Big West Breakdown Part 2

"A Vision Thing"

By Jon Ralston


"When Aggiesports contacted me this week to contribute to this Big West column I had to put some serious thought into the emphasis or philosophy of the column.  My decision, rather than try to be an expert providing my analysis of current teams, games, and players, I'd rather put out bigger ideas to provoke thought and hopefully discussion, in a word discussion Vision.

It has been said that Vision is a picture of the future that one wants to create, and that Vision is the vehicle for bringing purpose into the realm of acts and commitments.  So with that in mind, I've dubbed my column, "A Vision Thing."  This begs the question, what is the purpose or vision of the Big West?  The answer to that question is quite unclear, which of course has delivered us to our current disorganized state.

Based on the decisions that have lead us to our current state, it appears to me that the purpose and vision of the Big West conference is to provide a home for California State and UC school, period, with the exception of my beloved Pacific.  There seems to be no desire to achieve excellence nor to break any new ground.  This current philosophy, as a result, has driven all non-California institutions to seek membership elsewhere since it appears that USU and Idaho do intend to strive for excellence and as a part of that
plan they must find a solution that addresses their desire to excel in football.Having seemingly achieved its' half hearted vision to become an All-California Conference in the near future, where does the conference go from here?  Nobody seems to know, there is no Vision.

Dare I suggest a new Vision for the Big West Conference.  That the conference strive to become a Top-10 Men's & Women's Basketball Conference, a Top-5 Women's Volleyball Conference, a Top-5 Baseball and Softball Conference, that the conference require all members to sponsor Men's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Water Polo, and that member institutions succeed from the MPSF to create a Top-5 Men's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Water Polo conference.  A conference that has member institutions that compete for the Sear's Cup.  A conference that has member institutions that compete for National Championships in the sports just mentioned, and a conference that in the next 20 years sponsors DI-AA non-scholarship football as a step towards re-establishing it's football presence.

Sure this seems unrealistic, but that is what a vision tends to be until it becomes reality.  There are issues that need to be overcome, namely budget issues, facilities, scheduling, public relations, and recruiting just to name a few.  But if this conference is to go anywhere, it first needs a vision that the conference administration, university presidents and athletic departments, and fans and alumni of each respective institution can strive towards its' attainment.

Future columns will address ways in which we, as fans, can help initiate the process towards the attainment of this vision.

Until next time, Think Big!!!

Comments, Questions, Suggestions, Hate Mail!, send me an email at"

Question of the Week:


"If you were to replace Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell, what 3 things would you do to change the "image" of the Big West?"


Here is what some of you had to say!


"The Corvette that the Big West used to be has been carefully and lovingly downgraded to a Yugo at the hands of Mr. Ferrell.  This is a conference that had a National Champion in B-Ball just a few years ago and had teams ranked year after year.  Now it's considered a high-water mark for a team in the BW to simply get votes.  It's sad".- Vadryn


"Be more active promoting the conference and its' schools.  Why not host all the message boards, post the collection of newspaper articles about the conference schools on the BW site, host web casting or radio broadcasts, email newsletters, etc" – UCR ‘95


"Having a separate BWC Football conference.  And, than going back to a divisional format of teams. Eastern & Western" – Poly Pete

"Stop trying to make the Big West the all UC  and Cal State show.  I would try to find out-of-state or private school teams to fill the gaps for Utah and likely Idaho.  No noise makers?  Isn't the goal to make a visiting team feel unwelcome?  Time to revoke this rule." - uoptiger


"Revert to 8 teams until we can get a good base INCLUDING teams outside of CA.  NAU and maybe Portland St. may be good choices for that if we can find a way to pry them from the Sky. .  Ban all references to anything related to Marshall Mathers (especially the 8 Mile soundtrack)." – Tiger Casey


"Stop using the Anaheim Convention Center to host a basketball tournament.  Make Rosenbloom of KDOC get rid of his Don Sutton perm (and make sure that KDOC is not using some local junior high's video equipment).  Force CSUN, CSUF and Cal Poly to blow up their gyms." - DonLe

"Fire everybody working in the BW office right now. Especially those bozos who can't update the website in a timely manner. Stop having the BW tourney since it's not a money maker. Win and you're in!!! This also helps the chokers from that state school in south orange county. Have a set of standards for all facilities. Maybe something like for basketball, 4000 seats. Half of which have to be chair backs. A certain lighting requirement. Stop having games in caves like CSF. Require lights for baseball and softball and soccer. Etc. School would be given a five year window to meet the new standards and if schools are not able to comply with the new standards they would be kicked out of the BW. They can have a two year extension but during those two years, the NCAA basketball money will be cut in half to that school." – TitanCzar


"Minimum Arena Requirement for basketball. Probably nothings screams "small time" louder than the 1600 seat CSUN gym. Put up or get out--give 5 years or so to come up with a new arena, minimum seating of 5,000 or so. This would affect UCR, CP, CSF, & CSUN. Improved handling of tv exposure. More tv exposure of course would be a + but even working within the limits of the current contract, they do a horrible job. Careful planning should be given to home games, making sure that the students are in session and not in finals. Bad teams should not be given tv exposure, you have to earn the right to get on tv. Rivalry games should be aired if possible.  Better & more creative advertising to assist the individual schools in improving attendance." – GauchoFreg


"Arrange a preseason Big West v. major conference (PAC-10 perhaps?) challenge. The top two or three Big West teams from the previous season each play a major conference opponent in a one day regionally televised event at either the Staples Center or the Pond. Ambitious? Yes, but if successful, it results in money, TV exposure and a chance to measure up against major teams." - FireFudd


"1. Dump the conference tournament until there is more interest in the conference. The top ranked team must go to the Big dance. That team has already proven to be the most consistent winner in the conference as opposed to whatever team happens to have a great weekend but did poorly or second best earlier in the season. Eventually after interest increases, hold tournament at a better / more respectable venue such as Anaheim pond. This should only occur if the day ever came when another team in the conference could get an at large berth. 2. Build a top notch conference web site that looks highly professional and interesting so that potential athletes at respective institutions and conference fans have a resource to tap. It will truly improve our image over that awful web site they now have. Athletic departments should follow suit. This is often the only resource people far away from our schools and conference can look at to make a judgment about our institutions and gather information. 3. Design a conference LOGO that looks professionally designed as opposed to the current logo that was designed by a child. the Big "XII" conference logo denotes power and tradition as opposed to our logo which denotes minor / weak conference. This sounds silly but it is just one vehicle that can be used to turn around the pathetic image we already have. We need to change our IMAGE and that often includes common features such as logos or even colors." sig757


"1) Redesign the website.  There should be a weekly column by the commissioner about issues concerning college sports and the Big West conference.  There would be an ask the commissioner section where questions can be asked of the commissioner and their staff.  Games throughout the conference would be archived on the conference site.  The Big West radio
show would be produced, broadcast, and archived on the site.  Weekly teleconferences with coaches would also be recorded and archived on the site.  Weekly chats with one of the coaches from each team in the conference would be held on the site.  The idea would be to increase communication between the conference administration and the fans.  Knowledgeable fans are
good and loyal fans.  2)  The format for the Big West Tournament would be changed.  The contract with the
Anaheim Convention Center would not be renewed and the regular season winner would win the right to hold the next year's conference tournament.  This allows for a tournament that has more of a possibility of being profitable.  It rewards the team that won the regular season with an opportunity to have home court advantage during the next season's conference tournament.  It also provides economic rewards for the institution (ticket sales, parking, and concessions) and the local economy of the local institution (hotels, restaurants, shopping, etc).  3)  The last thing I'd do is throw down the gauntlet and say that the Big West will sponsor DI-AA non-scholarship football by 2015 and have it's own bowl game as an unofficial DI-AA Non-Scholarship National Championship.  DI-AA non-scholarship football is relatively inexpensive.  The recession will not last forever, so we should plan for the rebound.  At the very least it will make the presidents of the Big West come out and take a stand on the issue, and hopefully alumni and community support would step up to the challenge to influence the reintroduction of Big West Football." JonRalston


A Look Ahead:


Wed. Jan. 29th 2003

Cal Poly @ Long Beach


Thurs. Jan. 30th  2003                Sat. Feb. 1st 2003

CSUN @ Fullerton

Cal Poly @ UCI




UOP @ Fullerton


USU @ Idaho


UCSB @ Long Beach


"In Your Face Game of the Week"      UCSB @ UCI


UCI must hold home court against UCSB who badly needs a win on the road against a championship contender. Here's what two rabid fans have to say about the upcoming contest:


In the right corner: GauchFreg


"UCSB 67 UCI 64, or a similar score will be read on the morning of January 31 by Big West fans.  With UCSB finally playing to their strengths of outstanding guard play & outside shooting, the Gauchos are able to negate the hot hand of Irvine's Jordan Harris in a highly contested game.  UCI's other guard, Mike Hood, gets lost in one of Irvine's cloned sterile neighborhoods after a shopping spree @ Fashion Island and misses the game....UCSB's enforcer from last year, Bray Skultetty, finds a way to make PF Bryan Whitehead mean, and Whitehead pushes UCI center Adam Parada around and gets him out of his game.  Casey Cook, having gained some confidence in his outside shot pulls Stanislav Zuzak outside helping to open up the lanes for Gaucho drives to the hoop.  GauchoLocos show up in force but their presence is somewhat muted by the fact that the Irvine CIA copied the GauchoLoco t-shirts, color & all.   Gaucho fans still manage to out yell the CIA because of the presence of one newest Gaucho, my four month old baby boy, making it to his first Gaucho game!"


In the left corner: kjsmith

"While the Gauchos do have a talented frontcourt, they do lack a "true" center. UCI's Adam Parada may not be a truly consistent big man, but if he can stay out of foul trouble and get good positioning under the rim, he can be a force the be reckoned with. We are still waiting for the first breakout game from him this year. Can UCSB afford to double team Parada? You guys could not even beat a traveling team from
Australia. UCI defeated Team Ezybonds, but the Gauchos didn't!!! I'm still not quite sure what a Gaucho is? UCSB has what we want - a NCAA banner. Do you have a Jeff Golger? We get to see Mike Hood and Branduinn Fullove on the same court, two of the BW's hottest players now! My money is on Hood, he single handedly won three games for UCI (Just ask USU, he broke their hearts!) UCSB - another four letter "word" Does UCSB rely on Mark Hull too much? Kinda like we relied on Jerry Green to bail us out of games! Who needs Jim Rome, we have Jon Lovitz ! REVENGE FROM THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT LAST YEAR!! We have UCSB to thank for the idea of creating the CIA - Thanks guys
Our Mascot is better (Plus Peter was in Maxim Magazine, was that Gaucho-man in Maxim?)
Good thing you guys get to play Long Beach before you go home, it would be a long trip back to UCSB after your loss to UCI. Wow, you beat USC - now look at them now!! Your Freshman Derek Wheeler is from Irvine - hope he gets a nice homecoming (hehe). Gauchos and Eaters are tied for 2nd. Its on Regional TV. Our teams are very similar in makeup. It should be a shootout! Zuzak / Harris against your frontcourt should be great Good Luck Gauchos, Hope you travel well to this game - it should be fun!"


Thanks to everyone who participated in the weeks Big West Breakdown!  Special thanks to rAggie, No33pc, GauchoFreg, JonRalston, zzzza, and kjsmith!



Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Problems? Something you'd like to see in next weeks Big West Breakdown?  Email AggieSports at



Ustate Aggies Top Stories