Raider’s Opening Salvo
To begin, I humbly quote and present one of my own tweets without comment (because I am certain it would annoy large swaths of the Ute fan base):
You were probably aware of this on Friday, but Tony Bergstrom made history. What kind of history you ask? It is this historical signature: Tony is the first Raider draft pick in the post-Al Davis era. Believe you me, that may be as significant as Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut being drafted #1 overall in the same academic year. From the small sample size we here in the Raider Nation have of Reggie McKenzie thus far, it may turn out to be the first in a long line of McKenzie-esque draft picks. We also like our offensive linemen, so much so that we went through half a dozen U.S. Presidencies with only three men starting at center (Jim Otto, Dave Dalby, and Don Mosebar). But from doing a lot of reading and such, I think there is an excellent chance that Bergstrom would get a significant amount of playing time right away. This way, we can end things on relatively good terms with Khalif Barnes, it’s another young OL that we can develop at roughly the same time–Jared Veldheer being the other–and despite the fact he isn’t as good of a kicker as Chris Keomeatu, he’ll have a solid career for my NFL team.
I have to also address some of your wisecracking on the Twitters this weekend about us signing Matt Leinart to back up Carson Palmer. I was rather blunt in my reply to you, but let me explain something to you about the Raiders and USC. When you were single, you may or may not have had that one girl who you weren’t really dating, but met certain “needs”. Your readers can fill in the blanks as to what that may mean, but we’re all adults here…well, kind of. Neither are really looking for any kind of commitment per se, but there’s enough physical attraction between the two that one of you still ends up at the other’s house at 2 in the morning somewhat occasionally. That’s kind of the thing we have with the Men of Troy. Looking back, the long and winding historical Raider road is pock marked with former SC players. Clarence Davis. John Vella. Rod Martin. Marcus Allen. Don Mosebar. Todd Marinovich. Darrell Russell. Justin Fargas. So as you can see, like most friends with benefits, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, the brief tenure of Lane Kiffin definitely included.
While I’m thinking about it, let me take a stab at the Utes 2012 schedule. I will take my swig of kool-aid and ask you “can the Utes go into the USC game at 4-0?” “Of the conference opponents the Utes lost to last year (Washington, USC, Cal, Arizona State, Colorado), which is the most likely victory?” “Can you figure out why it is for every single Ute football and basketball game I attend in person, I always buy an order of nachos and a bottle of water?” Someone pointed this out to me at the spring game and I realized that I’ve been purchasing that at every single game for about five seasons now. There has to be something that’s causing this almost Pavlovian urge to have these Rice-Eccles Stadium nachos.
Speaking of people food, I will also ask you about this recent development with KFC. Apparently in Japan, they’re really swanking up the Colonel Sanders with a full bar that includes glasses of whiskey.
Now, I like chicken. I also like whiskey. Both of them together…well, that is worthy of utilizing the scientific method. But, this is also a thinly veiled attempt to get something to eat around here that is worthy of eating that isn’t closed on a Sunday. Wish me luck, sir.
Mac Return’s Fire
Until now, I had similar feelings about the Raiders and BYU. When I was a kid, the Raiders were tough and to be feared. And then Al Davis entered into the jumpsuit, Granny Clampett, senility era, and except for a brief shining moment under Chucky, they became a bit of something to laugh at. I think after LaVell left, BYU football was taken over by the zealots and they too have become a bit of a joke, the only difference is that the Raiders can’t simply be more well funded than everyone else. But now that competency has returned to Oakland, I have to admit I’m concerned, or will be when the Broncos QB is not named Manning but Oswiler.
But to get to the meat of things, I don’t see how the Utes aren’t 4-0 when the Trojans come to town. We aren’t losing to the University of No Credit (a Colorado joke), the Aggies or Riley Nelson machine. Then we go to Tempe where shall we say, Arizona St., will not be good and God willing we have a QB. Honestly I think we’ll be 4-0 if Bodhi is QB, hell probably if Jar Jar Binks is QB (that’s Jon Hays for those of you who don’t read often enough. Of course I think we’re only 5-0 if Jordan Wynn plays. And if we get to 5-0, my final worry is that rainy trip to Seattle in early November. I’m mainlining the Kool Aid.
I have heard from a lot of Ute fans that “well, the students love Crazy Lady”. Maybe so, but I also have the fear in the back of my mind that some of the members of the student body might like even more horrific sorts of things, like listening to Justin Bieber. Or they cheat at Draw Something. I know these are the fans and athletic donors of the future, but I just can’t get past the fact that we trust our attempt at tradition to people who cheat at Draw Something.
I’m not sure exactly what is taught in the wide world of post-graduate education these days, but I believe that your most sound rebuttal to your classmates has to be “whiskey sours may be heterosexually deficient, but so are dry counties.”
One question that I nearly threw out there to start off this week’s discussion was whether or not John White would break his own single season rushing record this season. Its still somewhat strange to me that the previous record holder was Carl Monroe (and that it stood for just about my entire lifetime), but that’s neither here nor there. The short answer to this is probably “no”, which means that the look-aid is wearing off and I need a refill.
(This also means that on some level I’m fearing that Harvey Langi may get hurt or move to middle linebacker or study abroad for a semester to “find himself”.)
Certainly, I need to follow up with another half a dozen schools that would comprise the Ivy League for Guys. Perhaps Mandi, your gambling expert, could assist with this? One could argue that the list could be expanded to more than that, but I feel we need to consult the expert.
You mixed in the word competence with the new management of His Majesty Rozelle/Tagliabue/Goodell’s Loyal Opposition, and for the time being, that might be a tad presumptuous. As I’ve mentioned to you before, I am giving Reggie McKenzie (and in turn, Dennis Allen and Al’s son, Mark) at least three seasons before I can make any real judgments on whether the new boss is the same as the old boss. If I may, I have had a theory that the move to LA changed not only the franchise itself, but I think it wore Al down in a lot of ways. Let me explain.
It was last year the day after Al died, and it was the win against the Texans where Michael Huff picked off Matt Schaub on the last play of the game. The team flew back to Oakland and a large group of fans greeted the players and it was a very emotional scene. As I heard about that, the thought popped into my mind “this would have never happened in LA”. Or if it did, it wouldn’t have unfolded in quite the same way. Moving to LA, to Hollywood, especially if you move there to attempt to be rich and famous, changes people. And not always for the better. While I don’t necessarily blame Al for that move, the team you all feared back in the day became the old, not as photogenic child actor that grew up and now can’t get any work. More than anything, its the primary analogous reason why I would not be too enthusiastic about moving back there (even if Ice Cube’s 30 for 30 flick “Straight Outta L.A.” was sort of a thinly veiled sales pitch for us to move back).
To weave your comparison of one of the things near and dear to me to that 5th priority in Provo, (and again, I’m postulating here) our last Super Bowl title and their MNC happened within about a year of one another. I have thought that their MNC was the best thing that ever happened to them and it was also the worst thing that ever happened to them. For our next rhetorical exercise, I think a comparison needs to be made between the current zeal of BYU football’s zealota and the current stubbornness of Ute basketball. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that both of these things were worth watching in this here state.
I will end this portion of this conversation by saying that I really hope that I remember that not every place I go outside of Utah has fry sauce. How soon before I start to loiter at RC Willey on Saturday afternoons?
Raider’s Final Volley
Both their football program and our hoops program are rather fascinating case studies for major college programs (or at least the revenue sports). There’s also what would happen to certain programs on a smaller scale too. For example, I would be intrigued to find out what would happen if Ole Miss ever won an SEC title in football. But if we look past college sports for a minute I think one team mirrors such a cataclysm and that would be the Oakland A’s.
Just about 20 years ago then Giants owner Bob Lurie lost out on his own attempt to get a new stadium built in Santa Clara, so he then made it clear that he was going to sell the team to a group of investors who would then move the Giants to Tampa. Meanwhile, not only were the A’s the better baseball product at the time, they had won a World Series three years before at my Giants expense and were in the playoffs again in the 1992 season. They were drawing 2 1/2 million fans a year back then, and they still had the McGwire/Canseco/Stewart, et al collection of talent.
The A’s probably saw the Giants potentially leaving as a golden opportunity for them. Back then, they had money for things and though they really didn’t admit it officially, they were hoping against hope that we would leave so they could have the entire region to themselves (I know their fans were frothing at the mouth). Then, there was Game 4 of the ALCS that year against the Blue Jays. Down 2-1 in the series, Dennis Eckersley came on in the 9th to nail down a save and tie the series. And then…Roberto Alomar spit into the wind.
Of course, the Blue Jays won that series and the whole thing that year, but that may have been their 98 NCAA title game moment. It never got better for the A’s after that–the Moneyball teams may end up looking like a dead cat bounce. They wouldn’t win another playoff series for 14 seasons, their unhealthy obsession across the bay has been a hell of a lot more successful, and now its the A’s who are looking to move to the South Bay. I don’t blame A’s fans for being bitter. They have every right to be. But I’d love to show 1992 A’s fan what 2012 A’s fan has gone through and simply say “be careful what you wish for.”
Clearly, you forget the old saying that “age and guile beat youth and enthusiasm”. Certainly, when it comes to one Ice Cube, I have to default to the current Cube’s theoretical old man strength. Look at yourself for a minute. If you saw your early 20s self, your current self could probably take down your younger self. I’m convinced that this is pretty universal, even if its practically impossible to prove. So I can’t quite convince myself that Old Man Strength wouldn’t come into play here.
This would work better for next week’s discussion, but I really don’t “get” our own fans a lot of the time. You seem to have your impression of the fan base as a whole, but I feel compelled to draw my own conclusions here. Now, we do have one thing in common in the sense that we didn’t arrive to Utedom via conventional means. But I’m probably every bit the outsider that you are, so this is one of those aspects we can consistently whine about.
While you may facepalm when your wife dines on fries with tartar sauce, it does make me curious. I’m sure I’ve done this whenever I’ve had fish and chips, but it certainly wasn’t on purpose.
For next week, I’m mulling over a few thoughts on the Utah cultural phenomenon that is Crown Burger. I have at least four or five thoughts among the 15 or so I still have in my booze battered brain, so be sure to remind me.
Mac’s Wrap Up