Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A much-needed break

What's the best way to deal with a most disappointing Bowl appearance? Take a couple weeks off. That's what I plan on doing.

I will not be udpating this blog until sometime in the year 2009. Please come back often, though, to read your favorite articles from the past. Like this one, for example.

And since I try to remain totally neutral in the world of holidays, let me leave you by wishing everyone a very happy Winter Solstice.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm on your side, Tav

Sometimes I think life must suck for Jonathan "JT Monaaaaay" Tavernari.

I mean, he hides it well under his snappy blazers and sunglasses, but I bet Tav is nursing his own private pain deep down inside.

I mean, we're talking about an awesome basketball player who possesses some pretty freaky skills and an unquestioned team leader for the BYU Cougars.

He's a leading scorer, he's a former MWC freshman of the year, he's got a sweet secret handshake he does with Michael Loyd Jr. before every game--how could life not be all smiles and sunshine for the Brazilian Bomber?

I'll tell you how. Fans like YOU make JT's life miserable.

Sorry, I shouldn't be so specific. I'm not talking about you, you. I'm talking about all the BYU fans that constantly give JT crap no matter what he's doing, you.

JT is on a very short leash with BYU fans. Even when he's playing well. All he has to do is miss one wide open three pointer and he's in the dog house for about a week.

"What a chucker!"

"Pass the freaking ball, Tavernari!"

"Get that guy on the bench!"

For some reason BYU fans have very little patience for JT, but are willing to give other players all the leeway they need. Guys like Jimmer Fredette and Lee Cummard can have off nights and still be fan favorites. The second JT misses a few shots, though, he becomes the team villain.

Additionally, JT has to put together a huge string of good games to even think about getting in the fans' good graces. And even then the best the fans will muster is "I guess he played okay tonight... but next time he'll probably blow it."

I don't get it. I get frustrated with JT, sure, but I get frustrated with every BYU player on occasion. I'm an equal opportunity BYU fan.

What's more, I like the guy. I love what JT brings to the team, and I love that he's a little different from the other guys. The flash, the cockiness, the way he speaks so freely and so ethnically--it's all gold.

I just want you to know, JT, that I feel your pain and I'm out there fighting the good fight. I'll continue to defend your honor.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Student Section

Finals are wrapping up over at the ol' BYU, so I would like to write an open letter to the fine students before they all go home for Christmas break.

I can only assume, after all, that every single BYU student reads my blog, right?

Students, I respectfully request that you go home and get a good week of rest over the holidays. Eat a second helping of Christmas ham, break open the non-alcoholic bubbly, reconnect with that girl in your home ward that suddenly looks a lot older these days... do whatever you need to do to recharge the batteries.

Then come back on January 3 ready to break some skulls.

Why? BYU basketball hosts No. 10 Wake Forest on January 3, and I expect the student section to shake the very structural foundations of our beloved Marriott Center. I expect passion, unity and a chorus of hoarse throats the following Sunday.

Students, you are vital to our basketball success. Do you know why BYU has a nation's-best 53-game home winning streak? Do you know why absolutely NO ONE in this country wants to play BYU in the Marriott Center? Do you know why teams like UNLV lose by 20+ points when they come to Provo? IT'S YOU. You are the team's lifeblood. Even when the Cougar Club blue-hairs are sitting on their thumbs, the BYU student section is carrying their team to victory. You, in the words of your head coach Dave Rose, make the Marriott Center magic. We'll need that magic when we play the Demon Deacons.

I've always said we are invincible when we play in Provo. Students: I'm relying on you to not make me a liar.

I know classes don't officially start until January 5, and that a lot of you are thinking about staying home that last weekend, but I would like to invite you to reconsider. Come back on the third, get yourself settled, and get to the game.

Oh, and bring all your crazy. Summon your inner Stan Watts, and get freaking loud. Wear your white (it's a white out), bring your fly swatters, think up some clever slogans for posters and get your butts in your seats 90 minutes before tipoff, minimum.

BYU is counting on you. Jimmer needs you. Get to the game.

Utah County residents and non-students: Do me a personal favor and send this letter to every BYU student or BYU supporter you know. UVU student sympathizers especially. I expect a lot out of you guys since you don't live under the confines of an Honor Code.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jazz Brass: Please trade this man

Carlos Boozer pictured here on the bench after suffering a hard shove in the back. Boozer is expected to miss another 6-12 weeks with a back strain.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This looks familiar...


Another win over the hapless Trailblazers. When are we going to get some competition in the Northwest Division?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My apologies, Mr. Anderson

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to BYU forward/center James Andeson for any snide remarks I've made to friends and family about him, his basketball skills or his wiry skinny frame.

I was wrong to judge, and Anderson drove the point home last night.

James played great. He twisted his way to the basket, pulled down boards and got his fill of blocked shots. Sure, he'll probably get backed down a few times, but at least his lanky wingspan will make sure every shot is contested.

James, I am impressed. You're A-#1 in my book.

Also, I'm really excited about the prospect of using Matrix quotes to cheer him on.
"Do you know what that sound is Mr. Anderson?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maybe government is the answer!

After years of living the life of a free-wheeling, fast-living, small-government conservative, maybe it's time I finally admit that the government has the answer...

...to the BCS.

First it was Barack Obama calling for a college football playoff on a nationally televised interview, and now this, as reported on ESPN.com: Congressman wants to replace BCS with playoff

Is this it? Will the government finally solve our problems???

If the DMV, the tax code and the airline industry are any indicators, they'll probably only make it worse.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Write it out: Where do U stand?

Yes, that clever insertion of the letter U into my title does in fact signify that this post is about the Utes.

But rather than force my stuff down your throats, I want to hear from U, the reader.

Okay, that's the last time I'm going to do that.

So the bowl games have finally been organized, and I'm sure you've heard by now that Utah will be facing The Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl. This is a far cry from Pittsburgh, the also-ran Utah had to face in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. In fact, Alabama is one of the best teams in the country (some might argue the best).

My question to you BYU fans is this: Who will you be rooting for?

Do you fall in line with the rest of the non-BCS and pull for the underdog?

Do you harbor ill-will toward Utah at all times and in all places?

Do you just like Alabama (roll tide)?

This is the question that divides families, ends marriages and makes family parties awkward. Nevertheless, it's a question we must all face: When your biggest rival is playing in the biggest game of their lives, who do you root for?

Please, discuss.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I spent the night with Aggie fans


I’m sorry I have to do this, but I wanted to talk a bit about Saturday night’s game.

Actually, I don’t want to talk about the game so much, but I would like to comment on Utah State and its fans.

I know you don’t care about Utah State. In fact, I know no one outside Cache Valley cares about Utah State, but I’ll risk boring all you true sports fans out there for a bit while I speak my mind.

First of all, I want to say that the game was awesome. My heart was pumping like an overweight Texas Sherriff the entire time. Both teams delivered a great game, and I’m happy BYU won.

Second, Aggie fans totally showed up their Cougar counterparts. I was sitting in the middle of the court so I could clearly see both student sections. The USU student section showed up earlier, they were louder, they were more organized and they had a bigger impact on the game. I was disappointed in my fellow BYU fans (especially the students), and I was also impressed with Utah State. You can’t say they lack passion.

And that’s all the good I’ll say about Aggies.

By and large, Aggies are pathetic people and I don’t understand them. I was looking at the rabble they call students and I was just bewildered. Hicks, dullards, pseudo-rebels, jack Mormons, degenerates and uglies. Every single one of them.

Their entire identity is that of a whiny, insufferable little sister. They are constantly throwing a tantrum because they live in the shadow of two bigger, better universities. Their only pride comes from envy/hatred (the “yBu” shirts that were so prevalent at the game are evidence).

They’re more animal than the cow that founded their college, and everywhere I looked I saw more and more prime cut, Grade A examples. The Aggie fan who won a contest on the court and then ran over to the BYU student section to give the Degeneration X “Suck it” sign, the group of Aggie students that started to give BYU the bird after a BYU point, and the twenty-something Aggie chick scratching, clawing and swearing at a middle-aged BYU dude after the game (all personally witnessed by yours truly) just confirm that USU students and fans probably shouldn’t be allowed in public.

What’s the deal, Utah State? Why do we BYU fans irk you so much? In the words of Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: “Did we wrong you in another life?”

I just don’t get it. I don’t get their whole mentality. You can’t build a program around hate, it just doesn’t work.

I remember thinking to myself after both this basketball game and the football game back in October that if USU fans could get this emotionally involved and excited for every game—and not just BYU games—then maybe they’ll be able to compete with the Louisiana Techs of the world. They may even make a name for themselves.

But they can’t, and won’t. Aggies are too pathetically simple-minded. They’ll concentrate all their hate and energy on their “Holier than thou” neighbors to the south, and keep being outraged at all the perceived indignities they suffer at the hands of us BYU fans.

And that, to a T, is Aggie Agony—hating us so much, but never, ever being able to do anything about it.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Let the healing begin

It happened--I crawled out of my hole. I knew it would happen, but I didn't think it'd be this soon. I thought I'd be in for at least another couple of months of black mourning.

But I did it.

I'm not saying I'm completely out of the woods, but I'm getting there. This post, for example, is a big step in the right direction.

Needless to say, as Trevor found out yesterday, you'd all be well-advised to refrain from talking to me about BYU or Bronco Mendenhall. Bronco and I have a few things we need to work out.

Anyway, as I try to recover from the embarrassment that was the 2008 holy war, I've noticed a few things in the sports world today that are both hurting and helping the healing. Let me present a few:

Hurting:
This year's MWC post-season awards
BYU's bowl projection
The Jazz
Hollywood CONTINUES to whine about Prop 8

Helping:
BYU basketball (JT Monaaaay!)
The Poinsettia Bowl projection (Go Frogs. Murder the Broncos.)
Band Aid
Guitar Hero World Tour

I'll get back to my snarky old self here pretty soon. Just give me some time to heal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pick 'em: The final post

Congratulations to Andy, who won my inaugural BYU football pick 'em game. I would love to be a little more enthusiastic, but clearly the wind has been taken out of my sails.

Here are this week's scores. I'm proud of you all for not picking Utah, but the scores suffered as a result.

Boyle - 10
Cindy - 10
Ali - 7
JonathanD - 7
Katie - 7
Travis - 7
Becky - 6
Gus - 6
KO - 6
Rock - 4
Seth - 4
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 3
Buffalo - 3
Jeremy - 3
Justin - 3
Andy - 0
BUS - 0
Dave - 0
J-Snow - 0
Mars - 0
Trizz - 0
Ty - 0

Good work everyone, and thanks for playing.

By the way, I probably won't be blogging much for the next few days. I never did cope well with loss...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keys to the game

Sometimes I don’t think I’ve given enough respect to the Utah football team. Before the season began I thought they’d lose four, maybe five games this year. Even when they continued to win, I still didn’t think they were as good as advertised.

The truth is, and it's hard for me to admit this, they’re a very good team. The fans are all low-class losers, but the Utah football team is very good. As evidenced by their undefeated season.

The Utes have speed and toughness on defense, and while their offense hasn’t been overly impressive, they always seem to make the big plays when they need to.

BYU is a 7-point underdog to the Utes. I think that’s about right. Vegas has every reason to make Utah the favorites and BYU the underdogs.

If we’re going to win this game, BYU needs to make sure to play their best game of the season on both sides of the ball. Here are my keys to the game.

1. A fast start. If there’s one thing I remember from Rice-Eccles in 2006, it’s the crazy loudness that comes with the rivalry game. Utah fan is going to be bouncing off the walls, and the sea of red will be pulsing with fury. BYU desperately needs to take the crowd out of the game early with two quick scores in the first quarter. If we take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter I like BYU’s chances a lot.

2. A long field. For Utah, that is. BYU’s defense is designed to give up yards—not points. The more distance we can put between Utah and the goal line, the better. Utah won’t be able to sustain long 80-yard drives all game, and I would rather trade field goals for touchdowns. BYU needs to kick the ball out of the endzone, pin the Utes behind their 20 on punts and cover kickoffs with the precision of a KGB marksman.

3. A prime-time blitz package. Air Force taught us a valuable lesson on Saturday, I thought. They, like BYU, run a 3-4 defense and when they rushed the Falcons either brought only three, or six or seven. BYU can’t rush four guys and expect to get pressure on Brian Johnson. We need to blitz with six or seven guys, or drop everyone into coverage. Rushing four is not only ineffective, but it gives us one less defender in the middle of the field. Getting pressure on BJ is key.

4. A protective offense. Want to know the real reason we lost to TCU? Turnovers. Turnovers killed our momentum and gave TCU short fields. We simply cannot give Utah any turnovers this year. Be smart, Max Hall. Hold on to the ball, everyone else.

5. An opportunistic defense. Brian Johnson is going to make mistakes. Our defense needs to capitalize and take the ball away wherever they can.

6. A new scheme and attitude. If I know Utah, they’ll be fired up more for this game than any other. BYU needs to exceed that intensity. They need to play like this is the most important game of their lives. BYU needs extra emotion inside their execution. BYU also needs to employ some new schemes and plays to keep Utah guessing. I’m expecting BYU to throw things at the Utes that we’ve never seen before this season.

If BYU plays the game I’ve described above, we’ll be partying in Provo tomorrow night.

My official prediction? Dreams comes true: BYU 26, Utah 24.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doing a good turn daily

I really hate to interrupt the rivalry week festivities, but I just have to say this: Tony Romo is turning out to be one impressive guy.

Check out this story from ESPN.com: Romo reportedly makes homeless man's day with trip to movies

I am most decidedly not a Cowboy fan, but it's hard not to like a guy like Romo.

After all, you wouldn't see that prima donna pretty boy Tom Brady doing something like this...

Dreams

The other night I had a crystal clear dream about the end of the BYU/Utah game.

I was sitting in the BYU section with the other die hard Cougars, and we watched as Utah took the field for the final play of the game.

The Utes were bringing on the kicking unit for what would be the game-winning field goal. Utah's all-universe kicker, Louie Sakoda, lined up his kick and everyone wearing BYU blue held their collective breath.

The ball was snapped, the hold was good and Sakoda... badly missed the kick. The ball squirted off his foot and fell harmlessly to the ground well short of the goal post.

We screamed. BYU won 26-24.

I can't decide if I'm being clairvoyant or if I'm just remembering 1998.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The hate that fuels this rivalry: An essay

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about why I hate the Utes, or if I even hate them at all. I mean, hate, as Lesley Winn so eloquently put it, is such a strong word.

Not only is it a strong sentiment, but hate to me connotes envy. Hate, to some degree, comes from the bottom up. You hate your older brother because he picks on you and he’s better than you. You hate the Lakers because they win championships. You don’t hate lesser organisms. That’s just wrong.

It’s kind of like Utah State. Even when I desperately want to, there’s no way I could hate Utah State. It’s unnecessary cruelty.

Granted, Utah is no Utah State. Utah is much more competitive, and has earned their fair share of envy. They are, after all, the ones with a BCS Bowl under their belt. But still, they are the lesser organism.

And therein lies the enigma. I am most certainly not short of hate on the Utes, in fact I’m just now stockpiling an extra bundle for the long winter, but envy is definitely not the reason.

So why do I hate the Utes? Why do you hate the Utes?

It’s not the players, I’ll tell you that much. While there are a handful of dirty, low-class Ute players that run their fat mouths and whom I dislike intensely (Steve Tate, Kyle Gunther, Braden Godfrey, etc.), the majority are good and respectable (Paul Kruger, Eric Weddle and to a lesser degree Brian Johnson).

For me, the hate begins and ends with the fans.

Living in the same state with Ute fans is enough to make me want to join a suicide cult. Every time I cross into Salt Lake County a wave of putrid disgust hits my face. The smell, the appearances, the sounds—everything about the heart of Ute country is offensive. Including, by the way, the hack-job U they have on the side of the mountain. Hey Utes: BYU called, they want their traditions back.

My heart goes out to you BYU fans that live in that cesspool.

Ute fans are so detestable. They claim BYU is a self-righteous, judgmental and hypocritical school, yet when BYU students or players fall short of perfection the Utes are the first ones to pounce.

Ute fans are also bitter and angry all the time. I have honestly never seen a Ute smile. And if they ever do have a semblance of a happy expression, it’s only because something bad happened to BYU. They revel in the failures of others. They mock, they laugh, they deride.

They flaunt their lack of moral boundaries, and love to make light of BYU’s religious component. Some Ute fans are Mormons frustrated with BYU’s perceived “Self-righteousness.” Some, and you can’t tell me these people don’t exist, use BYU as an outlet to outright hate the LDS church.

And they look so stupid doing it. My personal favorite are the guys that pop up on the internet message boards with names like “Gadianton” and “Alma the Wiser.” Do these guys know how silly they look?

Plus the smell. Holy crap the smell. Have you ever stood next to a Ute fan for more than 5 consecutive seconds? 10 bucks the stank knocks you flat on your backparts.

Oh, Utah fan. I hate you so much. I hate your crooked little half-smile under your wispy goatee. I hate your gold tooth that you still think is cool. I hate your pirate flags and your santa costume. I hate your nasty old wives that bleach their hair and wear sleeveless shirts even though their arms look like giant Spanish sausages. I hate your Oakleys that you bought in 1995. I hate your boat shoes that you wear with denim shorts and no socks. I hate your one button up shirt you wear when you take your lady out to Market Street Grill to celebrate your latest sale.

And I hate, hate, HATE your team.

Please, BYU, strike these heathens down.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A quick rivalry encyclopedia

Rivalry week is one of the best weeks of the year. The nervous anticipation coursing through my veins is just another reminder of the deep devotion I have for the Cougs, and the unending desire I have for them to beat our stumpy little brothers to the north.

Rivalry week is also a time to relive the classic BYU/Utah games that have taken place through the ages. Some are deliriously exciting, some are devastating, and others are totally satisfying. Here is a quick guide to all the rivalry n00bs out there.

1990: Heisman trophy winner Ty Detmer led BYU to a 45-22 victory with 451 yards and 5 TDs on 28-50 passing. Utah was still emerging as a football school.

1991: Detmer again picked apart the Utes, who led 17-14 after the first quarter, but never scored again in the game. BYU won 48-17.

1992: BYU rode Jamal Willis to their third straight win over Utah, 31-22. Willis rushed 28 times for 157 yards and 1 TD. Utah scored all 22 of their points in the fourth quarter.

1993: Future NFL bust John Walsh couldn't get it done on BYU's home field against the Utes, as Utah and coach Ron McBride scored a 34-31 win over the Cougars.

1994: Walsh got his second chance at the Utes, but a 20-yard Utah TD pass with 50 seconds left in the game broke the Cougars hearts once again and locked up another 34-31 win for the Utes.

1995: BYU never got on track in this game, and Utah bruiser Chris Fuamatu Ma'afala ran all over the Cougs. Utah grabs their third straight win over BYU, 34-17.

1996: *My favorite year ever* BYU was 12-1 heading into a highly anticipated showdown with the Utes, and was expected to tear Utah apart with their potent offense. BYU did most of their damage on the ground, racking up 366 rushing yards between tailbacks Brian McKenzie and Ronnie Jenkins. I still remember watching this game as a 12-year old, screaming at the TV in my BYU shirt and PJs.

1997: BYU's latest QB to face the Utes, Kevin Feterik, had a solid game through three quarters, but BYU couldn't hold on to the lead in the fourth quarter when Utah scored 10 unanswered points to beat BYU 20-14.

1998: The Doink. Utah Kicker Ryan Kaneshiro had a chance to put the Cougs away with a game-winning field goal, but bounced the ball off the uprights to give BYU a 26-24 win. The final play perpetuated a rumor that Kaneshiro committed suicide after the game because of his grief.

1999: BYU's brand new colors and uniforms weren't enough to push the Cougs past the Utes in '99. The scoring was even, but an extra field goal in the second quarter by the Utes turned out to be the difference: Utah 20, BYU 17.

2000: Last Miracle for LaVell. Trying to salvage a once-promising season, third string QB Brandon Doman faced a grim 4th down and 13. He threw up a prayer and connected with WR Jonathan Pittman, and then ran in for the winning score a few plays later.

2001: The undefeated and nationally ranked Cougars welcomed Utah into the newly christened LaVell Edwards Stadium, where the Utes quickly took control of the game. It took a 14-point fourth quarter, including Luke Staley's famous gallop down the sideline, and a clutch interception from Jernaro Gilford to ice the Utes for good, 24-21. And yes, I was there.

2002: I remember this game vividly. Not because I was there, but only because I could hear the crowd from the MTC. I didn't find out until weeks later that Utah won 13-6.

2003: What's worse than Utah beating BYU? Utah shutting out BYU on BYU's home field while you're companions with a dirty Ute fan on your mission. I still remember the high-pitched cheers...

2004: How was I welcomed home for my two years of selflessly serving the Lord? By watching BYU, which was suffering a huge identity crisis at the time, get thumped by Utah 52-21. I didn't even recognize my team. Utah went on to win the Fiesta Bowl; BYU went on to fire its coach.

2005: Back in its traditional uniforms, and trying to shake off a nasty habit of losing, BYU and Utah met for a classic rivalry game. Utah was all over BYU early, taking a 24-3 lead into halftime, but BYU came back strong in the second half to force the game into overtime. In OT, backup Ute QB Brett Ratliff connected with some Ute jerk, and Cougar QB John Beck couldn't answer. Beck threw up a prayer (that was almost caught by Michael Reed), but it fell harmlessly to the ground. I still say BYU would have won that game if Harline would have made a key catch in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter to put BYU in FG range.

2006: The answered prayer. BYU controlled the game early, but Utah stormed back to take the lead. The teams battled until Utah scored a go-ahead TD with 1:19 left in the game. John Beck, as cool as a Canadian fisherman, led BYU down the field with ease. With 3 seconds left and BYU on Utah's ten yard line, John Beck shuffled, shuffled, shuffled, ran and heaved the ball across his body to a wide open Jonny Harline. Harline caught the ball, humbly, on his knees and BYU snapped a four-game Utah rivalry winning streak. "Caught for the Touchdown!! Caught for the Touchdown!!"

2007: Collie 4: 18. Two evenly matched teams, along with some key BYU miscues, produced a very low-scoring affair. BYU held on to a 9-3 lead in the fourth quarter before Utah QB Brian Johnson led a slow, methodical, unstoppable Utah drive which ended in a Darrell Mack Touchdown. With BYU down 10-9 and facing 4th and 18 with about 1:30 left in the game, a Utah win looked inevitable. That's when Max Hall sidestepped a tackle, hurled the ball into space and found a wide open Austin Collie on the sideline for a 40 yard gain on 4th and 18. A few plays later Harvey Unga barrelled into the end zone and Collie grabbed the two point conversion to give BYU a 17-10 win.

(A quick side note, from 1980 to 1989, BYU won 9 out of 10 games.)

Writing about these games brings back a lot of memories. There have been some pretty amazing outcomes at the ends of these rivalry weeks--upsets, drama, thrillers, blowouts, doinks, miracles and the like.

I am physically sick with anticipation to see how the latest chapter of this saga unfolds.

Information gathered from CougarStats.com

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quick Bites

Ah rivalry week. The week of cold sweats, uncontrollable vomiting, night terrors and self-mutilation.

...or something less gruesome.

I don't know about you guys, but as soon as the clock hit 00:00 in Colorado Springs on Saturday (maybe even before), my mind raced forward to this week. This is one of the most highly anticipated weeks of the year, and now that it's upon us I think I'm going to have a stroke.

This blog is going to be busy this week, and to start it off I want to jump around the world of sports like a 12-year-old with a new pair of galoshes.

*First of all, I just want to say that I predicted the BYU/Air Force game exactly. Yeah, I know I've mentioned it twice now. Wanna fight about it?

*Pop quiz: how do you beat the Utah Jazz? Play them anywhere other than Salt Lake City.

*Is anyone else wondering what Bumbling Jim Boylen had to say to the crowd at the Huntsman Center when Utah lost to (Div II) SW Baptist on Saturday night? "We came out a little tight..."

*Real Salt Lake was inches away from earning their first-ever berth to the MLS Cup before falling short to the NY Red Bulls. In related news, I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs at La Vigna on Saturday night. It wasn't bad. Also, apparently they're starting to play soccer professionally here in the states. More on that soon.

*My NFL team of choice? The New York Giants. BYU alum Bryan Kehl could get his first Super Bowl ring as a rookie. Eat that, Eric Weddle! Meanwhile John Beck is checking the classifieds...

*This one's for Justin: Kudos to Jimmie Johnson for picking up his third consecutive trophy... thingy... in NASCAR. The man drives a mean stick.

*Boise State is BYU's half-retarded cousin.

*Dennis Pitta suffered a sprained MCL on Saturday and is a game-time decision for this week's matchup at Utah. Call me crazy, but even if Pitta doesn't play (I think he will, but even if he doesn't) I think BYU will still find some great production at the TE spot from Andrew George. The blessing of having a full stable of incredibly talented tight ends.

*Would you rather... A. BYU blow out Utah by 20+ points, B. BYU beat Utah on a miracle play, thus inspiring more "righteous living" smack for another year, or C. win $68,000 on Deal or No Deal?

*Two things I want BYU to work on this week: Play with emotion, and don't jump when the Utes do that silly defensive shift on the line. Freaking cheaters.

That's all I can think of now. Like I said, check back often, as ASB will be humming like a Mohican Tomahawk during this rivalry week.

Pick 'em update: Air Force

Good news: Everyone picked BYU to win this week.

Bad news: It looks like my mom just isn't going to play anymore.

Good news: I guessed the perfect score!

Bad news: No one's going to send me any mystery prize.

Good news: ...but then again, maybe...

Bad news: No. No they won't.

Good news (for Trizz): Trizz won this week with 37 points!

Bad news (for Trizz): My brother Andy is still in the lead.

Good news: The coveted T-shirt will come down to the final game of the season. Anyone could make a big move this week if they make the right pick.

Bad news: I will personally spit on the said shirt if the winner only gets it by picking a BYU loss this week.

Here are this week's scores (Total scores can be found on the right-hand sidebar):

Trizz - 37
Travis - 36
KO - 34
Andy - 33
Buffalo - 33
BUS - 33
Jeremy - 33
J-Snow - 33
Rock - 30
Seth - 30
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 28
Ali - 27
Boyle - 27
Knipps - 27
Lesley - 27
Mars - 27
Gus - 26
Becky - 23
Cindy - 23
Dave - 23
JonathanD - 23
Justin - 20
Katie - 20
Ty - 20

Get your picks in today for BYU's final game of the season: U t a h.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MWC Picks: Week whatever week this is

It pains me to write this, because I am truly loving all the play I'm getting from Boise State fans--spanning the great counties of southwestern Idaho--in the post directly below this one.

I think I must have upset somebody's cousin, because the Broncos are crawling out of the woodworks with guns blazing. I just hope they keep reading ASB. I promise I'll jab at BSU any chance I get.

Anyway, I must move on. I must now discuss big boy football, not your little sissy WAC brand.

Here are my picks for the MWC this week:

Wyoming at UNLV: I'll be watching this game because I hear the losing coach will actually be fired on live television right after the game. Wyoming 17, UNLV 13.

New Mexico @ Colorado State: Word is the Lobos have already started looking ahead to mutton-busting season. CSU 24, UNM 14.

BYU @ Air Force: This game will come down to one thing: What will we see first, a BYU defensive stop or a "No on Prop 8" sign in the Cadet section? BYU 38, AFA 24.

Utah @ San Diego State: Bold prediction of the week! The Utes will get caught looking ahead to BYU. Utah 49, SDSU 9.

**Non-MWC upset special of the week** Houston over No. 23 Tulsa, 35-28 because I don't like Tulsa.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thompson brings Broncos back to reality

I don't like the Boise State Broncos. I know a lot of BYU fans do, but I don't. I don't sympathize with them, I don't like them and I think they need to be humbled in a big way.

Well, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson did his part yesterday during the MWC's weekly conference call.

Here's the story from ESPN's Graham Watson:

"Boise talk radio show host Paul J. Schneider reported on his show earlier this week that Boise State president Bob Kustra received an invitation from the Mountain West to join the league.

The Mountain West office denied this claim and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson addressed it during the MWC's Tuesday teleconference stating that no expansion talks were in the works. Thompson also said that he wasn't sure that if Boise State moved to the Mountain West that it would still be undefeated.

'My personal opinion is that they probably wouldn't be 12-0,' Thompson said. 'Take nothing away from Boise State, but I don't know that they would go undefeated against the top four teams that are vying for the conference championship.'"


Thank you, Mr. Thompson, for speaking words of truth. If Boise State ever played any real football teams, my inkling is that they wouldn't be enjoying these little fairy tale seasons anymore.

Stop playing Louisiana Tech on your pansy little blue field and come play BYU, Utah or TCU. Then we'll see if you can stay undefeated.

Oh and by the way, to all of you Bronco Fans that are lurking on the internets between potato harvests, I am fully aware that BYU hasn't beaten Boise State yet. So stop before you even start. Conveniently enough, you played BYU in two of its worst years EVER (and you needed a miracle to win on your home turf). We'll see how the cookie crumbles when we start our four-year series in 2010.

Anyway, do us civilized folk a favor and stay away from our conference.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Goodbye to LES for another year

It just hit me.

Unless I somehow step in a whole pile of crazy and decide to go to Stadium of Fire 2009, I won't be walking the hallowed concourses of LaVell Edwards Stadium again until next football season.

I didn't even realize it when I was watching BYU fly all over San Diego State, but I'm coping with it now and I can see I'm going through the classic stages of grief.

Shock and Denial: "Are you kidding me? There's no way football season is almost over."

Pain and Guilt: "Why didn't I tailgate more? Why didn't I offend more of my fellow fans? Why won't the hurting stop?"

Anger and Bargaining: "It doesn't have to end... Anyone want to road trip to the Air Force game?"

Depression, reflection, lonliness: "Football season ended so fast. What am I going to do now? I can't bear another offseason."

The upward turn: "Then again, I've had a lot of fun this year. Remember that time Russ ate a whole fist full of ketchup at that tailgate?"

Reconstruction: "Basketball season is coming up..."

Acceptance and hope: "Another great year at LES. A record-breaking home winning streak, beautiful weather for every home game, great friends... I can't wait till next year."

Thanks for another stellar home season, LaVell Edwards Stadium. 2008 brought with it the third-straight undefeated season at home, and broke the record of consecutive home wins.

Hopefully the LES magic will continue through 2009 and beyond.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The confidence of KO

I probably shouldn't make a habit of sharing my personal correspondance, but I thought Cougar fans everywhere would benefit from reading this email I received today from my dad.

He was writing to my brother and me, discussing the current situation BYU faces. Here it is, straight from the bull's mouth:

Ok you guys. I’m going all out on this and putting it in the record.

BYU will beat AF, not a blowout, but a convincing win: 35-21.
Afterward, BYU will be ranked 12 or 13 in each poll and 14 in the BCS.

Utah will beat SDSU handily and be ranked 6th.

The game on the 22nd will have national attention. #12 playing #6 with BCS ramifications.

BYU will then beat Utah 28-17.

Utah will fall to #12 and BYU will be #10 in all polls and #12 in the BCS.

At this point, regardless what Boise State does, BYU will go to a BCS bowl.

Bronco will coach one more year and begin to host his own talk show on MTV.

Take it to the Bank.

By the way, [those scores] represent my official predictions.
Dad


I'm putting this out there to the masses. What do you think of dear old dad's predictions? Almost Nostrademus-like, isn't it? I can't wait to re-visit this post on November 23.

Pick 'em update: SDSU

Big points this week. A lot of pick 'em players were spot on when they picked 40-ish to 10-ish. Andy, particularly, was feeling it. He was two measly points away from a perfect prediction.

I was happy to see so much success among our participants.

Unfortunately a lot of players seem to have given up on the game alltogether. I won't point out any names (Jeris Hobbs), but some people have just given up, it seems. I get fewer and fewer picks every week, and every week I'm surprised by the names absent from my list.

Knipps? Seriously? I really didn't think you were that kind of guy.

All I have to say to those who have dropped out of the game, and you know who you are, is this: I'm very disappointed in you.

Also, and you know I hate to do this, I have to call out my sister Ali for predicting a BYU LOSS to San Diego State. Ouch, Ali. That hurts.

Here are this week's scores:

Andy - 38
Rock - 37
J-Snow - 35
Buffalo - 34
Cindy - 34
Justin - 34
Travis - 32
Eliot - 31
Jeremy - 31
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 29
Rod-Dawg - 29
Seth - 29
Katie - 28
Ty - 28
Mars - 27
JonathanD - 23
KO - 23
Becky - 22
Trizz - 22
Boyle - 21
Gus - 20
Ali - 0

We have two weeks left, so there's still time to make a run at the T-shirt! Next week's game: BYU @ Air Force

Friday, November 07, 2008

Utah-ball


Allow me to introduce you, my adoring readers, to Utah-ball.

Utah-ball is the brand of football they play up in Rice Eccles Stadium. It involves sucking for a straight 55 minutes, and then playing out of their heads for the last five.

Utah-ball is not scoring a touchdown the whole game until their very last drive (which happens to be a game-winner).

Utah-ball also means game-winning field goals, and the supreme king of Utah-ball is Louie Sakoda.

Utah-ball also has an effect on the opposing team--causing them to call outrageous, mind-bottling plays and miss easy field goals.

Utah-ball is the luckiest football you'll ever see played, and might include some voodoo black magic. I'm still trying to find that out for sure.

Whatever the case, Utah has beaten just about every team on its schedule by playing its patented Utah-ball. Including TCU last night.

I mean, you saw the game, right? What other explanation is there? TCU gets deep into Utah territory only to get sacked for 20 yards, putting them out of FG range. TWICE!

Then TCU missed two easy, peasy field goals. TWO!

Not only that, but TCU's defense had Utah by the throat the whole game only to completely break down in the last two minutes. And what happened? Utah drove down the field like they were the best team in the universe and scored an easy go-ahead touchdown with like 40 seconds left.

Unbelievable.

And of course, TCU looked completely inept in that last drive. They looked half-retarded. Asking a non-BYU MWC team to march down the field in under a minute is like asking Rosie O'Donnell to start shaving her back. It ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, it was a good game last night. Utah pulled another one out of its hat, and give them credit for it. Now there is only one team that can stop them. November 22 can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why our defense is bad part two: Coaching

What does every opponent of BYU have in common?

They all hate BYU. At least the MWC ones.

BYU has been beating up on these MWC schools for years and years. We’ve run up the score, we’ve broken records at their expense, we’ve ruined magical seasons, and the list goes on.

The most recent inductee into the “I hate BYU” Hall of Fame is TCU, which reportedly has been practicing with BYU helmets on their tackling dummies since spring time.

Apparently our last two wins in 2006 and 2007 didn’t sit well with the froggies.

Whatever they did worked, because they hit us in 2008 like a Mack truck. They punched is in the kidneys, took our juice money and made out with our girlfriend right in front of us. They ruined our season, in fact, and you could tell they just loved every minute of it.

The players were fired up, the fans were fired up and TCU coach Gary Patterson wore the smirk of a satisfied man who had just accomplished a very big goal.

I’ve accepted the loss, but there’s one thing I still can’t figure out: Why weren’t we prepared for that game?

And why weren’t we prepared for UNLV? Or CSU?

I’ve gotta be honest, I’m a little disappointed in our defensive coaching staff. And yes, that includes Bronco Mendenhall. Our staff has simply been out-coached in the past three games; there’s no other way to say it. The opposing coaching staff has been outworking their BYU counterparts, and it’s showing on the field and on the scoreboard.

How many weeks in a row now have we seen an offensive package tailor-made for BYU? TCU comes out running a direct snap to their speedy wide receiver, New Mexico comes out passing the ball when everyone thought they would run it, UNLV makes sharp, quick throws to take advantage of our cushion defense, and CSU runs gadget plays that completely catch us off guard.

The result? Less than stellar wins (and one huge loss) for the Cougs.

I just don’t understand how BYU can be caught so consistently off guard. It’s like every week we are surprised that the other team isn’t doing exactly what we thought they would do. Our defense is surprised far too often.

The bottom line, like I’ve said before, is that BYU needs to realize that they are on everyone’s radar. Teams are going to do things against BYU that they’ve never done before. We saw it in the Tulsa game last year, and we’ve seen it in just about every game we’ve played this year. The coaches need to realize that every team in the MWC hates us, and wants to beat us badly.

Get some emotion back on the sidelines, play aggressively and stomp on the throats of the CSUs and UNLVs of the world. Come on, coaches, get it together.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why our defense is bad part one: Linebackers

I mentioned in an earlier post that, despite some apparent weaknesses in our game, I was happy after our win over Colorado State. To go on the road and put up big points, including a game-winning drive in under a minute and a half, is something worth relishing.

However, I also said I’d write later in the week about our horrible defense.

Well Tuesday is late enough, I guess, because here I am.

I’ve thought a lot about our defense over the past few games. It’s not hard to see we are being exploited. It’s clear that BYU has some problems when bad teams like UNLV and Colorado State are putting up big numbers and big points against us and no one else.

The question is… what are the problems?

I know there are a lot of problems, but today I want to talk about linebackers.

BYU’s defense begins and ends with linebackers. In a 3-4 scheme, linebackers are responsible for filling holes to stop the run, rushing the passer, covering the short diagonals and taking away the flats. Bryan Kehl and David Nixon, our outside linebackers in ’06 and ‘07, were great. They both had the speed to play sideline to sideline.

Additionally, we’ve had incredible middle linebackers. Guys like Cameron Jensen, Markell Staffieri, Aaron Wagner and Kelly Poppinga have been great at not only playing their assignments, but also leading the rest of the defense. Solid linebacker play meant less reliance on defensive backs, and more opportunities to pressure the quarterback for the defensive line.

The result has been a tough BYU defense that rarely let opponents score over 24 points.

This year the story is a little different. Our linebackers consist of three new starters (one of which is a JuCo transfer) who in my opinion haven’t quite figured things out. David Nixon is a solid anchor, but his weakside counterpart, Coleby Clawson (who is a fantastic pass rusher) is still learning the position. In the middle we have Matt Bauman and Shawn Doman, who splits reps with Matt Ah You. I like all three players a lot—especially Ah You. But they are all very young. They haven’t really mastered the responsibilities of the inside linebackers, and no one has emerged as a clear leader—the likes of Kelly Poppinga and Cam Jensen.

I said earlier in the year that our linebacker unit would be thin and weak, and unfortunately I was right. I was encouraged to learn about the return of Terrance Hooks and Grant Nelson, inside and outside linebackers, respectively, who both have playing experience. But their progress returning from injuries has been slow.

I guess the biggest disappointment is that our linebackers can’t seem to make stops when they need to. That was one thing I loved about Cameron Jensen—when it was third and one you could count on him to bust through the line to make a drive-stopping tackle.

I remember specifically when BYU played Wyoming in 2006. It was third or fourth down and inches. The Cowboys ran a QB sneak to pick up the first down. Easy, right? The QB just needed to lean forward and he would have gotten it. Well Jensen flew over the line of scrimmage at the snap, caught Cowboy QB Karsten Sween by the shoulders and threw him down before he even started pushing. Badda bing, badda boom, BYU ball. Jensen anticipated plays. He sniffed out the offense, and as a result gave the ball back to BYU.

I wish our current crop of LBs were a little more like Jensen. I wish they knew how to hit holes and break through to get to the opposing running back/quarterback. I don’t know who else noticed this, but when we blitzed Colorado State we had absolutely no effectiveness. We brought a blitz 12 times and didn’t pressure the QB once. Part of that has to do with a good offensive line, I guess, but part of it stems from the fact that linebackers and other blitzers are simply having a hard time finding holes and gaps.

A blitz should be a surprise. Blitzes should be directed toward unsuspecting areas. Time after time I saw BYU linebackers just simply run into the offensive line thinking a hole would automatically be there. A word of advice: Just because you call a blitz play doesn’t mean you’ll have a free road to the QB. You still need to make good decisions.

Anyway, this is turning out to be a little longer than I wanted it to be. I’m just a little upset about our linebacker situation right now. Linebackers, like I said, are the heart and soul of our defense. Good linebacker play will take pressure off every other defensive player. Poor play, on the other hand, will put more pressure on our guys.

I just wish we had the players, and I’m not sure how we became so thin at the position suddenly. We could sure use a certain LDS linebacker that lives in Hawaii, has cousins on the team and happens to be the No. 1 linebacker recruit in the nation…

Tomorrow I want to talk about another reason why our defense is lacking: Coaching.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Is it time to hope again?

Blame the BCS. They have given me more hope in what I thought was a hopeless season.

I don't understand the numbers, the formulas, the rankings or the rules, but however the BCS computers work their black magic, they put the BYU Cougars at No. 15 this week.

No doubt it was due in large part to several teams ahead of us losing on Saturday. Including Tulsa, thank goodness.

BYU, now, is very much in the BCS hunt... again. At No. 15, BYU would qualify for a BCS bowl game if they stay ahead of the conference champion from a BCS conference. Right now BYU is ahead of two BCS conference leaders: (19)North Carolina (ACC), and (25)West Virginia (Big East).

There are only three things standing in our way: Boise State, TCU and Utah. These three non-BCS teams are currently ahead of us in the standings, and would each be chosen before BYU if they don't lose.

If they do lose, however, they would most likely fall below BYU in the BCS standings.

So, as one who wants to see BYU fulfill its BCS destiny, I am anxious to see these three things happen:

1. Utah needs to beat TCU on Thursday night. I know it's painful, but it's time to just admit it: we need Utah to win. It does nothing but help BYU, people. Put away your debilitating pride.

2. Boise State needs to lose. They have upcoming games against Utah State, at Idaho, at Nevada and at home against Fresno State. In other words, I am now a huge Nevada Wolfpack/Fresno State Bulldog fan.

3. BYU needs to beat Utah. Utah, if they continue winning, will be a top five team when BYU rides thick into SLC. Beating Utah would not only give us a huge boost, but it would knock off the one remaining non-BCS team ahead of us (providing both No. 1 and No. 2 above happen).

I will say, though, that none of those conditions matter if BYU loses. BYU needs to win every single game left on their schedule without hiccups--convincingly, if possible. If ever there is a time for BYU to start playing defense, it's now.

But... I think there's definitely a reason to hope again for us BYU fans. Do you believe?

Pick 'em update: CSU

We all underestimated CSU's offense this week. And some of you underestimated BYU's. All I know is, 87 total points and almost 1,000 combined yards later, the scores for the ASB Pick 'em players are a little low this week.

Add that to the fact that I was too busy to send out reminder emails, so a few of you out there never sent me your picks.

Clearly, there are some out there that are playing for keeps, and those that have just given up.

That being said, here are this week's high rollers:

Knips - 27
Rod-Dawg - 27
Seth - 27
Eliot - 23
Gus - 23
Travis - 23
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 20
Ali - 20
Andy - 20
Becky - 20
Boyle - 20
BUS - 20
Cindy - 20
Jeremy - 20
JonathanD - 20
Justin - 20
Katie - 20
KO - 20
Mars - 20
Rock - 20
Trizz - 20
Ty - 20

Next week: BYU's final home game against SDSU. You have until game time to send me your picks. Ready... GO!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy about the win

I hope everyone had a good and decent Halloween, attending your various parties and werewolf bar mitzvahs.

I had a great weekend, thanks in large part to the events of Saturday afternoon.

I’m talking specifically, now, about BYU’s dramatic come-from-behind, last-minute, this-win-shouldn’t-be-this-close win over Colorado State.

I know there were a lot of negatives about that game on Saturday—our entire defense, for example—but I’d like to focus today on the positives of yesterday’s win. Why? Because as I was driving home after the game, that’s all I could think about. While I was watching, sure, I was pulling my chest hair out yelling at the defense for doing everything wrong. And yes, I was silently preparing to make a J.J. DiLuigi voodoo doll after his fumble, but after the game I was just happy we won.

Look for some posts later this week detailing my immense heartache concerning BYU’s defense, but today is a happy day.

Specifically, I was all smiles about Max Hall and his game-winning drive.

That was a great drive, and I didn’t fully realize it until after the game.

What we witnessed on Saturday was a very special thing. We saw a tough-as-nails quarterback lead his team the length of the field in a handful of plays, completely dissecting the defense, taking his time, cool and composed and ending the drive with a game-winning touchdown.

Hall was as cool as the tile in your bathroom in the middle of the night.

He bulleted passes to Unga, Collie and Pitta without even blinking. He knew he was winning that game. That last drive brought out the Max Hall we all know and love. It was that drive that reminded me how much I like that guy.

(What did you think of the tile simile? Did it work for you?)

Hall ended the day with 389 yards, 5 TDs and 1 INT. Whose fault was that INT, by the way? Hall’s or Kariya’s for turning around when Hall let the pass go? Please discuss.

Anyway, I know these nailbiters are going to give some of us some premature heart complications, and I know the fact that we are just barely beating teams like CSU and UNLV is worrisome, but I very much enjoyed that game yesterday. I enjoyed our win, and I’m looking forward to a much-needed break next Saturday when BYU hosts 1-8 San Diego State in our final home game.

Friday, October 31, 2008

In other hilarious news...

Funniest headline of the week: Singletary dropped pants at halftime to make point to 49ers

Here's the best quote from the article:

"I used my pants to illustrate that we were getting our tails whipped on Sunday and how humiliating that should feel for all of us. I needed to do something to dramatize my point; there were other ways I could have done it but I think this got the message across."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday: The day in sports

As promised, I caught the Cougar Tip-off last night with my pal Justin. If you don't have a friend like Justin, I highly recommend finding one. Having a buddy who has no attachments, no wife, and a great love of BYU sports can come in quite handy.



I quite enjoyed the chance to get a sneak peek at the BYU basketball team last night.

Coach Dave Rose did something a little strange, however. For the scrimmage he put all the experienced players on one team, and the newcomers on the other team. It was clearly lopsided. Here are the lineups used last night.

White team:
Lee Cummard
Jonathan Tavernari
Chris Miles
LaMont Morgan
Gavin MacGreggor (switched to blue in second half)
Michael Loyd Jr.

Blue Team:
Jimmer Fredette
Noah Hartsock
Charles Abouo
Jackson Emery
James Anderson
Matt Pinegar
Michael Boswell

The white team star was definitely Tavernari. JT Monaaaaaay scored a game-high 23 points, and was 5-11 from three point land. He also picked Jimmer Fredette's pocket and ran down the court for the only time I've ever seen him dunk.

Justin seemed pained every time JT did well. Looks like I'll have to fight the battle again and defend JT's game to all my buddies, who are absolutely intent on hating Tavernari regardless of play.

For the blue team, I'll give the game ball to Matt Pinegar. A walk-on, Pinegar was all over the court and finally gave the blue team a spark after starting out incredibly slow. He played solid defense and made some big threes.

Charles Abouo also looked good. He is very athletic and made some great moves to get to the hoop.

I was also impressed with Morgan's ability to play point (even though he is definitely not a scorer), and Chris Miles' moves in the post.

All in all, it's going to be a good year for BYU basketball. I can't wait for the season to start.

In other sports news, the Jazz won their season-opener last night against the Denver Nuggets. The game went down to the wire, and I was impressed with the Jazz' ability to close it out even when the game was close. As far as the Nuggets go, I only have one question: Who in the heck is this guy?



And finally, the Phillies won the world series last night by taking game five 4-3. I have to be honest: this was one of the most uninteresting World Series' I've seen in a long time. I think I speak for every living human being on earth when I say "Finally. Baseball season is over."

... for three months or so.

Clarification

Just to clarify, I do not watch Gossip Girl and only occasionally watch Tim Gunn's Guide to Style.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cougar Tipoff

Who’s going to the Cougar tipoff tonight?

If you do end up going, make sure to track me down somewhere. I’ll buy you a coke.

Yes, I’ll be there. Did anyone doubt? The wife has plans, I just passed Guitar Hero Aerosmith, there’s nothing good on TV—the stars have aligned to allow me to enjoy a night of Cougar basketball.

(Well, I guess I shouldn’t say there’s nothing good on TV tonight. I mean, you’ve got the potential final game of the World Series and the Jazz season-opener. By “nothing good” I guess I meant no Gossip Girl or Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.)

I’m sure there are no surprises here, but I am seriously loving on Cougar b-ball right now. Coach Rose has me in the palm of his hand. He could ask me to vote Obama in a week and I would do it.

Actually…

Anyway, I’m pumped to see the basketball season begin. I know a lot of people like to concentrate solely on football this time of year, but I love the overlap. The more nights-per-week I can fill with BYU sports the better.

I’m particularly interested in seeing the newcomers get some action tonight (and I don’t mean the action they already get every weekend at King Henry, if you catch my drift).

Here are the newcomers:

Jackson Emery—Not really a newcomer, but new off his mission. Love this guy.

Charles Abuo—Freshman from Logan. I’ve heard people compare him to Mike Hall.

Noah Hartsock—Oklahoma player of the year in HS. Fresh off a mission.

LaMont Morgan—RS JuCo transfer. Supposedly very quick—good for defense.

James Anderson—Meh. We’ll see about this kid.

Michael Boswell—Never heard of him.

Returnees:

Lee Cummard—Lee! Deliver us!

Jonathan Tavernari—JT Monaaaaaaaay!

Chris Miles—Love this guy. Just ask Brett.

Gavin MacGreggor—Love the defensive position. Remember the squat?

Jimmer Fredette—Jimmer is the man.

Michael Loyd—The master of the alley-oop.

Archie Rose—Hope Archie sees a lot of PT this year (meaning, I hope we blow a lot of teams out).

Matt Pinegar—I think BYU puts a guy named Pinegar on the team every once in a while just to keep donations coming in.

Solid group. I can’t wait to see how they play tonight.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slumpin'

I'm going through my traditional mid-season slump.

I want to write about the Cougs. I want to write about the World Series. I want to be witty and informative... but I just can't can't find the motivation.

Any suggestions?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pick 'em update

Call me crazy, but I loved the game on Saturday. Granted, our defense looked a little scary and it was painful to watch UNLV move the ball so seamlessly, but BYU stepped up when they needed to the most, and we won a thrilling game.

I mean, no game against UNLV should be that thrilling, but at least we won it.

There was one person, however, that didn't think we'd win.

Can you believe that? Some poor sap actually picked BYU to lose to UNLV this week. That sap, ladies and gentlemen, is my brother-in-law Ty. If anyone would like to harrass him in person, please email me and I will give you all his contact information.

In Ty's defense, though, he's really more of a basketball guy. Watch out for him come BYU basketball season.

Here are this week's scores:

Boyle - 30
Cindy - 30
Andy - 29
Dave - 27
Rock - 27
Eliot - 26
Lesley - 26
Trizz - 26
Becky - 23
J-Snow - 23
Justin - 23
Rod-Dawg - 23
BUS - 22
Mars - 22
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 20
Ali - 20
Buffalo - 20
Gus - 20
Jeremy - 20
JonathanD - 20
Katie - 20
Knipps - 20
KO - 20
Seth - 20
Ty - 0

One more thing, I won't mention any names, but some of you out there are not sending me your picks. It's your own choice, but I warn you: When the winner starts strutting around in his or her brand new BYU t-shirt, I bet you'll wish you were a little more dilligent in the ASB pick 'em game.

Next game: BYU at Colorado State.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New MWC Tourney venue?



Ah, a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

I hate that we play the MWC basketball tournament in Vegas. Actually, I take that back. I don't mind that we play in Vegas, but I hate that we play on UNLV's freaking home court, the Thomas & Mack Center.

The MWC has a contract with the T&M Center through the 2010 tournament, and after that season the conference has some decisions to make.

According to a news release distributed earlier today, there are six venues under consideration for the 2011-2013 MWC tournament:

Thomas & Mack Center - Las Vegas
Cox Arena - San Diego
Energy Solutions Arena - Salt Lake
E Center - Salt Lake
Pepsi Center - Denver
The Pit - Albuquerque

What's your vote? Personally, I'm throwing all my weight behind either of the Salt Lake venues. If it's not in Salt Lake, then I support the Pepsi Center. In essence, I support any venue that is neutral. In fact, I'd support a venue in Las Vegas if it were a neutral court.

I just hate that we play on UNLV's home court.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Officiating needs a revolution

Get on the horn and call Ron Paul, because someone needs to start a revolution.

I want everyone to watch this video:



Now think: what happened in that video?

*South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia took the snap and started running
*He rolled to the left
*Umpire Wilbur Hackett Jr. (SEC official) shuffles his feet toward Garcia
*Hackett throws his shoulder into Garcia, slowing the quarterback and allowing LSU defenders to finish the job
*Hackett looks down at the fallen quarterback making absolutely no attempt to apologize or play innocent

Raise your hand if you think the official was trying to get out of the way of the South Carolina QB.

Raise your hand if you think the official was raising his arm to protect himself.

Raise your hand if you think Hackett, the umpire, did absolutely nothing wrong in that play.

Really? No one thinks so?

My question, then, is this: If we intelligent sports fans can CLEARLY see that this was, at best, a suspicious play by the official... why can't anyone else?

Here, according to an article on ESPN.com, is the reaction from South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier:

"He was trying to get out of the way," Spurrier said of Hackett, according to The State in Columbia, S.C. "Stephen sort of cut back right into him. Sometimes that will happen."

Here is the reaction from the SEC office:

When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.

Do those eggheads in their ivory tower really expect us to buy that crap? I don't buy it. Not for a second. And if I were coach Spurrier I would be out-of-my-head livid about that kind of action from the officials.

Not only was the official not in the "appropriate position," the dude flat out threw his shoulder into the SC quarterback!

But I guess Spurrier is a classier guy than I am. The 'Cocks did, after all, end up scoring on the drive.

Still, this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. More and more, starting with NBA official Tim Donaghy and continuing with officials in every sport, referees and officials are becoming suspect in their calls and their professionalism. Officials should be impartial rule-enforcers, not emotional participants in the contest. Increasingly it's becoming apparent that human bias is creeping into officiating.

So how do we cure this illness? Well, if conferences, coaches and media continue to give officials like Hackett a free pass then there's no way to cure it. Officials will continue to carry on with business as usual because right now they are untouchable. Coaches, players and media members can't criticize officials because if they do they get reprimanded and fined (just ask Rocky Long). No one, absolutely no one, holds officials accountable (except us fans--which is why it's totally acceptable to boo officials at games).

I believe the NCAA needs to remove the sanctions against those who speak out against referees and officials. Coaches and players need to be able to bring poor officiating to public attention. Officials need to know that their poor performance will be recorded and reported. If the love of the game won't keep them on the straight and narrow, maybe public humiliation will.

Anyway, videos like the one above make me sick. It just reminds me of the current abysmal state of officiating in the sports I love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick bites

I'm just going to jump right in.

1. BYU needs to play with some emotion.

2. What is it about our defense that makes sub-par quarterbacks look like superstars?

3. I used to think BYU could hang with any team in the nation based completely on our offense. I don't think that anymore.

4. One thing I like about Bronco: He does not make excuses. He knows it was his responsibility to get his team ready to play, and he admitted his failure.

5. Utah is up, BYU is down. Now we Cougar fans can do nothing but sit back and take all the crap that Utah flings our way. I hate it, but we have to take it.

6. Do you realize we could be 11-1 at the end of the season, playing in the Poinsettia Bowl?

7. Back to the emotion thing. TCU was fired up on Thursday night. They had this game circled on their calendar, and they were determined to rip our hearts out. They did. BYU needs to match that emotional intensity, because every team we play--especially in the MWC--is going to come after us like we just ate their children.

8. I hate weeks like this.

9. What are you feeling right now? Seriously? Anyone have a shot of optimism they can send my way?

I don't wanna talk about it

Let me give you a little glimpse into my Thursday.

As some of you know, my wife and I decided to take a vacation to Orange County last week just to get away from it all. It was beautiful, relaxing and a lot of fun.

All but one very bitter night, that is.

Thursday began well enough. The sun was out, the palm trees were green, the Disney Kettle Corn mist they spray in the air to get you to crave the stuff and thus buy it was plentiful.

Becky and I spent the whole day in Disneyland (we actually spent the whole vacation there. The "Orange County" remark was kind of an inside joke. You're on the outside, apparently). I was proudly wearing my BYU "The Quest" shirt, and was very happy to see dozens of people around the park also wearing their BYU gear (we counted at least 35). My fellow BYU fans and I all had big smiles on our faces. It was game day.

The game started at 5 pacific time, so we eased on over to ESPN Zone at about 4:45. We got a nice seat right in front of a TV that would be showing the game, we ordered some wings, and I settled in for an evening full of my favorite thing in the entire world: BYU football.

Then I was shaken, slapped and shocked back into reality. The game was only two minutes old and BYU already had a turnover and was down 7-0. A few minutes later it was 14-0. Then 17-0. Then 23-0.

Whaaaa?

Was this happening? Is TCU the best team on the planet? Is BYU really playing so badly? Are we really that emotionless and slow?

By the third quarter, some Ute fans had trickled into the Zone and were starting to cheer for TCU. One emo kid in a feaux-hawk was particularly annoying. I wanted to get up and break a pitcher of water over his head, but then I realized it: he's right to mock.

BYU looked so bad, and TCU deserved every little bit of that win. BYU was exposed, humiliated and beaten to a pulp--physically, emotionally and otherwise. The Cougs lost the game 32-7, as I'm sure you're all well aware, and I slunk out of the restaurant in a daze, realizing that BYU had lost much more than a game.

Gone are our BCS dreams.

Gone is our nation-leading 16-game winning streak.

Gone, even, is the chance of winning an outright MWC title.

Gone is the Las Vegas Bowl.

Gone is our MWC dominance.

Gone is my confidence.

Gone, gone, gone. In one poof. In one night.

After the game, and in the days following, I got several phone calls from friends and family wanting to talk things out.

I screened them all.

The last thing I want to do after a horrible loss like that is relive it. Complaining does not make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. Talking about how bad we played is not therapeutic. I am not a believer in catharsis when it comes to college football.

So I forgot about it, and had a great vacation with my wife.

But now I'm home and I can't run away from what happened on Thursday. I am forced to face the reality that BYU, once again, fell short of their potential and their fans' expectations. I am forced to face the fact that BYU just couldn't do what teams like Boise State, Utah and Hawai'i did and go through a season undefeated. I'm forced to think about our horrible loss, and the absolute worst? I'm forced to talk about it with every schmuck that comes by my desk at work.

Painful, painful stuff.

(For any co-workers that may read this post, the word "schmuck" is not meant to be a put-down. In fact, I consider it a term of endearment.)

Anyway, I am sick about BYU's loss. Just sick about it. I know it's just one loss, but it was a very big loss. It means much much more than a few spots in the polls or a BCS game.

That's all I want to write for now. Sorry for opening the old wounds again.

Pick 'em update

A lot of people were humbled this weekend. The players, the fans, the coaches--everyone in the BYU universe.

And you valiant pick 'em players are no exception. There was only one person, my brother Andy, who profitted from Thursday's madness, and he has now taken over first place.

Others scored some paltry points, but Andy was the clear winner this week.

May those who pick BYU to lose never, ever win again.

Here are this week's scores (I'm only including those that actually did score points):

Andy - 27
Becky - 9
Ty - 7
Cindy - 5
Boyle - 2
Justin - 2
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 1

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm off

Just a quick note to tell my dozens and dozens of loyal readers that I will be off blogging until Monday.

Don't expect any new material from me--I'm going on a much-needed vacation.

In the meantime, check out www.CougarCrazies.com for all your BYU football needs.

See you later, Crazy Dogggz.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another big one

I would consider myself a poor BYU fan if I didn't mention another gigantic recruiting success for the BYU basketball program and Coach Dave Rose.

Provo's Brandon Davies, a 6'9" power forward/center who was recruited heavily by teams all over the country committed to BYU and Rose on Sunday morning. Davies is a 4-star basketball recruit, and was considered to be one of the state's top prospects along with Lone Peak's Tyler Haws (who committed to BYU last month).

In other words, Davies' commitment means BYU landed without a doubt the best two players in the state.

Davies was heavily considering Utah State, Cal, Gonzaga and BYU. He chopped Gonzaga off the list a while ago, and soon it became a two-school race between BYU and Cal. BYU won out, however, and Davies will sign on as part of the best recruiting classes in BYU basketball history.

BYU basketball is a force, and is here to stay. Congratulations to Coach Rose for securing another very good recruit from an in-state kid, and kudos to Brandon Davies for making a very solid decision to don Cougar Blue.

Pick 'em update: Week 7

I actually liked the win on Saturday. It was a cold, grimy, gut-busting game, but the 21-3 win was character-building for the Cougs.

The low-scoring affair caught some pick 'em players by surprise, though. The highest score recorded was by the two people that picked New Mexico's final score correctly. Those two people are BUS Nelson and Aaron, Cousin of Trevor.

Everyone, including myself, overestimated BYU's final score. I guessed it would be 52. I should have realized that New Mexico would speed up the game by running the ball 500 times, thus keeping our offense off the field.

Oh well. The Quest continues. Here are this week's scores. The total score can be found on the leaderboard on the right hand side.

Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 30
BUS - 30
JonathanD - 29
Ali - 27
Justin - 26
Eliot - 24
Jeris - 24
Katie - 24
Boyle - 23
Cindy - 23
Jeremy - 23
Knips - 23
Lesley - 23
Mars - 23
Seth - 23
Dave - 21
Andy - 20
Becky - 20
Gus - 20
J-Snow - 20
KO - 20
Rock - 20
Rod-Dawg - 20
Suzanna - 20
Travis - 20
Trizz - 20
Ty - 20

The TCU game is on THURSDAY NIGHT this week, so if you want to keep playing get your picks to me stat!

This will be a very interesting week, as I'm sure some people will pick the Cougs to lose, in the hopes that they'll spring past the rest of the competition. Someone could make a move this week, it just depends on if they're gutsy enough to predict a loss.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

MWC Picks

Predicting stuff is great. Especially when you don't have to, you know, do your research. When you can just predict a score and make a smarmy little remark, it's the best.

That being said, let's do the thing where I predict the MWC games this week.

Utah @ Wyoming: Oh Joe Glenn, raise your finger in the air and summon the dark forces of Laramie that make thine enemies quake in fear! Summon the beer bombs! Summon the ripping high plain winds! Summon the dirty Motel 6 off I-80! Summon your demons and destroy the Utes! Utah 49 - Wyoming 6

Texas Christian @ Colorado State: Trap game... The Frogs better be careful, because when they step into the empty CSU stadium and their brains lapse momentarily, thinking they showed up to play on the wrong day, the Rams could strike. TCU 31, CSU 17

New Mexico @ Brigham Young: BYU will be looking for a little redemption after last week's lackluster game at USU. They will prove to those mean Aggie fans that the Cougars are not, in fact, overrated. BYU 52, UNM 9.

Air Force @ San Diego State: Let's be serious for a moment--will SDSU ever be good again? Ever? By the way, Air Force, I'm really disappointed that the Commander-in-chief trophy slipped through your fingers again. What a disgrace. AFA 23, SDSU 14.

Non MWC Upset of the week: UCLA over Oregon. The Bruins finally figure out there's more to life than getting blown up by non-conference teams.

Record: 6-1

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Just when we thought all was lost...

...two fallen Cougars return to the fold.



Terrence, Grant, with all my soul I welcome you back to the team. Adding two tough, experienced linebackers to our painfully thin defense is the best gift the Cougars will receive all year (you know... because the BCS game will be in 2009. See how that works?)

(By the way, you know our depth at linebacker is an issue when David Nixon goes down and Bronco starts thinking about an entire defensive scheme change. Terrence Hooks and Grant Nelson could not have come back at a better time.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

October baseball

It’s time to take a quick time out from football to talk a bit about what happened yesterday in the world of baseball.

I know baseball isn’t the most popular subject, and frankly that’s a cryin’ shame. How can you not love baseball? Especially in October?

It’s concentration. It’s coordination. It’s pressure. It’s heroism. It’s endurance.

Each team is capitalizing on the others’ weaknesses; each manager is using careful strategy to gain any advantage possible. Pitchers and batters duel—each trying to stay one mental step ahead of the other.

It’s a beautiful game.

And yesterday was a big day. The Tampa Bay Rays closed out the Chicago White Sox to continue their historic season, and the Boston Red Sox eliminated the Anaheim Angels on the backs of Jason Bay’s double and Jed Lowrie’s game winning RBI single to left field.

So now the Rays will host the BoSox in the ALCS, and the Dodgers and Phillies will meet in the NLCS.

Who are you going for?

Personally, since I really have no allegiance to any team, I was rooting for the Chicago Cubs. It’s a shame they suck and completely wasted their season (again) and got swept in the playoffs.

Now, and after watching last night’s game, I am solidly behind the Red Sox. What can I say? It’s hard not to like Pedroia, Youkilis, Bay, Drew, Varitek and of course Big Papi. My favorite Red Sock, though, has to be Jonathan Papelbon, Boston’s very animated closer. In fact I bought “Shipping up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys last night on iTunes in his honor.

Although I admit, I would like to see the Dodgers do well so Joe Torre can rub it in the face of the Yankee front office morons that let him go. (I wonder how they feel, in hindsight, about their decision to bring on Joe Girardi? I guess they’ll have a loooooong offseason to think about it.)

More than any one team, though, I’m a fan of baseball. And now is a great time to jump on the bandwagon.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pick 'em: Week 6

An ugly Friday night for BYU, to be certain. But a win is a win, and for some of you this particular BYU win put you in prime position to compete for the grand ASB pick 'em prize: A free t-shirt from the BYU bookstore.

One competitor in particular, Katie Nelson, showed why sometimes it's best just not to mess with the girl from Layton. Katie was one single, solitary point away from a perfect score and its accompanying mystery prize.

Oh well. There's always next week.

Trizz is still the overall leader (check out the scores to the right), but the race is getting tight! Here are this week's score:

Katie - 39
Boyle - 35
Ty - 33
Ali - 30
Gus - 29
My Mom - 29
Travis - 29
Becky - 28
Jeremy - 26
KO - 26
Mars - 26
Rock - 26
Seth - 26
Trizz - 26
Justin - 25
Jeris - 24
BUS - 23
Cindy - 23
Rod-Dawg - 23
Dave - 22
Eliot - 22
JonathanD - 22
Lesley - 22
Aaron, Cousin of Trevor - 20
Andy - 20
Buffalo - 20
J-Snow - 20
Knips - 20

Next game: New Mexico @ BYU. If you haven't sent me your predictions, follow Elder Scott's counsel and do it NOW.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Preview: Utah State


What: BYU @ Utah State University
Where: Romney Stadium, Logan UT
When: Friday, October 3; 6 p.m.
TV: KJZZ (in Utah), BYUTV (nation-wide)

Of note: The Cougars of BYU and the Aggies of Utah State have met 77 times in the past 84 years. The rivalry (if you can call it that) has been all about the Cougars lately, as BYU has won 8-straight and 24 of the last 27 (since 1975). Overall, BYU leads the series 41-33-3.

This will be the first time BYU will visit Logan since 2002, when BYU had to saddle up freshman running back Curtis Brown for the huge comeback win. Brown rushed for 217 yards and 3 TDs, and BYU scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to beat Utah State 35-34.

Some other interesting statistics:

*Utah State head coach Brent Guy is 0-8 vs. ranked teams in his tenure.
* In those eight games, Utah State lost by an average of 40.1 points.
*The Aggies have lost 21 straight games to ranked teams.
*The Aggies are 0-10 against BYU when the Cougars are ranked.

About the Aggies: The Aggies are… a division one football team. They have… a coach, a place to play their games and several players to fill each position.

Um… Utah State was founded in 1888 by some hardworking farmhands who wanted a place to raise their cows…

I kid, I kid. Relax Aggie sympathizers. I actually like the Aggies, and hope they turn the corner here real soon.

Utah State is coming off a big win against Idaho, in which USU put up 42 points. Quarterback Diondre Borel, in his first start, led the team with 191 yards and 2 TDs passing, and another 93 yards and 1 TD on the ground.

Borel was not the original starter, however. The Aggies started the season with senior Sean Setzer. The two quarterbacks’ styles are completely different; Setzer is a traditional drop-back passer, while Borel is a speedy option-quarterback.

Key Losses: The Aggies’ best playmaker of the decade, Kevin Robinson, is in the NFL this year, and veteran USU QB/Punter Leon Jackson moved on also (although, that could be a good thing for Aggie fans).

Oh… and they also lost another player who transferred away earlier this year… but that’s another story for another time.

Key Returners: The Aggies bring back several starters, including two on one of their best units, the offensive line: tackle Derek Hoke and center Ryan Tonnemacher.

Matching up: The key matchup in this game will be USU’s offensive line vs. BYU’s d-line and linebackers. The Aggies are going to play ball control to keep the rock out of Max Hall’s very capable hands and BYU’s offense on the sidelines, so USU better hope its offensive line can protect QB Borel and give him some holes to run through.

In fact, they better give the offense a LOT of time on the field. If BYU gets the ball even once in this game, it’s over.

Adam’s Take: Who wants to eat at Maddox after the game? Oh man, I can taste that sarsaparilla right now… BYU 49, USU 6.

Sources:
BYUCougars.com News Release
Cougarstats.com
Cougar Tracks with Greg Wrubell
Utah State University: About Page
ESPN.com – USU team home page
USU 2008 Depth Chart
USU Image
BYU Image