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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coaching Changes...


Though I bleed Cougar blue, as an Aggie alum I still like to keep up to date with the programs up at USU.  It has been announced that Utah Defensive Coordinator Gary Anderson will take over the football head  coaching position.    


I'm excited to see what Coach Anderson can do with what appears to be a hopeless program.  He has agreed to take over a team that for as long as I can remember has made a habit of losing.  As impossible as a task that it may seem, it appears that the athletic program has finally decided to put some money into football.  With Anderson's ability to recruit and a knowledge for coaching, maybe he is the guy to get that thing headed in the right direction.  We'll know in a few years when he either gets fired or moves onto bigger and better things.

It sounds like he will be taking some other Coaches with him from the Utes staff as well. 

I was also happy to see former BYU QB and current USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian land the job in Seattle.  Much like Anderson, he has inherited a UW program that is hurting in a very bad way.  

The odds are stacked against these guys but hopefully they can find a way to succeed.     

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How come 10-2 feels so bad?

Going into this game I knew that BYU was going to have their hands full. I never denyed who the better team was, that being the Utes, but I had thought the disparity between the two teams was closer than what was shown last night on the field. I thought that the Cougars could hang with the Utes and if things bounced right for them they could be in a position to take this game in the fourth quarter.

Half way through the third quarter, when the score was 27-24, I was feeling pretty good about our chances to pull off the upset. Then the wheels came off.

My biggest concern going into the game was whether or not the Defense was going to get enough, if any stops to keep the Cougars in the game. The Utes offense moved the ball very effectively on the Y's D, but aside from the first quarter I thought the defense stepped up their level of play, and played well enough that the Offense had a chance to win this game. I wasn't expecting a lot from the defense, but they exceeded my expectations.

Overall, with the exception of #15, I thought the offense played a pretty good game. Austin Collie proved once again that he is a man playing amongst boys with another 100+ output by the junior receiver. As I watched him play I realized that our days of watching him wear Cougar Blue very well could be coming to an end. I really wouldn't be surprised to see him take his game to the next level in the upcoming draft.

I thought the running game was effective. Both backs ran hard, and for the most part were able to take the intial hit and still drive for a few extra yards. The offensive line I thought had a good game opening up holes to run through as well as giving protection to the quarterback.

Pitta was definitely missed. He was able to get in on a few plays, but he wasn't able to contribute like he normally would. It was nice to see Reed get a few touches, and to be honest, he should have be thrown to more.

Max Hall had what was probably the worst game of his life. To be honest, I actually feel kind of sorry for the guy. I screwed up a co-ed softball game this year and had a hard time letting it go. I can only imagine the let down that he is feeling right about now. To lose on that stage in the way that he did has to be pretty gut wrenching.

Who else can you blame though? He was personally responsible for 5 out of the 6 turnovers, with the sixth one coming on a bad pass that was tipped up in the air. The last one wasn't all his fault, but he still had a hand in it.

The timing of the turnovers couldn't have come at a worse moment either. Just before the half during the Cougars last drive, they had the momentum and were in a position to take the lead before going into the locker room. The Utes would then have to kick to them to start the second half. Hall throws a pick that still after watching the replay I am not sure who it was for. As bad as the pick was, he then followed it up with a personal foul that put the Utes in scoring positon. Not the kind of play you want to see from a team captain.

Fortuately, in the third quarter they were able to overcome it and work themselves back to a 3 point defecit. Again, with the ball and the momentum, Max turned the ball over killing the drive.

The Utes were able to score 28 points off of turnovers. It's hard for any defense to stop a team when they start with a 31 yard field, much less a 4 yard field. Every single possesion that BYU had in the fourth quarter ended in a turnover.

I won't take anything away from the Utes D. They definitely are a good squad. I hate it when people don't give a defense credit for creating the turnover, but I will say that Max made their jobs real easy at times. I could have sworn some of those balls had Christmas bows on them. They were in the right position though and made the play. In fact, Hall was lucky he was only picked 5 times.

It was an Ugly game. I hate seeing the Cougs lose, even more so when it is against that damn team in red. Congrats to the Utes though for doing something that the Y couldn't. They stayed focussed, grounded, took it one game at a time, won 12 straight and now will be the first non-bcs team to play for the second time in a BCS bowl. That blows. Jealousy is a hard pill to swallow.

I'm not ready to give up on Max. I still think he is a great qb, just had a bad night. He has some bad habits that he needs to address, but will have a very long offseason to think about them and hopefully work them out.

Bring on the bowl game. Nothing heals a wound faster than getting back on the field. If the Y ends up in Vegas, which all sources suspect they will, we'll be there with our game day gear cheering them on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes.....

BYU football for me is much more than just the game itself.  It is a key part of the relationship I have with my Dad.  I know in the grand scheme of things it is only a game, but the memories that I have along side my father cheering on the Cougars are ones that I'll value forever.


So it should come as no surprise the excitement I have in the fact that my 3 year old has taken great interest in Cougar Football as well.  Since the time this years media guide arrived to our home it has been in his room alongside his bed.  Night after night we would flip through the pages talking about who was in each picture and what they did.

Kade made it to 4 out of the 6 home games.  If you were to ask him he would tell you that he took me to the game and not the other way around.  We enjoyed Cougar Dogs, souvenir cups, licorice, Cosmel (Cosmo) and sitting alongside Grandpa.

In the spirit of tomorrows game, Kade has agreed to give us his feelings about the game and the Utah oo-tes, straight from the Biggest Little BYU fan there is.


Elden B. Kimball bringing it...

Super Y fan, Elden B. Kimball giving his take of the game to John and Hans on 1280 the zone. 

 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

BYU Offense vs. Utah Defense

I was going to link the article on the side but figured I would put it here so D.P. could give his take on it.  If any of you other guys have an opinion feel free to leave it as well.


BYU Offense vs. Utah Defense

I don't think this match-up is nearly as important as the Utes Offense vs. BYU's defense.  I think the Y's O will put up points but most likely not as many as usual.  They should still have a good game though. 

The Utes D is tough, and will most likely do a pretty good job of keeping BYU's offense in check.  They won't shut them down, but won't need to to be able to win the game.

These two sides have been consistent all year long and I expect the same on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CAUGHT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!

A few of my favorite BYU vs. Utah football memories:


Beck to Harline..-2006



4th and 18- Magic happens!-2007


Staley up the sideline-2001.


Coach Edwards final game.-2000

Saturday, November 15, 2008

On a wing and a prayer!

When the Air Force Academy came to town it was always one of my most favorite games to go to.  Only because I knew that there would be a fly over prior to the game starting.  Watching Air Force run their offense is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but the thrill of seeing a military jet so up close and personal and to be able to feel the power of the engine as it reverberated through my body is a highlight of my Cougar Football memories.  To be honest I still get excited for it even now.


This years match up between the two teams takes place on the road in Colorado Springs.  BYU's performance on the road so far this year has been less than stellar, the Falcons are playing some good football and even though I should be nervous for this game, surprisingly I am not.  I might eat my words by tomorrow, but I think BYU will come out of this with a convincing win.

BYU has traditionally matched up well against AF and I don't think this year will be any different.  It's no secret what Air Force will try to accomplish on offense.  They are primarily a run offense that tries to control the clock as well as set the tempo of the game.  Fortunately, if BYU has a strength on Defense it is their ability to stop the run.  Their front seven is pretty stout and as long as they keep to their assignments they should be able to keep the Falcons in check.  

AF does have a passing game but I don't think it's strong enough to really take advantage of the Y's weakness in the secondary position.  I think BYU can cover the pass well, especially if they put the Falcons is situations where they know a pass is coming, like third and long plays.  AF is capable of catching a team off guard with a little play action pass.  They proved that against CSU this last week, but they won't win the game by straying to far away from what they do best which is run it down the defense's throat.

I will give the Falcons offense the advantage over BYU's defense but it won't be enough to claim victory in the end.

I think Max Hall will have a good day tomorrow.  The Falcon's have a good defense but it won't be enough to keep the Cougars from getting in the end zone.  As far as athleticism goes both teams are evenly matched with BYU being better in the skilled positions.  I think they will be able to put together a balanced attack and in the end it will show by at least 10 points on the scoreboard at the end of the game.

These last two games for BYU are going to be tough.  Air Force is good enough to beat BYU, there is no doubt about that, but I don't think it will happen.  Bronco has had time to prepare his guys, they have proven over the years to be a disciplined group and I expect good position mastery and good assignment football to get the job done.  I don't think BYU will have to rely on any "magic" to win this one.

If they can come home with a victory, the stage will be set for next weeks battle up on the hill.  

-As a side note, I made it to every home game this year and must say, it was kind of a boring, lackluster home schedule.  The only game that had any hype going into as being a tough game was the one against UCLA and it turned out to be anything but a nail biter.  

Four out of the six games were blow out wins by BYU.  The only game that BYU even trailed in was the UNLV game.  The Rebels took a fourth quarter lead and BYU had to make a sustained drive late in the game to ensure the win.  Other than that the games were never in question.

As a fan I'll definitely take the wins and cheer every good play, but every once in awhile it's fun to see your team get tested.  As fun as it is to watch BYU put up lots of points, the wins that you remember are the close ones that came down to the very end, ie. Utah (2001, 2006,20007), Miami, TCU (2007), etc.. 

Next season could be the opposite with possibly some pretty exciting games.  Florida State is scheduled to come to town, as well as conference opponents TCU, Utah and Air Force.  With ASU as well as possibly an opening date against Oklahoma, next season is shaping up to be a fun year for BYU fans. 

I guess I should worry about next year though after we get all the way through this season.    

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A look back/ A look ahead....

ONE HAND GRAB



This last Saturday the Y traveled to Fort Collins and came away with a win.  Like many of their games this season it wasn't pretty but they got the job done nonetheless.   It took a last minute drive of around 80 yards that ended with Pitta busting across the goal line after catching a pass from Hall to finally seal the deal with only 22 seconds left on the clock.

Many BYU fans were left frustrated and upset because the game was closer than they thought it should be.  The post game shows were full of BYU fans complaining about the play of the defense and how Bronco has let this team slide into the state that they find themselves.

If you are one of these fans and couldn't find anything worth cheering for in last Saturday's game you need to come back to reality.  The last five games are more of an indication of what this team's is all about as opposed to what the first four games led us to believe.  As Max Hall said they aren't as good as we all thought they were.  If you are still holding onto the BCS hype and top ten ranking you are delusional.

They are not the team we thought they were.  That's not to say that they are a bad team either though.  They're not great, but they're still pretty good.  The quest for perfection is dead but their is still plenty to play for.  The wins aren't always pretty but this team is still finding a way to win.  Heading into their tenth game with a 8-1 record and ranked in the top 20 in most polls is nothing to complain about.  BYU fans need to get over their disappointment of the TCU loss and realize that this year is still on track to end as a great season.  With a little help they could even still end with a share of the conference title.  

The CSU game was entertaining.  The offense moved the ball well and when put in a position to where they had to get a score they drove the length of the field and punched it in.  It was exciting football.  I enjoyed it.  You won't find me complaining about a win. 

The Cougs have three games left on their schedule, all three of which are winnable.  Their biggest test will come at the end of the season at RES against what has turned out to be a solid Running Ute team.  If they can get by San Diego State and Air Force unscathed that Nov 22 match-up still has the potential to be one of the biggest games this rivalry has seen.

With some key wins to finish the year, BYU will set themselves up to give the BCS another try next year.  With ASU and FSU on their schedule, and possibly opening up with Oklahoma in Dallas, the Cougs will face a tough road to the BCS, but if their ever was a BYU team mature enough to make that run, next years team will be it.  At least then nobody can discredit their SOS.

Kade and I have our tickets for this coming Saturday.  I expect a lopsided Cougar win over the bottom team of the MWC.  If things go well hopefully the starters will be out early so they can save themselves for a tough road game against what is always a scrappy Air Force team.

-Utah vs TCU to this point is probably the biggest game the MWC has ever had.  Hopefully it lives up to it's hype.  For a BYU fan it is a win-win situation.  The only way BYU has a shot at a share of the MWC is if Utah can knock off TCU.  If TCU wins, despite not having much of a chance of a shared championship, at least we can take consolation from watching the Utes get beat on the National Stage in front of everyone to see.  So, no matter who wins I'll be happy with the results.

If I were to make a guess I would say TCU takes it in a close one.  Dr. P. has me convinced that B.J. really isn't that great of a QB, and if his inconsistent play were to bite his team in the butt and cost them a win, tonight would be the game.  It should be a great defensive battle, but I'll go with the odds makers and say TCU wins by three, 17-14.     

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A few thoughts-



-When the day started, I had no intentions of going to the football game.  My Dad's tickets were being used by one of my older brothers, and since I had been to every game so far I didn't put up too much of a fuss that not a single one was left for me.


Amanda and I had decided earlier in the week that since we weren't going to the game we would at least put on the game day gear and drive up to Wingers to catch the 1280's pre-game show.  Eating wings and watching some of the game there win Hans Olsen and Kevin Graham sounded better than staying at home and watching it on our little TV.

We apparently were the only ones who either didn't have tickets or even likes Hans Olsen because when we arrived the place was empty.  We couldn't have timed it any better because as we pulled into the parking lot they offered two tickets to the next fans to walk through the door and ask for them.  Those fans happened to be us.

Even though we had plans to chow on wings, now that we had tickets in hand and a 3 year old boy who really wanted to go, my amazing wife gladly dropped Kade and I off at the stadium and sent us on our way.  I'm lucky to have a wife who not only shares my love of BYU football but who can also appreciate my love of sharing it with my boy.  

The tickets weren't all that great, my boy seemed to pick the most inopportune moments to need to go to the bathroom (when Kade says he has to go you don't wait) and I realized when it was time to pay for our Team Awesome hot dog that I had left my debit card at Wingers.  Despite all that, we still had a great time.

I think most Dads could understand the enjoyment that comes from walking into the stadium with your teams colors on and listening to the excitement in your young boys voice as he takes it all in.  

I love being a Dad.




-Not much I want to say about the game other than I am glad the Cougs got the win. I was hoping they would come out with a little more fire and intensity, get an early lead and have the rebels put away going into the last quarter.

I was disappointed that they couldn't put UNLV away and that they kept trading touchdowns with them.  The offense played well but the defense seemed to struggle.  I was glad to see that when they needed a big stop at the end of the game the defense was able to pull through and keep them out of the endzone.  I would have been more happy though had they not even let it stay that close.

It wasn't pretty but at least it was a win.

-How bad does it suck that if no team from the MWC runs the table, the best bowl game that the conference can get is the Las Vegas Bowl against the fifth place team of a conference that was absolutely dominated by Mountain West teams?

Come on Craig Thompson, earn your money!  Is that the best we can do?  

Congratulations, if you don't go to Vegas then you get to play in the Poinsettia Bowl against Navy.  If that doesn't excite you, how about the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth?  Did I mention Albuquerque?  What about Boise in December?

The Bowl tie in's for the MWC absolutely blow.  I know the Utes and TCU both have a chance to still bust into the BCS, but looking at their schedules I think both teams will drop at least one between now and the end of the year.  At that point the conference will be left playing in the same lousy bowls against equally lousy opponents.

Looking on the bright side, at least nobody has to go to Memphis.  


-Four days to go until the Jazz start their regular season.  I don't multi task all that well so I spend most of my time watching the Cougars and at the end of the football season change my focus to the Jazz.  I have been keeping an eye on D-Will though and his health status.  The Jazz are fortunate that he only sprained his ankle.  Deron has said that when he initially rolled it he thought that he had sustained a season ending injury.  When it happened he heard a pop.

I think the Jazz will be alright in his absence with Price and Knight running the point.  They're obviously not nearly as good but I think they will get the job done.  It goes without saying though that all Jazz fans alike anxiously await the return of our franchise player.

-Any of you guys watching the "World Serious"? (Kade-ism)  I don't really care for either team but have enjoyed watching it anyways.  I am hoping that it goes 7 games.  I love October baseball.  In fact, I can't think of a better month for sports.  You know on any given Saturday in October that you will always have something good to watch on the TV.

Later!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quest for Redemption!

Within minutes of the start of the BYU/TCU game I knew that the Cougars were in for a very long night. The last time I felt that way watching a game was last season when BYU came out and lost the momentum early on against Tulsa. It was frustrating to say the least to watch as BYU fell further and further behind in that game with absolutely no answer to stop TCU. BYU came out flat and TCU was playing out of their heads.

What was learned from that night? It depends on who you ask.

Is TCU the powerhouse that they appeared to be? And conversely, is BYU nothing more than just an average team that was exposed for who they really are.

TCU is obviously capable of playing well. They showed that against the Y. I think they are a solid team but I think Thursday night was more the exception than the norm. Their defense is outstanding but their offense has been suspect at times. I think they will finish the season with a good record but I don't think they will get through conference play undefeated. I think when they travel to RES that they will be in for a battle that will give them a loss in league play.

After the loss, everybody placed blame for the loss on the fact that TCU has better athletes than they Y. That's definitly the case, but come on, who doesn't? UCLA had better athletes. Washington had better athletes. Almost every team BYU goes against the argument could be made that they have better athletes.

BYU has proven that over the years they can compete and beat teams with better athletes than themselves. I do believe TCU's atheleticism contributed in part to the loss, but I think the main factor that caused the complete lapse in play was lack of preparation.

By not practicing on Sunday and having to travel on Wednesday to play Thursday, it essentially left BYU two days to prepare for the game. Contrast that with the fact that coach Patterson said that his team had be preparing for BYU since January. When looking ahead to the season, the game against BYU was more important to them than playing well against #1 Oklahoma. Their tackling dummies had BYU stickers on them. This was their big game.

BYU had a big Bullseye on their back and the Frogs hit the center of the target. I'm not trying to make excuses for the Cougars. It was Bronco's responsibility to make sure his team was ready and he admittedly said that he let them down by not getting them prepared to play.

So back to the question. Was this game an indication of what type of team BYU really is? Are they really that bad? I don't think so. They obviously can play down to that level if they come in unprepared, but we have seen also what they can do when things come together. I believe we saw a good team have an off night. It happens.

To all you BYU fans who have given up on this season, don't. The BCS hype is over, sure. But there is still a lot to play for including a possible share in the conference championsip, a win over the rival Utes, a bowl bid, and most importantly they can set themselves up for next year. If they can run the table the rest of the season they will be going into next year in a position even better than the one they started this year with. Not only will they have the whole offense coming back, but they will have the majority of their defense returning as well.

Is that enough to motivate the Cougars as well as their fans. For me it is. I expect the Y to come out with a chip on their shoulders and finish the season strong. I think at the end of the year we'll look back on a one loss season which will be an improvement over last year's record, a top 20 ranking for the third consecutive time in as many years, and an optimistic outlook towards next season for what possiblilities lay in store for this team.

Will it happen? We'll see. Either way I'll be their to cheer on the mighty Cougs in their Quest for Redemption.

Their Quest begins Saturday. Bring on the Rebels.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where Champions are made!




What does Harvey Unga and a set of flags have in common?  More than you might think.

A story broke today that came as no surprise to a lot of us here in Payson.  Obviously though, from the story, it was apparent that Bronco wasn't privy to the same information that we all had.

Harvey was unable to travel with the team to Fort Worth because there was a question of whether or not he was in compliance with NCAA regulations.  The item in doubt was whether or not he violated any rules by playing city league flag football.

For the last season and a half Harvey has not only been breaking tackles, catching passes and scoring touchdowns at LES, but has been doing the same exact things twice a week at the old Hillman Fields here in Payson.

You might wonder why an athlete, who plays on the biggest stage here in the state and has so much talent, would waste his time and risk it all on a flag football field.  I'll tell you why.  Because we're that good.

That's right.  He comes down here for the competition.  You can only become the best by playing against the best.  To those who might not understand the level of play that takes place here under the lights in Payson, you might read this story and automatically assume that he is a ringer.  You might come to the conclusion that he was brought down to guarantee his team a championship.  Well, I have two hoodies that say champion on the front that would argue otherwise.  

Sure he's a great flag football player, but he is no Payson City champion.  If an easy championship is what he wants he might as well stick to the MWC because nobody is going to hand it to him here just because he has graced us with his presence.  

You think the Utes or TCU have a tough D?  You think their intimidating?  Wait till you look across the line and go eye to eye with Jed McClellen, 2007 Defensive MVP.  Sure he's only 5'2", but don't let size fool you. Good luck trying to put a block on Hub when he comes in on a full out blitz.  Or try getting open for a pass with either Yama or Hooper covering you.  It won't happen. 

BYU hoodies are nice but real champions wear Skull and Crossbones.  I mean, come on, nothing defines football greatness like a pirate symbol embroidered across the front of a hoodie.  I got one in black and gray.  

I'm guessing Harvey's flag football days have come to an end.  He was able to catch up to the Cougars on a later commercial flight once they got word that no rules were violated, but I am sure Bronco isn't too happy about having his star running back risking injury with the likes of us.

That's alright.  He'll be just fine.  Even though there was so much more that he could develop skill wise in our league, he'll still go on and do great things.  In a way it's gratifying to know that we helped him get to where he is at today.

War the Fighting Cocks, back to back city league champions, for accomplishing something in football that Unga couldn't. 

Champions are made on the Hillman Fields, not ..... well, something like that anyways.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What to do, what to do

I go back and forth with cheering for the Utes. On one hand, they are the key to the promised land of BCS bowl births. On the other hand, they have ripped the hearts out of their fans over the past couple of years, and I don't know if I can let the Utah Yucks do that to me. When they trip over some crappy conference foe, I don't want to admit that they had me going. I think I am better off shutting my eyes when they play and just looking at the score and telling myself that it doesn't matter either way.

So what I have decided is this: Logically, I know that no matter what I scream at the TV or who I cheer for, it will have no bearing with the football gods, and the chips will fall where they may. So I think I have to stay true to myself and continue to hate the Yucks with a passion and hope that they fall hard every week and are pathetic at every turn. Then I shield myself from letting them have power over me and I don't have to worry that they can dissapoint me when they choke. Let BYU control their destiny and if by chance the Yucks are undefeated at the end of the season when the showdown happens, I will still be filled with that awesome hate that isn't watered down from the confusion of cheering them on during the season.

So here's to BYU's little brother - The Utah Yucks - enjoy the ride, but just know that no matter what happens, you will be the stepping stone to cap off a great season for the Boys in Blue. Go Cougars!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Making a deal with the Devil!


I have made a decision in my life that very well could affect my personal salvation and that of my entire family.  It is a decision that never in a million years did I ever think that I would make.  It's a decision that goes against one of my innermost core beliefs.  Though it is racking my entire body with feelings of guilt and shame, because of circumstances out of my control I feel like I have no other choice.

As a kid growing up it was always black and white.(blue and white would be better said)  There was no middle ground.  We were and continue to be Cougar fans.  

Along with my love for the Cougars came a disliking for the team in red.  The Utes were the enemy.  On any given weekend in the fall I would cheer for the Cougars and any team that played the Utes.  That's just how it was. 

In 1998, when the Utes played for the NCAA basketball championship, I cheered for Kentucky.  In 2004, though it was a long shot, I hoped that Pitt could put a complete game together and knock off Urban and his crew.  It didn't matter how much exposure the conference would get, if it was the Utes doing the playing I wanted them to lose.

At times my feelings were rewarded.  In 2001, I laughed as Lance Rice mismanaged the clock and the Utes ran out of time on the 4 yard line down only by one point.  In 2005, I was amused when the Utes failed 3 times to punch it in the endzone from the 1 inch line and lost to CSU.  When Frank "the tank" Summers ran roughshod over the Utes defense and shut the men in red out 27-0, I was giddy.  

What do I do now though?  

BYU is now in the discussions of not only breaking into the BCS, but they are also being mentioned by the national media as possibly landing in the championship game.  

A lot of things would have to occur for that to even be a possibility, but the talk is being generated none the less.  Is it possible?  I guess.  Likely?  No.  But it's still fun to speculate. 

The biggest source of criticism against the Cougars is their strength of schedule.  It's no secret that they haven't played nor will play anybody good until possibly the last game of the season.  This unfortunately is where the Y will have to rely on the Utes.  

If things were to turn out in college football the same way they did last year with all the BCS conference champions having 2 or more losses, a 2 loss team could still leap frog BYU in the BCS polls based on their SOS.  That is unless they can play a top ten opponent and beat them on their own field.

The perfect storm is building.  If BYU and Utah were to match up at the end of the year both undefeated, you can bet both would be ranked in the top ten.  It would be the battle of the century.  The stakes would be huge.  The teams would not only be playing for bragging rights but also for a conference championship, BCS bowl birth and, though it would be a long shot, they could possibly be playing for an appearance in the BCS championship game.  Both teams need to be ranked though to be even considered for the big daddy of the bowls. 

My dilemma is, can I really bring myself to cheer for the Utes and hope that they win every game so as to remain undefeated?  

I am sickened to admit that with the circumstances being what they are, tomorrow night when the Utes and OSU kickoff, for the first time in my life I will sit in front of my TV and will say, "a Utah man am I."  I will watch the Utes and will fight off the feelings to root against them, feelings that come to me just as naturally as breathing.  I will be cheering that the team in that awful color of red can pull off the win and continue to move up in the polls.

There is a lot of risk with hoping for an undefeated Ute season.  If Utah were to win that final game they would steal everything right out from under the Cougars and they would be the ones to enjoy the BCS party.  It would open us up to smack talk like none that Cougar fans have ever experienced.  I'm willing to risk it though.  With great risk, comes even greater reward.

The stars are aligning.  There is still along ways to go and a lot of football to be played.  BYU has to remain undefeated and that will not be an easy task.  In the end though, if they can pull it off, this year has the potential to be the best in BYU history.  The reward could be great.

For that I reason I have made the decision that I have.  I have turned a blind eye on all that I was taught as a kid with regards to this rivalry. 

May God have mercy on my soul! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Powder River, Let 'Er Buck!


With a 44-0 shutout of the Wyoming Cowboys, the Cougars increased the count of unanswered points to 103.  The last two games, though decisive blowouts of the opposing teams, have still left a lot of people wondering how good the Cougars really are? Were those wins really that impressive?


They impressed me, and I'll tell you why.

Offensively:

In the case of the UCLA game, there is no doubt that their offense is struggling.  The defense on the other hand was the side of the ball for the Bruins that was going to be their strong point this season.  With all the coaching changes that took place at UCLA, the defense retained their coordinator from the old coaching staff.  The schemes are still the same.  

Despite all the injuries to the Bruins, the defense remained healthy.  Two of there D-lineman, as well as one of their corners most likely will see time in the NFL.  The Bosworth brothers were the talk of the night by the ESPN commentators covering the Tennessee game in the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins defense is good, and the Y still put up 59 points against them.  That impresses me.  

What impresses me even more is that Max Hall went untouched for the entire game.  The offensive line gave him such good protection that I am guessing he didn't even have to wash his jersey in between games.  In fact, other than a couple of hits in the opening game against UNI, Max Hall hasn't really taken any hits since.  That impresses me.

The offense wasn't nearly as impressive in the game against the Cowboys.  We've become to accustomed to the methodical, almost machine like first drive of the game for a touchdown that the Cougars normally start with.  I think 65,000 fans sat stunned when the Cougars stalled the first two times they possessed the ball.

The second quarter they got things rolling though and scored on three straight possessions, one of which came off of a 62 yard strike from Hall to Collie.  When the passing game wasn't clicking the offense made some adjustments and went to the running game.  The success from the running game eventually led to the turn around of the passing game, and from there the scores came easily. 

It wasn't the near flawless performance that we have seen at times this year, but it was still good enough to get Max out of the game by midway through the third quarter. 

When BYU was up 41-0 I told my Dad that if they score again they ought to do a on-side kick.  We decided they wouldn't though because Coach Glen would be expecting it.     

Props to the O-line and Unga for jump starting the offense and keeping Max healthy.  

Defensively:

Any time a defensive squad can hold two division 1 teams scoreless in as many weeks, that in itself is impressive.  

I think the points are a little misleading because of the weak offenses that they faced, but I will still give them props for the physical play and for forcing so many turnovers.  

In both games the Bruins and Cowboys were able to move the ball into scoring position, but because of determination and a never quit attitude by the Cougs defense, they came away with nothing. 

In the Wyoming game the defense scored 14 points off of turnovers.  Anytime that you have an offense with the scoring ability of the Y as well as a defense that can create points, that's a pretty good combination that will lead to victories. 

I think the defense is better than what some local fans might think, but like with anything else only time will tell.  

I don't think we will know any clearer after their next game when they travel to Logan to face Utah State, even if they do get another shut out. (That's a very good possibility) 

Anytime your team can outscore their opponents 103-0 in two games time, and you still find something to critique, it means you're nitpicking.  I know that.  I think the Cougs are as good as their #11 ranking and look forward to the challenges they face in the future to prove that they are deserving of the attention that they have received.  

With the Utes and the Frogs in the top 25, if the Cougs can get through those two games with wins they will definitely deserve the national recognition.  The MWC is tough this year.  The national media and BCS need to take notice.  I think they have.

It's about time. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday's Heroes

During the football season I really enjoy to watch the BYU broadcast Cougar Diary.  In it you see highlights of the previous weeks game as well as some behind the scene footage of the athletes.

My most favorite part of the program is the section titled Thursday's Heroes.  Each thursday Bronco brings in a Cougar fan who has fallen on some hard times health wise to visit practice.  They get to meet the team.  The players present them with some gifts and express to them how they are the true heroes for their resilience through such hard situations.

Whether you are a Cougar fan or not I think everyone could still appreciate what is being done by the BYU football team.  It's worth watching.  This is the episode after the first game this season.

(You'll have to pause the music down at the bottom of the blog to be able to hear the video)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kicking it in the Jungle!


Bronco joined Jim Rome today on his radio show.  I was actually surprised how relaxed and comfortable Coach Mendenhall sounded as he answered the questions.  Bronco isn't known for being the best interview but actually did a great job.  Take a listen:  Bronco and Jim. 

The Powers That Be....

DOMINANCE

HOW YOU FEELING THERE COACH?

Welcome back Rick!  I was at the game Saturday and there really isn't much to say that the score didn't already cover.  It was an old fashioned beat down.

The offense looked great as usual, and after a weak showing last Saturday in Seattle the defense stepped it up and proved that they are better than what we had thought.  It was a great game all around.

There is talk of a let down after such a big win in the upcoming game against the Cowboys.  I don't see it happening.  I think this team is focussed and will come out firing against Wyoming.  I will be there at LES to witness what I am expecting to be a lop sided victory for the Cougs.




Who are the 6 power conferences this year? 

Is it really the six that have been designated by the BCS as being deserving of the automatic birth into the championship series bowl games?

Is the Big East really a better conference than the MWC or the WAC? How about the ACC? How about the PAC Ten that went 0-4 against Mountain West teams on Saturday?

As bad as some of these conferences are playing the potential is there for some of the teams that win their respective conference championship to get to a BCS bowl game unranked. In 2004 Pitt was ranked #19 for hells sake. How were they more deserving of the payoff than the 18 teams that were in front of them.

Here's how I would rate them (at least this year):

1. SEC- I think they are the best football conference. They pull in the best athletes and over the years have had great success. They need to travel a little more outside of the south to prove their worth, but I still would give them the nod as being #1.

2. Big Twelve- Another great football conference. With teams like Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri being members of their conference I think they are pretty solid. They have cellar dwellers like any other conference but they are real strong at the top. My #2.

3. Big Ten- This is where I think the conferences get a little overrated. I don't think OSU is worthy of the pub that they have been given. The Utes proved what type of team Michigan has, and the rest of the conference is descent but not great by any means.

4. MWC- Yeah, that's right. I said it. This is where I stray from the conventional thinking. The MWC has had good success this year against the BCS opponents that they have faced. They have two teams in the top 25 as well as a TCU team that is about to break in. The cellar dwellar of the MWC (UNLV) just knocked off what many people had predicted to be the second best team in the PAC Ten, ASU. With TCU, BYU and the Utes at the top of the conference playing good football, as well as the Air Force Academy, the conference is strong. If you want to argue otherwise, please do. Up to this point in the season though the MWC has owned the PAC Ten. The record is proof of that. Not to mention a win by the Utes in the Big House. I will be interested to see how TCU fairs against Oklahoma.

5. Pac Ten- USC is the cream of the crop. No question about it. In my opinion and nearly everyone else they are more than deserving of the #1 ranking that they have received. But aside from them, who does the PAC Ten have. Oregon maybe? Every other team sucks and most of them have been beaten by a MWC opponent. (Washington, UCLA, Stanford, ASU, Arizona, soon to be Oregon State) Washington State is no good, and CAL just lost to a weak Maryland team. How good is the Pac Ten? My #5.

6. This one is hard for me. I am going to say the ACC, but I could be easily swayed. The Big East is lousy, so I won't even consider them, but there are a few good teams from the WAC and Conf. USA that are making some noise. I think ECU, as well as Fresno State and Boise State are as good this year as most of the teams in either of the two remaining "power coferences."

This is just my opinion, based on what I have seen so far this year. I very well could be wrong in my way of thinking as some of you will probably try to point out. Either way, if you have an opinion of who and why, lets hear it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A good run of bad luck! (Picture Heavy)

This last week I spent 5 days backpacking up in the Wind River Mountains along with my Dad and Elton (34/31).  We had been planning this trip for quite awhile but had cancelled it.  At the last minute we decided to go and I am glad we did.

Because it was last minute it took some convincing on my part to get Elton to go along.  He had some concerns going into the trip that in a deciding conversation I was able to put to rest.  His concerns went something like this:

Elton- So, is this trip going to be expensive?
Shane- It will be the cheapest trip you have ever been on.  All you will need to buy is food for the week and a fishing license.

The truth- Very expensive!

Fishing License $56
Indian Trespassing Fee $50
Reservation Recreation Fee $5
Fuel $50
Hotel $25
Truck Ride across the Reservation to get to the trail head $250 (ouch)


Elton- Is it going to snow on us?
Shane- Heck no!  This time of year the weather is beautiful.  The monsoon season has passed and the weather pattern should be dry.  The weather will be perfect.

The Truth- The weather is going to suck!

It rained most of the trip, and the last day we were there the rain turned to snow.  It was wet and miserable.  

Elton- Is the fishing going to be good?
Shane- The fishing will be amazing.  Not only will you catch a ton of fish, but the majority will be good size as well.

The Truth- It might be a little slow.

Actually, we caught a lot of fish, but only a dozen or so were very good.  Most of the fish we caught were only about 10" or so.

(Elton and a Hawg)

Even though the weather didn't cooperate, it was a little more expensive than planned and the fishing was kind of slow, we still had a great time.  I've been going up to this area since I was a little kid.  I have a lot of good memories up there with my Dad and am grateful I was able to go again with him.

He turns 75 years old this fall and isn't sure how many more trips he has left in him.  I'm hoping there are still a few more in his future.  It was fun to spend the time with him while doing something that we both enjoy so much.  I won't soon forget this last week.








Good looking Brookie







My best fish of the trip (Cutthroat)




A small Golden Trout caught by Elton.

A view from our camp.


No Wyoming trip is complete without a ride on a Jack-A-Lope.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Unfortunate way to end the game....

I had a feeling going into this game that Jake Locker would play a big role in it's outcome, I just didn't think it would be in the way that it turned out.


If you saw the game, or have watched any highlights you know that it ended with some controversy.  After a 17 play drive in which Locker put his team on his back and lead them down the field to score, he got hit with a celebration penalty for throwing the ball in the air.  Rather than a chip shot extra point attempt to tie the game, they got pushed back 15 yards.  BYU ended up blocking the field goal to end the game with the one point win, 28 to 27.

I'm glad the Cougs got out of there with the victory, I just wish it could have been under better circumstances. 

Locker played a heck of a game and it was a shame to see a call affect the outcome of the game.  It was the right call however, it just happens to be a stupid rule.  At least that part of it anyways.  The rule says:

After a score or any other play, the player in possession immediately 

must return the ball to an official or leave it near the dead-ball spot. 

This prohibits: 

(a) Kicking, throwing, spinning or carrying (including off of the 

field) the ball any distance that requires an official to retrieve it. 

(b) Spiking the ball to the ground [Exception: A forward pass to 

conserve time (Rule 7-3-2-d)]. 

(c) Throwing the ball high into the air. 

(d) Any other unsportsmanlike act or actions that delay the game.



The thing that people are failing to credit though is that the Y's defensive line stepped up big time and blocked the extra point.  Yes it was 15 yards farther, but it still was right down the middle and wasn't that difficult.

How many times is a 35 yard field goal blocked?  Not very often.  With the position of the ball on the field, had Washington put up a better front the kick would have been automatic.   

It's not the Y's fault for how things ended.  They had no control over the call, but when they needed the big play to seal the deal, Jan Jorgensen got a hand on the ball to block the extra point.  The day wasn't pretty, but we'll take it.  

BYU's offense is absolutely amazing.  No question about it.  Washington's defense was helpless when Max Hall and company were on the field.  The only possession that they Y didn't score in the second half is when they drove 94 yards and Harvey Unga coughed it up on the 1 yard line.  Had he just held onto the ball their never would have been any controversy. 

Hall is a stud, Pitta is amazing and Unga just punishes the defenders.  Those three had great games.  It's also worth mentioning that Max Hall didn't take any real hits today thanks to the excellent blocking by his offensive line.   

The defense on the other hand looked porous.  Not the front seven so much, but the secondary definitely struggles.  They gave up some big plays and had Locker not flat out missed some of his wide open receivers they would have given up a half dozen more.

Despite the great offensive day I wasn't too impressed with the Cougars defensive showing in Seattle.  They should have handled the Huskies better than they did.  It was their chance to shine in the national spotlight and unfortunately they kind of fizzled against what might be the worst team in the Pac Ten Conference.  The defense needs to step it up.

The redeeming factor in all this though is that an apparently good UCLA team comes to Provo next week to play.  If the Cougs can play some good football and get a decisive victory, people will forget really quickly the outcome of today's game and the controversy surrounding it.

Again, I am glad with the win.  However, with all the BCS talk generated by the team and coaching staff, as a fan I am going to hold them to a higher standard.  A one point victory over a pore Washington team isn't going to get it done if you want the respect from the National Media.  

They will need a good showing from both the offense as well as the defense if they want to beat UCLA on Saturday.  

I think they will do just that.

Go Cougs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A look back/ A look ahead....

At the end of the day when the national media took a glance at the BYU/NIU score, I think they saw what they had probably expected to see.  A 24 point win by the Cougars over the visiting Panthers.


Those of us at the game though saw things as they really unfolded and realize that the score can be a bit misleading.  Fortunately for the Cougars, despite their mistakes, they still came out on top with the first win of the season.

The Good:  

Max Hall for the most part had a great day.  He completed 34 of 41 for 486 yards.  He and Dennis Pitta connected for 11 of those completions for 213 yards.  

The offense in the first half put up 27 points while the defense held NIU to only a field goal.   

Justin Sorenson put every kickoff into the end-zone throughout the game.  I don't believe we saw that once last year. 

Overall, aside from a few miscues the defense played pretty well against a Div 1-FCS offense that is better than most people are giving them credit.  The defense is considered by most critics as being the week spot of the team.  I think they will surprise some people and actually be better than expected. 

The offense is as good as advertised.  They are going to put up good numbers against every team they face.  The O-line is tough.  Matt Reynolds missed a block once at the left tackle position for which Max paid the price, but other than that they gave him great protection.  

This offense is going to be fun to watch.

The Bad:

The defense gave up two big plays in the game, one a 69 yard run by the QB and the other a 76 yard strike off of a double reverse pass.  It brought back memories of Tulsa exploiting our secondary last season. 

The whole third quarter and part of the fourth was no good.  The Cougars fumbled the ball 4 times.  Max Hall took two blind side hits, one of which resulted in a fumble in the end-zone, and the other he got his bell rung and was slow to get up.  I don't think it is any secret that this team desperately needs Max to stay healthy. 

I think BYU went conservative and thought they could coast to the win in the second half.  I don't like that mentality.  I think this year more than any, with all the national attention they are receiving, they need to bury their opponents and put up a lot of points.  I am glad that they were able to finish it out and win by 24, but they never should have been only ahead by 10 points going into the fourth quarter.  

Final thoughts:

All and all I think it was a good day.  Both sides of the ball played pretty good.  Sure they had some mistakes but that is to be expected in the first game of the season.  They now know what areas to work on and I am expecting a pretty well played game on Saturday against Washington.  

Speaking of which:



 Cougar fans, if you don't know who Jake Locker is, by Saturday afternoon you will.  The guy is an absolute stud.  I've heard some analysts say he is quite possibly the most talented, athletic QB in college football.  That's the bad news.  

The good news is that it appears he is the only weapon UW has.  If BYU can contain him and keep him somewhat in check, they should be able to pull out the win quite convincingly.  As we know though a non-conference road win has eluded Bronco since he took over as head coach.

The next two games are crucial.  This is the time that BYU needs to step up and prove that they are worthy of the hype that they have been given.   

Friday, August 29, 2008

Question - Where'd who go? Answer- ...

August was a busy month for me both at work and at home.  It seemed liked I spent most of it on the road living out of a suit case.  When my work schedule didn't have me out of town, our family get-aways did.

Earlier in the month Amanda and I hopped on a flight out to Denver to go spend some time with Brett (Ostertag Forever) and his family to see a Rockies game.  If you have never seen a game at Coors Field, you ought too make the short trip out over the front range and take in a game.  It's a great ball park, actually one of my favorites. 

My favorite part of the night was when my little boy asked me to buy him a baseball so that he could "hit it so hard over the fence."    





This last week we loaded up the kids in the truck and made the drive up to Island Park to spend some time at Andy's cabin.  We spent a day in Yellowstone and then the rest of the time lounging around taking it easy with an occasional water ski now and again.

It had been ten years since the last time I had water-skied.  I didn't hit the wake with the same reckless abandon that I use to, but over all I think I did alright.  After ten years of not skiing I was glad to just be able to get up.



With tomorrow being the official kick off to the college football season, I'm sure there'll be more to blog about.  

Kade and I have tickets in hand and we'll be at LES cheering on the Cougars tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Talking Points

-
Congratulations to Goodness (JP) on being named the head baseball coach at Mountain View high school.  

When I heard the news, the thought that went through my mind was that it is about time.  I mean that in a good way.  If anyone was born to Coach, that person is definitely Jon.  I've been saying for years that the guy needed to be either on the sideline, on the bench, or in the dugout coaching.  I don't know anyone that knows the fundamentals of sports as well and can teach them any better than JP. 

He'll do a damn good job. I'm sure of that. 

Congratulations Bud! 

-

I'm not one to really get caught up in the Olympic Games.  I should, but I never really have.  I'm excited though to watch the Men's team take it to the world on the hard court.  I'll be surprised if they don't bring home the gold.  

I have been able to tune in for a couple of their warm up games.  I was afraid that it would end up being an All-Star style of play with all offense and no defense.  The style of play you would find out on the streets.  They same style of play that embarrassed the USA basketball community during the last summer olympics.  Surprisingly though (at least for me) these guys play well as a team.  

I think they have checked their egos at the door and are going to do what it takes to win the gold, which is playing unselfish ball.  To see the best in the world come together as a team is pretty amazing.  I don't think they can be beat.

-


Anybody else getting tired of this story?

I like Brett Favre, always have.  I won't fault him for wanting to come back out of retirement.  People change their mind.  In fact, I will never be the one to criticize someone for being indecisive.  Those of you that have spent anytime around me know that I tend to be a little indecisive myself. (Schizo was one of my nick name for some reason in college)

Him wanting to come back though has put the Packer organization in a no win situation.  They're screwed no matter what they do.  

I think Rodgers is screwed as well.  Anything short of a Super Bowl and I think everyone we'll be comparing him to Brett and wondering how far Favre could have taken them.  If he comes out and struggles at all the fan base and media their in Green Bay are going to tear him apart.

I'm glad Brett didn't take the 20 million dollar buy out.  This whole thing has been bad on his legacy and what he'll be remembered for, but had he taken the pay off he definitely would have been remembered in a very bad light.

-



Also team sponsor of the newest and possibly greatest co-ed softball team ever assembled.  After PC Players allowed our contract to expire and the team disbanded, Amanda and I found ourselves out on the streets wandering aimlessly looking for another team to take us in.

That team is Wellness Complete.  

League play starts tomorrow night.  I unfortunately won't be able to make it to the opener but you can count on the weekly updates starting after next weeks doubleheader.  I'm sure you are excited for that. 

-Fall camp is under way.  I know the games are still a ways off but for me this is where the excitement  all begins.  It's nice to turn on the radio or the news and hear football talk, even if  at times it is about the team in red up on the hill.

Cougars and Utes alike should be excited.  All indications point to the fact that it could be a very special year for each team.  

That's all I got.

Later!

   

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Utes!