basketball fans in the Pacific Northwest. On November 21st, BYU-Hawaii will play Western Washington in Bellingham. This has the makings of a classic D-2 game, which by the way, D-2 basketball on the west coast is awesome. BYU-Hawaii lost last year in the championship game of D-2 and will probably lead the entire nation this year in scoring and Western Washington not only has a great program each year, but they have one of the finest basketball coaches in all of basketball in Brad Jackson. He will be starting his 27th year for the Vikings. Quite frankly Jackson is such a good coach, he could make the Washington Generals, the worst team in all of basketball, a winner. My hats off to him for his work all these years in basketball, but more importantly developing so many fine young men who have gone on to be successful people. like Jackson has been for years.

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Thank you for reading this blog and all the basketball columns, greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Circle This One Please

If you are a basketball fan or even better a fan of west coast basketball, then you will want to block out December 17th for sure.

On that date at 1:00 p.m., it might be the best pre-season game of any for west coast college basketball, when Arizona battles Gonzaga in Seattle on CBS. (As a side note, between the two schools, they will appear on national television 31 times this year during the regular season, not bad. )

While many are picking the UCLA Bruins to win the Pac-12 this, I disagree, thinking it will be the Arizona Wildcats to win the initial Pac-12 basketball championship and I have even gone as far as to pick them to win the NCAA championship, they are that good. Also important to keep in mind that with the renovation of Pauley Pavilion this year, the Bruins will have no home games, which will hurt.

I think coaches are more important in basketball than any other NCAA sport and Arizona has a gem in Sean Miller. He is not only an outstanding in- game coach, but he is proving himself to be one of the top three head coaches in the country when it comes to recruiting. Two things to watch this season is will the loss of Miller's brother, Archie, who was his top assistant have a big impact and also the shooting last week of reserve player Kevin Parrom in New York City impact on the team. It is always unreal scary for young men to have a friend and teammate get hurt, let alone get shot. (At this time Parrom is expected to recover fully).

The Wildcats have the stability of Kyle Fogg as a returner, plus top super freshmen recruits in Angelo Choi and Josiah Turner. The talented players coming into college today can hardly be called freshmen, they have so much experience playing basketball and have been exposed to so much pressure prior to entering college, they are more than ready. Bottom line, look for the Wildcats to easily win 30 games, once again.

Gonzaga on the other hand will be a team to watch this year for many reasons. Do they have the players to compete on a high level, as the have in the past? Can they continue one of the greatest dominant performances in sports in the last 25 years and win their 12 straight regular season championship? Is this Mark Few's last year in Spokane and will he leave for a better job? How much challenge will BYU bring to Gonzaga as they enter league play in the first year?

One thing I can tell you is, Gonzaga has some good players coming back in Robert Sacre, Marquise Carter, David Stockton and Sam Dower. Stockton, the son of hall of famer John, shocked everyone last year with his play, sometimes he even shocked his teammates with spectacular passes that they were not ready for. Sacre on paper is also the best player in the conference.

While Gonzaga has been a dismal failure in the NCAA tournament, there is no disputing the awesome success during the regular season and I expect that to continue as the Zags will win their 12 consecutive  regular season championship this year, despite the challenge of newcomer BYU and rest of the outstanding teams in what is a very good basketball conference.

And speaking of good basketball, why not have the Pac 12/WCC challenge each year. Why has this not happened before now and just take the top nine teams in each conference and play each other the following year in match-ups per your positioning in the conference the previous season. Maybe the real reason is the fear that this might show that the WCC is on par with the Pac-12 in basketball, make no mistake about it.

So keep December 17th free and I give big plaudits for Arizona playing Gonzaga and once again I give  big plaudits for behinds the scenes guru, Mike Roth, the Gonzaga athletic director for his years of always scheduling quality opponents for the Zags in pre-season. He will never get enough credit for what he has done for Gonzaga basketball.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Class, What Did We Learn Today?

As we are less than a month away from the start of the college basketball season, I am hoping that everyone in the last five months has learned something which can make college basketball even a better game and more exciting game than it is today.

We also hope that everyone can forget the awful, boring, pathetic, effortless championship game that Butler and Connecticut put on last April. I guess if I wanted everyone to forget, I should not have reminded you. Sorry.

My love of college basketball I would hope is well documented, but I do agree with some of the critics that the game has become a little stagnate and is losing some of its appeal.

Over the last five months of this column, I have made several suggestions, which college basketball should have implemented for the 2011-12 season, but now I am hoping that all you great readers will look at this upcoming season and say, "Crawscorner is right and these changes need to happen in college basketball soon".

In case your new to this column or  missed what I wrote or even need a little refresher here we go with some things I feel are mandatory to improve the college basketball game.

1. Bring back pre-game dunking. Right now it is not allowed once the officials take the court, which is generally 30 minutes prior to tip-off. This is such a stupid rule. Allow dunking in pre-game, just make the penalties the same as they are in the game, if the player hangs on the rim, it is a technical foul. I do not know one single person who does not like dunking, the players love it and it would bring fans to game much earlier, thus allowing more concessions sales, as well as you would attract more kids to the games, which is always good for the future.

2. Correct the timeout situation in college basketball. It is one of the top three complaints from fans about the game and once again, schools need to remember that fans are not your enemy, they are your CUSTOMERS. And please do not blame TV/radio, they need their timeouts to pay for the broadcasts, which I have mentioned many times, so many people who can't afford to attend the games, or have physical limitations that do not allow them to do so and often depend on  these games as the highlight of their day.

Her is a simple way to do timeouts in college basketball. Do not have any team timeouts, just have a 90 second timeout under the 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 minute mark on the first dead ball after these times and allow one 30 second timeout per team per half. I have talked to numerous broadcast people and this more than satisfies their need for commercials and it should more than satisfy coaches to implement strategy. Phil Jackson won a whole lot of championships and so did Bobby Knight, not calling lots of timeouts.

Right now the game is being ruined by the timeout rules, this is a simple solution to a major problem.

3. I was not trying to be funny when I suggested this change. Never play a second overtime, but instead have a free throw shootout. Copy soccer, (No I really didn't mention soccer did I), yes I did. Shootouts are just great and so exciting, but pressure filled and so much fun for the fans. There also is motive in my madness, it might just make free throw shooting better in college basketball, as I have documented, free throw shooting in college basketball has not improved since 1965, SHOCKING.

4. And finally, for all you schools that never get any people out to games or your attendance is miserable, hire a marketing person who has some passion, wants to think outside of the box and cares about the game. There are plenty of great sports people out there looking for work. I am getting sick of the same old promotions, the wringing of hands about lack of attendance and the lack of passion. Get with it schools, it not only your job to educate people, it is also your job to promote athletics. If you need any advice on how to market your product better, please just contact myself, I am willing to help.

Big thank you to both Kevin McCarthy, who runs one of the top three college basketball blogs in the country, and Jonathan Reed, who runs, for their kindness these past few months. And speaking of Jonathan, best of luck in his upcoming marriage in 9 days, we know his bride is getting a great man, cause anyone who has the courage to write a daily blog on Big Sky basketball has to be a great man.

Ok for all you people that want help with marketing, or you just wish to comment on this column, you can email myself at or as always, please follow myself on twitter @wchoops.
Thank you for your readership, which is reaching all time highs as we march to opening tip-offs a month away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CRAWFACTS, Edition 12

UCLA---I hate to say that I told you, but I did tell you so. The best off-season move in college basketball  as I documented when it happened, was for Ben Howland to hire Korey McCray as an assistant basketball coach. I watch coaches and coaching moves and this was a gem of a hire by Howland. For the class of 2012, the Bruins already have commitments from Jordan Adams (Oak Hill), Dominic Artis (Findlay Prep) and Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony). All three of these players come out of top flight programs and easily Anderson is one of the top five players in the country. And this might just be the tip of the iceberg, as McCray has had a long time coaching relationship with Shaq Goodwin, a top ten high school player in the country and is leaning towards being a Bruin. While Sean Miller might just be the best recruiter as head coach, McCray is going to become the best assistant coaching recruiter in all of college basketball. The Bruins are back and a good team in Westwood can do nothing but help west coast college basketball.

PREDICITIONS---As I also have said in the past it is fun to make predictions, sometimes it is dangerous and I have always been willing to take the heat when I am wrong and will always accept your praise when I am right.

Prediction 1---Mark Few will leave Gonzaga after the 2011-12 season for a better college coaching job. While Few has had great success in regular season, for the most part his teams have not done well in post-season. More and more not only are fans becoming restless with the lack of post-season success, but also Few is starting to see more and more players leaving the program, i.e., Demetri Goodson and Manny Arop, leaving this past season. There is always a time to stay and there is always a good time to leave. Despite denials, Few has flirted with other jobs in the past, my feeling is he will leave after this year.

Prediction 2---Eric Reveno, who has somewhat of a rebuilding job this year with his Portland Pilots will once again win 20 games and will leave the North Portland school for a better job. University of Portland is an outstanding school, with one of the best arenas in west coast college basketball, but they in no way can pay Reveno what he is worth. Eric Reveno is maybe the best coach in college basketball that no one has heard of in the general sports world. In the world of college basketball, everyone knows about Reveno and the job he has done in taking a program when he arrived that was so far down, it was thought impossible to win even 10 games per year. The quality of life in Portland, Oregon is pretty darn good, but though no one wants to admit it, you can make your own quality of life with money and a better coaching job, Reveno will have plenty of offers.

Prediction 3---Unless Cameron Dollar has a monster year with Seattle University, the Redhawks will think about making a change as they enter play in the Western Athletic Conference. So far in his tenure as heading up the Redhawks, Dollar has been average at best and his recruiting seems to be missing something. Quite frankly he should have been winning more games than now and as I have documented, the Redhawks have the ability to dominate the WAC when they enter league play in 2012. One thing is certain, with the major commitment that Seattle University has put into bringing back basketball and money that they have spent, the demand to have a winning program is there. Dollar now needs to show he can produce, or else it will almost be mandatory that he is replaced.

SANTA CLARA---You have to feel for Kerry Keating, not only an outstanding coach, but a really nice person, in his loss of top player Marc Trasolini for the entire 2011-12 season with a torn ACL. Trasolini is a native of Vancouver, B.C. and in the Broncos' trip to Canada in early September, Trasolini in front of many family and friends was injured in the first game of the trip, sadly. The Broncos are coming off a year where they snuck up on everyone and won 24 games, including the championship of the CIT post-season tournament. The great Stan Love, Kevin' father and a guy who knows basketball as well as anyone in the world, told me way back when Keating was an assistant coach at UCLA, that Keating would be a big time college coach in the very near future and nothing he has done so far at Santa Clara has made myself feel any differently about what Love said.

PORTLAND STATE---And speaking of coaches it is not often you talk about a head coach doing a great job, while only having a .435 winning percentage after only two years as head coach. Tyler Geving at Portland State is the exception to the rule. Last year he won one more game than the previous year, not usually not a big deal, but it was big deal when you consider the Vikings were short handed playing most of the year without year star player Phil Nelson and also the fact the Portland State was on probation due to a low APR, due to the lack of previous coach Ken Bone not minding the store during his tenure with the Vikings. Like Ben Howland, Geving also made a brilliant off season move in the summer of 2010, when he hired veteran west coast assistant coach Andy McClouskey. McClouskey is a steadying influence and great to have on a bench for a young head coach. The Vikings are now off of probation, they have some good players, including one outstanding player in Chehales Tapscott and as I have written about before are my favorite to win the Big Sky.

BYU---For all you West Coast Conference fans who were hoping for a quick bolt out of the WCC for the Cougars, mainly cause they will make waves and might possibly end the domination of Gonzaga in basketball, do not hold your breath. I have been told by some people who should know that the Cougars plan to stay in the WCC for awhile, there are not plans to move to the Big 12 and they like being in the WCC, while still being an independent in football. And by the way, they are looking forward to the challenge of beating Gonzaga, many have February 2nd circled, the first meeting of the two basketball powers, in WCC play.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Big Guy Needs To Step Up

It is time, it is way overdue, it needs to happen immediately.

The time is now for President Obama and his staff to inject themselves in the the NBA lockout and get this things solved.

David Stern and the President are friends, many of the present NBA players were out helping him get elected, so what better scenario could there be than for the President to get involved in this labor fight.

History dictates that Presidents have shied away from labor disputes unless the security and safety of the country is at stake. I have news for everyone, our security in case you have not noticed is at stake every single day. Part of our security in the great United States is the economy, which at present it teetering on becoming the next big depression.

Sports is a big part of the economy of our country, maybe not as big as some people who skew the statistics would lead us to believe, but it still is important to the overall economy. We all know that in this dispute, most of the owners can withstand a long lockout, even missing the whole year. We also know many of the players, who per their leaders are more than prepared to miss the whole season to make their point and win this dispute and of course we know that NBA players always handle their money wisely.

The big guys can always survive, the little guys can't. So many people that we will never hear about will be affected greatly by an extended lockout and many people who work for teams in the front office will lose their jobs. It has already happened. Some restaurants, stores, people who park cars, that depend on an NBA season will be so affected by loss of income and I could go on and on even more about jobs and people who will suffer because of no income.

The sad part about the above is that when it really comes down to it, most NBA owners and players could care less, but President Obama should care lots and it is time for him to get involved and I mean put the whole force of the government to get this solved. And for those who will say his hands are tied, the government's hands are never tied, they can do what they want anywhere and anytime.

Besides the more than obvious economic impact of losing or having a delayed season in any sport, there is always the social side. Many people look to sports as a release, a way to have a little enjoyment, in what at present is not an enjoyable time in the this country. People love their sports, we need sports, it part of our culture and will be forever, no matter what people say that want to pooh, pooh the impact of sports.

I will say this, if there is a major loss of games in the NBA or if as some smart people are saying the loss of a whole season, the NBA will never recover, it will never be the same. Times are different than in 1999, the last time their was a work stoppage in the NBA. Resentment will be overwhelming this time and people will turn to other sports, perhaps even college basketball will pick up some new needed fans.

President Obama loves sports, he loves basketball, he also loves politics and he wants to be re-elected, which is real iffy at this point in time. What  greater publicity  move could a President make than to help solve a labor dispute that most of the country is watching closely. Mr. President it is time to move, it is time for you to inject your popularity with the participants and get this solved. You have the power and the influence to do just such.

And a final message to all who say they could care less. You should care about anyone who is about to lose their job as many associated with the NBA will and more importantly, there is nothing greater than showing compassion for other people, which is exactly what this is about. Forget the owners and players if you do not like them, think about the people who depend on the NBA for their income, they do need our support.

Whether you like sports or not, when it comes to the economy, unemployment and the social impact, we all should care and as the leader of our country, President Obama should care the most. It is time for the big guy to step up and step up big time.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Last Time

You have my word here, this is the last time I will write about this, I promise.

For some reason I just can't let go of this subject, for not only the reason I think it is important, but I keep getting reminded of it, by fans of the teams all over the place.

And since this blog is literally read by people all over the world, what I am about to write about is not just a local issue, there is an underlying message for everyone who owns a business or does business with a business, which obviously includes the whole world.

For the life of me, I can't figure out still,  why Portland State and University of Portland are not going to play each other in men's basketball this year. For the record, at best the schools are 25 minutes apart by even the slowest of drivers. There is also not another D-1 basketball program within 85 miles of each school.

Even worse, here are some schools which the teams have on their schedule this year at home. Portland has both Concordia of Oregon and Concordia of California, plus they are playing Lewis and Clark, which by the way is 30 minutes from the Pilot campus. Portland State has Walla Walla College and Linfield. Out of respect, it is tough for each school to schedule and actually they do as good as possible, as basketball scheduling is becoming increasingly tough for all D-1 schools.

But with having to schedule the above basketball powerhouses at home, why oh why Pilots and Vikings did you end your series and quite frankly what was becoming a pretty good basketball rivalry.

I was even so curious and was being hounded by so many, I contacted Larry Williams, Pilot athletic director and his Portland State counterpart Torrie Chisholm, both fine men and both should be credited with getting back to myself extremely quick. But at the same time while I respect their quick answers, it was hard to figure out the answers, I would have to say that both did very well in political correctness classes, even were A+ students.

And at this point, I am at the point of I don't want to hear any excuses, any reasons and I really don't care who is at fault,  if someone is,  for canceling this series and very good rivalry. All I and hundreds of other care about is just playing the darn game, if not only once per year, but it should be played twice every year.

Now for my underlying message, businesses today and even in the toughest economic conditions since the Depression, have forgotten about customer service. Athletics in all schools is not a department, it is a business, no matter what the size of the school. The bottom line is give your customers what they want and trust me, the fans of both of these schools who are there customers want this game and they want it every year, period.

Just like not playing this game is stupid, stupid and even more stupid, it is the same that for the first time in like 40 years, Utah and Utah State will not play this year. A great rivalry ended and just like the Portland State/Portland game, people in Utah are mad and very frustrated.

There are very few rivalries out west in basketball to begin with, so why end two of the better ones and please, for all you cynics out there, there are people all over who do care about college basketball and more importantly rivalries.

Let me say something positive about Portland State and University of Portland. I have many friends who work at both schools, I know so many quality people who love their experience as students at both places and both schools are great venues to watch games. Portland State not only for most years has good teams, they have the best pep band in all of college basketball and Portland, has something you never see, not only a great arena, but great concession food and free parking for all games.

In addition, three years ago yours truly slipped in the parking lot on some ice at University of Portland and took a hard fall, only to realize quickly that there must have been 20 students rush over to me and see if I was ok, never forgotten. And at Portland State, you will never see a better game operations in sports which is overseen by the legendary Assistant Athletic Director/SID Mike Lund. Makes it a fun place to be for fans, just not at either place will you see this rivalry.

So with all my angst and all my plaudits, I do want this message to get out. By not playing rivalry games, schools are cheating their fans and more importantly, it shows a complete lack of customer service.

And yes, Crawscorner is always right and even more importantly, the customer is always RIGHT.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Stop, Wait, Think

As they say in Texas all the time, "hold the horses", that does not appear to what the present Pac-12 is doing right now.

I know it is really chic at present to mix up your conference, out maneuver the other conferences and get as big as possible, it is the talk of the entire sports world.

One thing forgotten, while football drives the bus in college athletics, basketball at the very least sits in the co-pilot seat.

So with that said, if and everything is a big if right now and can even change as I write this on Monday September 19th with conference alignment, if the Pac-12 succeeds in bringing in Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech and Texas, it really does nothing for basketball, it actually will bring basketball down.

Now for those who do not think basketball is that important I remind everyone who thinks that way,  that the biggest sporting event in the world is not the Super Bowl, it is March Madness which just happens to be a basketball event. Quite frankly the way China is going,  basketball will soon replace soccer as the biggest sport in the world.

That is why I say bringing into the Pac-12 schools that have been absolutely horrible in basketball in the last few years, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech and Oklahoma is really, really bad for what would be Pac-16 basketball. Texas will enhance the Pac-16 basketball landscape, as the Longhorns finally realized about 15 years past, that we have to maintain a basketball arena, so we better start having a good team.

I can also tell you that in addition to the above three teams that will do nothing for Pac-16 basketball, what makes it even worse is that no one was jumping up and down about this year's editons Colorado and Utah, when it comes to basketball. 

As a matter of fact, I have been told by people at ESPN and Fox, they would have done the new TV deal, even if the Pac-10 would have still existed, the Pac-10 is that big of a property, with LA, Phoenix and Seattle and the Bay Area all being markets where sports fans watch a higher volume of sports on TV than other large markets.

I have written about the disgust with many that the Pac-12 will not play a round robin league schedule in basketball at least until 2021, adding four more teams as might possibly happen, makes a round robin league schedule for basketball now impossible.

Of course I can't stop any of this nonsense, I am all for progress, new inventions, creative thinking, but it appears that basketball is a sport the Pac-12 could care less about, if the Pac-16 does come about.

A much better scenario would have been to bring in Texas and BYU, two schools with a great history as of the last 15 years in both football and basketball, which would still given the Pac-12, Pac-14 a powerhouse league.

Expansion is great, exciting, but sometimes the reason most businesses fail is they expand too quickly and do not think things through. In this case the cart is before the horse and no one was watching the horse.

For all the brilliant moves the Pac-12 makes, this Pac-16 scenario might be pretty dumb.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Just Not Football Please

Recently I have the pleasure of having lunch with two giants in the sports officiating business, Terry Gierke and Dale Scott.

For those of you who are just returning from the moon or do not follow sports that well, Terry Gierke is a retired NFL official, with super bowls and 15 playoff games and 22 years in the NFL. Dale Scott is a major league umpire, who at the end of this month will complete his 26th year in major league baseball, is a crew chief, has worked three world series and is considered by all to be one of the top three umpires in major league baseball.

Quite frankly it is shameful and should be an embarrassment to the Oregon Sports Hall of  Fame that both of these outstanding gentleman have yet to be inducted for that great honor and it needs to happen soon.

What struck myself the most about the lunch is that in sports officiating it is easy to get jaded, cynical and any other words you can think of about a profession that  is constantly under the eye of everyone, constant criticism, you never have any home games and for sure there is seldom pats on the back.

With all that said, Gierke and Scott are far from jaded. It was thrilling to hear them talk about sports officiating and how much they still care about the subject, how excited they are to still be involved and how much respect they have for the profession.

To translate this all to basketball, starting this year the Pac-12 in football has spent thousands to improve their football officiating and upgrade from what many thought was an inferior product. Of course if you have been following the the first two weeks of football, perhaps so far the money has been wasted, but on a serious note, the effort they are putting in will pay dividends you would have to think down the road.

But was Pac-12 basketball officiating which has  woefully been below standards for years given the same makeover?  So far it appears it has been forgotten and we might just see the same old thing that we have seen for years, an inferior product on the floor when it comes to officiating. One thing for sure, the Pac-12 has the money to improve the product, but there has to be a commitment.

As a matter of fact, the same amount of money should be put into basketball as is being done for football, the product is that important to the league on both the men and women's side. The technology is available to make people better, implement it, plus there needs to be more training and educating of officials by the Pac-12.

I might also add that while we heard ongoing comments coming from the Pac-12 to the media about how much they were going to change the football officiating program and make it better, there has been dead silence about basketball. I hate to tell the Pac-12, but your basketball officiating program, was much worse than your football officials. Simply, it needs to improve and it can improve, but it takes effort, people who can get the job done and putting the teeth into making things better, not just talk about making things better.

One final comment about college basketball officiating in general, will somebody please step up and force officials not to work so many games in a season. You can never convince myself that an official who is working his ninth night in a row, all in different cities is as fresh as the first night of the nine game period. As much as college officials are paid, they do not need to work nine nights in row or sometime even longer periods of time, in a row. It is not fair to schools, players and fans and is horrible for the game as a whole.

Deep down, most people who know anything about sports, respect officials, it is just the hope of many and especially when it comes to the Pac-12 that it gets better, please. It is too important a part of the game, not to improve.

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