Thursdays With Raider: Bigger, Faster, Stronger


Mac Thoughts

I am so very depressed about what I saw Saturday night that I thought I’d ask you a few non-Ute questions just to allow me to feel something besides sadness and anger.  So here goes.

What are your thoughts about your San Francisco Baseball Giants.  Do they have a shot to make some noise, another Orange October, or are you just happy to be here.  I say this as my Angels sit 2 back of the A’s and 3 of the O’s for the final wildcard spot.  The thing is I believe if those Angels of Anaheim can get there, AL MVP Mike Trout and company can make some noise.  Damn slow start.  Oakland has six games against Texas left while the Angels have six against the Mariners.  So I’m sayin’ there is a chance.

Thoughts on your Oakland Raiders after three weeks.  As for my orange Peyton Mannings, I remain cautiously optimistic.  Atlanta and Houston are undefeated and if we can simply battle through this early part of the schedule, there is a lot of hope.  Peyton hasn’t been Super Bowl Peyton but there are probably 20+ teams in this league wishing he was their QB.

Finally, your take on the NFL officiating thing.  This debacle really amazes me.  Billionaires pinching pennies.

And now I’ll take some quiet time, await your responses and contemplate all things Ute right about now.

Raider Thoughts

Since I’m a real working stiff in the sense that I get up at the crack of dawn just like everybody else in this little world, I didn’t get to see the end of the Packers/Seahawks Monday Night game.  In part because I have to get up at 5 in the morning now, and also in part because I don’t really care about either team.  I’m not one of those people who watches football simply because its on TV.  The Real Housewives are on TV too, and I don’t feel the gumption to watch that either.

But it did get me to thinking.  Were the regular referees really that much better?  Granted, the regular refs were more proficient and savvy than the replacements, but human error gives the game a certain kind of charm and it’s not just football.  Mention the name of Don Denkinger to a St. Louis Cardinals fan and you will truly understand the definition of the phrase “fightin’ words”.  At any rate, I think a little perspective is in order here, America.  The “real” refs managed to FUBAR games just fine.  For visual evidence, feast your eyes on Bottlegate, ca.  2001 I believe.

Here is my thing with the Giants this year.  Our starting pitching hasn’t been as good overall as it was going in to the 2010 postseason and I have that odd feeling that the closer by committee that Bochy has employed with Brian Wilson out for the year is going to come back to haunt us.  However, I got to thinking about this over the weekend when the Giants clinched the division during the Ute debacle.  A little over a month ago, soon after Melky Cabrera got suspended, we were teetering on the edge of 2nd place when we had a huge series in LA against the Dodgers.  Not only did the Giants sweep them, but a few days later, they went out and took about $300 million in assets off of the Red Sox hands.  If you had told me that after losing Melky that we’d win the West with plenty of room to spare, I’d say you were a bathsalt induced hot mess.

As for the postseason, the two teams that also clinched this week happen to be the teams that have given us the most trouble in the regular year.  The Nationals look formidable and the Reds have massacred our pitching, but as long as we have Cain, Bumgarner, and an offense that can drive in runs via singles and doubles, we have a chance.  Speaking of your Halos, I am going to come out an admit that I am hoping that they can make a final push because A’s fans have devolved–and really it’s been over the past 20 years–into this bitter, whiny little fan base and someone needs to teach them a lesson.  That lesson, of course, is that most of their problems aren’t because of the Giants and that we garnered little to no sympathy from Walter Haas or any of their fans when we nearly moved to Tampa in 1992, despite what their own fans insist.

Like I have said, I am taking a long term approach with the Silver and Black, but since we are on the eve of the first matchup of our two respective teams this coming Sunday, I would like to point out that over the past three or four seasons, we have played the division opponents better on the road than at home.  Consider: we have won the last 5 games against the Chiefs in KC, the last four in Denver, and it’s almost comical to call the SD game a road game since the Chargers actually hear noise while they’re on offense at home against us.  But for your sake, I think there’s  little shame in last week’s loss, since for now anyway, I would consider the Texans one of the favorites to come out of the AFC.  Gary Kubiak is all grown up now, isn’t he?

Raider Thoughts Part II

Ordinarily, when I think I’m about to say something that could be construed as incredibly stupid, I like to preface the statement by reminding people that I am acting in a semblance of good faith and rudimentary knowledge.  So try to keep your outrage to yourself for a brief moment as I type what I’m about to type.

As I was watching the game on Saturday, I had a thought.  Do you believe as I do that we looked overmatched and undersized against ASU?  Essentially, this is a rehash of the types of things I saw in the first two conference home games last year–namely, that we look small and slow, especially against the Sun Devils.  While I can’t quite decide if this is a stupid thought or simply an obvious one, I can’t help but wonder.  Is Arizona State going to continue to be a bad matchup for us or did we just have a few recruiting classes that lead us to this point?

Truthfully, I’m less worried about the offense (since that’s an issue of a less than ideal QB situation and a crummy offensive line) as I am about how out of our league we looked on the defensive side of the ball.  For now, at least, I’m going to display my angst by saying that this football program needs to become bigger, faster and stronger.  We don’t have the luxury of having UNLV and New Mexico and San Diego State on our schedule anymore to straighten things out.

MAC Thoughts

I’m going to do something here and agree with you.  Both last year and this, we looked a step slow and not nearly as Pac-Twelvie as ASU.  Now what is weird is that I didn’t think we looked so outmatched vs USC last year and certainly not versus Arizona or UCLA, so what the hell is it about ASU.

We’ve lost I think 10 straight now to the Sun Devils in a streak that reaches back to nearly the 1960’s.  Plus Kyle made Todd Graham’s team at Pitt look like his bitch last year.  Maybe its just our players being utterly shocked at going from Utah girls to the girls in the stands at Arizona St., that we can’t handle it.  I don’t have a solution.

As for their not being any New Mexico’s, let me throw out this example, Mike Stoops lost his job for losing 10 straight games to BCS teams.  That streak included Oklahoma St. twice, USC twice, Oregon twice, Stanford twice.  Arizona St. and Oregon St. were the other two losses.  It also didn’t help that Stoops had pissed everyone off and they were looking for a reason to kill him.  But it also shows what a bad Pac-12 run can do.

On to the games…

Stanford v. Washington

Raider Thoughts

You are a child of the 80s, so I’m sure you have seen the movie “Just One Of The Guys”.  Aside from the sheer absurdity of the plot, the most significant line has to be “where do you get off having [breasts]”.  (I edit that quote because my nephews will probably be reading this soon and I don’t want to have to be the one to explain what that means.  My brother-in-law just might kill me if that happens).  But to that end, where does Stanford get off remaining competitive?  They aren’t beating Oregon and they probably may not win more than 9 games, but of the teams we will play in the north in the next few years, Stanford intrigues me the most.

MAC Thoughts

First, how dare you suggest that the plot of Just One of the Guys is absurd.  Frankly I think it was overlooked at Oscar time as most great comedies are.  As for Stanford, Jim Harbaugh did something smart.  Instead of trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole, he thought, what kind of players can I get at Stanford.  Then he loaded up on them and created a system that uses those guys.  The new guy decided, why would I eff with this.  BTW gotta think Sark and his act might not be long up in Seattle.

Arizona State v. Cal

Raider Thoughts

I’ll just go ahead and say it: does ASU win the South now?  Understand here that beating us the way that they did isn’t something one wants to brag about (and for the my sake alone, I appreciate that), but their only challenge at this point is probably USC and even though that game is in LA, can they avoid a late season collapse?  And while I’m thinking of it, are you not so secretly rooting for Cal to go after Chris Petersen in the offseason and that it ends up being the job that pries him away from Boise?

MAC Thoughts

As for the South, I think there are four teams fighting for it right now (none of which is Utah), I’ve seen what Arizona can do when they don’t go into the redzone six time and never score like they did at Oregon.  And while I don’t think they’ll win it, Arizona will have a say. Plus I’m still in on UCLA.  I think Oregon St. is just really good.  As for this game, Arizona St. wins.  As for Chris Petersen, I would have to think Cal might intrigue him, Pac-12 job but no one is going to freak out if you don’t win a title in year one.  However have to believe Cal’s first call is to Gary Anderson.

Oregon State v. Arizona

Raider Thoughts

The Beavs looked very good against UCLA, but I can’t quite figure out the Wildcats.  So since you live in the Old Pueblo, I’m going to see if you could give us a better scouting report on UA, because it’s really difficult to get much of a read on a team when they just lost to an Oregon team that would be ranked #1 if they were an SEC school.

Mac Thoughts

I like what Rich Rod is doing here.  He fell into a lot of offensive talent and a QB in Matt Scott born to run his system.  It’s not a great defense but it can do some things.  The one thing they’re doing is struggling in the redzone.  Like I said above, six trips inside the 20 resulted in 0 points at Autzen.  That being said, I’m a Beaver Believer.  However, I’m not sure what read to get on this game.  It will tell us a lot about both teams.

Oregon v. Washington State

Raider Thoughts

My question here is not whether the Ducks will win but how close will they get to 100 points?

MAC Thoughts

Honestly, I think the Ducks will throttle down here after it goes 42 nothing, the final will be like 45-28 and Wazzu covers.  BTW one of our sites wrote a brief history of Coug’in it, but I’d like someone to really dig into the history of this school just choking off big win after big win.

UCLA v. Colorado

Raider Thoughts

Hey, this is a semi-random aside, but would it be worth it to see a current and/or future Utah/UCLA game at the Rose Bowl?  I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if CU gets their second conference victory this week, so I figured a diversion would be necessary here.

MAC Thoughts

If CU goes into the Rose Bowl and beats UCLA two games after being humiliated by Fresno, yeah I’m stunned.  But a trip to see a game in the Rose Bowl is a must do IMO.  From just driving down into the hole where its located to parking on a golf course and just knowing all the history that has taken place there.  Why I saw the President Bill Clinton and Arsenio Hall go to the Women’s World Cup Final there in 1999.  (I just thought you’d enjoy reading that sentence.

Yeah you should do it.