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USA SOCCER: The buzz is growing

Has it happened yet? Have you been bitten by the bug? Have you become, for lack of a better word, a soccer freak?

If you haven't, you are missing out on a very special moment. If you have (or if you were one all along), well ..... ain't it fun!

One thing we have discovered during the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa: Soccer is alive and well in the good 'ole U.S.A. No, soccer hasn't reached the heights of America's major sports. And it probably never will. It won't replace football. It won't take the place of basketball or baseball. NASCAR will most likely always be more popular and so will golf, if only because it is a sport that we all can play.

But soccer is making headway. Lots of headway.


AFGHAN RICHES: Oh the irony!

The Pentagon announced on Monday that Afghanistan is sitting on top of an estimated $1 trillion worth of mineral deposits. If true, we have a new poster child for the term "irony."

All these years, with countless invaders, wars, suffering and death - a civilization that is closer to the Stone Age than the 21st Century — and suddenly Afghanistan has riches most countries can't imagine.


SOCCER'S WOES: Can U.S. make a mark?

Apparently, soccer isn't quite dead in the United States. On life support? Maybe. But there is a chance for a full recovery.

It is no secret that soccer (or football to the rest of the world) lacks much support in America. We've got millions of kids playing the sport, and America has produced some outstanding talent. But few notice and soccer languishes in obscurity. Oh there are fans here — don't ever doubt that. A day after The News-Telegram ran an editorial cartoon depicting soccer as a sleep aid for Americans, an angry fan called to protest. That doesn't happen when President Obama gets the same treatment.


MEDIA BAILOUT: Government must stay out of journalism

It's no secret that the mainstream media — newspapers, radio and television — are going through trying times. The rapidly changing technological world, coupled with an ever-increasing busy lifestyle (and a struggling economy) have hit media outlets hard.

It is a challenge, no doubt. But it is one challenge that doesn't need government intervention.


FAMILY SPLIT: Will Horns, Aggies go separate ways?

When the college football landscape started shaking late last week — with word that both the Big 10 and Pac 10 were looking to expand their rosters of schools — college football fans in Texas nodded politely and simply said "tell us where we are going and who we are playing — we will all make the trip together."

That may not be the case anymore.

Leave it to the Aggies to drain some oil from the moving vans.

It was initially thought that whatever happened in conference realignment, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech — along with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — would all ride off to a new Pac 10 conference together. Baylor was/is trying hard to jump on the bandwagon, but the Bear faithful are nervous that there may not be room.

But as the dominoes began falling late this week, the Aggies threw some water on the party — with A&M leaders gazing lovingly at the Southeastern Conference and a possible spot alongside Alabama, Florida and LSU.

You can't blame the Aggies, really. Last year, the athletic department lost $16 million — forcing a loan from the school's general fund to cover the red ink. The Texas athletic department, on the other hand, pulled in some $130 million — making it the highest revenue-producing athletic department in the country. Getting out of UT's shadow may be the first step for A&M to get back to profitability.

But a split between the state's two flagship schools would be huge news. It is very likely that one of the most storied rivalries in college sports history would cease — at least for the foreseeable future. No more Lonestar Showdown. No more Thanksgiving Day gridiron battles. No more family feuds.

It could take a few days for this thing to shake-out, or it could happen this weekend. But one thing is sure: History is being made in college football — and perhaps the State of Texas, too.

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