RAIDER BEGINS: Beating up on a Big Sky school that looks every bit the part doesn’t really require my analysis, so I’m going to write dozens of words about why I’m a full participant in the groupthink in regard to the game everyone and their mother is looking ahead to in less than a fortnight. While I do this, I’m going to present you and the good readers of Hoyos Revenge with a choice.
I mentioned this on Twitter this week, but I have a rather annoying daydream that occurs every once in a great while. Ever since the Utes were invited to the PAC, I have this dream of coaxing my wife into making a trip to Pasadena on 1/1. The season this occurs doesn’t really matter, but sooner rather than later would be nice. I’m not even that picky on the B1G opponent that the Heartland would offer us, although I would prefer Penn State for the simple fact that I want the MUSS that travels to this game to start singing “Hey, Teacher! Leave those kids alone!” from Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”.
(Sorry Nittany Lions, but you enabled child molestation on an institutional level. That will be your curse from now until the rapture. Deal with it.)
So in essence, this is your first choice. You can take your lumps against a couple of nonconference foes and play well enough in the league to win the Pac-12 and make it to the Rose Bowl…
…or, you can beat BYU every year, watch as USC, UCLA, ASU and most everyone else in the conference uses us like a brand new kleenex and then say “well, we may have gone 5-7 again, but at least we beat BYU!” Mind you, this seems like a false choice. Could we not just go ahead and accomplish both? Yes, I suppose that a team that’s good enough to do one could easily do the other. But it seems to me that given the theoretical choice between the two, I know which one I am choosing. Let’s get to the games for this week, shall we?
MAC ANSWERS: First, the “Hey Teachers” line made me blow iced chai latte out my nose it was so funny.
But you reach a great point here. I’ve decided the singular crusade of this blog is to get Utah fans (and some BYU fans if they choose to learn) to understand that we have different interests now. Sure beating the Y would be nice and I suppose it’s hard for a week for those Utah LDS fans to get teased, but we’re about Pac-12 titles now and BYU does nothing to make that happen. In fact I’ll go so far as to say, that outside of the game we play against each other, I’ve lost most of the reason to hate them. Of course I also don’t visit Cougarboard anymore, so maybe I’ve just forgotten.
When Utah heads to Pasadena, lets make it a couples date. I think our wives would get along.
On to the games.
UCLA v. Nebraska
Raider: I’m not going to go out on any limbs to suggest this may be a Rose Bowl preview in it’s own right, but unless you or anyone can make a case for anyone else in the South division, the Bruins are still the team to beat in that division. But speaking of the the B1G, if the NCAA weren’t so allergic to soliciting advertising from alcohol, why not change the division names from Leaders & Legends to Budweiser & Old Style? I mention this on the news that Wrigley Field will now start serving Anheuser-Busch products starting next season. What better way to sell Old Style than by starting an ad campaign that reads “it’s not just for Cubs fans anymore”?
MAC: In case you didn’t notice Wyoming took Nebraska to the wire. Now I think Wyoming is pretty good, but they shouldn’t be Big10+2 good. Maybe this is the matchup if Urban takes Ohio St. to the title game. BTW, didn’t you think Taylor Martinez would turn out to be something more than a poor mans Tim Tebow, without the prayer
Speaking of Tebow, Gene Simmons of KISS, owner of the new LA arena team, has offered Tim Tebow a contract. Is that a sign of the rapture? If so the Penn St. people will be happy.
Stanford v. Army
Raider: Okay, I must confess, I’m still mad at Stanford for beating Oregon last year and handing Alabama and the SEC another national championship on a silver platter. (They also did the same thing in the 1998 Final Four against Kentucky, but that’s not a wound I want to re-open right now). It’s even more irritating when one considers that in nearly every other aspect of life, Stanford grads are never underdogs at anything. And unless you served in another branch of our armed forces that precludes you from doing so (or you have some weird grudge against General Custer, who graduated near the bottom of his class at West Point) it’s hard not to root for The United States Military Academy.
MAC: My father being a Navy man taught me to root against Army in the Army-Navy game, but the rest of the time, how can you really do it. Honestly the most fun at a bowl game I’ve had was when we played Navy. Between the jets and their band playing our fight song and all the sailors, well it was really cool. I wish we’d play an Academy not named Air Force.
As for Stanford, they piss me off because they get all the nice things.
Fresno State v. Colorado
Raider: Most people would be wont to agree with me that Fresno State hasn’t been the same since they lost at home to Boise State in 2001. For Internet argument fodder alone, this sets off a pretty remarkable chain reaction:
–Boise State begins their BYU-esque run of winning WAC titles and all the while, Dan Hawkins is given a lot more credit for it than he really deserved, but he’s sort of a hot commodity and my Mom made the remark about Hawkins once that “he needs to get some pants that fit, he’s not dressing for a flood”. Oh, Mother.
–This prevented Fresno from being the first “BCS Buster”, which worked out great for us.
–Right around this time frame, the Bulldogs take on their “anyone, anytime, anywhere” mantra, thinking that at some point they will have a team good enough to run the table and get to a BCS game. At least that’s how I observed it as an outsider.
–Meanwhile, Utah goes for the “Hire Urban Meyer” strategery, which enabled the Utes to become the first ever BCS Buster.
–Hawkins leaves BSU to become the head coach at Colorado at the end of the 2005 season. He then loses his first game as Buffs head coach to Montana State.
–Incidentally, Pat Hill lasted at Fresno State for 15 seasons. Of all things in college football in recent years, this one baffles me. You have mentioned that McBride lasted for six seasons after the Rice blowout in 1996. How did Hill survive there beyond 2006? He recovered okay I suppose, they won 7 or 8 games every year after that, but maybe Hill & Mac have a lot more in common than we realize?
So maybe if you’re an angry sort, you can look at this game as the “Battle of Two Programs Dan Hawkins Ruined”?
MAC: Most people won’t remember this, but Fresno fans were like an angrier trashier version of Boise fan when things were rolling good. Do you recall when Jim Sweeney took his shirt off and wanted to fight Ron McBride? Fresno fans were crazy, they thought hiring Tark would get them a national title. Instead it got them a point shaving scandal and Chris Herren when he was hooked on dope, not to mention the guy who tried to rob people with a samurai sword.
It was best that Fresno never got great.
Boston College v. USC
Raider: I can’t think of Lane Kiffin without thinking of George Costanza. So maybe a conversation similar to this one will occur with Lane at some point in the season?
As an aside, the Raiders have this strange unholy alliance with the Trojans. A long lineage from Al Davis to Marcus Allen to Justin Fargas to Carson Palmer have made their way through at least one and quite often both Coliseums. So naturally, I tweeted on Monday night “hey, Marquise Lee would be great with the current Raider offense”. This is the business we have chosen, I guess.
MAC: That video made me sad because when Lane Kiffin is fired at season’s end, we’re going to be forced to listen to Kiffin on College Game Day or doing color for Pac-12 games or God forbid on the Pac-12 network. I can’t think about this anymore other than to mention the game is blacked out on the Boston College campus because the Pac-12 network won’t share.
Tennessee v. Oregon
Raider: It’s not every day one can applaud an SEC school but give the Vols some credit. They are going to Autzen, in the hinterlands of the Pacific Time Zone, and venturing into a foreign country where “real” football isn’t played. That takes real guts, and I respect that. Yes, I’m fully aware that LSU played at Washington recently and Georgia played at Arizona State in recent years, but let this be a lesson to the rest of you SEC schools. People will still live under the mindset that the SEC is the best conference, so it’s really no skin off your back.
MAC: Mostly this game creates about a 1000 jokes about Southern Speed. Will Oregon possibly be able to handle it?
Washington v. Illinois
Raider: After beating Southern Illinois to start the season, the official Illini Football Twitter page tweeted this:
Our State. Our Team. #Illinipic.twitter.com/GchBCg9YTa
Imagine if you will, after the 70-7 pounding Weber suffered last week, the Utes Twitter page posted some variety of this and said something to the effect of “Yeah, Weber, go back to Ogden this is our state, punks!” Nearly every Ute fan would be embarrassed and the person responsible for it would probably be put in charge of fundraising for the Crimson Club. Hopefully the Old Style will be flowing for all Illini involved, because the Huskies look way too good right now.
MAC: Illinois always puzzles me. Do they suck because if Chicago has a college team it’s really Notre Dame and no one wants to go where ever the hell the University of Illinois is? Schools like Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern always made me bitter before we joined the Pac-12. Now we’re making other people bitter. It’s the circle of life.
Southern Utah v. Washington State
Raider: Hey, so is Wazzu poised to make a bowl game? (That reminds me, being “poised” to do something is just one of those sports commentator cliches that drives me insane. Why does someone have to be “poised” to get to a bowl game or win a championship? Why not stumble in a strung out meth-induced stupor to the Poinsettia Bowl? It would be much more fitting.)
MAC: Earlier this week I angered many a BYU fan by suggesting that we have no idea what they are because Texas was so comically bad, you couldn’t really take anything from that game. Well I’m saying the same about Wazzu, they had a close game with a bad Auburn team, beat a comically bad USC team and now play Southern Utah. It’s like Mike Leach looked at our basketball schedule and said, yeah that looks like a way to win.
Ohio State v. Cal
Raider: Hey, it’s Saint Urban I, now coaching the Buckeyes. Do you know I still meet people here in Salt Lake who are mad that Urban left and ended up taking the job at Florida? Typically, they wear skinny jeans, drink PBR and listen to some horrifically awful band that hasn’t “sold out” yet, but they’re out there. They go to the same grocery stores I do, use the same highways and public transportation, and they even vote sometimes too! I’m scared…
MAC: Those are the same people who thing Steve Wynn is our QB and only care about the BYU game. I hate them too.
Wisconsin v. Arizona State
Raider: The winner of this game really needs to be awarded some kind of super beer bong that can contain an entire 30 pack of Keystone Light or some other awful swill that college kids drink to get drunk and have sex with strangers. Of course, the winner of that contest will face a fraternity pledge from Wazzu, but it’s an honor just to be nominated.
MAC: It’s a weirdly fascinating game and two schools who know how to drink. Of course ASU wins in the girl category unless you like a beefy blond girl who knows what to do with a sausage…
UT-San Antonio v. Arizona
Raider: It’s strange for me to think of playing at USC as a winnable game, but the Arizona game strikes me as one that could become very important in the event that certain things play out the way they could. Describe for me in at least 200 words how good the Wildcats could be this season and then allow me to work myself into a dither as I contemplate all the things that could go wrong.
MAC: The Rich Rod’s have shut out NAU and crushed UNLV, so how good are they, well I have no idea. Ka’deem Carey is good when he isn’t punching his pregnant girlfriend because she won’t give him a lighter to go and smoke weed (yeah that happened). But I still don’t think they have a defense. BTW you can go to this game for $18 and you get a hot dog, popcorn and a drink.
Oregon State v. Utah
Raider: We’ve tweeted and re-tweeted since Saturday evening how much more important this game is as opposed to next week’s. But for entertainment purposes only, I thought I would take a look at the stats from the Beavers loss to Eastern Washington. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m not so sure giving up 625 yards of total offense to anyone, let alone EWU is a recipe for success. I really think the Utes could win this game…and go 1-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time…and get one step closer to my stupid little daydream…so this is what being optimistic feels like?
Hey, I know, I’ll ask my wife if she wants to make a, um, trip to LA on New Year’s Day. Since I’m feeling optimistic and all.
MAC: Being the only person reading this blog who has actually attended an Eastern home game (they have red turf purchased by Mike Roos who plays for the Titans) Eastern is good. But remember, Wazzu beat them when Paul Wulff was their coach and they won the I-AA title that year. OSU also has suspensions and injuries. Which freaks me out a little bit and I hope they just lay down and die and don’t go all wounded animal on us. I’d really like to be 3-0.
And, lets book that trip together.