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
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.


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.