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


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....


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.