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BYE WEEK BLUES
I can not think of a worse way to go into a bye week than what happened to UTSA on Oct 24. In what I called Game of the Year I at Old Dominion, the Roadrunners were humbled by the Monarchs. Save for the fact that UTSA finally got their running game going, there wasn’t much to be happy about coming out of that game. To me, it seems like it just left a bad taste everyone’s mouth, and then you’re left to stew on that for several weeks. The life of a dedicated follower of a football team isn’t always pleasant. But there’s a lot of football left in this 2016 season. And mathematically, nothing has been decided. A good Southern Miss team comes to the ‘Dome on Saturday for an early 11am kickoff. UTSA will need an “All Hands on Deck” type of an effort to be in this one.
One third of the way through the season and UTSA holds a 1-3 record. You can make an argument that the Roadrunners could be 2-2 or even 3-1. But like I’ve written before, I subscribe to the notion of what Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells always said, “you are what your record says you are.” If UTSA was in fact a better team, they would have found a way to win those games. At this point of the season, I think 1-3 is an accurate portrayal of what this team is: on the cusp of being better, but not there just yet. The good part about it is that there is a full two thirds of the season remaining. UTSA isn’t eliminated from anything. That bad part is that the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Following Saturday’s game vs USM, UTSA will be on the road for four of the remaining seven games, which includes a non-conference contest with Texas A&M in College Station. There’s also a three-game stretch beginning next week with the three other Texas schools in CUSA: Rice, UTEP, and North Texas. Those games have always been very competitive. It may be too early to concede anything this season, but post season aspirations are, at the very least, looking like an uphill climb. But there’s nothing wrong with that. UTSA still has a ton to play for. There’s a group of seniors who have given their all to their school. There are several young and upcoming players to keep an eye on. And college football is full of upsets week in and week out. An upset win this week vs Southern Miss could do a lot to right the ship. First year Head Coach Frank Wilson has done just about all he could to help this team be successful. The rest will take time.
We got our first look at the 2016-17 UTSA Men’s Basketball as they held their first practice on Friday. There was a new energy in the building as first year head coach Steve Henson and his brand new staff got after it. All practices are held at UTSA’s Convocation Center and are open to the public. The big story on day one was the indefinite suspension of Guard Christian Wilson. As it turns out, Wilson was arrested last week. This hasn’t been the first time Wilson has faced off- the-court issues. The Louisiana-native was suspended last season as well. Generally, Wilson is a good kid who has just made some bad decisions. He’s is an exceptional talent when he’s on the floor but it’s hard to think that UTSA can count on him until this most recent issue is settled. Here’s to hoping Wilson figures things out outside of basketball. So as UTSA moves toward the upcoming season, it’s exciting to hear that changes are coming. Several newcomers are in the mix for considerable playing time and it sounds like defense is an emphasis with the new coaching staff. In addition to that, the ‘Runners just landed their first commitment of the 2017 recruiting class, big man Adrian Rodriguez from Tulsa Union. So there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the hoops program. The team will hold an exhibition game vs Arkansas Tech on Nov 7. Be sure to check out the basketball section of the UTSAInsiders Forum to keep up to date: LINK
PARK WEST PHASE II
Last week we reported that the City of San Antonio will recommend that UTSA receive $10 million in public funding for expansion of Park West Phase II. UTSA initially asked the city for $25 million as part of their 2017 bond package. After a town hall meeting and discussion within the city, officials determined $10 million was a more reasonable request. San Antonio citizens will vote on the bond package in May. I’m always entertained by the public’s reaction to spending government money. On one hand, there are usually the detractors of issues who believe money should only be spent on things that affect the masses. On the other hand there are the supporters of causes that typically feel they’re not receiving enough help. Without getting too political about things, I feel this is a win-win situation for UTSA and San Antonio. What a lot of people do not realize is that UTSA and the City of San Antonio already have a business relationship in place. That sounds strange because San Antonio isn’t a business entity and UTSA certainly isn’t a business. But for going on six years, the established business partnership has been the occupation of the Alamodome. UTSA fills the stands while the city operates and maintains the facility. It’s a win-win deal for both parties. In recent years, an added fee to UTSA football tickets was implemented. That money goes back to the city to further help them pay for operation and maintenance, including a large renovation project that will vastly improvement the game day experience. For UTSA, the school reaps the benefits of playing in one of the best venues in Conference USA. So I was surprised over the last week when I heard that several fans were not excited by the city’s recommendation of $10 million. On the surface, asking for $25 million and getting $10 million may seem like something is wrong, but in the political world, it’s not. As Jerry Briggs reported and opined last week (LINK), UTSA is now four for four when asking for public monies for Park West. Eight years ago UTSA asked Bexar County for $50 million, that was reduced to $15 million. Such is the world in the political arena where things like schools, roads, parks, etc. are a priority. Phase II for Park West is largely for UTSA football. While other sports will share in the benefits of the facilities of Phase II, football will reap the most. Make no mistake about it, the City of San Antonio making a $10 million investment in UTSA’s Park West facility is a direct investment in UTSA football. What’s the old saying? Put your money where your mouth is? Well, I think the City of San Antonio just did that. It will eventually be up to the voters to approve the funds along with all of the other issues included in the bond in May. So until then, the political side of things will be at a standstill. But the support that city officials have shown UTSA over the last week is significant. The long-term goal is to move all of UTSA Athletics’ operation to Park West. Last week, the school took a major step toward that.