Editor’s Note: This is Part II of Thursday’s With Raider, our ever popular game previews.
Washington v. UCLA
Raider: We now have a three team race in the South and I still have to believe that the Bruins have the best chance to make it out of the South to get decimated again by Stanford. All three of them will have to win out just to make it a certainty, but I’m not sure I can deal with the pain inside that may result from the South division champion having three conference losses. That isn’t a world in which I want to live.
MAC: I had hoped that last weekend, Arizona and Utah would be victorious which would lead via some other dominos to Arizona winning the South. What can I say, I love chaos. Alas that will not happen, so it’s up to UCLA to force Washington closer to firing Sark. It’s all I really have.
Wazzu v. Arizona
Raider: The Wildcats strike me as a team in the UW mold where they look good at times but can’t seem to sustain it. Yeah, they beat us thanks in large part to Ka’Deem Carey’s amazing performance, but we’re also a program that’s in a larval stage all of the sudden. I also must admit I haven’t seen very much of the crimson Cougars this year, and since I need something to complain about, I will tie my stomach in knots as to how Mike Leach will find a way to beat us next week.
MAC: I can’t live in a world where Utah loses to Wazzu next week. So I hope the Rich Rod’s take them out behind the woodshed just to force the last of their belief that they can do something out of them. We can’t have those people having hope.
Cal v. Colorado
Raider: It could be worse. Both opponents in this particular game are in a worse tailspin than the Utes may ever dream of. The state of each program may explain fully why both Berkeley and Boulder are heaven for getting high. But how I hope that Cal can knock off our bitter rivals in CU. Why, I am thinking of going to the next Utes/Buffs game in Boulder wearing a throwback Cliff Branch jersey!
MAC: Mostly Colin Cowherd just blabbers about nonsense, but he said one thing right. You aren’t an athletic program if hippies can affect what you do. Exhibits A and B.
Stanford v. USC
Raider: Would somebody care to explain to me just how Stanford decided to be good at football all of the sudden? Okay, Jim Harbaugh is likely the singular reason, but this was the same program that not too long ago couldn’t beat San Jose State. You probably forgot about the Buddy Teevens era of Stanford football and how it seemed like a medical miracle that they won the PAC back in 1999 with Todd Husak & Troy Walters as their standouts on offense. (See that, other Pac-12 fans, I did my history homework). So how can they possibly find a few dozen kids who can all play football and still average around 1400 on the SAT?
MAC: David Shaw actually gave a TED talk on how Stanford got good at football. Seriously is that not the most Stanford thing ever.
Oregon St v. Arizona State
Raider: It was a little too good to be true, wasn’t it? And by this, of course I mean the Beavers taking down the Pac-12 North with only passes from Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks to propel their offense. By and large, OSU made a very nice recovery from losing their opener to Eastern Washington, but I think this could be the typical high scoring game we expect from ASU. Now also feels like the proper time to point out that the Utes lost to both of these teams by a combined four points.
MAC: How close Utah came to winning those games. Utah should have picked off that final pass. If Kelvin York doesn’t get that personal foul, Utah probably gets points and the win there. As for this game, I think ASU and UCLA are on a collision course. I think the Sun Devils win this one, and if you’ve seen the women who go to Arizona St., allowing them to be good at sports too is just wrong.
Utah v. Oregon
Unless you’re been hanging out in Boulder or Berkeley recently, no Ute fan that would say they’re sober and level headed would have told you the Utes have any shot against this Ducks team. Certainly the way this season has unfolded, no one that I know has changed their minds on that. There are a couple of things that have struck me about the epic meltdown of the fan base over the ASU defeat:
1) Travis Wilson. The kid has thrown a bunch of INTs, but I think several of them aren’t entirely his fault. If there were some way to credit wide receivers with INTs along with (or instead of) QBs, I could think of a few that would have Dres Anderson’s name all over them.
2) I have to give a lot of credit to Will Sutton for picking off the eventual intercepted pass to ice the game for ASU. It’s not every day that a defensive lineman makes enough of a read on a quarterback to grab the pass from the line of scrimmage and pick it off.
3) Do you think Chris Hill is sitting at Rice-Eccles Stadium in a game like this and thinking to himself “offense has had a lot of injuries and the schedule has been tough this year. Oh, well”?
4) I had a thought that five years ago would have been considered sacriledge. I do wonder if we are really witnessing the beginning of the end of Kyle’s tenure here at Utah. Mind you, there’s an excellent chance I’m going to be very wrong about this depending on how 2014 goes for him. But how many close games can this program afford to have in conference play?
Will a massive upset of the Ducks in Eugene on Saturday buy him some time? It very well could. But I’m not going to get too bent out of shape about it. It might be best for a lot of us to look at this game as a good learning experience not just for the players and coaches, but for everyone that has a rooting
MAC: To address your points…
1) I love Travis Wilson and the kid is a warrior. But he’s taken a beating this year. I hope it makes him stronger.
2) Will Sutton is going to make a lot of money. Since your Raiders decided to pass on Star Lotulelei because someone didn’t know how to do a proper heart echo, this would be a smart pick.
3) I could say a lot of things about Chris Hill right here, but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf in certain areas.
4) If we move on Kyle before the end of the 2015 season at the earliest, well I don’t know how much longer I can be a serious fan. I mean he is the perfect guy to coach us, has shown that he can keep Utah at a high level. And most of all, when we have a problem, he corrects it. If Hill pulls a give them blood because they demand blood move with football the way he slaughtered the hoops program, well, what is there to do.
As for the game Saturday, there is a rumor since you sent this that Jake Murphy might play. Now if we had Jake Murphy the whole season we might be 7-2 or better. That means if he plays I officially upgrade our chances from none, to “So You’re Sayin’ There’s A Chance.” I mean the blueprint is the same as last week. So Why Not Us?