Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The disappointment factor

I've been reading a lot of good stuff about tonight's Las Vegas Bowl between BYU and Oregon State. They all pretty much say the same thing: Two good offenses going against two average defenses; should be a shoot out; veteran QBs; yadda yadda yadda.

These reports and previews don't quite grasp what could be the biggest factor of all, however: The disappointment factor.

In the past five years I've noticed a trend in the Las Vegas Bowl: The team that limps into the game usually goes home the loser.

Last year, BYU made the disappointing trek to Sam Boyd Stadium after losing to Utah, and having their "Quest for Perfection" dashed to pieces. They left with a 31-21 loss to Arizona.

UCLA, in 2007, began the season with a great QB, a stifling defense and a pocket full of dreams. Those dreams were crushed, and their 6-6 season ended with a narrow LVB loss to BYU.

In 2006 BYU faced Oregon, a team that burned brightly, and then imploded. They had no interest in the game, and BYU crushed them 38-8.

The same can be said of Cal in 2005. Cal was a top-ten team to start the season, but then took a beating en route to a Las Vegas Bowl win. Yes, they won, but only because BYU didn't really know how to win games back then.

So who is coming into the LVB disappointed this year? It's gotta be the Beavers, who were only one or two plays away from a Pac-10 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Will Oregon State be fired up against the Cougars, or will it be another case of "We didn't want to be here"?

We'll know tonight, but I like BYU's chances tonight.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A GREAT weekend for BYU

Josh "Q" Quezada picks BYU over Utah...

Uona Kaveinga MAY be transferring to BYU...

BYU Hoops lays the biggest beat-down ever administered to a fellow D-1 school...

Two prized Utah recruits de-commit from the Utes...

and it's Bowl Week!

Go Cougars!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Post-Season Football Awards

Before we play Oregon State to cap off the season, I'd like to recognize the Cougs for another tremendous regular season. Every game, with two obvious exceptions, was a pleasure to watch, and this year's seniors will sorely be missed.

Without further ado, I would like to present the 2009 Asbies.


Offensive MVP: Dennis Pitta
Pitta created matchup problems for every team that lined up against him. He is the most prolific tight end in a school that is known for a great TE tradition. No one changes a game like Dennis Pitta.
Runner-up: Max Hall

Defensive MVP: Jordan Pendleton
Speed, athleticism, brute strength- these are the traits of our newest defensive star. He covered well, he blitzed well. JP will be the man at linebacker for years to come.
Runner-up: Brian Logan

Offensive Play of the Year: Andrew George's game winning TD catch vs. Utah in overtime

Defensive Play of the Year: Coleby Clawson ending Sam Bradford's season (Career?) with a bonecrushing sack vs. Oklahoma.

Biggest Win: BYU beats No. 3 Oklahoma 14-13 in the first game of the season.

Most Disappointing Game: Florida State. The 'Noles stomped on our hearts and crushed our dreams in our home-opener.

Best Overall Team Performance: BYU vs. Wyoming. The offense and defense dominated in a 52-0 blowout.

Best Individual Performance, Offense: Max Hall vs. Air Force. Hall carved the nation's leading pass defense for 377 passing yards and 5 TDs.

Best Individual Performance, Defense
: Brian Logan vs. Colorado State. Logan recorded 9 tackles, one interception and two defended passes which led to another interception.

Hit of the Year: Jordan Pendleton's destruction of Utah QB Jordan Wynn on Utah's second offensive play of the game.

Best Beginning: BYU scores 21 points vs. Colorado State in the first quarter, taking the Rams completely out of the game.

Best Ending: Andrew George catches a 25-yard game-winning TD catch in overtime to send the Utes home empty-handed.

Newcomer of the year: Brian Logan, who turned out to be a HUGE upgrade over Brandon Howard.

Freshman of the year: Not a lot of frosh got to see playing time this year, so I'm giving it to Craig Bills who showed flashes of brilliance on special teams and in limited playing time.

Congratulations to our winners, and may you destroy the Oregon State Beavers as a triumphant encore to another great season.

The Ten Commandments for fans

Every fan is different. Some are crazy, some are wishy-washy. Some are prudish, some are boorish, some are loud and some are just havin' a good time.

Every fan has their own personal code of conduct. What is standard procedure for one fan may be lazy, offensive or just plain wrong for another. That being said, there is a standard by which every fan should live. I've compiled this list of Ten Commandments for every fan. May you live them in peace.

1. Thou Shalt Wear Thy Team's Colors. Seems like a no-brainer, right? but thousands of people all over the country attend sporting events in rogue colors. If you're going to take the time to attend a game, take the time to pull over a team t-shirt.

2. Thou Shalt Sing Thy Team's Fight Song. This rule may not literally apply to every fan (pro sports, etc.), but the spirit of the law remains. Learn the words, sing proud and support your team.

3. Thou Shalt Not Boo Thine Own Team, Coach or Players
. Booing your own troops is bush-league, low-class trash. I don't care how poorly JT... or anyone else... is playing.

4. Thou Shalt Attend
. If you live close, if you can afford it and if you have the time, you need to attend every possible home game. This goes double for the blue hairs who already have season tickets but just don't show up to the games.

5. Thou Shalt Watch. When you can't get to the games, watch them on TV. If you can't watch it on TV, listen on the radio. If you can't do that, jump on the Interwebs afterward and read the report.

6. Thou Shalt Not Conflict. You want to know what I say to people who schedule things during games? Nothing, because I don't go. Don't be one of those guys. Your EQ activity can wait a few hours.

7. Thou Shalt Not Cheer For Thy Rival
. I know others may disagree, but all true fans have rivals, and and all rivals must be trodden under your feet.

8. Thou Shalt Educate Thyself. First tier fans, know the players. Second tier, read the newspapers. Third tier fans, check the blogs, read the message boards and leave comments. Whatever level of fan you are, make sure you know what's going on.

9. Thou Shalt Read ASB. This one's a given. Tell your friends.

10. Thou Shalt Cheer With All Thy Might. Be a part of the game. Cheer loudly and don't be afraid of the old people that sit behind you and tell you to be quiet. Your team needs you. Don't believe your wife and kids: You can make a difference. Even if you're just watching at home.

Did I miss anything? Please, feel free to leave your commandments in the comments below.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our three bigs

BYU has some talented basketball players this year, and this might be the deepest team I can remember. We've got five solid starters, and bench players that could be starters at any other MWC school.

My personal favorite position to watch is the five. That's the position I played growing up, and it's the position that interests me the most. I always try to keep an eye on our big men.

With apologies to James Anderson, whom I like but has taken a bit of a reserve role, I'd like to offer up my thoughts on our three bigs.

Chris Miles is an enigma. He's tall, he's big and he's athletic, yet we're all still waiting for him to really break out and become the player we all want him to be. He shows flashes of brilliance (like last year against Utah and this year against Utah State), but he lacks consistency. Sometimes he will make powerful moves to the basket, but other times he won't score a single point.

Lately Chris has been playing very well. He still plays with hesitation, but he is taking good shots and he's finishing. He's got a great FG% so far in this young season (56%, highest among starters), and he's shooting 82% from the FT line.

Overall, including offense and defense, Chris Miles is our best big man. But Chris, you REALLY need to stop hesitating when you get the ball down low. I can't believe how many dunks you've given up because you do a little power dribble/pump fake. Be strong, and don't hesitate.

Noah Hartsock is just barely behind Chris Miles as far as quality is concerned. Noah has a huge upside, and he's leaps-and-bounds more athletic than he was last year (count it as mission rust).

Hartsock shoots the ball well (think Keena Young, but more range), and he finishes around the basket; he's reliable on the fast break. Not only that but he plays great defense. He's not quite as good as Miles yet on the defensive side of the court, but he will be. Noah leads the team in blocks and rebounds.

As of now, Hartsock has the most upside of all three bigs. A far cry from last year, remember?

Finally, there's Brandon Davies. I think I speak for everyone when I say Davies is exciting to watch. He's probably the most exciting five since... Trent Plaisted. I know Plaisted was just here, but it seems like it's been a long time since we had an athletic post who was hungry for the ball and looked for the basket.

Davies is that guy.

He doesn't have any eye-popping numbers yet, but B.D. definitely passes the eye test. He makes the most of his time on the court, and he's simply fearless on offense.

His defense is still a liability, which is why he doesn't get more playing time, but that will only improve. Davies will be the guy next year, and might even find himself starting a few games later on this season.

All in all, Davies has a bright future at BYU.

(Stats taken from ESPN.com)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GUEST POST: Separate But Equal Bowl

I asked my friend Eliot, a very smart person, if he would be willing to write an article about the BCS Bowl Selections. What follows is a result of that request.

First, thanks to AO for giving me a place on his soapbox.

When I first saw the results of the BCS bowl selections, I almost did not believe it. As ridiculous, unfair, and atrocious as the BCS is and has been, the possibility of matching up TCU with Boise State seemed so far from normal human reasoning that I refused to believe it had happened.

Adding to the perplexity of the situation is the scarcity of criticism by ESPN. (Yes, I'm calling you out, ESPN.) There have been solid articles on SI.com and cbssports.com, among a slew of blog posts. Many ESPN writers and analysts claim to be playoff proponents, but it seems like they are afraid to be BCS opponents. The best I could find was here, and I don't think it was from lack of effort on my part that I could not find much criticism (or commentary even) on either ESPN or its website.

A subtle and powerful way for the media to influence the public is in the amount of coverage given to stories. Is ESPN deflecting attention from the Fiesta Bowl selection ambiguities by focusing on things like Colt McCoy's near-blunder? After all, they do have considerable stake in the future of the BCS.

Since I like to know the details of these kinds of things and it seems most people ignore them, let's take a little closer look at how those teams were selected. (I found in Graham Watson's chat that she must be looking at some selection order that is not consistent with the what is on the BCS's website. For the record, after the conference champions are assigned to their bowls, the order of selections this year is Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar. Also for the record I don't have anything against Watson, especially because I think she has one of the toughest jobs at ESPN.)

Each of the BCS bowls has its own selection committee and, presumably, its own interests in selecting the teams that will make the most money for them, filling seats, selling merchandise, and boosting television ratings.

The rules of the BCS bowl selections are given in full here, but there is a lot to sift through, so I will sum up the pertinent information. First, there are seven teams this year that automatically qualified and are guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl: each of the "big six" BCS conference champions (Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, Oregon, Ohio State, and Georgia Tech) and TCU as the top-ranked team from a non-automatically qualifying conference. There are then three remaining at-large bids in BCS bowls to be given out among seven other eligible teams, which are Florida, Boise State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, LSU, Penn State, and BYU. (No more than two teams total can be taken from any one conference.)

The first- and second-ranked teams in the BCS standings, Alabama and Texas, go to the national championship game. Next, following traditional bowl allegiances, the champions of the BCS conferences are assigned to their bowls; the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions to the Rose Bowl (Oregon and Ohio State), the ACC champion to the Orange Bowl (Georgia Tech), the Big 12 champion to the Fiesta Bowl, and the SEC champion to the Sugar Bowl. Since the Big 12 and SEC champions are in the national title game, the bowls associated with them get priority in choosing replacements.

The Sugar Bowl, since they lost the top-ranked team from their bowl game, have the first pick and, as expected, choose Florida. Although the Gators are not the highest ranked team available, they are the runners up in the SEC and having fewer losses than all but five teams in the FBS, they are a reasonable choice.

Next, the Fiesta Bowl must replace the Big 12 champion, and they have a broad range of choices at this point. There are no eligible choices from the Big 12 (OSU is ranked too low at 19th). Undefeated Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State are all available, but as any college football fans, Boise State put on one of the greatest shows of all time in the Fiesta Bowl a few years back. And since Boise State was not guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl, depending on the other bowls' selections, the Fiesta Bowl's second pick may have been constrained to either TCU or Cincinnati. On top of it all, remember just last year an undefeated Boise State failed to bust the BCS because Utah was ranked ahead of them. The Fiesta Bowl choosing Boise State actually makes a lot of sense.

The Orange Bowl picks next, looking for an opponent to play ACC champ Georgia Tech, with options of Cincinnati, TCU, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Penn State, or BYU. Virginia Tech, as an ACC team, would be an uninteresting choice, and BYU would make a strange and unprecedented third non-AQ team in the BCS (at two losses no less). Certainly, the most appealing of the teams would be either Cincinnati or TCU, so why does the Orange Bowl pick Iowa? Is it a more even matchup, to pit a 11-2 Georgia Tech against another two-loss team than an undefeated team? I don't have a good answer to why the Orange Bowl selection committee working in its own interest would have picked Iowa over Cincinnati, relegating the bowl to one of two BCS games not featuring any undefeated team. As a fan of college football, this is the BCS match-up that I am least likely to watch.

But the Orange Bowl as it is set up has a certain right feeling to it. It puts two teams together that are wildcards in my book, a unique Georgia tech offense and an Iowa that managed to come from behind in nearly every win this season, and even though I would be more interested in seeing Cincinnati than Iowa playing Georgia Tech, I am much more interested in seeing Cincinnati measure up against Florida. It seems to me like this is evidence of the BCS bowls acting in concert, but I would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

With the BCS selection up to this point looking mostly on the level, we come back to the Fiesta Bowl's second selection. TCU and Cincinnati are the only remaining choices, since they must fill the two remaining voids. It seems like the Fiesta Bowl, the patron BCS bowl of BCS busters, would want to recreate a game like the epic saga against Oklahoma and so would pick a BCS conference foe (i.e. Cincinnati) to put Boise State to the test, rather than match them with the same team that was a consolation for the slight they received last year by being the lower-ranked undefeated non-AQ. The game last year was one of the better bowls, but who really wants to see that rematch, especially since neither team has lost during this regular season? Maybe there is a distant concern over the potential lame-duck coaching situation at Cincinnati, but does that make them less competitive or their postseason any less watchable even if it does happen? It certainly could affect the game, but the effect is not necessarily negative, and I doubt it would keep fans from watching or attending the game.

Last year, the attendance at the Poinsettia Bowl featuring TCU and BSU was 34,628. Of course, the Fiesta Bowl is a bigger bowl, and TCU is undefeated this year, but that is an absolutely dismal attendance number. (I don't know how well Cincy travels, but I can't imagine any model of projecting attendance that would make Cincy worse than TCU, even considering the longer distance.) According to this, the four BCS bowl games featuring non-AQ schools are among the eight lowest in TV ratings among all BCS bowl games. That is not to say that this Fiesta Bowl will not be more watched around the country or that with Cincinnati the ratings would be significantly better, but all the tangible facts suggest low ratings. Imagining myself a Boise State fan (which is painful), the matchup with TCU would discourage me from making the trip. In other words, if the Fiesta Bowl is looking to make money, and using my gut reactions as market research, it almost certainly made the wrong choice.

If the capitalistic model fails to explain why the Fiesta Bowl chose TCU, the only other reason that makes sense is to create a game that fans would want to see. While I will definitely watch the game, and an ESPN poll shows that interest in the Fiesta Bowl is second only to the title game, it's not the game I wanted to see. The whole debate of the merits of a BCS busting team is centered on the fact that they play an allegedly different level of competition. The reward for a season of dominating the WAC or the MWC should be a chance for a team to prove itself against a national powerhouse, not a non-AQ meta-conference championship.

In the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Utah got to measure up against 8-3 Pitt. They won the game, but Pitt was no top-tier opponent. Two years later, Boise State edged Big 12 champion Oklahoma (10-2 before the game), but they needed gimmicks to tip the scale against the Sooners, who were in a bit of a down year. Hawai'i disgraced the BCS busters the next year, confirming what the pundits had been saying all along as they got shellacked by a strong Georgia team in the Sugar Bowl. But last year Utah shocked Alabama and much of the college football world in that same bowl. This was a BCS disaster, although it's either amazing or predictable that the talking heads on ESPN still routinely explain it away as Alabama coming out flat after a disappointing SEC championship game a month earlier.

With the growing size of the statistical sample of BCS busters, it will only become harder for the BCS profiteers to ignore the little guys. Without controlling the games themselves, how could the BCS avoid another shame this year? TCU was guaranteed a game, and there would likely be an uproar if Duck-killer Boise State were to be snubbed for a second consecutive year after an undefeated WAC schedule. If TCU could knock off, say, Florida, and Boise State handed Cincinnati its first loss, how could the BCS justify a national title Texas over two other undefeated teams? The possible BCS meltdown scenario could actually bust the BCS.

If you buy into the fairness and benevolence of the BCS, you also have to assume that the people in charge of the Fiesta Bowl have no reason for picking TCU, as I think I demonstrated above. They might as well have flipped a coin to pick between Boise State and Cincinnati. Fiesta Bowl director Jeff Junker says, "We think it's a matchup that's credible." When you have to say something like, I think you've already recognized that it's not a credible matchup. In any case, TCU players apparently cried when they heard the news, and Boise State fans were similarly disappointed.

The BCS clearly wants to protect its public image, as evidenced by the hiring of a punching bag named Bill Hancock. If you make a simple assumption that the BCS exerts some undisclosed influence over the individual bowls, the Fiesta Bowl makes perfect sense. By taking Boise State, the BCS exhibits its fairness, at least on a superficial level. But even better, by matching them up against fellow BCS buster TCU, the BCS insulates themselves from the potential flames that a pair of upsets could spark up. The threat to the BCS is warded off until next year.

The best of the many descriptions I have read in the last few days called it the Separate But Equal Bowl. Unless there is information out there that I haven't seen, it appears conclusive to me that either the Fiesta Bowl organizers are incompetent or corrupt.

In the face of all of this, TCU and BSU coaches have taken the high road, and you have to give them credit for that. I honestly think that the best thing to be done for the situation would be to get the AP voters to vote the Fiesta Bowl winner at the top of their ballots. I don't expect it, but I would like to see TCU split the national championship after they dismantle Boise State.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Utah Flash hits a new low

First let me tell you what happened, then I'll give my thoughts.

Brandt Anderson, owner of the Utah Flash, made a proposal. He contacted Michael Jordan and Bryon Russel and challenged both former NBA players to play one-on-one, and Anderson would donate $100,000 to a charity of the winner's choice.

All went quiet on Western front, but the challenge remained.

Then, on Saturday, Brandt appeared on local news implying a potential match-up between Jordan and Russel was imminent. In fact, he hinted that the one-on-one would take place during Monday night's Flash home opener.

Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax

Flash forward to tonight. Monday night, the night of the big game.

Thousands of people flocked to the McKay Events Center, hoping to see the greatest basketball player who ever lived. People were wearing No. 23 jerseys, kids were carrying pens hoping for an autograph and the ticket line went through the door out onto the street.

I know because I was there.

I admit, I bought tickets for tonight's game. My thinking was if this thing really went down I needed to be there.

Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax (Video Screen, Bryon Russel)


Well, despite reports that Michael Jordan had been spotted in Orem's Mimi's Cafe, the whole thing turned out to be a hoax. A publicity stunt. During halftime, when the two aged players were supposed to duke it out, Bryon Russell appeared at center court, and the crowd waited anxiously for MJ... only to get an impostor.


Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax (Bryon Russel)
Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax (Michael Jordan Imposter...LAME!)

Then, after the sham was revealed, the McKay Events Center erupted in boos. People threw garbage onto the court, and hundreds packed the aisles to leave early. No one got to see His Airness tonight; thousands left UVU campus empty and disappointed.

Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax (Casey)

Now my thoughts.

This publicity stunt was at best short-sighted, and at worst sleazy and deceptive. The Utah Flash may have sold more tickets than they ever have before, and they may have broken every attendance record in the books tonight, but the damage they did to their primary public is irreparable.

They violated our trust. They baited-and-switched and swindled the very public that they should have courted. You really think the Utah Flash endeared itself to potential ticket buyers tonight? Nope. They sold themselves out for one big night.

Not only that, but the organization dealt its own Flash players a serious blow. Now the players know no one is really interested in them. They know that their product isn't appealing. They know that the front office needs to resort to parlor tricks to get people in the doors. Way to inspire confidence, there, Brandt.

Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax (Lee Cummard)

I know I personally will never, ever buy a ticket to a Utah Flash game ever again, and I'll have nothing but bad things to say when the subject comes up in the future. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

This was a bush league stunt by a low-class organization. It was a cheap, desperate ploy to get attention that may have short term success, but will only hurt them in the long run.

I hope it was worth it.

Utah Flash - Michael Jordan Hoax

Going Bowling

It's official: BYU will meet Oregon State in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl.

[insert Cougar/Beaver joke here]

While it wasn't the matchup I wanted (I was dreaming of a BYU/Stanford clash), I am pretty excited about this game. For one thing, I think BYU has the fire and desire to bring home the 2009 LV Bowl trophy, whereas last year I got the feeling we were just going through the motions.

Also, we finally have a decent representative from the Pac-10. No more 6-6 UCLAs or Arizonas.

Oregon State is a good team. Quizz Rodgers is a little firecracker, and his brother James is a big-time playmaker. It'll be interesting to see how BYU matches up with OSU's athletes.

If our offense is on, though, BYU will blow them out. It won't be close.

Another interesting bowl game is the Fiesta Bowl. And by interesting I mean infuriating.

The 2010 Fiesta Bowl is pitting the TCU Horned Frogs against the Boise State Broncos. It's actually going to be a great game, but the fact that they put the two non-BCS teams in the same bowl game drives me crazy. It's an effort to reward two great teams, but at the same time keep them from playing in any meaningful games.

The selection committee is bound to grant both teams BCS bowl berths, but they won't allow them to play actual BCS teams

Why? Because the BCS is scared. They don't want any more flack from the non-BCS crowd. They don't want TCU to beat Florida and go through the same mess they went through last year with Utah.

And what happens when Boise State beats Cincinnati? Then there would be chaos.

No, they would never let that happen. They're cowards.

It's insulting.

Now TCU and Boise State will battle each other like toddlers fighting over the last drumstick on the kids table. One will win the game, but both will lose the chance to prove how REALLY good they are.

It's a crying shame, and it's yet one more reason why I hate our corrupt college football post-season.

Friday, December 04, 2009

For the record

Despite the nauseating bravado provided by the Utah media surrounding Max Hall's famous post-game comments, Hall's words are nothing new to this rivalry.

In fact, it might surprise some dirty Utes out there that (gasp!) even Utah players and coaches have publicly declared hatred for "that team down south."

Here's a few:

Wayne Howard, Utah Head Coach from 1977 - 1981
"I hate BYU"

Brett Elliot, Utah Quarterback in 2002
"Everybody hates BYU. They're so cocky it's ridiculous."

Alex Smith, Utah QB in 2003-2004
"I really hate them."

Morgan Scalley, Utah Safety in 2004
"I hate those pr*cks... ever since I was born."

Weird, right?

So before you Utah fans get so indignant and offended, do me a favor and (in the immortal words of Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy) get yer facts straight.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

One more year!

Harvey UngaHere's hoping Harvey Unga will join us for another spectacular year of BYU Cougar football in 2010.

Last night at the Spectrum

I don't know what you guys have been able to piece together about my personal life by reading this blog, but I have a few friends that are die-hard Utah State Aggies.

So when they heard BYU would be playing Utah State up in Cache Valley they made sure to be at the game, and I was lucky enough to be able to tag along.

First, I gotta say I had a great time. The Spectrum is a great place to watch a basketball game. I've always wanted to go up there, and I'm glad I was able to see a BYU/USU game. The students definitely have a passionate hatred for BYU, and I can appreciate that.

The arena itself is small. It only holds about 7,000 people, and every one of them are loud and proud. The area is so small that it magnifies the sound, too. Each in-unison clap after their weird "Sagebrush/Thistle" fight song sounded like a gunshot.

The fans were awesome. This experience solidified my opinion that Utah State basketball fans are the best fans in the state. As much as I love BYU's student section, they can't hold a candle to the Aggies. They were loud, unified, they all wore Aggie blue and they were there way early.

They were pretty classy, too. I was worried that I would get crap all night for wearing BYU gear in the student section, but everyone seemed pretty cool with it. Of course, that could just be the mustache. I find very few people want to mess with me with all this wiry hair on my upper lip.

The game itself started great, but turned into a disaster. Jackson and Jimmer were hot, Tyler Haws added some quality points and Chris Miles had the game of his life.

After half time, though, every bit of good mojo we had working for us vanished. Jimmer went cold, JT continued to shoot us right out of the game and turnovers absolutely killed us.

Plus it doesn't help that Jared Quayle went off for something like 20 points in the second half. The Aggies were hot and we were most definitely not, and USU came away with the win.

Tavernari made me furious. Is this guy a shooter or what? 1-11 from the field is just embarrassing, and I'm going to quickly stop defending him if he doesn't start hitting his shots. He wasn't putting up bad shots, that's the thing. He was getting good looks; he just wasn't hitting them.

It was a frustrating loss, but a great experience up in Logan. Thanks for a great game, Ags.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Holy War 2009: A day in the life

Since not everyone who reads this blog was able to attend the game on Saturday (like my grandma, for example), I thought I'd take a moment to describe my day at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday. You know, give you guys a true taste of what it's like to be a crazier-than-normal BYU fan at the biggest game of the year.

Let's get started.

12:20 p.m.: Arrive at LES west parking lot, set up camp for pre-game tailgate.

12:21 p.m.: Realize we forgot chairs. Curse.

12:45 - 2 p.m.: Eat hot dogs, boo Ute fans and run a few receiving drills.

2:15 p.m.: Enter LaVell Edwards Stadium, heckle Ute players as they enter the field
(Photo courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune. Yes, I am actually in this photo. Just look for the guy playing with his mustache.)


2:20 p.m.: Make my way over to the BYU side, get my first glimpse of the beautiful, majestic royal blue throw-back uniforms. A tear comes to my eye.

2:35 p.m.: wait patiently at the tunnel where BYU players will enter the field. Look, in vain, for "You're watching Cougar Diary" cameras.

2:50 p.m.: Team runs out onto the field, I scream "Eat 'em up" to more than a few players. Still not sure if they heard me.

First Quarter: Adam is upset. Utah up 6-0, but the conviction remains: "If we just stop giving them short fields they won't be able to score."

Later in the first quarter: BYU scores to make it 6-3. Feeling better.

Second Quarter: Harvey Unga scores first TD of the game. Do I hug my buddy or my wife first?

Halftime: Band sucks. Why don't they make more interesting shapes during their performances? Like a giant pac-man or a flaming eagle or something.

Third quarter: BYU scores again. I kiss my wife with my tongue.

Fourth quarter: Utah starting to make a comeback. First a field goal, then a TD (+2 pt. conversion), then another FG. Looks like my "Power of positive thinking" strategy isn't working-- Utes continue to score despite my thoughts of "Wynn will throw an interception on this play..." etc.

:30 left in regulation: BYU decides to let the clock run. I freak out. "What a horrible call!" I think.

Overtime: BYU wins toss, elects to play defense and holds Utah to a FG. At that moment I knew BYU would win. "What a great call to play for Overtime," I think.

7:10 p.m.: Three men collide, but only one of them, Andrew George, has the football. George runs untouched into the loving embrace of a waiting end zone, and the stadium erupts.

7:11 p.m.: Still in a state of shock, I scan the field for yellow flags. Still nothing, but I keep looking.

7:12 p.m.: I finally accept that we've won and I immediately rush for the field.

7:13 p.m.: Oh yeah... I'm like 10 rows from the top of the stadium. I'll be waiting for a while.

7:15 p.m.: Take special notice of the Utah team walking dejectedly to their locker room. Wish I could see their broken faces, but seeing their heads hang low will have to do.

7:25 p.m.: Finally make it down to the field where I party with the rest of the Cougar faithful. I pat every player I see on the shoulder pads-- even the players who didn't play and had nothing to do with our win.

7:30 p.m.: Grab a quick photo with Bryan Kehl.

7:55 p.m.: Stagger back to the car in a euphoric daze, turn on the postgame show. "Shut up everybody, Max Hall is about to speak..."

Max Hall for Offensive POY


I know there's been a lot of Max Love on this blog lately, but I had to make one more plug for Max before today's MWC awards are announced.

Max Hall deserves to be named Offensive Player of the Year.

Currently, Max leads the conference in (get ready):

Passing Yards
Passing efficiency
Total Yards
Completions
Attempts
Completion percentage
Touchdown passes

And he has been named MWC Player of the Week nine times, including an honor after the Air Force game in which Max threw 5 TD passes.

If Hall doesn't get the Offensive POY award for 2009, I will be forced to make some very hasty comments about the MWC officials who run the ceremony. Don't test me, MWC. Do the right thing.

**Update**

Not surprisingly, TCU's Andy Dalton was named the 2009 MWC Offensive Player of the Year, and not Max Hall. This proves once again that the MWC awards are a complete joke.

These are supposed to be individual awards, but the MWC is instead using these honors to create more publicity for the undefeated TCU, who swept all post-season awards (Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year).

This comes one year after Utah did the same thing, even though Austin Collie was clearly the MVP of the league (not Brian Johnson).

Disappointing, MWC. I thought you were better than that.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You're doing it wrong


Let this be a lesson to all of you: If you email me an hilarious picture, I will put it on my blog.

Apologies

I was just thinking, Since Max Hall bit the bullet and issued his public apology, how about the University of Utah starts stepping up to the plate and issuing some apologies of their own?

They can start by apologizing to Max Hall for allowing his family to be treated like garbage.

Then they can spread out the sorries for every other BYU fan that has been heckled, taunted, abused and accosted at that junk heap they call a football stadium.

Then they can apologize for their entire white trash fanbase and the filth and bigotry that continually spews out of their mouths against all things BYU.

That would be a nice gesture on their part. Don't you think?

Max's comments

"I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them — I hate everything about them...I hate their program. I hate their fans. I hate everything. So, it feels good to send those guys home. They didn't deserve it... we deserved it...it felt really good to send them home and to get them out of here, so it is a game I'll always remember...

...I think the whole university and their fans and organization is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them, and they deserve to lose."


Like almost every BYU or Utah fan in existence, I have a few thoughts about these comments.

First, I don't blame Max one bit for saying these things. Mostly because I happen to agree with him (for the most part). I don't respect Utah, and "classless" is the understatement of the year.

Utah fans (generally speaking) are trash. The players are dirty thugs. I acknowledge that they have good teams from time to time, but I'll never respect them.

The two regrets I have about Max's comments are these: one, it's unfortunate that his words take attention away from a great game.

Two, even I can admit that it's unfair to apply such negative terms to an entire institution.

I think we all know great people who have graduated from, or root for, the University of Utah. Certainly the whole university isn't defined by the number (as big as it may be) of complete idiots that continually grab the most attention.

But the fact remains that Max said what he said, and I sure as shoot won't be the one to tell him to take it back.

In fact, I've never been more of a Max fan than I am right now.

(By the way, does anyone know where I can get an mp3 of Max's post-game comments? I'd like to make it my ringtone.)

**Update**

Since I wrote this post on Sunday afternoon, Max Hall issued a formal apology in which he shares regret for implicating the entire University of Utah.

He also shared some insight into why exactly he said what he said. Given what his family went through at the hands of white trash loser Ute fans last year, who can blame him for going off like he did?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The best win of the year

Max HallBYU beat Utah last night, and that victory's sweetness will last for days, weeks and months.

That's the thing about beating Utah: It's a win that lasts. And not only does it last, but it's a very cleansing experience. All the transgressions of the past, all the mistakes, all the questions, all the pain and anger from past losses disappear in a vapor of frenzied victory.

As a matter of fact, I can't even remember 2008. All I remember is Andrew George running free into a wide open end zone to give BYU its third win over Utah in four years.

Sweet, sweet victory.

And Max Hall? He only completed 12 of 32 passes for 134 yards--both career lows. Do you think I'll remember that? Not a chance. All I'll remember is him threading the needle between Utah's Stevenson Sylvester and Joe Dale for the game-winning TD strike.

Still, the game was a little closer than I'd like. Credit Utah's defense, because they made things hard for our offense all night. Their speed on the defensive line, along with their ability to play pretty good press-man coverage spelled frustration for Max Hall and the Cougar offense.

Fortunately, Jordan Wynn couldn't capitalize on great field position and multiple trips to the red zone. Just like I predicted, Wynn was frazzled and off his game the entire night. He couldn't complete the deep balls, and scored no TD passes and one huge INT, which led to three BYU points.

Part of Wynn's ineptitude was due to an inspired BYU defense. Thank the great heavens that our defense decided to play their best on the biggest game of the year. Jordan Pendleton was all over the field. I can't even remember how many times he was in the backfield chasing Wynn around. I know he notched one sack, and he registered a HUGE hit on Wynn's second completion of the game. A nice welcome to the Holy War.

Brian Logan was also great. The micro-man covered the crap out of David Reed, and he had some huge open-field tackles.

But in the end, there were two heroes: Max and Andrew.

All around, it was another classic game against two good teams. We were matched evenly, but in the end the better team won. BYU deserved it, and Utah will have to sit on their thumbs for the next year while Cougars everywhere revel in our latest state championship.

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Ross "Ute Killer" Mitchell for winning the second ASB Pick 'em!

Ross edged out Andy, the reigning champion, to secure the much-coveted ASB Pick 'em championship and the accompanying prize, a BYU t-shirt. Andy had the lead, but just like BYU on Saturday night, Ross scored the come-from-behind win with an inspired pick for the BYU/Utah game.

Jon S. claimed the runner-up spot, and Andy slipped to No. 3 in the final rankings.

Congratulations again, Ross. You deserve this great win.

Pick 'em update: Utah

Rise all loyal Cougars!

The best thing about beating Utah is it's a win that lasts a full year. The Holiday season is sweeter, the Bowl games are better and BYU's senior class is instantly transformed into heroes.

Such was the case last night when Max Hall and Andrew George hooked up for an amazing touchdown strike in overtime that will live on in the annals of rivalry lore.

Now on to the matter at hand. Last night's game was the final game in the ASB Pick 'em contest, and we now officially have a winner. Without further adieu, here are this week's scores:

Name Total Score
Gus 37
Seth 37
Spencer C. 36
Adam 35
Ross 34
Russell O. 34
Becky 33
Chris W. 33
PJ 33
Jeris 30
Rodney 30
KO 29
Jon 28
Travis 28
Trizz 28
Justin 25
Knipps 25
Cade 24
Mars 24
Matt Orme 24
Rusty 24
Peter M. 23
Aaron W. 22
Cindy 21
Ty 21
Andy 20
Eliot 20
Lesley 20
Matt Olsen 16
Ashley 0
Benjy 0

Friday, November 27, 2009

Confidence builds

It's the strangest thing... as the days go by I get more and more confident that the Cougars will beat the Utes tomorrow.

Immediately after the Air Force game I started looking forward to the Holy War, and I knew it would be just that... a war. I thought it would be close, and I thought the Utes would give us all we could handle.

Now, on the eve of the biggest game of the year, I am sure BYU will win, and I won't be surprised if it's a blowout.

First, Max Hall is a fifth year senior with lots of experience in this rivalry and a chip on his shoulder. His poor performance last year is probably only fueling a fire to win big tomorrow.

Second, Jordan Wynn is a true freshman. I'm sure the rivalry between Oceanside and Carlsbad was big, but this little man hasn't seen anything like the BYU/Utah battlefield. He'll get spooked, and I'm willing to bet he makes more than a few mistakes.

The home field advantage hasn't exactly worked in our favor this year, but it still needs to be mentioned. BYU will be playing in front of 65,000 faithful, and we are all aching for a big win. It can only help the Cougs.

Now let's talk offense/defense. When BYU's offense is clicking there's no way Utah's defense can hold us. Their defense was much better last year, and we still moved the ball well. If Hall hadn't completely unraveled in the second half the game would have gone right down to the wire.

I'm confident that Max and the efficient, dangerous Cougar offense won't have a problem moving the ball against Utah tomorrow. Dennis Pitta is healthy (he wasn't last year, remember), Unga and Tonga are ready to go and Max has more weapons than ever.

When all is said and done, the game will come down to this: Jordan Wynn and the Utah offense will sputter, and BYU, led by Max Hall, will march all over the Utes to give the home crowd a reason to celebrate 24 hours from now.

Prediction: BYU wins, 28-20

In my inbox

Just got this email:

"Adam,
In regards to your blog describing four different type of Utah fans, under the label of anti-LDS/anti-BYU fans there is a picture of Utah fans indicating that these fans fall under that label. However, ironically one of these men in that particular picture is currently serving as a Bishop in the Salt Lake area in which I live, I thought would make you aware if you aren't already. Maybe be a little bit more cautious in work! Should be a great game on Saturday!

Sincerely,
Curtis Brown (Name changed to protect the innocent)"


Two thoughts:

1. Bishops in headbands: Simply awesome. The church definitely needs more of that.

2. My bad, guys. I'll be more careful when I use photos in the future.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jordan Wynn: The key to a BYU victory

Jordan Wynn, pictured here two weeks ago at the Oceanside High School homecoming, will be the key player in Saturday's rivalry showdown.

The pimply faced, silk-mustached freshman will be thrust into the rivalry fire, and his performance will dictate the outcome of the game. Will he fold like my grandpa after Thanksgiving yams, or soar like a red-tailed hawk? How will this li'l guy handle one of the biggest, most heated rivalries in the country?

Wynn has demonstrated some impressive talent thus far. He took a faltering Utah offense and turned them into a high-scoring machine. He replaced a flaccid Terrance Cain in the middle of Utah's game vs. Wyoming, and the Ute offense has been better than ever.

Wynn's best weapon is his super-accurate deep ball. It doesn't hurt that he has some pretty talented receivers on the other end, but Wynn is the kind of guy that will get 250 yards on 12 completions. Dude just likes to throw the ball.

He has a 55% completion rate, and has thrown 5 TDs and 2 INTs in 3.5 games of work. Last week vs. San Diego State Wynn was 14-28 for 195 yards and one TD. That's about par for the course for the greenie; he's not the kind of guy that will produce eye-popping stats, and his coaching staff will keep things simple for him and let the running game take care of the dirty work.

Unfortunately for Wynn, pedestrian stats like that won't be enough to beat the Cougars on Saturday.

The greasy-faced freshman will have to be the hero if Utah is to walk away with the win. BYU won't let the Utes run wild, and the only thing that will keep our offense off the field is long, sustained drives with a lot of different throws to a lot of different receivers. Frankly, I don't think J-Wynn can do it.

Additionally, Wynn has the pressure of playing in a crazy rivalry as a true freshman. He's never seen anything like this before, and I really believe you need to have some experience in this rivalry before you can have success. Wynn is going to look lost out there, and the emotion of the crowd will catch him off guard.

It's all going to come down to Jordan Wynn on Saturday, and that is great news for BYU fans.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ute pre-game traditions

Utah fans have a lot of traditions on game day, but this is by far my favorite. "The Circle of Acid"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Four Ute fans

I hate Utah. I hate the team and I hate the school, but the thing I hate most about Utah is its fans.

The sight of their mis-matched crimson red induces vomit, and hearing them bleat and squawk about this rivalry makes me want to beat my head against a wall.

Over the years I have been able to categorize Utah fans into four distinct groups. Let me know if you've had experience with any of these guys:


The Anti-LDS, Anti-BYU Ute

Don't tell me these fans don't exist, because my experience with this rivalry begs to differ

Lives in: Downtown Salt Lake City
Defining Characteristic: Being the first to comment on BYU-related articles online
Favorite phrase: "F*** you BYU!"
Works: in your sales department
Key physical attribute: Whispy Goatee


The ignorant student Ute

News flash: You're just like BYU students... with no guts

Lives in: Their mom's basement
Defining Characteristic: Bitterness for not being accepted into BYU
Favorite phrase: "F*** you BYU!"
Works: at The Pie... or Borders
Key physical attribute: Long, dirty hair


The White Trash Ute

Take a trip up to Rice-Eccles Stadium. You'll see what I mean

Lives in: West Valley City
Defining Characteristic: Shamelessness
Favorite Phrase: "I'm so drunk! Here, hold my hair..."
"Works": at the Welfare office
Key physical attribute: Interesting head gear made from cases of beer


The active LDS Ute

Aren't these guys just the worst?

Lives in: Draper, Sandy, Bountiful, and there are probably a few in your ward
Defining Characteristic: Always popping up on the Sunday after BYU loses to Utah
Favorite Phrase: "Sorry about those guys... not all Ute fans are like that"
Works: For a BYU fan, most likely
Key physical attribute: They look just like us... beware.


Now I understand that each of the four categories has sub-categories and subtle nuances, but I'm pretty sure I got it mostly right. What are your thoughts? Which ones did I miss?

(Cue the Anti-BYU Ute comments...)

We love you, Max

I would just like to say that we here at Adam's Sports Blog don't need any time to go by to appreciate Max Hall. I love the guy now, and I'm going to miss him when he graduates.

Congratulations, Max, on being the winningest quarterback in BYU history.

REAL Salt Lake wins the MLS Cup


I'm almost too embarrassed to say it, but I watched this game from the 60-minute mark all the way through the penalty kicks. By far the most soccer I've ever watched in my entire life.

Still, I couldn't help but feel good for the scrappy RSL players who took down David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the entire Spice Girl nation to win the MLS Cup.

Well done, RSL.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pick 'em update: Air Force

I find Air Force is a pretty simple game to pick. We're always going to beat them by about 17-20, and the score is always going to be in the 35-17 range.

BYU just knows how to play the Falcons. We don't have a hard time with them like some other teams do.

I guess a lot of people knew this secret too, because we saw a lot of high scores this week.

Ironically, on a week that everyone seemed to pick up some points, our two leaders didn't do so hot. Andy got a meager 23, and Ashley only picked up 20 points. Aaron W. is our big winner of the week, scoring 36 big ones.

Here are this week's scores:

Name Total Score
Aaron W. 36
Cindy 36
Kenny 36
Matt Orme 36
Ty 36
Becky 35
PJ 35
KO 34
Seth 34
Adam 33
Chris W. 33
Jeris 30
Jon 30
Mars 30
Rodney 30
Ross 30
Spencer C. 30
Travis 29
Gus 28
Matt Olsen 28
Trizz 28
Cade 27
Peter M. 27
Justin 26
Lesley 26
Russell O. 26
Andy 23
Eliot 23
Rusty 22
Ashley 20

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Triple Option

I find it hard to talk bad about the Air Force Academy.

Sure, they're our opponent this weekend, and all BYU opponents deserve to be heckled, but Air Force represents so much more. As an institution they symbolize something that transcends any silly football game. Something strong and powerful. Something that lives on in the hearts of hard-working men and women all across this great land.

I'm speaking, of course, about the triple option, wing-T offense.

The Falcons play football the way God intended it. They play with heart, determination, and a fullback. They chew up the clock, they dive at your ankles and they run it right up the gut. Every time.

This is a team whose quarterback is lucky to throw the ball more than five times a game.

This is a team who rarely breaks the three-hour mark when playing on Saturday.

This is a team who will pitch, pitch again and pitch some more.

I love watching Air Force play. The Wing-T has always been my personal favorite offense (although I continually struggle to find the right kind of friends who can run it effectively). The option is a thing of beauty, and there's nothing quite like watching a team execute it to perfection.

The only thing better, in fact, is watching a team defend it with perfection. BYU has always fared well against the option attack of the Air Force Falcons, especially recently. We play great assignment defense, and the ball won't go over our heads.

Bronco Mendenhall has never lost to Air Force as a head coach, and I see no reason why that trend won't continue.

BYU 35, Air Force 17

AROUND THE MWC

TCU 38, Wyoming 3
SDSU 28, Utah 24 (Upset special!)
New Mexico 24, CSU 17

**Bonus Pick**

Ohio State 38, Michigan 20

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BYU routs the Bengals

Don't bring that weak sauce to the Marriott Center, Idaho State. You don't belong in our big boy gym.

You may be able to hang with the likes of the Runnin' Utes, but you'll never be in our league

BYU beat up on the out-classed and over-matched ISU Bengals yesterday in what turned out to be a very enjoyable game. Idaho State was feisty early, but once they figured our the game was longer than 10 minutes they were doomed.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on ISU. They were playing in front of a crowd twice the size of Pocatello, so that had to be a strange experience for them. The loud noises probably disoriented them.

Jackson Emery was my personal Player of the Game yesterday. Not only did he score 19 points (including five big three pointers), but he added 7 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Just watching Emery play was making me tired. He has more hustle than a sleezy Wendover con-man. One minute he was double teaming the point guard, then he flashed across the court to defend a shooter then he raced back to steal a pass on the other end. He's fun to watch.

I was also encouraged by the play of Tyler Haws. He's a do-it-all kind of guy, and deserves a lot of minutes.

BYU is kind of in a tough situation, though, because we might (if possible) have a little too much depth. Because of Haws guys like Charles Abouo are sitting on the bench too much. Abouo needs more playing time, but then at whose expense?

I guess any way you slice it a good player is sitting out.

Anyway, great game last night Cougs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gutting it out

Am I the only one that thought this weekend was a little more exciting that it should have been?

It started out on Friday night. BYU Hoops hosted Bradley from the Missouri Valley Conference. I automatically assume every game at the Marriott Center (especially the first few non-conference games) will be a blow out, but dang it if those Bradley Braves didn't keep things interesting.

They were quick off the dribble, they were great shooters and they had size. Who knew?

Fortunately we have Jimmer Fredette.

It was impeccable timing by our all-everything junior guard that he burst on fire at the exact moment that I had the thought "Man, Jimmer Fredette really needs to take over this game." He nailed 14 huge free throws down the stretch and guided the Cougars to a 70-60 win.

Jonathan Tavernari is a roller-coaster, by the way (as if you didn't already know that). I still say he gets a bad rap by BYU fans, but missing his first 20 shots didn't do much to endear him to the crowd. At least he ended strong.

As far as football goes, give some credit to the blowbos of Albuqueerque. They played some inspired football on Saturday, and, despite being incredibly bad, they gave BYU a game.

I was actually impressed with our defense, which played well enough to win. They were aggressive, which is always good. The Hobos just planned a great game, and those little screens killed us when we blitzed. I don't know how, but they read our blitzes like a book.

For some reason Max Hall and the offense weren't in sync. I was disgusted by the dropped balls. And where was our running game? Utah ran for over 200 yards just two weeks ago against UNM, but BYU wasn't even able to break the century mark. Harvey Unga must be hampered by injury because he looked sloooooow.

But, in both football and basketball, the fact remains: We won both games. Through all the anxiety, excitement, heart-failure and flop-sweat, we still pulled out two gutty victories.

Good weekend for the Cougs.

Pick 'em update: UNM

Your New Mexico Picks were pretty good, but no one guessed that BYU would be so anemic on offense.

Andy, however, did more to solidify his title defense. For the second week in a row Andy O. notched the highest score. Only two more weeks to take him down...

I would also like to point out that Andy made all his picks at the beginning of the year. He hasn't changed a-one.

I'm proud you're my brother, Andy.

Here are this week's scores:


Name Total Score
Andy 31
Justin 31
Ashley 30
Becky 28
Cade 28
Gus 28
Matt Olsen 28
Matt Orme 28
Ty 27
Knipps 25
Mars 25
Ross 25
Seth 25
Cindy 23
Adam 21
Jeris 21
Jon 21
Kenny 21
KO 21
PJ 21
Rodney 21
Russ 21
Trizz 21
Aaron W. 20
Benjy 20
Chris W. 20
Eliot 20
Peter M. 20
Russell O. 20
Spencer C. 20
Travis 20

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Mexico is bad

According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, BYU is a 26.5 point favorite over New Mexico on Saturday. Why such a lack of confidence in the Lobos/Hobos/Blowbos/BlowBlows/Slowbos/Homos?

Because New Mexico is bad.

Don't believe me? Take a look at these numbers (provided by the stats section of NCAA.com):

New Mexico is ranked 109 (out of 120) in total offense, averaging 309 yards a game.

Bad.

Their scoring offense is ranked 117. They score an average of 15.3 points per game.

Baaaad.

They have given up 30 sacks, good for seventh-worst in the country.

They are also next-to-worst in the country in Third down conversions, only converting 27.74% of the time.

B'ad.

National ranking in red zone offense? 115. 67% success rate.

Quad-bad.

They're a little better on defense. They're only ranked No. 104, giving up over 429 yards a game.

Scoring defense? 112, giving up 36.56 points/game.

So, so bad.

They have the eigth-worst defense on third down, letting opponents convert nearly 50% of the time.

New Mexico QB Donovan Porterie, a senior, has a 58.1% completion rate (the lowest since his freshman year), and has thrown 7 INTs to only 8 TDs. And again, he has also been sacked 30 times.

New Mexico is bad.

BYU is going to have a red-letter day in ABQ.

BYU 55, New Mexico 10

AROUND THE MWC

Air Force 27, UNLV 20
San Diego State 31, Wyoming 24
TCU 34, Utah 13

**Bonus Pick**

Boise State 51, Idaho 28

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Utah/TCU dilemma

As far as the Utah/TCU game this Saturday goes, BYU is in a win-win situation.

If Utah wins, BYU has a shot at another MWC championship (if we beat Utah).

If TCU wins, TCU has an easy road to the BCS (possibly national championship) and the MWC gets prestige and takes another step toward joining the AQ ranks.

The question every BYU fan needs to ask him- or herself is this: What is more important?

Selfish BYU fans want Utah to win on Saturday. They don't think about the MWC, and couldn't care less about how the league looks. They want BYU to get another conference championship because we're BYU and we deserve to be at the top of the mountain every year.

The team-player BYU fans want TCU to win. They want the MWC to continue to shake the BCS coconut tree. They recognize that TCU is ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings, and has a shot (albeit a very long shot) to play in the national championship. This could do wonders for our conference prestige, and would all but lock up an AQ spot when the BCS conferences are re-evaluated.

Personally, I lean more toward TCU. I hope the Frogs win on Saturday, because I would like to see them play one of the best teams in the country. I would like to see the MWC get their chance to be represented at the highest level. It reflects well on BYU, and besides, TCU deserves it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Manning at his best

I just finished reading this article and I feel compelled to share it.

Sports Illustrated — Manning At His Best

This article solidified Peyton Manning's position as my favorite non-BYU NFL athlete. If a miracle happened and I had the chance to play in the NFL, I would want to play with/for Peyton Manning.



Also, Austin Collie is a freaking stud.

An early look at BYU Hoops

Last night was my first real look at the BYU men's basketball team. I saw them play at the Cougar tip-off, but this game was an actual exhibition against Central Washington University.

BYU blew out the Wildcats, with five Cougars scoring in double digits. Charles Abouo was my MVP. He had a big second half and the play of the game — a drive-in hammer dunk that made the crowd go wild.

I don't go into these exhibition games expecting a competitive game, though. Rather, I see this as an opportunity to take a look at our new guys. I was specifically interested in Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws.

Davies, to me, is the more exciting of the two. He's lean but not skinny. He's tall but not lurpy. He's smooth and athletic, and he can bang with the best of 'em down on the blocks.

I'm excited about the future of Brandon Davies. Even as a freshman he shows a real knack for playing around the hoop. He's a lot lighter on his feet than Chris Miles, and he will get some good time this season.

Tyler Haws was also impressive. He's a long-armed wingman, not unlike Lee Cummard. He was aggressive with the ball, and he was tough on defense. I especially liked what he did when he didn't have the ball. He was moving around, setting screens and going after boards. He made a couple big shots, including a few threes.

In short, he's wiry and tough, and he's got a great shot. He's a perfect fit for BYU's system.

The rest of BYU's team are who we've come to know and love:

Jimmer Fredette is amazing.

JT is a shooter, and an extremely underrated defender and rebounder

Chris Miles is a big body who continues to frustrate me.

Charles Abouo is solid, with flashes of brilliance

All in all, we'll have a pretty great team this year. The first real game of the season is this Friday vs. Bradley. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In-N-Out

I'd like to take a little time out from sports to raise a glass of nonalcoholic beverage to my favorite eating establishment of all time: In-N-Out Burger.

The iconic, legendary and delicious restaurant will be opening its doors in Utah County in a little over one week. The new eatery will be located at 350 E. University Parkway in Orem. It is expected to make nearby Burlington Coat Factory look a lot busier than it actually is.


(I grabbed the above image from this site. I hope they're okay with that)


I used to have to wait for the occasional trip to Las Vegas to eat my favorite burgers, but now those little beauties will be served mere minutes from my house. Just thinking about a double double animal style has me drifting off into a wonderland of succulent meaty delights.

Welcome to Orem, In-N-Out. I wish you a very long life on University Parkway.

Do it for the soccer team!

I'm looking forward to the BYU football team finishing what Elizabeth Lambert and the New Mexico women's soccer team started last week.



When BYU travels to Albuquerque this Saturday, I expect Max Hall to punch someone in the back, Riley Stephenson to kick off right in someone's face and Jordan Pendleton to throw a UNM receiver to the ground by his ponytail.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Back from Laramie


I never believed it would happen, but there was a terrible little thought in the back of my head on the way to Laramie:

What if BYU loses?

That would sure put the road trip in the crapper. The 6+ hour drive home wouldn't be pleasant at all.

Fortunately, BYU ripped Wyoming a new Cowboy-hole with a 52-0 shellacking. The drive home was a pleasure. Thoughts of a perfect BYU game kept us going strong through Rawlins, Rock Springs, Evanston and beyond.

Laramie is an interesting place, though. It's the kind of place you never, ever want to be, and yet you can't help but return when you get the chance. It's full of run-down houses, bars on every corner, a mess of train tracks and depressed little people. There are little-to-no trees, no mountains, no water, no life. I can't understand how anyone in their right mind would choose to live, work or attend school in a place like that.

And yet there we were, right alongside the Brown-and-gold-clad fans in War Memorial Stadium.

The fans were a little mouthy before the game started. My crew and I marched through the tailgate area and we were heckled on every side. We were birded and profaned, but we kept smiles on our faces.

In my mind I thought, "let's see how chippy you get when you go down three touchdowns."

Sure enough BYU jumped all over the hopeless Cowboys in the first quarter, and they never looked back. Max Hall was nearly perfect, Harvey Unga was running at will, BYU's receivers were open all over the field, and our defense looked energized and mean. BYU could have shut out Wyoming for eight-straight quarters, and the offense could have put up as many points as they wanted. Good thing for Wyoming that BYU showed mercy and took out the starters mid-way through the third quarter.

By that time the stadium was nearly empty. Only Cougar fans and the most loyal of Cowboys were there to see Brendan Gaskins(!) take a few knees to end the game.

When the final whistle blew my friends and I rushed down to show our appreciation to the Cougs. We were in their ear-holes giving them our well-wishes. We do love BYU, after all.

After the players cleared out we jetted out onto Jonah Field and ran some routes. It was pretty cool catching balls in the college stadium, even though it was just us and a bunch of 6-year-old kids.

I walked back to the car with my chest out and my chin high. The calls of "cheater!" from onlooking Cowboy fans only made my victory walk sweeter. Laramie had been conquered once again by the Cougar faithful.

Pick 'em update: Wyoming

Man, what a great Saturday to be in Laramie. The sun was out, the fans were all liquored up and BYU laid a royal stomping on the cowboys.

Props to Aaron W. and Ashley T. who correctly guessed that BYU would shut out hapless Wyoming, and more props to Andy O. who was the only one to guess BYU's final score of 52. All three tied for the highest scores of the week.

Here are this week's winners:

Name Total Score
Aaron W. - 30
Andy - 30
Ashley - 30
Cindy - 27
Justin - 23
Russ - 23
Ty - 23
Adam - 20
Becky - 20
Benjy - 20
Cade - 20
Chris W. - 20
Eliot - 20
Gus - 20
Jeris - 20
Jon - 20
Kenny - 20
Knipps - 20
KO - 20
Mars - 20
Matt Olsen - 20
Matt Orne - 20
Peter M. - 20
PJ - 20
Rodney - 20
Ross - 20
Russell O. - 20
Seth - 20
Spencer C. - 20
Travis - 20
Trizz - 20

Friday, November 06, 2009

(Some) BYU fans are idiots

I just read this article in the Provo Daily Herald, and I'm officially upset.

Some BYU fans are losers, and they need to get a life fast.

I've been thinking about this subject for a little while now, but reading the DH article was the spark that finally got me to address it on the blog.

I know I've been critical of BYU recently. The losses to Florida State and TCU put me in a state of anger and frustration that was hard to crawl out of. But during my frustration I never — NEVER — even thought about doing some of the stupid crap outlined in that story.

I never booed.

I certainly never called for Max Hall's replacement.

I never got in the face of BYU players.

I never egged a coach's car.

And so on. The so called "fans" I'm reading about who did participate in any of the above activities should be dragged outside Provo city limits and banned for life. We don't want you, and we definitely don't need you. Go be Utes.

Freaking idiots.

Fans, it's time to check yourselves. It's time to remember that, win or lose, you love the Cougars. If you love a team YOU DON'T BOO THEM. If you love a team, YOU DON'T PICK FIGHTS WITH THE PLAYERS. Max Hall will end his career at BYU as the winningest quarterback in school history — DON'T WHINE FOR RILEY NELSON.

And last but not least, don't freaking douse one of your coach's cars with eggs. Idiots.

Seriously, BYU fans that are doing this stuff are losers. Love your team. Love them even when they don't finish every season undefeated. It's okay to be frustrated, but the minute you make it personal or physical, you've crossed the line.

"Ridiculous," senior Jorgensen called it. "Fans are always going to be fickle and be up and down, but there's a certain point where it crosses the line. In our own stadium, this stuff is ridiculous."
(source)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The descent


This weekend I will make the long journey down the cursed corridor of I-80 into the eighth circle of hell, otherwise known as Laramie, Wyoming.

It is the second time I will make the trip, the first coming in 2007. You might say I was so impressed by the cowboy charm of Wyoming that I just had to go back.

Or, you might say I'm just an idiot.

Laramie is a hole. There's no nicer way to put it. In that regard, Laramie is very much an accurate representation of the state in which it resides: brown, dead, lifeless, dead, miserable and cold. And dead.

And like my pioneer ancestors, who crossed the barren wastelands of Wyoming in the mid-1800s, I fully expect at least one member of my party to die somewhere along the journey. Of dysentery. Or maybe wounds sustained during heavy shotgun fire.

It will not be pleasant, this trip.

I may be hit by urine bombs.

I may have the image of the middle finger tatooed on my brain for weeks.

I may have to endure a night of restless sleep at the Laramie Motel 8.

I may even have to skip breaky.

But I will be in the high plains on Saturday cheering on my Cougars as they do battle with the Cowboys of Wyoming. I accept the challenge.