Thursdays With Raider: Is There Any Chance At All


MAC Thoughts

Before we look at this week’s games there are a couple of things I want to chat about.

1.  Do you have any post Bronco-Raider thoughts?  I just wanted to throw something out there.  I’m sure you weren’t pleased with the result, but I think you kids have hope.  It reminds me of the first year Ron McBride took over for Jim Fassel.  Yeah we were 4-7 both years but McBride was 4-7 with hope and Fassel was with no hope.  You need talent upgrades in a lot of places, but you play like a team now.  I would have hope.

2. I can’t friggin believe the O’s and A’s won enough to keep the Angels out of the playoffs.  I find 90 wins and no playoffs emotionally unsatisfying.  I think I should blame you for bringing me back to MLB this season only to have this happen.  I have no dog in the fight this year.

3. I’d talk about Everton and EPL, but you’d fall asleep.

4. I’m getting cautiously optimistic that the Broncos might get 3-4 years of something close to Peyton Manning.

Raider Thoughts

As I referred to you on Twitter recently as “the big brother I never had” I will be more than happy to oblige.

Quite frankly, I had the expectation going into last Sunday’s game that Denver would drill us into the FieldTurf.  At least I think that’s FieldTurf.  One figures that with Jacoby Ford and Derrius Heyward-Bey out, an offensive line that is now back to using a zone blocking scheme–outside of a few seasons, we had been a power blocking team since my parents were toddlers–and that the lone “retread” Dennis Allen hired is the same offensive coordinator that crashed and burned once before, we’re not in too bad of shape.  The secondary though, since any team that can throw the ball well in this league (which is probably most of them) and doesn’t turn the ball over will have a chance to beat us, might be the worst secondary we have had in a very long time, so that needs to be reexamined.

I’m not sure what would bothers me more about the A’s getting to at least a single playoff game: the fact that when the Giants played down in Anaheim in June, they looked like a very solid team or the fact that the A’s are now a team that’s full of piss and vinegar.  I get really tired of a few things with A’s fans:

–the insistence that every Giants fan is some fair weather bandwagoner.  I lived in the middle of Wyoming waiting for the sun to go down so I could listen to Giants home games on an AM radio in the late 90s.  If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what its.

–1989.  Only in baseball and Provo can something that happened almost 25 years ago still be considered legitimate smack talk fodder.

–The whole “we are preventing the A’s from the promised land in San Jose” thing, as though that will solve all of their problems.

Maybe you can explain this to me, but I don’t quite understand this whole EPL following by American sports fans. I don’t go out of my way to hate on soccer, but I have literally no attachment to anything related to footie over there.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued by the concept of relegation.  I think of how Al would have handled a “relegation” type of situation and then tremble in consternation.  (High school creative writing classes FTW!)

To the games we shall go…

USC at Utah

MAC Thoughts

Might as well get the elephant in the room out of the way.  My optimism honestly wants to kick in here and say we’re going to get this done.  And then my brain punches optimism in the face and asks, how is that going to happen genius.  And Optimism snaps back something witty like, because I believe, I’m a true fan.  Then my brain kicks optimism in the balls and gets a beer.

As a side note, did you see my post about the evolution of college football and fans needing to change their idea of what defense is?  If you didn’t just say yes anyway, no point in telling the people you don’t actually read this blog.

Raider Thoughts

Why do I get the impression that we match up better with USC than we do with Arizona State?  Something about that doesn’t seem right to me.  Hays getting smacked around a few times no thanks to a patchwork offensive line may be inevitable, but maybe the crowd becomes a factor like Kyle insisted it would during this week’s coaches show?

(And yes, I did get to read that entry, which reminded me of how you should really share more of your college thesis.  Anyone who devoted academic study to the old WAC needs to be applauded).

Arizona at Stanford

MAC Thoughts

As I think you know, I am also a season ticket holder for Los Gatos de Arizona.  And I think Rich Rod has embraced this philosophy, lots of offense and a defense that can generate a couple of stops.  And I gotta say, its fun to watch.  As a side note, I think Arizona wins this game.

Raider Thoughts

This game fascinates me for much the same reasons that you wrote.  How many points could be scored here?  Would a 31-28 kind of game signal a “new normal” where those types of scores are considered defensive battles?

Further, Kyle mentioned that both of the Arizona schools along with UCLA and Cal are the conference schools we directly compete against recruiting wise.  Was that your biggest concern when some of our conference foes dumped a bunch of cash on new head coaches?

Washington St. at Oregon St.

MAC Thoughts

Being the master blogger that I am, I follow athletic departments around the conference.  Oregon St.’s athletic department suggested to its fans that it keep drinking the Beaver Juice.  I thought Mike Riley was done at seasons end, instead they are going wild in Corvalis and openly suggesting people drink Beaver Juice.  Color me a Beaver Believer.

Do I need to mention Washington St. here or can I just move on?

Raider Thoughts

I was at the 2007 season opener in Corvallis when Brian Johnson separated his shoulder.  Before the game I tailgated and double fisted a can of Keystone Light and a Smirnoff Ice.  Don’t recommend that, but thats neither here nor there.  The Beaver Believers as you called them were just pleased as punch to have a team that had a chance to win 8 games, let alone 10 or 11.  Hard not to dislike a fan base that has a perspective on things.

UCLA at Cal

MAC Thoughts

Jeff Tedford is who I thought Mike Riley was and that is dead coach walkin.  How this guy has a job is a testament to how little Cal cares about football.  Do you think their first call is to Gary Anderson?  As for UCLA, how real are they? Win the Pac-12 South real?  Which would lead to the question how real is Oregon St. and that Beaver Juice, but I digress.

Raider Thoughts

On my Twitter timeline, I have a lot of Cal and Stanford chatter, and I remember being a kid in the Bay Area where no one gave a flying Imam about college football.  But if I’m Cal, my first call has to be to Chris Petersen.  Think about it for a minute.  If he can get kids to play in Boise, Idaho he can get them to come to Berkeley.  You would think.

Washington at Oregon

MAC Thoughts

Sark finally got a decent win which I didn’t think he had in him.  Now he goes to Oregon.  (commence giggling)  I don’t know if you’ve seen much of this Oregon team?  Do you think they finally have enough to get it done?

One final question for you.  Do you think these Utes can get to a bowl game?  A one word answer can be enough if you can’t emotionally write more.

Raider Thoughts 

I did watch the Ducks against Arizona in bits and pieces, and it seemed to me like they can simply turn it on almost at will.  From what I have seen, I just can’t help but think “wow, Oregon is really, really good”.  At this stage, they could be the only thing that can stop the SEC.  I hate the fact that I am pinning my hopes for SEC humility on the Ducks, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

I can’t limit my final response to whether we can get to a bowl game to a single word.  If somehow SC goes down, then yes I think it can happen.  If not, I am going to take my new girlfriend to some Ute basketball games.  If we go and she doesn’t recoil in horror, I pretty much have to marry her, right?