Raider Opines: Yesterday afternoon as I watch the Raiders give up 24 unanswered points to lose to the Redskins, I couldn’t help but ponder how much I really hate the game of football most of the time.
First, USC ruined my day before it began by firing Lane Kiffin. From their own vantage point, they probably had to seeing as how giving up 61 points to Arizona State was the last straw the 10-7 loss to Wazzu probably should have been. But this year is going to be the best and only chance the Utes have to beat USC for a very long time, isn’t it? Somehow I doubt they would hire him, but I have that feeling that I’m going to hate Chris Petersen with the same volcanic fire I hated Mike Shanahan and Tommy Lasorda.
A few hours later, I get an alert on my phone that reads “Raiders will start Matt Flynn at QB in place of injured Terrelle Pryor”. Great. Just wonderful. Just what exactly goes on at LSU anyway? Does everyone there drink on the job and no one bats an eyelash? Do they have “hot, cold and beer” faucets in the bathrooms in Baton Rouge? The two best QBs that program has bequeathed to the sport in my lifetime are Jamarcus Russell and Matt Flynn. And they both have played for my “shadow of its former self” team. Come on LSU, what did I ever do to you? For that matter, Reggie McKenzie, what did I ever do to you? You (and your counterpart with the Seahawks) signed Matt Flynn because he played one good game in Green Bay against Detroit where the Packers had home field advantage wrapped up and they wanted to shut down Aaron Rodgers for the playoffs. You think I don’t get sore with GM’s of my beloved teams, you haven’t heard me cuss out Brian Sabean (Giants), Doug Wilson (Sharks) and Larry Riley (former Warriors GM).
(By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to say to all those who said “you guys will be better immediately once Al Davis dies” from the time I was a kid until October 8, 2011, you can feel free to never have an opinion on anything ever again. Don’t vote, don’t tweet, don’t Facebook, just sit there with your mouth open and eat food as uselessly as possible. Idiots!)
But that’s not all, folks. In the span of about 30 minutes, Darren McFadden gets hurt, Marcel Reese gets hurt even worse, and Flynn throws a pick six to get the Skins to within 14-10. The Skins scored a few more times, never relinquished the lead afterward and I’ve been in a bad mood ever since. Some who don’t know me that well might think I just had this epiphany, but no. I have this emotion every single week for every single defeat. Every last one of them.
Let me swing things back to the Utes for a moment. After how ASU drilled USC, UCLA still looks to be the class of the South, Arizona can still cause some problems, USC still has enough talent to just show up and win some games, and there’s no way Stanford and Oregon are going to be victories for the Utes, is a bowl game even a possibility this year? Okay, I shall preview the games before I go full on atheistic toward the national secular religion, because it’s well on its way to happening.
MAC Retorts: I have to admit that at some point last week watching Peyton Manning destroy Chip Kelly and Philly, I thought of you and felt bad. It’s shocking what Manning is doing while you’ll enjoy the pleasure of watching Matt Flynn throw screens. But on to better things.
Here is how we get to a bowl game. We have 3 wins. We’ll beat Wazzu and Colorado to move to 5 wins. At that point we need only beat USC or Arizona (both very winnable games) to get to six. If we get both that moves us to seven and if we could steal one from UCLA or ASU, well that is eight wins my friend. Now I can’t do anything about the Raiders, but know that you’re not a Jazz fan, the Warriors will be alright Utah basketball shouldn’t be a complete and total abortion.
Hope you’re warm and fuzzy now.
Washington State v. Cal
Raider: Seeing as how I watch a lot of bad football, I often enjoy watching bad football teams that I have no interest in whatsoever. I watched an entire quarter of Temple v. Idaho on Saturday for no particular reason other than I didn’t want to go anywhere and my wife and mother-in-law were having some girl time together. Maybe it’s a side effect of my fandom of “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ that caused this. But games like this are so much more enjoyable when I have no emotional attachment.
MAC: I have one simply thought about this game. Had bad football ever been played faster than it will in this game?
Oregon v. Colorado
Raider: I have to admit I’m kind of jealous of the Ducks. Not due to the happenstance of having a distinguished alum start up the biggest shoe company on the planet, but because they have an offense that 9 times out of 10 looks unstoppable. Rain didn’t even stop them from putting up 27 points in a quarter and 55 points total. It sort of reminds me of how in awe I was of the 2004 Ute offense and how it made nearly everyone (except for frickin’ Air Force) look silly. In a purely objective sense, it’s hard not to be impressed by their offensive spectacle.
MAC: It’s shocking what Oregon has become. Recall 1994, Utah won at Oregon and Oregon won the Pac-12. Hell, recall that we nearly won at Oregon with that JC QB who Jordan Wynn replaced. Now, they’re Oregon. I wonder what is in store for us in Eugene.
Arizona State v. Notre Dame
Raider: You typically have a different perspective on things that I often don’t have, but the Sun Devils look to be among the “teams we have no shot at beating this year” list? Perhaps their game against Lennay Kekua University will tell us more about ASU than a win against a USC squad that is not the USC we know and love, but I am grateful at this point that the Utes may get ASU in the first week of November when the weather might not be up to snuff (pun completely intended).
MAC: My thing about ASU is that they are still ASU and late in the year they do very ASU things. So regardless of what happens at Jerry World vs the Domers, I still have faith. Why not us? Why Not Now?
Washington v. Stanford
Raider: A few prominent people with Twitter accounts have said point blank that the Huskies are a top ten team this year. Well, there isn’t a better way to find out than to go to Palo Alto and play the Maroons. I am grateful that the Utes are only playing one of these teams, because I’m not sure I can take another game where we roll out the red carpet for Bishop Sankey. That would hurt like the dickens.
MAC: I still don’t believe in Sark. He’s going to have to prove it all year for me to do it. I’d brag about having watched Sankey in high school but I’ve done that every week and it’s probably getting old.
UCLA v. Utah
Raider: Think back for a brief moment about the first Pac-12 opponent the Utes played a little more than two years ago. Given how tough of a game that was for the Utes, they had a chance to at least send the game into overtime and go from there. I really wanted that game back, seeing as how one more victory gets us to the Pac-12 Championship game, possibly a 9 or 10 win season and maybe a better bowl game than the Sun Bowl.
Well, here once again is a chance to make our program a lot more relevant in this conference than it is right now. A conference title contender in UCLA comes to town, it’s a Thursday night, it’s the Blackout Game, it’ll be on national TV and it won’t be on ESPN8, The Ocho after the Dodgeball Championship. My point here is that you don’t get too many chances to make a first impression, and while this doesn’t necessarily make or break our season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Utes go the entire month of October without a single victory.
It could be that Brett Hundley will outduel Travis Wilson again, that with the larger issues this team has–particularly in the secondary–we just aren’t ready for primetime. But if the Utes win this game, I might actually feel better not just in the short term, but in the next few years about this team winning games against anyone in the conference. At this point, I would like just one signature victory against somebody that matters in the PAC. Is that just too much to ask?
MAC: I have to admit, I’d really like this game. I’m feeling really good about this team but you’re right at some point we’ve got to beat someone not named Colorado or Wazzu (and our win over the Neuheisel UCLA doesn’t quite count). But I have to say, you have to believe more in our ability to beat Arizona. Have you seen BJ Denker. It’s like watching Jon Hays, he’s really really awful. Arizona is only Ka’Deem Carey and we can stop that. I don’t think we’re losing to USC either.
But a win against the Bruins would bring happy happy joy joy to me. Like I said, Why not us? Why not now?