Thursdays With Raider: In Defense of the Blackout


Raider Thoughts

I‘ve been waiting since the start of the football season to write this particular entry, so bear with me as I pontificate.

Pretty much from the moment it began, Ute fans have groused–well, whined is the more accurate term–about the fact that for one home game a year the football team wears black uniforms.  I can see why this would bother some sections of the fan base, though.  Consider:

1. The Black Out is a Ute tradition that doesn’t involve BYU, because apparently we can’t have nice things of our own.

2. Some Ute fans seem to believe that because something is “getting played out” that it should be scrapped altogether.  Or that because “everyone is doing it” and it doesn’t involved grown men wearing skinny jeans and listening to musical acts that only 75 people have ever heard of that it should be kicked to the curb.  If you are this type of person, you probably live somewhere like Sugarhouse or the Avenues and you should probably be beaten within an inch of your miserable life.

3. Black is not one of the school colors.  Okay, well shouldn’t this have been brought up by someone in power, say, four years ago?

Well, I would like to retort all of this by mentioning two words.  TCU.  2008.  Anytime I hear people mention what I just wrote, I shall refer them to that game.

Every time the black out game occurs–and I’m assuming here that it isn’t going away any time soon–what may possibly be the most important regular season game in the history of Utah football needs to be brought up.  I was at that game and out of everything sporting wise I’ve watched in person, watched on TV, what have you, that game for me is among the top 2 or 3 gameof my lifetime of following the Utes, Raiders, Giants, Sharks and the Warriors.  Players wear the black jerseys, fans wear their black Ute gear, and so on and we can all be reminded of where we were on 11/6/08.  So unlike most schools, who have blackout games for the sole purpose of selling more merchandise, we have a legitimate excuse for keeping this game going.  So I ask you fellow Ute fans: have you forgotten how Utah 13, TCU 10 felt?

Concerning the Oregon State game, I refer you to the following tweet courtesy of the man who frequently takes the pulse of the Utedom@ColoUte:

"The 1 thing giving me hope abt. Ute FB is that we played 3 Top 20 teams past 3 weeks and were in each game in the 4th qtr. Sched softens now"

Do you agree?  The schedule does get softer from here on out, but do you expect to see amuch more efficient offense and a defense that doesn’t do boneheaded things (referring, of course, to Blechen and Star getting essentially back-to-back penalties) by the time theColorado game comes around?  I’m not sure if I can quite talk myself into that yet or getting to 6 wins this season.  Talk to me at 11pm on Saturday and I‘ll be able to answer that either way.

Speaking of talking one’s self into things, I have two scenarios I’m tricking myself into happening.

1. Janikowski putting in work and the defense giving up roughly 50 yards in the 2nd half against Jacksonville put the Raiders at 2-4 going into next week’s Hatfield v. McCoy showdown against the Chiefs.  From henceforth, the schedule goes like this: Tampa, @ Baltimore, New Orleans, @ Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, KC, @ Carolina, @ San Diego. You’re going to laugh on the inside because that’s kind of the framework of our little relationship, but I think there’s a potential of six more wins among those remaining opponents.

(Disclaimer: I’m writing this in the sincere hope that 8-8 can ensure that there’s no possible way Matt Barkley becomes a Raider.  If I end up wrong and he turns out not to be a bust, so be it.)

2. Hey, I think that a combination of Bogut, Steph Curry, some kind of combination of AndrisBiedrins, David Lee, and Festus Ezeli in the frontcourt along with Bogut, and a supporting cast of Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, Draymond Green, Carl Landry, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and the one and only Carlon Brown can get the Warriors to the playoffs.  Maybe even a playoff series victory of two!  Why do I hear laughter off in the distance?

Speaking of laughter, I will cease with the comedigenius that few can match.  Of course, I refer to the one, the only…Bill Murray!

MAC Thoughts

Since you bring up many great points, I will start with the Bill Murray link.  Honestly isn’t that the funniest thing ever.  Bill Murray and his brothers calling that guy every time Road House is on?  And BTW has a more watchable movie ever been made than Road House?  Road House also has the greatest line in the history of cinema, although I don’t think it appears on the TV version. Now it has a naughty word so if that’s not your thing, don’t watch

As for the Raiders, I’m not laughing this year.  Like I said, even when Denver owned them, I could see that team had hope.  For example, Denver has New Orleans, at Carolina, Sandy Eggo, at KC, Tampa Bay, at Oakland, at Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City.  Doesn’t that mean Denver will be favorites in like 8 of the 9 of those games and winning 7 of them for a 10-6 season seems pretty realistic.  With Kansas City sucking and Sandy Eggo finally quitting on Norv, Oakland has to like their shot at second in the division.

I could write an entire dissertation on Ute fans and their relationship with traditions.  Somehow we can’t have a black out, yet we have no uniform tradition at all.  We’ve had no consistent uniform and black has been an accent color several times.  At the same time Crazy Lady who has been around for about a minute is protected like a Sacred Cow.  The kids like the black out, I kind of dig it myself, what is the deal.  It’s not like wearing black embarrasses the university and demands tickets and travel like Crazy Lady.

Ute fans struggle with tradition because in football we never really had any.

As for where we go from here.  I agree with Colo Ute.  And if we can come out and get this win against Cal, I really think we’ll get to a bowl game.  I believe that.  But we have to stop being stupid quickly.

Of Course I also believe that if Arizona beats USC this weekend they will win the Pac-12 South.

Also let me congratulate you as the Giants have just won game one of the World Series as I put the final touches on this.


Oregon v. Colorado

Raider Thoughts

The Giants making it back to the World Series has my focus a little shifted, but alas, I will carry on.

Take a look see at the Ducks remaining schedule and postulate for me when they may lose.  Oregon State?  The Pac-12 title game?  Alabama?  Because I’m reasonably certain that you and I and those that are sick and tired of the SEC are pinning their hopes on UO, am I wrong?

MAC Thoughts

First, who honestly put Colorado going to USC and Oregon back to back.  Really Pac-12?

Second, I think this is the Ducks year.  They play defense and the fact that Nick Saban is demanding rule changes to stop the Oregon offense based upon “player safety,” I think ‘Bama is scared too.  I’m all in on Oregon.

UCLA v. Arizona State

Raider Thoughts

After the nice things Jim Mora said to the random FOX sideline hack after they beat us a few weeks ago, its hard for me to root against the Bruins.  I was even blushing a little…oh, Jim, you flirt!  But still I wonder.  This is a loser-out game for the south division, but what chance does the winner have to win the division (read: beat USC)?

Mac Thoughts

On Wednesday I wrote about how the Pac-12 South is still a four team race and I still just don’t believe in USC.  But you’re right this is loser out.  I think both have a chance at USC because they can both score points.  I might give ASU more of a chance, that is if they can field a healthy defense.

Wazzu v. Stanford

Raider Thoughts

As was the case last week, the Cardinal will rule, but I have an unusual pet peeve of mine I’m going to share…

…every Saturday on my Twitter feed, I read all these Go Stanford and/or Cal tweets from the Bay Area folk I follow, which got me to thinking.  When I was a smaller child, no one who wasn’t either a student or alum of either school followed Stanford or Cal on a casual basis.  Part of that was due to the fact that both schools stunk to high heaven in football, but its just baffling to me now.  For a while, Stanford had a somewhat heated faux-rivalry with San Jose State and nobody should have a rivalry with San Jose State (I’m looking at you, Fresno).  Its almost as irritating as Bay Area fans hopping on the Sacramento Kings bandwagon a decade.  In my day, you basically had to be from Sacramento to be a Kings fan.  Maybe you had to be there, I don’t know?

MAC Thoughts

I think Twitter has essentially revolutionized sports communication.  And so I think people feel the need to attach themselves to something.  Bay Area people wanna tweet on Saturday, what else you gonna do.  But it does have an 801 Laker fan feel.

Oregon State v. Washington

Raider Thoughts

You know, I would like to think that OSU will be the better team in this one and I don’t know if a lot of folks would disagree with me on this.  But as both sides of this one will tell you, the better squad doesn’t always win.

MAC Thoughts

That video makes me think of two things.  One I wonder what former Beaver Darvin Malone is up too and two, how much I miss saying HughMillenated.  BTW the first sharks have started to circle Sark in Seattle.  Gotta wonder how that is going to go.

Utah v. Cal

Raider Thoughts

I’m sure that, like me, many Cal Bear folk will be glued to Game 3 of the World Series, but I present to you two fundamental questions: does a Ute victory seal the fate of Jeff Tedford and does a Cal victory mean a “one step forward/two steps back” scenario for the offense and for Brian Johnson?

MAC Thoughts

A Tedford loss has to all but seal his fate.  However it seems that I’ve become the defender of the faith of Brian Johnson.  I look at what Brian has been handed this year.  Three QBs, all with different skills.  A bad O-line for at least part of the season, an injured star running back and worst of all a defense who never gets us turnovers or a short field.  Our average starting position has to be the worst in the nation.  Of all the problems that we’ve had this year, I don’t get how Brian Johnson is anywhere near the top.  But that’s me.