Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Hawai'i Dilemma

***Before you read this post, you must know that I have always referred, and will always refer to Hawai'i as "The Rainbow Warriors," even though they have recently dropped the rainbow descriptor. Their efforts to masculine-ize their school mascot won't work with me.***

To root for the Rainbow Warriors, or to root against them? That is the question I must face in the next few days.

Hawai'i is not one of my favorite teams, by any means. They have historically been at odds with BYU, and even though their rivalry has fizzled since BYU left the WAC, there are still some bitter feelings there.

Personally, I don't like Hawai'i because they have no class. They were always bitter about BYU's national respect and success, and they always did whatever they could to take the spotlight. Case in point, in 2004, Hawai'i QB Timmy Chang passed Ty Detmer to become the all-time leader in passing yards. He did it by running up the score, passing on every down and staying in late in blow-out games.

This year, Colt Brennan broke Detmer's all-time TD record in pretty much the same fashion. Hawai'i can't stand BYU's national respect, and so it has to play dirty games to take our records.

Plus, I don't like how Hawai'i got in the Sugar Bowl this year. Sure, they're the only undefeated FBS team, but they played most of their games in Aloha Stadium - where they are absolutely invincible - and two teams on their schedule were FCS (formerly D-1AA) teams. That is in addition to a WAC schedule that includes Idaho, Utah State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech who are barely D-1A as it is.

It's not right. They have the softest schedule in the league, and they get rewarded a huge bowl game for beating up on the little kids.

For that reason, I hope Georgia obliterates the Rainbow Warriors.

On the other hand, Hawai'i also represents something else: they are the little guy. In a way, Hawai'i is the flag bearer of every so-called "mid-major" school in the league. Much like Boise State last year, Hawai'i will go into New Orleans as the boy in a man's game, and I'm guessing no one will give them a real shot to win.

However, if they do win, that would mean non-BCS schools are perfect against their BCS bigger brothers. That would mean more credibility would be given to the argument that every team deserves an equal shot. A Hawai'i win would give more respect to teams like BYU, and they may even pave the way for a non-BCS team to win a national championship.

It could happen.

Plus, I would love to see the mighty SEC fall on national TV to a WAC team. Heaven knows I loved seeing Oklahoma get beat last year by Boise State.

So what say you, loyal readers? Should I root for the Rainbows?

Bowl Season: Week 2

I've been MIA for the past couple of days, and I apologize. In the words of Bob Cratchit, I was making myself "rather merry" this Christmas season. As a result, I've been neglecting my blogging duties. I certainly hope no one has made any wagers on the bowls I've missed. I'd hate to think someone out there is laying money down without consulting me first. My record thus far: 3-3.

Okay, let's get to it.

What: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Who: Arizona State vs. Texas
When: Thursday, Dec. 27
Where: San Diego
The Skinny: Both teams have had up and down seasons, and this should be a good matchup between equal teams. I give a slight edge to Arizona, since this bad boy will be played in their back yard. ASU 24, UT 17

What: Champs Sports Bowl
Who: Boston College vs. Michigan State
When: Friday, Dec. 28
Where: Orlando, Fla.
The Skinny: BC has the best bowl winning streak in the nation. Did you know that? I bet you didn't. I say Matt Ryan and the Golden Eagles keep the streak alive. BC 21, MSU 20.

What: Texas Bowl
Who: TCU vs. Houston
When: Friday, Dec. 28
Where: Houston
The Skinny: If there's one thing the MWC does well, it's win bowl games. At least that's the way it was this year, and that's the way it is so far this year. Plus, TCU is a solid team who finally found their groove at the end of the season. Look for TCU's defense to dominate Houston at every point of the game. TCU 30, Houston 10.

What: Emerald Bowl
Who: Maryland vs. Oregon State
When: Friday, Dec. 28
Where: San Francisco
The Skinny: Maryland has been a sleeper team this year. Just when you think they're out, they'll sneak up and steal the game away. They have a long way to go to get to the Bay Area, but I like the Terps to beat up Oregon State. Maryland 31, OSU 21.

What: Meineke Car Care Bowl
Who: UConn vs. Wake Forest
When: Saturday, Dec. 29
Where: Charlotte, N.C.
The Skinny: We don't hear much about the East Coast teams out here in the Mountain West. I know UConn was ranked for a good part of the year, and Wake Forest has been up and down. I actually saw both teams play just once, but I don't know how to match them up. But... I'll take the Huskies. UConn 41, WF 31.

What: Autozone Liberty Bowl
Who: Central Florida vs. Mississippi State
When: Saturday, Dec. 29
Where: Memphis, Tenn.
The Skinny: I saw UCF play the Conference USA championship against Tulsa, and they looked solid. They have a running back, Kevin Smith, who is actually the NCAA rushing leader. That's right: he has more yards than McFadden, Hart and everyone else. He looked pretty dang good then, and he'll be the key to beating Mississippi State. UCF 27, MS 21.

What: Valermo Alamo Bowl
Who: Penn State vs. Texas A&M
When: Saturday, Dec. 29
Where: San Antonio
The Skinny: All right, we're starting to get into the relevent teams here. I like Penn State to win this one, even though A&M is defending the Alamo. The spirit of Davy Crockett won't help the Aggies this time. PSU 44, ATM 28.

What: Petrosun Independence Bowl
Who: Alabama vs. Colorado
When: Sunday, Dec. 30
Where: Shreveport, La.
The Skinny: Colorado finally got bowl elligible! Too bad the Tide will roll right over Brett's Buffaloes. AU 27, CU 20.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Magic Happens

I don't know about any of you, but I couldn't watch. I sat on the bench of Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, my head in my hands, and I couldn't look up. I couldn't believe that we were going to lose this game. Once again, UCLA was going to take a game away from the team who rightfully deserved to win. All they needed to do was chip in an 18-yard field goal, and their kicker was automatic all day (I wonder what that feels like?)

The snap, the hold, the kick...


The ball hits the big mit of Eathyn Manumaleuna, and dives toward the ground just feet short of the goal post! I decided to look up right at the last second, and I saw every bit of that block. And then I exploded into a joyous ecstasy that still hasn't left me completely. Everyone around me (that is, those who hadn't left already) were crazy with happiness, and Becky and I ran out onto the field to celebrate with our fellow fans and the players.

It was a great ending to a good bowl game.

Chalk that one up as BYU's second bowl win in a row. Do you know when BYU last won two bowl games in a row? '83 and '84 with Steve Young and Robbie Boscoe.

We are in the midst of a new golden age, Cougar fans. BYU is back, and it is better than ever.

A couple of thoughts from the actual bowl game:

Just in case any of you feel like BYU was lucky to win that game, I say to you get thee hence. BYU deserved every single iota of that win. BYU outplayed UCLA every minute of every quarter. BYU's defense dominated UCLA all night, and a one or two big plays did not negate that. Also, it was a BYU player that made the big play. UCLA didn't miss the field goal, BYU blocked it. Manumaleuna summoned all his jumping strenf and put a hand on that ball, and that has nothing to do with luck. That was in our control. BYU won the game, and we deserved the win.

Secondly, whoever was in charge of calling the running play with 19 seconds left in the first half which resulted in a fumble and subsequent Bruin touchdown ought to be severely disciplined. Seriously, that boneheaded call almost lost us the game, and whoever called the play is lucky we still won. For those who didn't see, BYU was on its own 8 yard line and there were 19 seconds left before the half. BYU was up 17-6 at the time, and UCLA would get the ball to begin the second half. Under these circumstances there is only one thing to do: take a knee and let the clock run out. But, the Robert "Einstein" Anae decides to run it. Now, in Anae's defense, running plays are usually solid. But in this instance it was not. Unga fumbled and UCLA scored, and I hope to heck that Anae got an earful for his stupidity.

One more thought I had while watching that game was about Austin Collie. Austin Collie is the best player on the BYU football team end of story. He is incredible. Max Hall could throw every single ball to Austin Collie every game, and I'd be happy. Moreover, I think we'd be successful. Collie is a big time player, and we are lucky to have that guy. I don't know what else I can say about him, other than he is the absolute best. He was making huge catches, he was running right by UCLA's cornerbacks, he was getting open and he was making plays. Collie is the man, and I sure hope he sticks around for the next two years.

When all is said and done, though, just keep telling yourselves that we won the game. It may not have been the blowout we were all expecting, but a win is a win. Give credit to UCLA, because they played inspired defense. They played hard, and they absolutely stuffed our offense for most of the night. In fact, they made Harvey Unga look like a lilly-white schoolboy. But at the end of the night we made the extra play, and we are now the Las Vegas Bowl champions for the second-straight year.

It's a magical thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Poinsettia Bowl: Utah 35, Navy 32

While my wife was taking the very last final of her BYU life, I was at home sitting in a daze watching the first bowl game of the season: The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Granted, I wasn't as excited for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl as I am for the Pioneer Purevision Las Vegas Bowl, or the Meineke Car Care Bowl, for that matter, but football is football and I'll take what I can get.

I'm being facetious, actually. The truth is I'm always interested when Utah plays. Mostly because I want them to lose. In this case, however, I was caught in a win-win situation.

If Utah loses, nice. Finally we won't have to hear about "the nation's second longest bowl winning streak."

If Utah wins, nice. It looks good for the MWC. Besides, the malice kind of dies after the rivalry game.

Shifting one's eyes slightly upward, any reader will notice that Utah did, in fact, beat Navy yesterday. Even though I predicted a Midshipmen win, I'm not surprised in the least that the Utes pulled it out.

And, to their credit, they came back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to do it.

Give the Utes their due. They obviously went in the locker room and made some adjustments. I'm picturing the conversation now...

Brian Johnson: Dang, we suck.
Steve Tate: You may suck, but I don't suck. I was recruited to play Quarterback at Utah State.
Paul Kruger: I was recruited to play quarterback too!
Marquis Wilson: Me too!
Kyle Whittingham: Guys! Calm down! You were all recruited to play quarterback.
Everyone: Seriously?
K-Whitt: If not, would you really have come to Utah?
Everyone (muttering): Yeah, I guess you're right...
Steve Tate: Hey... you know what I just thought? We're playing Navy.
Brian Johnson: Yeah, that's true. Navy isn't that good, right?
Paul Kruger: Yeah. Navy isn't that good. Hey... you know what we should do? Let's win.
Brian Johnson: Yes! That is a great idea!

And so on. The Utes came out and actually (gulp) played to their strengths! They threw the ball, and Navy couldn't do anything to stop it. So good on ya, Utes. Way to go out there and barely beat a team you should have destroyed easily.

Incidentally, it's easy to keep a bowl winning streak alive when you play cupcakes, pansies and pantywaists (no offense to the brave men and women serving in the Navy).

Also, here's something you don't see every day. The officials in last night's game conceded they made the wrong call on a pivotal fourth quarter play. Did it affect the game? Looks like this controversy, along with many many other college football injustices, will have to find its rectification during the Millenium.

Good Riddance, Gordan!

Yesterday I made reference to Gordan Giricek's recent "banishing" to the locker room after an argument with Head Coach Jerry Sloan. Apparently our favorite Eastern European has been sent home from the Jazz's road trip in shame, and his status on the Jazz is unknown.

Does anyone else think this might not be a bad thing?

I want everyone to think for a moment: When were you last happy with Gordan Giricek? When he made that one shot a few games ago? That one funny commercial he was in for KJZZ 14? Pretty much ends there doesn't it?

Yeah, Giricek is not my favorite Jazz player. In fact, Giricek could disappear right now and I'd never know the difference.

Check that, I would know the difference. The ball would probably be getting in the hands of more capable players, and I'm guessing more points will be scored. Giricek, in case you haven't seen the Jazz play in the past 5 years, is a black hole.

He's a chucker.

I don't think I've ever seen him pass. Ever. But don't get me wrong - being a chucker is fine, if you can actually make a shot every once in a while. Giricek never makes a shot. Giricek is one of those guys that somehow slipped through the talent-evaluation stage of making it to the NBA. Somehow he got in while being a horrible player. He must have slipped the scout a mickey or something, because he is not NBA-caliber.

So good riddance, Gordan. Send me a postcard when you get back to Yrgyslvakia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thursday Thoughts: Finals Week Edition

I've been trying really hard this Christmas season to begin my posts with anything but a cliche Chirstmas carol opening. So, instead of saying "It's the most wonderful time of the year," let me just begin by saying... it's a good time to be Adam Olsen right now.

Finals are over, Christmas is still on the horizon, and I've got just under three weeks to watch bowl games, eat malt balls and avoid shaving/showering before the next semester begins. I love this time of the year! My euphoria levels are off the charts!

But I digress. Concerning sports, here's what's on my mind grapes:

1. The Boston Celtics. Man, it's a good time to be alive for John Q. Boston Resident right now. The Red Sox are World Series Champions, the Patriots are 14-0, and almost certain to win the Super Bowl, and the Celtics have started the NBA season 20-3 (they lost a close one to Detroit last night, but still loooked good).

This got me thinking. Should I like the Celtics? I tend to view the sports world's "flavors of the week" with a measure of disgust, so my first instinct is to hate the Celtics. But then I thought to myself: Who is responsible for bringing Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett together? None other than former Cougar Danny Ainge!

Ainge is the guy calling the shots up in the Celtics' front office, and he has to be given a hearty pat on the back for his work so far. He's also responsible for drafting Glen "Big Baby" Davis from LSU. So I may have a reason to like the Celtics after all.

Editor's note: I usually hate the Patriots, too, but having Randy Moss and the Patriots' Defense on my fantasy football team has led me to suspend that hatred for a while as well. Maybe this is the year I finally mend my hatred for Boston-based teams.

2. BYU's sorry matchup at the Las Vegas Bowl. As if playing a 6-6 UCLA team without a permanent coach wasn't bad enough, now the Bruins won't even have a quarterback! With both Ben Olson and Patrick Cowen on the bench, the Bruins will be starting a WR at QB, and his backup will be a contest winner: whoever has the best record at the football toss at ESPNZone (My brother-in-law Chris should lend his services).

To illustrate the sorry QB situation, let me quote from Greg Wrubell's BYU blog: "UCLA QBs not named Cowan or Olson have completed 29 of 72 passes for 6 ints and 0 tds this season. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Osaar Rashaan (most likely the Vegas Bowl starter) and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The former lined up at wide receiver in the season opener, and stayed at WR until mid-October; the latter is a freshman walk-on."

Ugh. BYU 100, UCLA 0.

3. A message to Michael: Leave us alone! Michael Jordan came back from the grave last night to stab the Utah Jazz in the heart yet again. Jordan's Bobcats came back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 98-92. The game also featured Gordan Giricek's "banishing" to the locker room. The Jazz are on a sorry road right now, but I am not afraid. The Jazz will rebound, and I'd rather their traditional slump be at the beginning of the season than at the end.

4. Remember when you were a little kid and when anyone asked you what your favorite food was you always said pizza? But then when you got older you said something else like steak or Thai food or something a little more sophisticated? Yeah, I'm still at the pizza stage.

5. Chris Collinsworth is Fernando Malaman, and Chris Miles is the future of BYU basketball.

6. If you live within 400 miles of Las Vegas, and you're a Cougar fan, and you're not going down to watch the Las Vegas Bowl, then you are one of the worst people in the world. If money is an issue, go get a title loan or a pay day advance or something. No excuses.

Bowl Season: Week 1

Remember that feeling we all felt on December 1 after the regular season for college football ended? That strange emptiness inside, and the feeling like we couldn't go on any more? Well, just in the nick of time, just when we were all about to lose all hope...


...and there's no better place on the Web to find out about all your favorite bowls than Adam's Sports Blog. That's right, ASB is the new headquarters for all your bowl knowledge needs, and for all you sports fans that need someone else to pick the winners for you, look no further! So, without further adieu, let the games begin!

What: The Poinsettia Bowl
Where: San Diego
When: Thursday, December 20
Who: Utah vs. Navy
The Skinny: Utah is a good team that finally started playing consistently at the end of the year. But, anyone who watched Navy play knows they're not too shabby either. Navy brings their high-octane running game, and Utah brings that one dancing lady. Tough call, but I'm going against the grain and picking the Midshipmen. Navy 31, Utah 20.

What: New Orleans Bowl
Where: New Orleans
When: Friday, December 21
Who: Florida Atlantic vs. Memphis
The Skinny: There may be two teams I care less about than Florida Atlantic and Memphis, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. Talk about a waste of time bowl game. But then again, Florida Atlantic fans might say the same thing about the Las Vegas Bowl. Memphis 28, FAU 21

What: Bowl
Where: Birmingham, Ala.
When: Saturday, December 22
Who: Cincinnati vs. Southern Miss
The Skinny: I like Cincinnati in this game. I get a good feeling from the Bearcats. Not like those mangy Southern Miss Golden Eagles. I hate them so much! Cincinnati 27, Southern Miss 18

What: New Mexico Bowl
Where: Albuquerque
When: Saturday, December 22
Who: Nevada vs. New Mexico
The Skinny: Normally I'd say the Lobos win in a heartbeat, but New Mexico will be without Rodney Ferguson, who is their leading rusher, and perhaps one of the best in the MWC. But I still think New Mexico, playing in front of their home crowd (if such a thing exists) will end their dismal bowl losing streak. UNM 35, UN-R 20.

What: Las Vegas Bowl
Where: Las Vegas
When: Saturday, December 22
Who: UCLA vs. BYU
The Skinny: I think BYU is going to straight up murder UCLA, and not just because I'm a rabid BYU fan. Now that the season is over, the two teams have learned their respective identities: The Cougars are winners, the Bruins are losers. UCLA will be a test, don't get me wrong, but BYU will throttle Ben Olson and the dirty Bruins in front of 40,000 BYU fans in Vegas. BYU 31, UCLA 17.

What: Hawaii Bowl
Where: Honolulu
When: Sunday, December 23
Who: East Carolina vs. Boise State
The Skinny: This is BSU's second trip to Hawaii this year, so I'm thinking they got all the touristy stuff out of the way on their first trip. My guess is the Broncos will be busy putting the hurt on East Carolina while the Pirates are still reeling from the luau the night before. Boise State 38, ECU 21.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Welcome to the first installment of a weekly column entitled Thursday Thoughts. In this once-a-week article, I'll try to compile all my varied sports opinions into one concise post. If you have any suggestions about topics, manners or hairstyles, please email me at

First off: Get off JT's back! I, like dozens of other people, was in attendance last night as BYU held off the pesky Lamar Cardinals. And, like other people, I am aware of the recent fan backlash against his supposed "recklessness" on offense.

Look, I agree that JT shouldn't be shooting every single time he gets the ball. Sometimes he makes bad decisions, and it hurts the team. I don't agree, however, with those who are calling for his head and are even booing him in his own stadium. How quickly Cougar fans forget that JT is our best shooter. Period. I feel more confident when JT has the rock than anyone else (besides maybe Trent Plaisted).

Furthermore, when JT is hot again, the same fans that boo and heckle will adore him once again. Class up, BYU fans. And keep shooting, JT.

Number 2: Bronco is staying right here. Don't be concerned with recent reports that Bronco is being courted by other schools (UCLA, for example). Bronco has found the perfect situation at BYU, and his coaching philosophy won't be as successful anywhere else.

Here at BYU, Mendenhall can marry football with spirituality. He can successfully add a spiritual component to his team to both motivate and mold his players. That's how he works, in case you haven't noticed it, and if you take that ability away from him I think you weaken Mendenhall's ability to extract the best performance from his players.

I'm not saying he would be a bad coach if he were to leave BYU, but he certainly wouldn't be able to use the same methods.

Plus I know he loves it here. And what's more, the whole thing is just a rumor.

C: Don't blame Beck. John Beck hasn't exactly had the best NFL career so far. He avoided turnovers his first two starts, but ever since then the INT monster has reared its ugly head. Now, he's back on the bench and Cleo Lemon will try to help the Dolphins get their first win of the season.

Feel bad for Beck, but don't blame him for the Dolphins' woes. In fact, let's list all the reasons it's not Beck's fault:

1. He has no running game. His first three - yes THREE - running backs are out with injury. The Dolphins are starting a contest winner at RB, and that's going to put added pressure on any QB.
2. The Dolphins' best WR, Chris Chambers, was traded earlier this season.
3. The offensive line gives Beck absolutely no protection.

I'm still confident that Beck will be a successful NFL QB, but it may take a little longer than one or two seasons.

Numero quatro: It's hard not to like the Packers. It's true, I have Brett Favre on my fantasy team, but that's not the only reason I'm rooting for the green. You gotta like that guy. He's still getting it done in his later years, and he's still having a blast. He's fun to watch, dang it, and even when you're rooting against him, it's still hard not to like him.

Fifthly: Highlights from last nights BYU game. Pay special attention to Plaisted's off-the-backboard dunk, and Sweet Lee's alley-oop (it's hard to miss them - there are about fifty replays).

And finally, number six: In case you missed it, The Utah Jazz are on a five-game losing streak. Hey Jazz, wake up! There are still some people in Utah that care if you win or lose! Go play defense, stop shooting 23-footers, and finish games! Granted, I won't really care until the playoffs, but get in the game, dang it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

BYU loses control

BYU lost a heartbreaker to #9 Michigan State on Saturday, 61-68. If you watched the first half, though, the final score might shock you a little bit. See, the Cougars ripped MSU up and down the first half. The defense was good, the energy was up, the crowd was roaring and the shots were falling. We went into halftime with a 10-point lead.

So what happened?

Actually, the same thing that always happens when we play upper-echelon teams: BYU failed to adjust, and they lost control. Michigan State obviously had a pow-wow in the locker room, adjusted their game, and completely stifled BYU in the second half. BYU, on the other hand, failed to switch up their game. What happens when one team adjusts and the other team stays the same? Bingo- exactly what happened on Saturday.

Watching the game on Saturday was just like watching UCLA last year, UNLV during the MWC championship game, and even UNC earlier this season. It happens all the time: Opposing teams are surprised by BYU's speed and sharp-shooting, and BYU starts out strong. Then in half time the other teams change it up, while BYU thinks the same old formula will work. Guess what? It doesn't work.

Dave Rose: you're a great guy, but you got outcoached.

The exception? Louisville. That was possibly the best 40 minutes BYU has ever played. They started strong, and they finished strong. If we would have done that every game this year, we'd be undefeated and in the top ten.

I guess Saturday was so frustrating because we saw BYU play at its best, and then we saw BYU come out in the second half and completely struggle. Remember how quickly our 10 point lead disappeared? Ouch.

One more thing: Do you know how valuable free throws are? For some reason, BYU coaches haven't figured it out. I love 'em, but BYU players just can't seem to hit their free throws. Sam Burgess, for instance, missed the frontside of a HUGE 1-and-1 free throw, and Trent Plaisted left at least 7 points on the floor with missed free throws. What does this mean exactly? If BYU hits their free throws, we win the game.

Michigan State, on the other hand, made every free throw that mattered. They were automatic.

Oh what I would give for a free throw shooter who was automatic.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Unga and Brown

Ross' comment on the post just below this one piqued my interest. What would a side-by-side comparison of Harvey Unga and Curtis Brown look like? Here goes:

Curtis Brown (Through 13 games):
Year: 2006
Carries: 201
Yards: 1,042
TD: 7
Rec: 62
Yards: 566
TD: 3
Total Offensive Yards: 1,608
Total TD: 10

Harvey Unga (Through 12 games):
Year: 2007
Carries: 227
Yards: 1.211
TD: 13
Rec: 41
Yards: 629
TD: 4
Total Offensive Yards: 1,840
Total TD: 17

Yikes. Harvey Unga is a freak of nature. Not one of us will downplay the value of BYU's all-time rushing leader Curtis Brown, but who can ignore the production of Harvey Unga? Correction: FRESHMAN Harvey Unga?

Unga is going to be a very special player. Consider this: Unga amassed all these stats in an offense whose coordinator admits is "Pass heavy." Imagine what he could do in a run-oriented offense?

Unga averages 5.3 yards a carry. Do you even know how much that is? That means, on average, Harvey Unga would get a first down on two carries every drive. Why aren't we giving this boy the ball more? Note to Max Hall in 2008: Stick the football in Harvey Unga's gut and get out of the way! This kid is going places!

As for my all-time favorite BYU running back, CB, I say this: I love you dearly, CB. You were an indispensable cog in our offensive machine last year. You blocked like a pro, you caught balls better than most receivers, and you were a heckuva running back. You deserve to be BYU's all-time rushing leader, and you deserve to be playing in the NFL.

Also, CB, enjoy the all-time rushing title while you have it, because I'm guessing in 2010 (or maybe earlier) a boy named Unga will be hot on your tail.

Pitta vs. Harline: Revisited

Earlier in the year I posed the question: Is Dennis Pitta the new Jonny Harline? In my post I described both tight ends' production through five games. It is my intent now to follow up with the total regular-season stats of both tight ends and further analyze our future at the position.

Jonny Harline:
Year: 2006
Class: Senior
Receptions: 49
Yards: 754
TD: 11
Average Yards/Catch: 15.4

Dennis Pitta:
Year: 2007
Class: Sophomore
Receptions: 54
Yards: 775
TD: 5
Average Yards/Catch: 14.4

I don't think anyone will argue that these young men are two incredible athletes. Dennis Pitta made sure we would not drop off in TE production this year, even when following the legendary Jonny Harline. What Pitta lacked in TD receptions he made up for with steady production, consistent catches and tough play.

And yet, who can replace the near-automatic touchdown machine that was Jonny Harline? His TD numbers conjure the stories of one-handed grabs in the end zone and miracle finishes. Truly, Jonny Harline was irreplacable. And yet, knowing we have athletes like Dennis Pitta ready to step in without missing a beat reconfirms this simple truth:


Wednesday, December 05, 2007


The Bowls have been confirmed, and BYU will officially be playing UCLA for the second time this year, and we'll play them again at home in 2008.

What a crock!

Not only do we as fans NOT want to see a rematch, we're going to play the Bruins again next year! Also, who are we playing??? A ranked BYU team, the MWC champion, is playing a 6-6 UCLA team that is barely bowl-elligible. Granted we lost to them earlier this season, but this is still an embarrassment to our league and our team.

What do we do now, you ask? We do the only thing we can do: Embarrass UCLA like we embarrassed Oregon in 2006. The Las Vegas Bowl will be on ESPN, and therefore we will have a national stage - complete with Sportscenter highlights after the fact - to put the hurt on UCLA and send them home with their tails between their collective legs. We need to channel our inner Kobra Kai and send the Bruins home in a body bag.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nevada Won't-Pack

Wow, the content is just pouring out of my fingertips these days. In my record sixth post in two days, it is my pleasure to break the news that Nevada will NOT be making the trip to Provo next year to play the mighty Cougars.

I heard the news while listening to Coach Mendenhall's weekly call-in show on KSL, and I thought I would be the first to break the story, but it seems the Salt Lake Tribune found out as well.

Welp, no Nevada next year. And with no one under contract, it looks like BYU will have to schedule another FCS (D-1AA) team next year in addition to playing Utah State. It's not going to help our strength of schedule, but when you're dealing with those slimy WAC teams, what can you do?

BYU in the BC$

In case you Cougar fans aren't already aware, BYU is officially one of 18 teams being considered for a BCS bowl game this year, as per a teleconference including conference commissioners and BCS bowl representatives.

What I would like to do now is list everything that has to happen this weekend for the Cougars to be invited to a BCS game. For a non-BCS school to get in a BCS bowl game, by the way, the school has to be a conference champion in the top 12 of the final BCS rankings. Or, it has to be in the top 16, ahead of another BCS conference champion. I hope that makes sense.

So on Saturday, here's what needs to happen:

1. BYU needs to beat SDSU (And beat them soundly. A blowout might look good to pollsters.)

2. Washington needs to beat Hawaii (No easy task; the Huskies will be playing in the islands, and Hawaii is dang-near invincible in Aloha Stadium.)

3. UCLA needs to beat USC (Sorry, Eliot)

4. Arizona needs to beat Arizona State (Rivalry game: anything can happen, right?)

If those four things happen, it will create a four-way tie in the Pac-10. The tie-breaking formula used in the Pac-10 conference will send UCLA to the Rose Bowl and make them the conference champions. Hawaii will fall behind BYU in the BCS standings, and BYU will finish ahead of UCLA. Therefore, BYU will secure a BCS bowl invite.

It's a long shot, but definitely not impossible.

For more info, read Jeff Call's article in the Deseret Morning News.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's Fourth

All right, I know 4 posts in one day gets a little excessive, but I had to give this juicy nugget to all my loyal readers. Thanks to Shawn B. for the assist.

MWC Coach of the Year

Who's your pick for MWC coach of the year? The trendy pick is Air Force's Troy Calhoun. He took the Falcons to an impressive 9-3 record in his first year, after AFA was picked to finish very close to the bottom in the pre-season. Air Force beat a very good Utah and TCU squad early, and then got some national air time by putting the hurt on Notre Dame.

They did, however, lose a tough game to Navy.

Oh yeah, and they got blown apart by BYU.

But, there's no doubt that Troy Calhoun is a great coach, and he'll have a great career at the Air Force Academy.

However, Calhoun falls a bit short of MWC Coach of the Year, in my humble opinion. To me, no one deserves that honor more than our very own Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall, even before the season started, had the toughest test of any coach in the MWC (besides maybe Gary Patterson from TCU - but Patterson couldn't rise to the challenge. TCU finished the season woefully below average): Rebuild a powerhouse program after losing virtually all of its offensive talent to the NFL/graduation.

In case anyone has forgotten, let me remind you that BYU lost John Beck, Jonny Harline, Curtis Brown, Zac Collie, MacKay Jacobson, Nate Meikle and on defense Cameron Jensen and our favorite undersized corner back Justin "J-Rob" Robinson.

He inherited a quarterback, Max Hall, who hadn't played in a meaningful game since high school - nearly four years earlier. Skeptics picked BYU to finish third in the MWC during pre-season voting, and rightly so: There were large shoes in BYU's locker room, and no one knew who was going to fill them.

Mendenhall remained confident, however, that a system was in place to produce success regardless of personnel.

Now, as the season winds to a close, we all know what Bronco knew all along: a system is indeed in place, and BYU will be successful for many years to come. The Cougars have mirrored last year's accomplishments with a 9-2 (soon to be 10-2) record, and they have done it with a completely new cast of characters. Mendenhall has taken a new crop of athletes and has led them to an incredibly successful season. More importantly, he has instilled a culture of winning.

Last year, BYU had a great team. This year, Bronco has built a great program. Bronco gets my vote for Coach of the Year.

Austin Collie's Controversy

"When you're doing what's right, on and off the field, the Lord steps in and plays a part." - Austin Collie

It was 4th and 18, but it might as well have been 4th and 1,800. After a near fumble, a near interception and a dropped pass, the Cougars looked like they were done. Their collective heart had been broken. It seemed the Utes would once again claim victory in LaVell Edwards' hallowed field. And then... we all saw it. We watched Max Hall break out of the pocket. We saw him wind up and let loose. Then we looked down field and saw Austin Collie wide open on the Utah 40 yard line. And then we went crazy.

And I mean, WE WENT CRAZY.

When AC caught that ball it was BYU's game. Sure enough, Harvey Unga sealed the deal by running into, through and over the Utah defense, including Steve "The Tool" Tate (Pictured here eating turf)

In a post-game interview, Austin Collie gave the above quote. In essence, he gave credit for his ability to the Lord. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Utah fans became enraged. It's like clockwork: Every year, no matter what happens on the field, it always has to come down to religion with these two teams. We can't escape it.

And why shouldn't it? I mean, how dare a BYU student athlete give God the credit after a wonderful win, right? How self-righteous!

Austin Collie later said, "I just think it's absolutely ridiculous that people take something like that [his earlier quote] and blow it up. I really think it's because I'm a Mormon white kid from Brigham Young University. Anybody else says that from any other team and it's just 'how spiritual that guy is.'"

How true. When Illinois QB Juice Williams led his team over then #1 Ohio State, the first thing he did in the post-game interview was thank God. There are myriad other examples of different players doing the same thing every game. Kneeling after a touchdown, crossing themselves, pointing to the sky - these are all ways of giving God credit. And yet, when Collie does it, somehow it's offensive and self-righteous.

Essentially, Austin Collie said 'when you do what's right the Lord blesses you.' If you believe in a higher power, how can you disagree with that statement? I now quote from an article printed in today's Deseret Morning News:

(Austin Collie speaking)"It's true. You can see that around the world, God cares about his children and that he's going to bless them whether it's on the football field or any other areas of their lives. I think if you're doing the things you should do on and off the field, things are going to come together for you."

"To tell you I got here on my own and that the Lord hasn't had a hand in my success and our team's success and every other athlete's success in this world is just B.S., because he's had a hand in every person's life."

When asked how he felt about the commotion his quote has caused, Collie, a freshman All-American before leaving for his mission three years ago, replied, "People need to get a life. It's just ridiculous. People have to get a life, that's all."

My break

Sorry for the long vacation from the blogosphere. I regret my absence, but let me just say, it was a very nice break for Adam Olsen. Here's what I've been up to:

I braved the icy winds of Laramie

I ran a freezing cold Thanksgiving race

Most importantly, I witnessed the Utes get vanquished by the mighty Cougs

It was a great break, and a great weekend to be a Cougar!

PS: BYU football - ranked #19 in BCS, Coaches poll; #21 in AP
BYU basketball - ranked #21 in AP; #23 in USA Today

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On To Laramie!

Before I begin, I want to apologize for not updating my blog. I know it has been too long for the loyal readers (sorry, Mom), but I'm back now and the sky's the limit.

This Friday, the crew will be rolling thick to Laramie, Wyo. for the BYU football game. The high plains of Wyoming is an intimidating place, even for someone like me who has never even been there. The stories of urine bombs, whiskey bottles, livestock and other projectiles have me a bit concerned, to say the least, but this is a trip that needs to be taken. This is more than a road trip; this is a defining moment in my life.

I stand at the crossroads of manhood.

This weekend, I will shed the persona of the awkward college student and become a crusader. I will march dutifully to the home of the heathen with my sword in hand ready to reclaim the holy land. I will either return victorious, or die a martyr on the field of War Memorial Stadium.

I do not know what awaits me on the high plains of Laramie, but I do know this: I will follow BYU to hell, and I'll surely follow them to Laramie.

Laramie: From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U embarrass us.

Raise your hands everybody- who caught the Utah/CSU game last Saturday? How about the UNLV/New Mexico game? And the Utah State/Utah game a few weeks ago? Anybody?

I'm guessing most of you aren't raising your hands. Why? Because I doubt a game will have much television viewership if it can't even attract fans to the stands to watch it live.

I am one of the few who can watch football on The mtn. - the official crappy station of the MWC. Along with juvenile play-by-play guys and horrible camera work, I have noticed something while watching these games. No one is in the stands. No one. Ever.

Case in point: I secretly root for the Aggies of Utah State, I'll be honest. Utah State is like the little brother I never had. Anyway, I watched their game at Utah with much interest, but I was sad to note that there were only 20 or so people in the stands. I took my mind off the game for a while to try and spot more people, but unless they were all out buying libations I don't think they were there.
Here it was, an in-state rivalry game, and the stadium wasn't even close to being half-way full. For the U. of U. Stadium, that's equivalent to about 1/4 full down here at BYU.

The trend has followed Utah to every one of its home games. Not only that, but hoards of empty seats are present at every stadium around the MWC on game day. Anyone who saw the aforementioned Utah/CSU game knows what I'm talking about.

What does this mean for a BYU fan like myself?

First of all, it's downright embarrassing. These other teams in our conference make me absolutely sick. Where's the pride? Where's the passion? The lack of interest at other schools is a black mark on our conference. To a casual passer-by, the MWC might understandably be mistaken for the middle-weight pee-wee division championships.

Second, it's painfully apparent that BYU flat out does not belong with this group of losers. Don't get me wrong- the teams are talented, and they give us competition in every sport. The programs, however, are more akin to Snow College down in Ephraim. (No disrespect to Snow, by the way. They're on their way to a JC national championship. But I digress.) BYU has a national following, the highest attendance for any non-BCS school (even ahead of a whole lot of BCS schools), a nationally recognized football team, a Heisman winner, a national championship, a whole heap of bowl appearances, boosters, facilities, etc.

BYU also has, I might add, one of the few athletic programs in the nation that is in the black - meaning, it's making money instead of draining it.

Yet here we are in a conference with a bunch of drunken inbreds (Wyoming), Pac-10 dropouts (UNLV), dirty hippies (Utah), and Texas' retarded little brother (TCU).

BYU is a BCS program stuck in a JC conference. It's embarrassing, and it ticks me right off - especially since there's nothing we can do about it. All we can do is sit back and hope and pray for that one magical day we get an invite to be in a BCS conference...

It will come. Just believe!

(Note: For an interesting read, check out this article from Gordon Monson)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spread The Good Word

So I guess BYU has another bye week. Postponing the game is the right decision, don't get me wrong, but I already had to suffer through one bye week. I'm not excited to go through another BYU-less Saturday.

But here I am, so I might as well make the most of it.

I want to write about something I thought about as I was in Disney Land with my wife and her family. When I was packing for the trip, I had a very distinct thought to bring plenty of BYU gear. This is another piece of evidence that my obsession with BYU sports has gone too far: I not only see vacations as getaways, I see them as opportunities to spread my support of BYU to an unknowing audience.

It may seem a bit pathetic, but I really feel like I'm doing good when I show support for BYU on the road. You never know- a high school recruit could see that oval Y on my chest and it could change his life. In fact, someone once told me the only reason Michael Reed committed to BYU is because he saw a BYU bumper sticker while he was visiting San Antonio (that story is completely false).

The best part is, though, I'm not the only person who thinks like this. It may surprise you to know that of all the college shirts I saw in the DL (UCLA, USC, Oregon, even Utah), BYU outnumbered them all by far. I spotted BYU shirts everywhere: Main St. USA, Tomorrowland, The Jungle Cruise, The Tiki Room, everywhere. I know, I know, some of you will say that's just because BYU fans are all gay and they like being at gay Disney Land, but I think it's something else.

True BYU fans know it's their duty to promote BYU athletics where'er they may be. We band together, and we know we have a part to play in the vast scheme of Cougar sports, and we take advantage of every opportunity we get to spread the good word. So remember this when you plan your next road trip: Pack your blue, and proclaim good tidings about BYU.

And for the record, yes, I do love Disney Land.

Baseball is King... In October

It's amazing how many people come out of the woodworks in October and claim they love baseball.

I'm one of them.

Who can honestly say they didn't get in to the MLB playoffs this year? How can you not love what the Rockies have done? The sweeps? The bug-infested Jacobs Field? What's not to like?

Last night I, as well as every other red-blooded American man, watched Game 2 of the World Series. It was by no means an offensive game, ending 1-2 in favor of the Red Sox, but I found it to be extremely interesting nevertheless.

Watching Curt Schilling last night was like watching a master artist work with colors and canvas. Schilling is a middle-aged, average-looking, slightly overweight guy who, if you just happened to see him on the street, you would probably peg as a hillbillie or a trucker. Yet he has command over a baseball like I've never seen. He is nowhere near the dominant pitcher he used to be, but his pitches broke, curved, slid and snuck past almost every opposing batter last night. For that reason I must admit, although there were no exciting home runs or offensive outbursts, the game was very enjoyable.

Baseball is getting good, my friends. It's a pity that the season has to end right when it's at its most interesting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harvey vs. Kyle

I read a fantastic article today written by Gordon Monson: Cougar RB able to rebuild life in shambles. In it, Monson tells Harvey Unga's story - a story I certainly didn't know. I had no idea, for instance, that Harvey used to beat down snow cone shacks for extra change and sell perscription drugs on the street (I have you intrigued, don't I? Read the article, you'll be shocked).

Anyway, Unga literally rebuilt his life and became the nice guy bruiser we all know and love today. His story is definitely worthy of everyone's attention, if for no other reason than it demonstrates that a man can change.

However, there is one part of his story I find particularly interesting. Read Monson's account of Unga's recruiting experience:

"In the early days of 2005, Unga slimmed his choices to Utah and BYU, and orally committed to the Utes in January.

"Things there looked good from the outside," he says. "It was during Coach [Urban] Meyer's era, the Fiesta Bowl, and all the glamour."

But, a week or so before the national signing day, Unga called new Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and told him he had decided instead to go to BYU.

"He was pretty upset," Unga says. "Whittingham said, 'Those guys are going to switch you to linebacker.' He was like, 'You're going to wish you never went there. You're going to call back and want to go to Utah.' It turned me off. He flipped on me."

That same night, Unga called longtime BYU assistant coach Lance Reynolds to tell him that he would not be going to BYU, that he was going to stick with his original decision to attend Utah, just to see what Reynolds' reaction would be.

"He told me," Unga says, "'You're going to do great things up there. . . . It's going to be tough when we play you guys. . . . We know you're going to be a great player.'

"I thought, 'These are the kind of guys I want to play for.' "

Finally! We loyal Cougar fans have an insider's perspective of the devious and snake-like Kyle Whittingham! Can you believe his reaction? I can almost feel the desperation in his pleas. He responds to a young man's desire with biting jealousy and bitterness. "You're going to call up and beg to come back to us," he says. What a joke. Kyle Whittingham has become a dark and evil man. I'm ashamed to call him a former Cougar.

Monson contrasts Whitt's villainy beautifully with RB coach Lance Reynold's response: We're sad, but we wish you the best of luck - you're a great player. Talk about two programs with different philosophies: One is so desperate to be successful they will demean and attack an 18-year-old boy, the other has the individual's best interest as its only concern.

This does make me wonder, though, about what is being said to some of our in-state recruits. How do these bully coaches influence impressionable teenagers? Did something similar happen to Sealver Siliga?

In any event, I'm profoundly happy BYU has Harvey Unga. The redshirt freshman has proven he's worth his weight in gold. I'm equally happy he has found an environment to suit his newly changed heart. All the best, Harvey, and as if you didn't already know by now: you made the right choice.