Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who is this kid?


Okay, I found out about this kid a while ago and I thought he was a little odd. Now he has again been brought to my attention, and I have to post about him.

This is a quarterback from San Diego named Tate Forcier. (Click here for his Scout.com Profile.) Apparently he is the dominant force in San Diego football. I say that because virtually every college football program worth a darn in this country has offered him a scholarship. How do I know? He scanned every one of his offers and posted them to his Web site!


Here is one example- an offer from Tommy Tuberville of Auburn:
 

Is it just me or is that a little nuts? I mean, if I were Les Miles or Jim Tressel or another big time coach I wouldn't want some kid posting an offer for a full-ride athletic scholarship for the world to see. I don't know why, I mean I guess it's not totally private, but it just rubs me the wrong way.

All in all I think Forcier has 34 offers, and recently he "trimmed" that list down to 20. Something tells me this kid thinks he's a bit too cool for school.

His Web site claims an offer from BYU is "in the mail," but I hope that's not the case. I know he's probably a great player, but I hope BYU didn't offer him. I have a feeling having a guy like this on our team would do more harm than good.

Just check out his Web site, for heaven's sakes. This kid absolutely loves himself. If he comes to BYU he may quickly turn into another John Walsh.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Riley Nelson

In typical Adam's Sports Blog fashion, here I am talking about an event that was old news three days ago.

I'd like to think, though, that what I lack in timeliness I make up for in charm.

Riley Nelson, for those of you who have decided to cut all communication with the sports world until fall camp begins, has decided to transfer to BYU. Riley Nelson was a star QB at Logan HS, where he was named a Parade All-American. He signed with Utah State out of high school and played in 2006. He was one bright spot in what was otherwise a dismal and lowly Aggie team.

I watched him play just a little bit that year, and I saw a scrappy athlete who played outside himself and succeeded despite a horrible, horrible team. When I heard he was coming to BYU, I was immediately happy, because I know he's a good athlete.

There's much more to the story, however, and this little move by Nelson has effectively inflamed Internet fan communities all around the state of Utah- from Logan, to Salt Lake City to Provo. Aggie fans, Ute fans and Cougar fans are all up in arms about this transfer. So far Thunderbird fans and Wildcat fans are strangely silent, but I expect them to blow up at any moment.

Why is everyone so upset?

Well, Aggie fans are upset (and rightly so) because their one good player, and the future of their program, has jumped ship for far greener pastures.

BYU fans aren't upset as much as they are on the defensive.

The real story is how Utah fans are reacting to this news. The community of Ute fans that lives deep in the foothills of Salt Lake are outraged because Bronco Mendenhall went back on his word. Their little minds are popping at the impropriety; their beer-stained tank tops are in knots because Bronco Mendenhall did something he swore never to do: recruit a missionary.

"He said he would never do it!" they cry in anguish. "He gave us his word!"

Then they pronounce their accusation from their judgment seat: "Bronco Mendenhall is a hypocrite!"

They say this because Coach Mendenhall operates with this general philosophy: BYU won't actively recruit missionaries. He never, as far as I can tell, put this rule in stone, but he and his coaches abide by it. Nelson's recent decision, a decision he made well into his missionary service, appears to be a violation of this rule, and Ute fans simply will not allow Bronco's actions to proceed without accountability.

The problem with Utes, though, as is so often the case, is they are not so much concerned with what actually happened. They only really care about catching BYU in the act of doing something despicable. All they ever want out of life is to catch BYU in the act so they can say "Ah-HA! You're just like us!"

The Riley Nelson situation, in their eyes, is one of those instances.

What Utah fans don't understand is Bronco never said he wouldn't contact missionaries. A story today in the Salt Lake Tribune summarizes Bronco's position with missionaries and their recruitment (or rather, re-recruitment). Here's an excerpt:

"In fact, when BYU's Austin Collie was supposedly being recruited by other schools while still serving his mission nearly two years ago, Mendenhall acknowledged that the Cougars do sometimes contact recruitable players from other Division I-A programs who are serving missions - but only rarely, and only after "strong recommendations from their parents that they have an interest" in BYU. "

Taken from: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_9400368?source=r ss

This is what happened in the case of Riley Nelson. Both Nelson's parents and high school coaches informed BYU that Riley was interested in a transfer. Once notified, BYU coaches approached Riley, as they dang well should in situations like this, and the rest is history. BYU was well within its rights, ethically and legally.

This will never suit Utah fans, though. The only thing Utes care about is trying to prove BYU is slimy, hypocritical, soul-less and amoral. Or in other words, just like them.

For more on this story check out these articles:

BYU took more than a QB by Brad Rock
BYU coaches quiet about Riley Transfer by Michael C. Lewis
Greg Wrubell's Blog Post

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My trip to Baseball's Mecca

(Note, this a joint post, and will appear on both Adam's Sports Blog and AdamandBecky.blogspot.com)

This last Thursday, May 22, my wife Becky and I took a trip to the center of modern baseball history: Yankee Stadium in New York City. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to report on our trip, but lately we've been having some computer... issues.

Suffice it to say, our access to the Internet has become even more limited.

So, from the heart of the Columbia International House computer lab, I present The New York Yankees: Adam and Becky take a trip to the Bronx.

(Starting from top left: The Yankee Infield, Becky sporting our "Chevrolet Day" giveaway key chains, Becky and I, Cracker Jacks- the baseball staple, my first view of the ball park, and a shot of Memorial Garden, which was closed by the time we arrived).

Let me begin by saying I am a baseball fan, but a different kind of fan. I love baseball for what it means to American culture. I love the experience, I love the history, I love the personalities; to me baseball is a living part of Americana.

I may not be able to stomach just sitting down and watching any two teams play on any given afternoon in June (i.e. the Washington Nationals vs. the Florida Marlins in a heated NL-East grudge match), but come October I'm right there on pins and needles.

The game's watchability also increases tremendously when you're actually at the ballpark. Anytime I'm actually sitting in the stands I find the game much more interesting. There must be something about sitting among a group of men who have no problem paying $8 for a 10 oz. cup of beer...

Also, I should say I'm from Utah which means I have no allegiance whatsoever to any MLB team. I used to watch the Rockies when I was a little kid, and then when I was a missionary in New Hampshire for two years I adopted the Red Sox, but no team really has my undying love.

One team I did NOT love, however, was the New York Yankees. I guess everyone in the world falls into one of two camps: The Yankee fans, and the Yankee haters. For no reason, I fell into the latter group. I loved seeing them fail year after year (especially recently), and the fact that they spend so much money to perfect their roster makes it all the sweeter. I don't know why, but something seems so satisfying when A-Rod completely melts down in the playoffs. Call it Schadenfreude, but I like watching New York crumble.

But that all changed last Thursday when I stepped foot inside the House that Babe Ruth built. When I stepped inside Yankee Stadium my love of the game overcame my petty disdain for the modern Yankees, and I settled in for a night to remember at the old ball game.

The Yankees faced the Orioles in a battle of the bottom-two teams in the division, and in a move that would make my former New England friends' blood boil, I found myself rooting for the pinstripes. I even bought a shirt.

The game turned into a pitcher's duel, as each team struggled to put runs on the board. Johnnny Damon was one bright spot for the Yankees, going 3 of 4 from his lead-off spot, but both teams were dead locked at 1-1 with no signs of life from either team heading into the final inning.

The game settled into a sort of staring contest, with each team waiting for the other to blink. It was then that Yankee manager Joe Girardi decided he had enough. After a questionable call from the home plate umpire in the ninth inning, Girardi marched out to home plate and erupted in a fury of yelling, head-bobbing, and dust-kicking. The sleepy crowd erupted to cheer Girardi on, and Girardi became the spark that the Yankees needed to put away the Orioles for good.

Girardi was ejected, but he left the field with the supportive cheers of all 44,000 fans.

Not long after the ejection, Robinson Cano hit an RBI single that brought Hideke Matsui home for the winning run. The Yankees triumphed, and "Start Spreadin' the News" blared over the loudspeakers.

It was a good night.

(Starting from top left: The Yankee outfield, Johnny Damon at bat, the bowels of Yankee Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium under construction, and the Yankee infield at night).

Some favorites during the night were watching the fans in the bleacher seats, listening to the very formal, very classic PA announcer, watching the 4 train pass by during the game, and seeing fly balls come so close (seemingly) to our section.

It was a great night for this baseball fan, and a great chance to see one of the true monuments to the game, Yankee Stadium, before it is retired after this season.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today we say goodbye

America, it seems, is not ready for the cherubic innocence and playful laughter of sweet little boys.

On the same night David Archuleta sang his last song before being eliminated from American Idol, Adam's Sports Blog's own little crooner, Justin Lee, was eliminated from America's Next Top Obscure Guest Author. Today ANTOGA marches on, but it will do so without the pure-minded boy from New Mexico.

If you would like to read more from Justin, visit his blog: The Casual Outdoorsman.

Now we are left with two. Two colossal competitors who will do anything it takes to win. Two people - one lady and one fellow - are left to look each other square in the eye, waiting for the other to blink. Two people will walk the thorny path of ANTOGA, and only one will survive the journey.

Who are these two warriors?





The competition will proceed thusly: I have contacted the finalists, and they have been asked to prepare one short essay (100 words or less) to post on this blog as a sample of what they can contribute to the ASB community. When I receive their writings I will post them, and then the final round will officially begin.

When the voting stops, the winner's revelry begins. In addition to being a guest contributor to Adam's Sports Blog, remember, the winner will receive a candy bar and soda of his/her choice.

We've had our fun, now let's get nasty!

Housekeeping

I've added a few new features to my blog, and I thought I'd take just a moment to formally explain them.

First, I've created an email address exclusively for this blog. If you would like to contact me for any reason, please drop me a line at AdamsSportsBlog (at) gmail (dot) com. Note: Please use all the traditional symbols. I've changed it slightly to reduce spam.

Second, I've added a feedback page. If you would like to leave any general feedback on this blog, please visit my feedback page by clicking the link on the right-hand side of my blog's home page. Or you can click here.

I've also added a Technorati widget, so if any of you use Technorati feel free to add me to your favorites.

These features, as well as an oft-neglected top-ten list, can all be found on the right-hand side of my blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ESPN Chat with Bronco Mendenhall

Yesterday ESPN hosted a live chat with BYU football head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Here is the chat in its entirety.

SportsNation Buzzmaster: Bronco is on his way. Hang in there folks!

SportsNation Buzzmaster: We've got Bronco!

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I'm excited to be online with you alla nd to have the chance to discuss college football and BYU specifically with all of you that are interested!

Glenn, Temple, TX: Do you think that a 12-0 BYU team this year deserves a chance to play in the national championship game even though they are not from a BCS conference?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: A 12-0 BYu team, in our first year of being undefeated in my regime, does not. However, if established for two or three years, then it should be considered.

Brock - Orem, UT: What are the keys to performing so consistently at a high level of exucution?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: Our team performs consistently at a high level with the nature of the young men we recruit. They are more driven and principle-based than others ion the country. Our organizational structure focuses only on what we need to do to win games, which helps us maintain a high level of success.

Kyle Jones - Salt Lake City, Utah: What is the secret to your success in defeating Utah these last few years?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's been a combination of three things--momentum carried into the game, the maturity and consistency of the young men on our team, and preparation for stressful situations and game-changing plays, in our offseason model and spring practice.

Kacey Robbins Payson, Utah: Season ticket holder since age three. Congrats coach on last season. I have noticed the Y recruiting taller wide recievers, is there a reason why?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The simple reason is, most defensive backs are short. Knowing that BYU hasn't been able to recruit players with phenomenal speed, we use size to our advantage, knowing that body position and accurate passes will help us makre completions against speedier cornerbacks.

Aaron, Laramie, WY: As a Cowboy fan and Cougar hater, I begrudgingly admire how you have brought BYU back to prominence. Who is the team you are most worried about on your schedule and your "Quest for Perfection?"

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I worry about our teams in order, and the one I'm most concerned about in order is Northern Iowa, first on our schedule. Our theme has been that this is only about us, and we've been focusing exclusively on our program, our position mastery, our execution. We'll simply go in order of our schedule.

Coop: Springville, Utah: How difficult is it to balance both religion and football to the kids you coach?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The balance is most difficult once you've made a choice in what is important inyour life. For me, it's never about football entirely--it's about my purpose here on earth and how I conduct myself. Football is a great way to teach life lessons towards that same point.

Nathan (Omaha NE): How are you addressing the percieved weakness in the secondary with the loss of 4 starters from last year?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's a unique question, considering four of our starters in the UCLA game were walk-ons. Our system is designed to make the most of every player in our program. We believe we have the system and coaching to bring out the talent in the current players we have.

Jared -- Terre Haute, IN: What was your surf spot of choice this offseason?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I was part of a Nike Coach's trip to Mexico. I will leave the name of the place unknown because it was a nice spot and I don't want it to be overcrowded. But the only chances I have to surf now are on business.

Rogan (Cheeta Idyll, RI): Are you developing a pattern for dealing with the returned missionaries (i.e., redshirting vs. letting them play immediately?)

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: There is a pattern that's fairly well-established. It depends on birthday and when each young man who wants to go on a mission turns 19. If a player turns 19 in the summer months, we'll try to play him immediately knowing that he'll need a lot of playing time. If a player's birthday is in the middle of the football year, we will redshirt that young man first and allow him to play, knowing that when they return, they will have enough time to play. As a followup, the strategy works successfully, as we have 73 returned missionaries with 37 out serving, and with an 11-2 record, we feel we're on the right track,

Derek (Boise, ID): BYU is a few plays from having gone undefeated each of the past two seasons. How hard is it to focus on the success and not the near-misses?

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The near-misses and mistakes are the most valuable components to building and performing at a higher level. I view our double-OT loss at BC and our loss at UCLA as two of the greatest contributors to our success. We've been able to finish with 10 straight wins because of those. My hope is that we've been able to learn and apply those lessons. Mistakes are the greatest opportunity to learn,

SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's been a pleasure, and a fun and interesting vehicle to interact with the nation, regarding one of America's greatest sport in college football!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Down and Out

I know you all are probably sick of reading about the Jazz and how disappointing it is to face another long offseason, but I want to re-hash game 6 one more time.

I was cautiously optimistic about the Jazz' chances going into game 6. I knew the Lakers would bring it, mostly because I knew they wouldn't be able to last much longer, but I also thought the Jazz would respond with some of their best basketball of the playoffs to get the win.

I was sorely wrong.

Instead, the Jazz came out with visions of their summer vacations dancing in their heads, and they let the detestable Lakers walk all over them on their home court. Unacceptable. We were down the entire game - by 19 for a large part of it - and we made one furious flurry at the end to almost make the game interesting.

Note the key word almost.

The truth is the Lakers owned this game. They came to Salt Lake City with a mission: End this series. And they did it with precision and discipline. The Jazz, on the other hand, looked sloppy, unorganized and lazy. The same lack of defense that lost them games earlier in the season came back to haunt them in this, their final game in the 2007/2008 season.

That's the first thing I noticed, anyway, as I actually got to watch a little bit of this game. I walked into the community room of my apartment complex where the Jazz game happened to be playing, and I took a seat on a soiled couch. The apartments are filled with international students studying at Columbia University in New York, so I didn't mind that the room smelt of body odor and foreign cheeses. One Turkish guy was incredibly interested in Mehmet Okur, so that was cool. In reality, though, I was the only one in the room who really had a bleeding love for the Jazz.

I walked in in the middle of the second quarter during a commercial break (my wife and I had just returned from a show), and I was anxious to see how we were doing. I was disappointed to see we were down something like 35-19. I blinked a few times, thinking I was still just confused by all the glittering lights on Broadway, but the score was all too true. And as if the score wasn't proof enough, the Jazz started playing and I got to see for myself why the score was so lopsided. It looked like the gay guys I just got done watching on stage had caught the red-eye to Salt Lake and were now playing in Jazz uniforms.

Every play looked the same: Derek Fisher picks Deron Williams' pocket, dunk. Pau Gasol slips his defender, dunk. Kobe Bryant drives to the hoop, dunk and foul. On the other end, Okur takes a long jumper, brick. Matt Harpring takes a long jumper, brick . Andre Kirilenko drives to the hoop, bricks the dunk, looks around in confusion. The bile crept slowly up my throat...

It was at that moment that I realized how truly late it was, and I went upstairs to join my wife for some sleep.

Now I, like every other Jazz fan, am forced to face the most grueling test for any sports fan: summer. Now that the Jazz' season is over, how will I be consoled? By 60 baseball games every day? By the Arena Bowl? The NASCAR qualifying round?

And people wonder why I get so interested in football recruiting.

It's time to accept it though, the basketball season is over. The only thing that needs to happen now is the inevitable Laker sweep over the Celtics.

But what about the future of the Jazz?

A good portion of my fellow fans are looking at this early exit as an indication that we need to make some major changes. Calls for Carlos Boozer's head are ringing 'round the rooftops, Jerry Sloan effigies are burning in the streets and Utah is placing an embargo on all Russian-made goods.

I find myself a little less extreme.

I tend to think all this team really needs is experience. I like the core we have right now, and Jerry Sloan is a great coach. I would hate to throw a future hall-of-famer to the street because we had a disappointing playoff series against LA. Fortunately, the Jazz front office is run by rational people and not impassioned fans like myself.

If I did have to choose one person to keep, though, it would definitely be Deron Williams. D-Will to me is indispensable, and he really showcases how valuable a good point guard can be to a team. Not only that, he's a warrior. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, he can take over games, he's a great shooter and he makes his team better. I love Williams, and I hope the guys in charge do whatever it takes to keep him here in Utah.

The most tradable players are, in my opinion, Okur and Kirilenko. Okur isn't as necessary as he was when we first acquired him. For a long time he was our only long-range threat, as weird as that sounds, but now with the addition of Kyle Korver, Ronny Price, Ronnie Brewer and the improving range of Williams, Okur suddenly looks more and more like a lazy Turk who shoots a lot. Kirilenko is another favorite of mine, but his heart isn't here anymore. He plays, but he doesn't want to be here. It's starting to show on the court. I favor shopping AK around for a similar player, but one whose heart isn't in France on vacation with his family.

Boozer's situation is a little different. I've always had my reservations about Boozer's heart (what with injuries and no shows and such), but the reality is we need Boozer's offense. We need his production, and we need his overall presence. Without Boozer teams will work exclusively on D-Will and unless we can pickup another All-Star, our offensive production will suffer. Plus, I just think Williams and Boozer need another year together. Keep him around, I say.

All in all, the Jazz are still a work in progress. I like our core, like I said, and I expect more experience will do this team good. Next year I expect more consistency, better defense and home court advantage in the playoffs. Anything less will be a disappointment.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lock up your daughters...

...because tonight's game is going to be an all-out barn-buster. 

Game 6 in the Western Conference semifinals between the Jazz and the Lakers is tonight at 8:30 (Utah time), and I know one thing for certain: this will not be a game for the faint of heart (or the sore of back). 

This is the first time the Jazz have faced elimination in the playoffs, and it will be interesting to see how they respond. They have a huge advantage being at home, but it's my personal belief that the Lakers will pull out whatever they have in their bag o' tricks to make sure this thing gets over as soon as possible. In other words, I don't think this will be an easy win for the Jazz. 

Make no mistake about it- the Lakers are hurting. They are used to playing cupcakes like Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. When Paul Millsap gives a little elbow to the kidney, Lamar Odom doesn't know quite how to respond. To prove my point, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Odom all sat out of practice after game 5 to get some much needed rest. Apparently the physical Jazz are giving the nancy-boy Lakers all they can handle. They want the pain to stop.

And that's where the Jazz need to have absolutely no mercy. They need to play the cheapest, dirtiest, most physical game they've ever played tonight. They need to throw elbows, lower shoulders and kick people when they're down. Some people may claim that this is a cheap way to play basketball, but you know what I call those people? Losers. 

The Jazz need to blitzkrieg the Lakers into submission tonight. They need to hit them through the air, on the ground, and from the sidelines. After tonight, when the Lakers think about going back to face the Jazz one more time in a seventh game, their collective faces should twist and writhe into one giant agonizing grimace. 

Then, and only then, will the Jazz have a chance to close the books on the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Fearless prediction for Game 6: 
  • Boozer finds his game, scores 25 and pulls down 12 boards
  • D-Will leads the team like the captain of a mighty ship 
  • Korver heats up from three point land 
  • Kobe thinks quietly about a long, restful offseason
  • Jazz win 105-93

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A sweet site

Readers, I would like to submit for your approval one fine blog about the Utah Jazz. It's a blog for fans, and any fan of the Utah Jazz will have a good time here. 

Here's how you get there: You turn on your computer, click on the thing that says "Internet," and then you type this special code in the bar deal at the top: 


Or you can just click on it, because I did some secret coding stuff to make it so you don't have to do the work. I'd explain it all, but it's probably way over your heads. 

Have a good read, and try not to think about the tough loss yesterday. A word of advice: It helps ease the pain when you're in New York City and you don't actually watch the game.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"My back huuuuurts..."

After the Jazz won a thrilling game 4 against the Lakers on Sunday, and after Kobe Bryant was held to just 2 of 9 shooting in the fourth quarter and OT, is it any wonder that we're starting to hear whiny excuses wafting into the series like a cool breeze on the beaches of Southern California?

"A back (injury) is a little different," Bryant said after game 4. "You have to make some adjustments. You can't run like you want to, can't cut like you want to. It's a back." (Taken from This Deseret News Article)

Seriously? Like... a back back? Well why didn't you say so?

Predictably, the same injury that kept Kobe writhing on the floor for 10 minutes on Sunday will be a perfect storyline for game 5. In this way, I have found Kobe to be a brilliant competitor. By playing the "oh my aching back" card, he now has both an excuse if the Lakers lose, and an epic story of triumph if the Lakers win. Kobe is brilliant at making sure he's covered in every scenario.

And it started early. He already got all the love he needs after his poor performance on Sunday.

Oh, Kobe missed 7 of his last 9 shots when his team needed him the most? It's okay, he had a bad back. All is forgiven. It's a back, after all.

Here's a wild, new concept, Mr. Bryant: If your back is hurting you so much that you can't make your shots... PASS THE BALL. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful his trick back somehow gave him MORE confidence, but Kobe Bryant didn't exactly do his team any favors by hoisting up shot after shot.

The truth is, had he made those shots, the back wouldn't be a story. It only became an issue after the game was over and it just happened to be the perfect excuse as to why the Lakers now have to play more basketball than they're used to.

And now, not surprisingly, Kobe is covering all his bases by saying his back is still bothering him as we head into game 5. Kudos to you, Kobe Bryant. I'll be sure not to blame you completely when the Jazz take you Laker scum in 6.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ANTOGA: Top Three

Real men face their faults, and I am no exception. I fully realize it has been far too long since I've updated everyone (who has assuredly been waiting on pins and needles) concerning the next phase of America's Next Top Obscure Guest Author.

For my negligence, I apologize. By way of explanation, you all should know that I've been extremely busy (graduation, NBA Finals, Pizza Hut buffet, etc.), but I should have made time for my contest, and I know that.

This contest has become very much like a newborn babe to me. I can only hope that I'll be a much better father to a real human being made of flesh and blood than I have been to my digital child made of HTML code and Web links.

Now, let me switch gears for a moment to address a serious issue. I have heard grumblings among my readers that the voting for ANTOGA has not been fair. I have heard your complaints, and frankly I'm a little insulted.

Yes, I admit it was a little strange that my wife, Becky, happened upon 100+ votes literally minutes before the poll ended to vault from dead last to first place in the standings, but I assure you, I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Becky possesses an unconquerable spirit, and has demonstrated a true desire to win this contest. She did what she had to do to make it into the next round, and that involved self-promotion, the power of suggestion, and flat out begging co-workers and family members to vote for her. And I respect that.

But it's time to put all that behind us. Another round is upon us, and only you, the readers, can decide who will get his or her voice to sound off on any subject so desired.

Now, as we enter the second-to-last round of ANTOGA, there is only one question: Who has the brass to make it all the way to the winner's throne?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present your three finalists (images courtesy of Google Image Search):

Rebecca Olsen
Likes: Flowers, Cakes, Vampires and hairy lower backs
Dislikes: Cats, Ryan Howard, Waking up from naps
Advantages: New York City sass
Disadvantages: Small pinkies
Why she should be ANTOGA: "I keep it true, and I know what it's like on the other side."


Jeris Hobbs
Likes: Gmail Chat, Doc's Pizza, Neil Diamond and the Virgin River Gorge
Dislikes: Spending money, Laramie, Work
Advantages: Mohawk experience
Disadvantages: Has a history of chubbiness
Why he should be ANTOGA: "I don't need to beg. Corby Hodgkiss can vouch for me."

Justin Lee
Likes: The Yankees, His bowie knife, The cattle range and Cougarboard.com
Dislikes: The Red Sox, Coyotes, Facilities Management Majors
Advantages: PBR insight
Disadvantages: Pro-Choice
Why he should be ANTOGA: "I don't care about this contest. Vote for Jeris."



There they are: your champions. Vote with your heart, and let the stars guide you in your quest. After one week, the top two vote-getters will remain; the bottom feeder will vanish into an abyss of nothingness.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tonga Suspended

Breaking news out of BYU Football HQ: Manase Tonga will be academically ineligible for the 2008 football season. Read the press release here

Tonga will have to re-apply for BYU in 2009. 

This is big news, and it's bad news for BYU fans. Manase Tonga was as complete a back as we have on our team. He ran with power, he blocked well, and he had great receiving hands out of the backfield. He wasn't a game-changer, per se, but he will definitely be missed. 

The good news is he will redshirt this year, and he has the chance to play in 2009 if he can become eligible once again. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bring It On!

Readers, I give you another national publication that is picking BYU to bust the BCS in 2008: Sports Illustrated and author Steward Mandel.

Surely, BYU hasn't been on the receiving end of such love since the '84 national championship days (at least according to my parents). And this, in my opinion, means so much more. Right now, in 2008, BYU can accomplish something few if any teams in our position will ever even consider: a BCS bowl.

And then next year, by duplicating their success yet again in 2009, BYU will be ripe to win a second national championship. That's right, I said it. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

Dare to dream, Cougar fans, and get ready for the craziest, biggest, most intense season of football you've ever seen. Fall camp can't get here fast enough!

Let the quest for perfection begin!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Derek Fisher: The man you hate to love

Jazz fans: Do you remember how you felt during game 2 against the Golden State Warriors last year? The game was tight, D-Will was out with foul trouble, Derek Fisher was flying home from New York and Dee Brown was wheeled out of the game on a stretcher.

Andre Kirilenko was our point guard. Need I say more?

The game was tight- too tight. The Warriors were the hottest team in the league, and at times it appeared that the Jazz simply weren't equipped to win this game. I mean, we had no point guard for heaven sakes! Things were turning bitter real quick.

And then at the point of our direst need, a deafening roar erupted in the then newly named Energy Solutions Arena: A hero appeared in the tunnel. The cameras found a lone Derek Fisher walking into the arena looking like Wyatt Earp walking into the O.K. Corral. He came straight from the airport with a police escort, and he was still tucking in his jersey as he walked toward the Jazz bench.

The crowd was explosive. Men were crying like babies, women were on their knees, Larry Miller stood with his eyes wide, and his mouth full of Polish sausage. Personally, my nose was pressed up against the television screen and I was no longer a human being; I was one giant goosebump.

Here is the whole thing on YouTube so you can experience it for yourself:



It all went down like a classic WCW pay-per-view. You know, the good ones with Goldberg and the original NWO.

Fisher entered the game and at that moment everyone in the universe knew the Jazz would win. He made a pivotal defensive stop, and hit a three pointer that not only blew the roof off the ESA, but turned out to be the game-winner. At that moment, everyone in Utah - and the world - loved Derek Fisher. We loved him for what he did in the game, true, but mostly we loved him for who he is, what his family was going through, and how much care he has for his daughter. It was a good story.

Now things are a little different. See, in the offseason Derek Fisher asked out of his contract with the Jazz so he could be closer to a specialist to take better care of his daughter, who has a rare form of eye cancer. He was granted permission to leave with the owner's - and the fans' - blessing. We all naturally assumed he'd be heading east to be closer to New York City. That's where his daughter had been receiving care.

But we Jazz fans were shocked and disgusted when Fisher immediately signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only do we all hate the Lakers like poison, but we saw this situation as Derek Fisher using his daughter to get out of Salt Lake. It's no wonder that when Fisher returned to SLC early on this season he was booed like a Vaudeville puppet act gone awry.

Rightly so, in my opinion. I myself felt betrayed by Fisher, who was not shy about his disdain for living and playing in Utah when he was signed originally.

But now I may be having a change of heart. Derek Fisher is a good person who has a good family. He's a very religious man, and he's a devoted and loving father (at least from what I can tell). It's hard to hate a guy like that. In fact, anyone who hates a guy like that may want to re-evaluate his or her life and values.

Did Fisher play his best as a member of the Jazz? Certainly not.

Was he an irreplaceable component to our team? One thousand times no.

Did he leave under shady circumstances? Yes he did.

But I officially don't hate the guy any more. He's a good person, and that's all I care about now.

Plus I'll be honest, he really never found his niche while he was with the Jazz. Frankly, we're better without him.

So Derek, I am officially making my peace with you. You're a good man, and I no longer wish you ill. May you enjoy the twilight years of your NBA career, and may you find success in all your endeavors, save the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals. In the words of Father Abraham, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren." (Genesis 13:8)

ABOUT GAME 2:

We need to win game 2. This is probably the most crucial game for the Jazz, and I'm going to make a bold prediction: If we win this game, we'll win the series. If we lose this game, we'll lose the series.

That's not to say if we lose I'll stop caring. I mean, it doesn't happen often, but I've been wrong before.

Anyway, we need to win tonight to take home court advantage away from the Lakers. Our only chance to beat LA is to beat them on our home floor.

And Boozer: Show up tonight.

**UPDATE**

It appears I've been the victim of a cruel hoax. Someone, somewhere told me the game was tonight (Tuesday night). Imagine my embarrassment when my wife correctly pointed out to me that the game is tomorrow night. Fortunately all my analysis can be salvaged- just know that it belongs to Wednesday's game, and not the phantom game I thought would take place on Tuesday.

Game 2 might as well be on a different day, though, with me living on the East Coast. I think if the game starts at 7:30 Pacific Time I'll be able to catch it here around 1 a.m. next Saturday.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Game 6

...or in other words, the end of the road for Tracy McGrady and the Rockets. 

I predict a blowout tonight. The Jazz are bringing their game back to ESA, and after Game 5's humiliation they will be looking for blood in front of a sold out wild-'n-crazy Mormon crowd, who no doubt has been smiling politely, living right and saving up all their viciousness for the Playoffs. 

(Read this article if you want to know what I'm talking about.)

Look for Carlos Boozer to put up 30+, look for Matt Harpring to knee someone in the crotch, and look for that crazy doctor guy to spray mace in Shane Battier's face. 

Also, look for me to be in bed. Stupid Eastern Time Zone.

Jazz 103, Rockets 89