Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why Utah Deserves Consideration for #1

First of all let me get this out of the way. The BCS SUCKS elephant dicks. Ok I feel much better. My beloved Utes aren't just the both original and second feature BCS busters, they are, as one journalist put it, BCS bullies. They are not intimidated by the fact that teams come from storied programs. They don't care if your conference has traditionally done well. Even before the Urban Meyer era, they were beating a Carson Palmer and Troy Palamalu led USC team in a bowl game. A good Utah team wants to test themselves to see just how good they are. And twice now in this decade, the BCS process has failed them.

In 2004, Utah was never really challenged. They easily handled everyone they played. Their offense was innovative, efficient and had an element of smash mouth to it. Their defence was also very good. To this day, we'll never know how good that team really was, because they were never challenged. My guess? They could have beaten the teams rated ahead of them, but because of a corrupt and irrational system, we'll never really know.

As for this year's team: it started slow, with a sporadic and inconsistent offense, but a solid defense that kept it in games, allowing for big plays when they needed it. This was a team with alot of heart and poise, but it was also a team that grew during the season. Each victory was a learning experience, that made them better, and they peaked late in the season. They were athletic, they were aggressive, and confident. And ultimately, they were the only undefeated team going into the bowl season besides Boise State.

So let's talk about the bowls. Boise St. lost to TCU, a team Utah barely beat. Utah went into the Sugar Bowl and handed Alabama, the number one team in the nation for over a month, it's worst defeat they've experienced in the Saban era. For the record, it wasn't all that close. Utah was clearly the better team. They were fast to the ball, and they made big plays when they needed them.

Again, Utah is the only team in the running with an undefeated season. What else could they do to prove themselves champions? Perhaps beat teams by more points? IS that your criteria? They purposely scheduled Michigan (Big Ten), Oregon St. (Pac-10), as they've done in the past from BCS conferences while also trying to support local colleges such as Utah State and Weber State (a formidable second tier team) to round out what they thought to be a formidable but sensible schedule. And for the record, the Mountain West Conference was 6-2 against the Patsific 10 (notwithstanding BYU's poor showing against Arizona).

USC, also has a legitimate claim, as a one loss team. But they lost to Oregon State, a team Utah beat. Interestingly, Utah's status now makes USC's loss to Oregon St. look better. Yeah, OSU without Jaq Rogers, lost big time to their rival Oregon in Oregon's home field. They also lost early in the season to Penn State. But they did finish the season with a bowl victory against 20th rated Pittsburgh.

So what about Texas? They lost one game, against a Texas Tech team that got blasted in their bowl game to four loss team, Mississippi (a team that Florida lost to). Perhaps, we'll have to see how they do against a tough Ohio St. team from an overrated conference.

Ok, this begs the question. Why does the Big Ten, or rust belt central, deserve automatic bids to these lucrative bowls when the Mountain West or the Wac teams have to run the table? Or should we mention the big EAST? Or the acc? Give me an effing break.

Ok, so let me ask sincerely, what is the case against Utah? Oklahoma lost to a team that lost to Texas Tech which lost their bowl game against a mediocre Mississippi team that beat Florida. And Utah beat Alabama by a greater margin than Florida beat them. And Florida lost to a Mississippi team that beat a Texas Tech team that beat Texas. Again, how can you rationally justify Utah not being national champions? Whether it is Oklahoma, Florida, USC, or Texas, reason suggests that Utah is number 1.

So, I look forward to the Florida/Oklahoma game. It will be truly interesting to see who is the number two team in the nation.

Go Gators. We still luv ya here in Utah and if we are to have a number two, you are it. We still luv ya Urban.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Super Bowl Observations

With the Super Bowl approaching, there are two thoughts that generally go through my mind. One is regret that the football season is over for both the pros and collegiate games. On the other hand, it represents a time period where the days get longer and the weather warms. To me, there is no month more depressing than January. Cold, dark, grayish blah, is how I describe the month. Even on the weekends, it it too miserable to do much outside, and often the air quality is such that my asthma doesn't allow me to do the things I would do in clearer weather.

But then there is the Super Bowl. First of all, it brings back memories of Super Bowl's past. The earliest I remember was between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets. I remember well my father's anger at that damned hippie Joe Namath getting a "fluke" victory over that much better crew-cutted Baltimore Colt team. The next Super Bowl, my favorite team lost the first of their four Super Bowls, something that prepared me for being a Democrat in Utah.

Then there were the games of the 1970's, dominated by the AFC powerhouses of Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland. The rise of Montana and the San Francisco 49ers was unexpected and seemed to come from no where. When John Brodie retired, a young guy named Steve Spurrier was his heir apparent, only to ultimately disappear into irrelevancy (as far as a professional player that is). Drafting the kid out of Notre Dame seemed to work well for the niners and their rise as well as that of the Giants, Redskins and Bears dominated the 80's. Then the 90's came along and I had to suffer through the Cowboys having another hey day. Watching Michael Irvin push off repeatedly and never getting called for it would send me into a vitriolic frenzy.

And now comes the era of two teams, team parity and team Patriots. Teams seem to come and go, making it to a Super Bowl here or there, sometimes even winning it, but then disappearing into mediocrity. Except the Patriots. And as the 00's wind down, you have to admit their dominance in the NFL world. And this year, could cap off their best year. Loaded with veterans on defense, they have the best corp. of receivers that Tom Brady could have ever dreamed of. And he has a line in front of him that allows him to step up into the pocket and deliver accurate passes to his arsenal of weapons.

I look forward to the game, to see if the Giants can pull off the upset. The way their defense has played, they actually have a shot. And to think that Tom Coughlin was a bad hair day away from unemployment last year, the Giant turnaround is a big story as well. Oh, and by the way, what ever happened to their runningback, that, uh, uh, little guy, ya know Ronde's brother?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sports Talk Radio in Utah

First of all, let me say there is far too much of it. Go up and down the AM dial and you are bombarded with it. Is sports such an integral part of our lives that it should dominate the airwaves? Perhaps so.

As a general critique of Utah's sports radio broadcasting, I'm always amazed at how little actual sports talk takes place. It doesn't appear to me that the radio personalities actually research in great depth the subject matter. An occasional exception to that is Gordon Monson who writes a column so I suppose it makes him think about atleast some sports related issues.

What I tire of is the "manly man" talk of so many of these personalities. 1280 "the zone" actually has a show called "The Manly Morning Show" which I refer to "The Mainly Boring Show". Also on 1280, paired with Gordon Monson is a high-pitched, sniveling whiner named Kevin Graham (whom I've nicknamed "the soprano man, Kevin Graham"). For some reason, Kevin seems obsessed with trying to define and internalize that definition of "manhood". I don't know why he got dumped back in high school or got cut from the football team or whatever humiliating event happened in his life, but his obsession with trying to play up his pseudo-masculinity is funny in a rather perverse way. But after a while, it becomes grating and my CD collection is far too good to be spending alot of time listen to "Brunhilde" wail away about what a true fan is or isn't, or just how unsophisticated you have to be to have a Y chromosome.

What is really interesting to me is the contrast between some of the national radio shows and the local variety. The Jim Rome show is not only entertaining, but actually quite enlightening. Rome's ability to ask the right questions to get the most telling answers is quite impressive. Rome obviously does his homework and pays attention to detail, something sorely lacking in local broadcasts. The Dan Patrick show is another where the quality of the questioning is very good and the subject matter is generally entertaining. Though Patrick hasn't created his own sub-culture the way Jim Rome has, his wit and insights are far ahead of our local broadcasters.

So local guys, let's step it up. Same with local callers. I'm tired of every caller starting with, "hey, uh." Take a deep breath and address the personalities with "hello guys, I've got a take I'd like to discuss....." or something to that effect. Hayuh is feed for Maine cattle, not a word to start your take with.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interesting Fantasy Comparison

Admittedly, I am a fantasy football junkie. I maintain two teams and do my best to put the best team possible on the field every week. I also keep tabs on how alumni of the various Utah schools are doing in the NFL. Even though I am a Ute, I generally hope the local kids succeed in the NFL and have good careers there. Combining my love for fantasy football, I am also tracking how players from the various schools are doing as far as fantasy stats. The results right now are a bit one-sided with Ute and Aggie graduates getting most of the playing time on offense, though I acknowledge that BYU has a lot of interior linemen and defensive players who are doing well in the NFL. However, check out the scores below:

Utah- 98
Utah State- 76
BYU- 1

Now, it is fair to say, that the only BYU alums who have had any play time on offense are Reno Mahe who because of a fumble provides a negative point, Fahu Tahi who hasn't yet garnered enough yards to qualify as a point, and Daniel Coates, who despite being BYU's back-up tight end last year, actually has 23 receiving yards.

As you can see, currently BYU is getting dwarfed in this fantasy analysis by Utah and Utah State. This despite the fact that BYU is clearly a much stronger program than Utah State. This success is really about two remarkable Aggies, namely Kevin Curtis and Chris Cooley. The Utes, much of these statistics are oweing to Steve Smith and Alex Smith, though John Madsen is making a surprisingly impressive showing. The injury to Alex Smith and the continued failure of Carolina's backup quarterbacks to get the ball to Steve Smith may make it possible for Utah State to take the lead in this fantasy comparison.

My next article will show BYU in a better light when I produce a fantasy analysis that looks at line and defensive play where BYU alums are running pretty much neck and neck with the Utes.

I will continue to track and report.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Note to Kyle Whittingham

Ludwig has to go. In 2004, no one could even remotely stop the U of U offense. Only three years later, the U of U is shut out by UNLV. UNLV!!!!! Let's look at the season in whole. Oregon St.- 7 pts. Air Force- 12 pts. UCLA- 44 pts. UNLV- 0. So which one is the abberation? Utah's defense was remarkably stout against UNLV given what the offense did. But today, I am embarrassed to be a Ute fan. When BYU blows out UNLV by four touchdowns, we'll understand just how lame Ludwig is.

My uncle, a devout Ducks fan, informed me that the best thing that ever happened to his team, was Kyle's ill-considered hiring of Ludwig as offensive coordinator. As a former collegiate athlete, I worried that he might be right, but still hoped for the best. I've concluded that the Utes have managed to hold their own, not based upon Ludwig's skill, but by their own juevos. The UNLV confirmed that.

To Andy Ludwig. It was a good run. However, offensive coordinator doesn't seem to be your thing. When you take a team from blowing away teams in BCS games to getting shut out by UNLV, perhaps it's time to reconsider your career choices. There are many career choices out there. I recommend you explore those options.

To Craig Thompson

First of all, let me say, I don't like anyone to lose their job. However, in your case, I think that the job you have is a rather poor fit. I'm not saying this because I know you or because you cut me off in traffic. I'm basing this on performance and decision-making.

Tonight, the Utah/UNLV game is about to begin, and I will be listening to it on the radio. I have DISH as do the majority of people in our neighborhood because, frankly, Comcast is unreliable and a poor value. The deal YOU made with CSTV means that games I used to be able to watch, I can no longer watch. Those were your decisions. For you to now ask us to plead with our dish supplier to take "the mountain" under the guise that this problem is in our hands, is a shirking of your responsibility to the Universities that hired you.

This blog is calling you out. We U of U alumni are fed up with you and your inability to get good TV deals and we're unimpressed with your understanding of how to get good bowl matchups that are appealling to our schools. If President Young of the University of Utah doesn't rally the other Presidents of the other schools to order a change of direction in the MTN West Conference, than all of our programs are truly screwed. Because if you are going to recruit good players, you must have visibility. Right now, we're playing in the dark. And that is your legacy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Way to go Utes

Sitting in a Sports Bar in Cabo san Lucas, I was looking at the scores of the various college football games. As I watched the score for the Utah/UCLA game, my reaction was "not again- wait it was Utah that got 44 points." You have to give these young men alot of credit. They never doubted themselves and stepped onto the field and took it to a nationally ranked school.

Obviously, Grady has finally got his sea legs and is more comfortable executing the offense. Most importantly, the Utes had a 100 yard rusher for the first time in quite a while. When you can run the ball, you rest your defense and allow them to be in a better position late in the game. Of course, it was all over by that time, but I'm hopeful that this augers well for the Ute football team.

So continue to work hard Utes and continue to believe in yourselves. Football is a game of faith. If you believe you are going to win, you usually win. So let's take it to UNLV this weekend.