Thursday’s With Raider: Episode 8 Unintentional Homo-Erotica

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MAC’s OPENING TEE SHOT

This week I will start with one simple question…

Is this scene from Rocky 3 (fast forward to the 2:30 Mark for the specific section)

Or this scene from Top Gun (admittedly this is a remix but you get it)

The most Unintentionally Homo-Erotic scene in movie history.  And I wonder what the debate was about Anthony Edwards having his shirt on or not?

The second question I ask is this.  How big of a blunder is not hiring Dave Rice going to end up being?  I mean here we have in our own back yard, a guy who has the juice to get big time players.  We could have given him twice the money he’s getting not to mention a bigger stage to perform on.  Any questions that lingered should have been answered because we had to know more about him than anyone.  How do we hire Larry Krystkowiak and not even get this guy a look.  Rose goes to UNLV and lands the #12 class in the nation, and that was before that UCONN transfer.  You’re telling me he couldn’t have come to Utah, had the sense to keep the talent we had and been in the hunt for much better players.  Supposedly we were very close to getting Dave Rose.  Now I don’t know what I believe of that because the people who say it also say a whole lot of crap. But if that was the route we wanted, wouldn’t his second in command be a pretty good freaking option if we weren’t going to go and get a name?  Shouldn’t this be what leadership is about?

I know I should at some point move on about this Larry Krystkowiak thing, but lord help me I can’t.  Have any suggestions?

And that brings me to third point, this article names Chris Hill the best or most powerful or some such reward, anyway calling him a really good A.D.  So I want to ask you the question, a great big part of me wants to question this.  I mean we’re in the Pac-12, but didn’t 9/10’s of what needed to happen for us to be in the Pac-12 have nothing to do with Hill?  I mean Hill didn’t make us a research university, and he didn’t place us in a growing city.  He did make a good hire in Ron McBride and great hires in Urban Meyer and Rick Majerus.  But his bumbling management of Majerus (and then continued bumbling) was a big part of the hoops collapse.  We haven’t done much in other sports.  Our best programs outside of Football and Men’s Basketball, Gymnastics and Women’s Basketball, he inherited those coaches.

Is it wrong to say that deciding to try to be good at football is such an easy decision almost anyone would have made it and in fact almost anyone as AD could have been responsible for this era of Utah Athletics.

Or is it the other way.  Are the big boosters for Utah so very awful that this is literally as far as they could have been drug along.  I mean the question remains, how did all of this not happen sooner?  As our friend Pat was kind to point out, Jack Gardner wielded so much power until he left the University that we were like Kentucky under Rupp without the horrid racism.  So that stunted our growth some, but still, it would take nearly 20 years before we’d really try to win at football.  Part of me wants to ask, what the hell were we doing in the mid-70’s that we weren’t a candidate for Pac-8 expansion.  We were a bigger city than Tucson.

Did all Ute fans just take it so for granted that we would suck at anything but hoops no one ever thought to try?  And is Hill actually great for getting them to do any damn thing at all?

This is what I wonder.

Raider’s Response

In my reply to this week’s festivities, I’ll start off with the meatier portion of this particular bone, because it dovetails into a major pet peeve of mine.Lists, like the Top 25 Athletic Directors in College Sports, are incandescently trite anymore.  Quick, take an hour out of your day to try and rank the Top 25 Players in Utah Football history.  You know full well that somebody that is either a) 12 years old and owns a bookshelf of sports almanacs, or b) is a complete and utter troll will rank Scott Mitchell the best player to ever play at Utah.  Hell, I’m almost tempted to write that myself just to explicate how subjective that type of literary device can be.  Put it to you this way: if VH1 can fill an entire program schedule based almost exclusively on listing the various and sundry–with Carrie Keagan “hosting” every single one of them, then it’s officially a cliche.

(I do apologize to our buddy Pat for that kind of criticism, but at least his book went to 100 and wasn’t really a “list” so much as it was a detailed explanation of the culture and traditions–such as they are–of Utah football.)

But getting back to Hill for a paragraph, if rumor serves Hill wanted Larry after Giac got fired.  If that’s true (and if it isn’t I’ll humbly stand corrected), why in the world would he put the future of the basketball program in the hands of Larry Krystkowiak?  As I’m in a cliche-using mood right now, I can’t look at Larry’s previous body of work before he came to Utah and come to a conclusion where I say “yep, that’s the guy I want at the controls of this program”, not even after 05-06.  Yes, he had a 24 win season at Montana and upset Nevada in the tourney (and at the JMHC no less).  Jim Boylen had a 24 win season, too and he was fired–albeit justifiably at the time.  To attempt to put this another way, this reminds me so much of the Warriors first round picks of…well, since I’ve been alive, particularly in the sense that so many other players were available at the time the Dubs were on the clock.  Take the 2003 draft, picking 11th.  Let me write down some of the names that were available at the time of that pick: Nick Collison.  Luke Ridnour.  Kendrick Perkins.  Leandro Barbosa.  David West.  Josh Howard.  So of course, the Warriors draft Mickael Pietrus to the delight of none.  To complete the analogy, I would throw out the name of one Mark Gottfried and see if that theoretical hire would have been kosher enough for you.  It sure would have for me.

One of these days I’m going to get bored and fly out for the NBA Draft just so I can boo the Warriors pick, even if I totally agree with the selection.  I wish to do so for no other reason than “well, hey, Jets and Eagles fans do it during the NFL Draft.”

As for Larry himself, I’m going the typical Ute fan hysterically pessimistic route with this question: how long do you think Jordan Loveridge lasts until he decides to transfer?  One year?  Two years?  I mean, players leaving the program is a Runnin’ Ute tradition of sorts, so it would be a past performance that could foreshadow a future result.  Or am I oversimplifying this by pinning Larry’s future to Loveridge’s?

Every time I see “Top Gun” (or “Cocktail” or “The Color of Money” or “Rain Man”), I wish I could travel back in time, tap some hormonal 80s era woman on the shoulder as she watches “Risky Business” for the 571th time and say “you do know that in 20 years from now he’s going to tap dance on Oprah’s couch while displaying overenthusiasm about marrying someone that’s pretty close to my age, right?”  So of course, I have to pick the Tom Cruise homo-eroticism between those two videos.  How could I not?  The man is practically the poster child for it.

If it seems like I’m being argumentative with this paragraph I’m sorry, but can a program that isn’t a power in football truly flip a switch and say “hey, we’re good at football”?  Could Duke for example ever be good at football?  Kansas had two very good seasons recently, but could it be argued that it should have been them and not K-State that was a kinda sorta maybe national power during the 90s?  Pouring in Brinks trucks full of cash (like Phil Knight did at Oregon) is a surefire way to get a football program on its feet, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a guarantee for success.  Take South Carolina.  Credibility by association notwithstanding, that isn’t exactly a program that is anywhere near broke and in the entire 100+ year history of Carolina football, they have one conference title (yes, they spent about 20 of those as an independent when going independent was the style at the time).  Although I’ve heard the Gamecocks described as the Chicago Cubs of college football, so perhaps a higher power is at work here?

Furthermore, I don’t even think our football program came into prominence overnight to a certain extent.  If we’re talking about the 1994 team, then I think you’re right because that would have been the end product of the first few McBride recruiting classes.  But if it’s based on 03 and 04, then that’s a roughly 15 year path from when Jim Fassel was fired after the 89 Holy War debacle (and as debacles go, that’s just about tops them all) to the 2004 BCS team.  In the football realm of the athletic department, I will give Dr. Hill a good share of the credit for where it is now, starting from Fassel’s firing.  By the way, I don’t even want to contemplate a world in which Fassel comes back for the 1990 season.  That’s a world I wouldn’t want to live in.

I’m sort of taking the “nice guy” route here with my counterpoint, but I do think that it might not be a bad idea for Ute fans to start considering an athletic department without Chris Hill.  Because that moment is coming, and it may well be that the guy who pushes you to the top isn’t the one that can keep you there (see: Ron McBride).  It can happen unceremoniously like what happened with Gene Bleymaier at Boise State, or he can retire into the sunset and we can all be left to wonder what would have happened if he and Rick could have made enough room for the other person’s ego.

Meanwhile, Barry Zito had the following line today: 8 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 5 K.  What year is this again?

MAC’s APPROACH SHOT

Our friend Colo Ute has a point that somehow Larry Krystkowiak became Chris Hill’s white whale.  Somehow he convinced himself that if we’d only gotten Larry when we fired Ray Giacolletti that all would be well with the universe.  And so people who claim to be in the know say that this time around the goal was Dave Rose with Larry as a fall back.  I won’t bore our fine readers with one more rant about the sheer concept of that.  But I will address your greater point.

I suspect that Dr. Hill has but 2-3 more years at the most.  He is approaching 65, and like Roger Murtaugh I suspect he is getting to old for this…  But what does that mean for us.  I don’t know.  But I think I’m viewing it as something close to what is going on with Orrin Hatch.  Now you know I don’t love Hatch, but I’m kind of hoping for his re-election because what might get elected is even worse.  Having spent far too much time thinking about this, I still don’t know the answer to my original thesis.  Should Hill get credit for nothing, as it seems like he did what anyone with sense should have done or is he glorious because our boosters are by and large idiots and the only boosters in the nation who could spend more but don’t.

Which brings me to a greater point.  Are our big boosters going to try and force the hire of someone who is as douchy as they are?  Instead of the whining I’ve done about the good Doctor, perhaps I should shut up and realize we’re Utah and it could be a lot worse.

I think that Utah needs a breath of fresh air, but then as is the case, the powers that be say, we want no part of your fresh air, till that person heads off somewhere better.

It will be interesting to see how Larry handles guys that he brought it.  It’s clear he couldn’t have given two craps about anyone with the mark of Boylen on him and after this season they will all be gone.  Well all but one.  Jeremy Olsen.  Now people forget that Olsen was a monster get at the time.  In high school he compared favorably to Mr. Derrick Favors who came out of the same area at the same time.  Olsen is one we should really watch and just might be the best player we have on the team.

As for Mr. Loveridge and how that will work, I’m interested.  If Mr. Loveridge is all we need him to be, expect an early exit to the NBA, which is something we’re not really built to deal with.  If he’s just pretty good, Ute fans are going to call him a bust.  It will be one of those unfolding stories.

BTW I was watching the MISS USA Pageant last night.  And I was thinking how wildly unfair it is to girls from places like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.  I mean I recall all the girls I went to high school with and the hot ones who went to other schools.  And yeah the hot ones could be picky and choosy among the boys of good ole Evanston High, if you put them into the mix at say Arizona St., they would have to take any offer that they get.  What would it take to make a Miss Wyoming or Idaho into a MISS USA or America?

Raider Explodes Down The Fairway

Before I continue with this reply, I have to mention that I met my almost 1 year old nephew Garrett this past weekend.  He’s rather chunky, so I’m thinking Kyle will use him as a fullback his freshman year before he ends up being converted to a free safety or something.Hey, speaking of that, I’ve been meaning to ask you if you think that the whole converting QBs to linebackers or other position tradition we have had in recent years (see Chad Manis just to use one example) needs to end if the Utes are going to compete in the PAC.  A mutual friend of ours wholeheartedly agreed, but it did make me wonder just how often something like this goes on at other programs.  Its one thing to do that at Navy where running the wishbone sort of necessitates that.  Its entirely another to do that at Michigan or Ohio State.

I have an idea, and I believe it would be one you would be intrigued by.  Pretend for a moment that you are going to install me as U of U president in some kind of debauched coup d’etat–or just install yourself, I don’t care.  Either you or I can say “Dr. Hill, you got us here, and for that we will forever be indebted to you.  We shall name many things after you.”  In Dr. Hill’s place I present the name of Liz Abel as a successor.  Maybe its too close to the Hill athletic food chain, but why not give it a try?  It gives athletics some fresh leadership, and we can show the rest of the conference “hey, we hire women to do stuff!”

(Yeah, I know, I once hired a woman to do something for me, so I thought it would be as good of a time as any to get that joke out of the way).

So I have come to confess as well that I like watching the Thunder.  Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Kendrick Perkins, thats a team that makes me completely unashamed to watch an NBA playoff game.  Although I do have to feel a twinge of sadness for Seattle denizens.  I mean, the Mariners are a shadow of their early 2000s selves, the Seahawks are…well, the Seahawks, and the Sonics may win an NBA title in Oklahoma City.  Barking for Sark it shall be I guess.

Oddly enough, one of the girls I knew in high school that graduated the same year I did would go on to become Miss Wyoming.  She was way out of my league, but by my own admission, thats not exactly an exclusive fraternity.  While I do think that its noble to see a Miss Idaho or Wyoming take down a darn good lookin’ woman title, how about a future Miss West Virginia?  You see, some people want to go on vacation in New York or Paris or Tuscany.  Me, I’m packing up the wife and kids and we’re headed to West By God Virginia.

Imagine that conversation with a future spouse of mine “are you insane?”  “Yeah, but what does that have to do with this?”  “But why West Virginia?”  “Why not, it’s there!”  “God, I married an idiot!”  “Thats not what you said last night!”

Point me in the direction of my husband of the year award, please.

MAC’s ON THE GREEN

Well with your permission, young Garrett will be the feature picture on this weeks Thursday’s with Raider.  And he is a good looking or as my wife would say, “he’s so cute, I just want to snuggle him.”

As for the QB being converted to other position thing.  I don’t really think its the problem that some make it out to be.  In high schools, often the coach makes the best athlete the QB.  In fact here is a tip, Washington’s running back will be a kid named Bishop Sankey this year.  Sankey played at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane (most famous graduates include former House Speaker John Foley, John Stockton and my wife).  Prep’s entire offense was to snap the ball to Sankey in a wildcat kind of formation and let him run.  They’re probably state champions if his fullback/all state defensive end (who is a Stanford) doesn’t tear his ACL late in the year.

My rambling point is, if you have a wildly good player in high school, its best just to have the ball in his hands.  It means that kid is a player but maybe not a QB.  What I think the Utes have to do, is start landing really good QB recruits.  Its not like Utah is landing Peyton Manning and saying, yeah I’d like him to play outside linebacker.

OK, I’m about to go all unenlightened stupid guy, but I do question the idea of women A.D.’s.  A.D.’s by and large have to deal with really unenlightened white guys and get them to give money and come coach at your school.  There have been two Pac-12 women A.D.’s, who have been disasters, Barbara Hedges at Washington and the woman at Arizona St., whose name escapes me (Lisa Love now that I googled it).  It would have to be a very unique woman to handle the job at a place like Utah.  But one of the requirement would have to be to know what the hell you’re getting into, and Liz Abel would know that.  So in the space of this paragraph I’ve gone from dismissive to intrigued.

I’m on a bucket list kind of thing to visit all 50 states.  That number stands at 32 for those of you playing at home, including West Virginia.  The odd thing about West Virginia, is that there are no cities along the interstate there.  If you want a burger, you have to exit and the drive five miles up a road where a town appears that makes Lander, WY look like paradise.  But I’m told they have casinos.

Speaking of Seattle, there was a five year run in the 1970’s where Golden State, Seattle, Portland and Washington all won a championship, Boston being the only name team to get one in that time frame.  In fact, they had back to back Washington and Seattle finals.  If David Stern had been commissioner, that never would have happened.

Who do you think gets to the NBA finals first, Golden State or Utah.  And does the impending move to The City give you pause at a Golden State fan?

Raider’s in the hole… He’s in the hole

Ever since the current Warriors brass made the announcement that they want to build a new arena I’ve been sort of torn.  I loved living in the East Bay as a kid, In fact, if I made a lot more money or married a woman that would make me a kept man, Alameda or Contra Costa County would be way too tempting for me to pass up.  But where the Dubs are looking at building this thing, I have to say I’m more excited by the day.  Take a look see at the abstract artist renderingif you have yet to do so.Now, that having been said, I don’t want to be anywhere near NorCal if and when Joe Lacob & Co. decide to rename the team the San Francisco Warriors.  That could divide families and communities from Pinole to Palo Alto.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Strangely enough, I remember you posting somewhere on the interwebs many years ago that you theorized that any NBA title won before the Bird v. Magic era should be considered a mythical title.  I will admit that it was in response to me reminding the fans of the locally preferred starting five that the Warriors have an NBA title while their ballclub doesn’t–along with it being a rather unusually subtle way for you to say I was being a doofus.  But do you still hold to that opinion?  Keep in mind, that decade was one where the NBA Finals were tape delayed on CBS a few days after the games aired.  Sadly, I’m sort of surprised that hasn’t happened with the Stanley Cup Playoffs here in the U.S in recent years.

But as for who between the Warriors and Jazz will be the team that gets a title first, I have the feeling that by the time I’m 50 years old the Jazz may not be in Utah.  And the thing is I don’t really have any other explanation for it other than a gut instinct.  These next few sentences will get Jazz fans even angrier at me than normal, but in that league the Jazz are kind of a pariah, aren’t they?  In a league in which the culture is much more Wu-Tang Clan than Donny Osmond, how is that going to continue in perpetuity?  Let’s take a potential free agent, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be a big name.  If you as his agent give him the choice between us or the Jazz…you should probably be fired for being such a horrible agent, but that’s beside the point.  Between those two teams, I would have to believe that at least 7 times out of 10, that FA will sign with the Warriors.

For further emphasis, allow me to post this tweet from current Warrior Jeremy Tyler:

See what I mean?

What got me to thinking about the potential promotion of Liz Abel was what happened with Nevada when Chris Ault “stepped down” as their athletic director–okay, by “stepped down” I mean he went back into coaching, but still.  I’m not entirely certain if this would bolster my theory or destroy it by mentioning this, but bear with me here.  True, Ault didn’t make his name as an AD, but I was living in Reno at the time and it was pretty apparent that the Peter Principle applied to Aut as an athletic director.  Then all of the sudden he coaches football again and not only do they pick a woman to take over the reigns, it’s Cary Groth, a woman who I always thought looked like Susan Clark, who played Alex Karras’s husband on “Webster”.  Admittedly though, it’s been a rough go of things for her, as evidenced by this particular blog I found.

(The slogan that contains the prhase “organized crime at UNR” still slays me.  Christ almighty, that entire state is a living embodiment of organized crime.  Don’t knock it til you try it!)In your time in Wyoming, did you ever have a malt at Yellowstone Drug in Shoshoni?  The “I Had A Malt At Yellowstone Drug” bumper sticker is quite the accessory for any Dodge and/or Mopar vehicle, and I’m convinced you haven’t lived until you’ve had a malt after some intense pheasant hunting.  Either that or you Dad smacks you upside the head for carrying your 12 gauge around “like you’re f’in Rambo”.  Maybe it’s different in your end of the state, so I have to investigate this for myself.

Looks like NBC has a new reality show airing tonight called “Love in the Wild”.  I liked it better when FOX did basically the same thing with “Temptation Island”.

My nephews are probably the closest thing I will ever get to having kids, so I feel it is my obligation to show Tryston and Garrett all of the corrupting and fun things that uncles typically show nephews.  I’m not sure what I’ll do if I ever have a niece.