Thursday’s With Raider: Pac-12 Previews


Oct 12, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; A Alabama Crimson Tide cheerleader during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Alabama defeated Kentucky 48-7. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Editors Note: These are Mr. Raider Ute and I’s Pac-12 Previews, tomorrow I will publish Raider’s tale of the 2003 Ute season.

UCLA v. Oregon

Raider Opines: We now have a BCS ranking out to complain about, signifying perhaps the most first world of all first world problems.  The Ducks are sitting 3rd behind a Florida State team that is either extremely good or is just proving once again how overrated Clemson truly is.  So I can’t help but think that with the teams UO has to play, one of them is bound to trip them up.  I highly doubt it will be the Utes, but could the Bruins be the team that aids and abets another Alabama and/or SEC national title?  Because at this point, all I really care about is that someone that isn’t in the SEC wins this thing.

MAC Retorts: There are two schools who truly need to never be allowed to be apart of any national title conversation, Clemson and Florida St.  Clemson has let us down and the clock is now on Florida St. before they let us down as well.  My one dream is that LSU beats Alabama and we have a national title game not involving the SEC.  If not now, when.

Arizona v. Colorado

Raider: I saw a few tweets after the game on Saturday that lamented how bad Kyle was outcoached by Rich Rodriguez.  Maybe a little perspective is in order here.  It’s not as though Kyle got shutout on the road by Mike Sanford and UNL—oh, wait, that actually happened, too.  Probably one of the more glaring aspects of the loss last week is how Kadeem Carey played against this defense.  Not many things are “big deals” to me, but the Ute run defense is probably going to be one of them.  On the other hand, if Darren McFadden has seen his last carries as an Oakland Raider, I’m not above seeing Carey put on the Silver and Black.

MAC: First anyone who thinks Rich Rod is a bad coach is not a smart person.  He made West Virginia a power and was utterly crapped on by Michigan and was recommended to Arizona by Urban Meyer.  Second, if by outcoached you mean lost his starting QB after being down a receiver and two tight ends and his starting back for part of the game, yeah I guess he was outcoached.  Also is Rich Rod a genius by saying, lets give our NFL talented RB the ball 40 times.

Stanford v. Oregon State

Raider: Let’s have some fun here and think about what life will be like if the Beavers win out.  First, it makes me feel less terrible about losing to them earlier in the year (or more, depending on if it keeps us from winning more than 6 games this year).  But beating Stanford, Oregon, and possibly an Arizona State team they may have to beat twice to win the league and Washington makes a pretty good case for some SEC style “we beat each other up in our conference too, give our one-loss champion a title shot” hubris, wouldn’t you say?

(Not that we should stoop to that level or anything, but if any of you would like to, I’ll just go ahead and look the other way).

MAC: I have a fantasy that Oregon St. wins the Pac-12 North with an entire offense of throwing it up to Cooks.  Wouldn’t that be awesome.  I mean really awesome?

Cal v. Washington

Raider: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the recent death of longtime Huskies head coach Don James.  Hopefully you will all be bracing yourselves from this hard-hitting analysis, but most UW fans would have to agree with me that they really haven’t been the Huskies I remember as a kid since Don James resigned.  I know, I just knocked you over with that revelation, but let me take you back to when I was younger.  My brother and I lived for two days throughout the year: New Year’s Day and Selection Sunday for the NCAA basketball tournament.  For two kids that had perhaps an unhealthy fixation toward college football, games like this one were our opiate:

Most kids got up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons.  Not us.  We watched College Gameday in the early days of the show before they took it on the road every week.  My wife thinks I need (more) professional help.  I’m not sure why.

Furthermore, when I was still in elementary school, the team I always remembered that was “the team” in the PAC was Washington.  Oregon wasn’t any good, USC wasn’t “USC” back then, and everyone else was somewhere between “meh” and “awful”.  If you care to fill in the blanks and subsequently crush my childhood memories in the process, feel free.  A part of me still sort of associates being good in the PAC with those old Don James era Huskies.  Sorry, man.

MAC: I had a buddy in college who was a Husky fan and a bit older than I.  He talked about going to the Orange Bowl after the 1984 season to play Oklahoma.    They were 10-1 and their only loss was to USC in LA who finished the season ranked 10th.  They assumed after the Oklahoma win they’d be National Champions.

Oddly, I found this link.  Of all the polls who named national champions in 1984, Washington actually was named national champions in a majority of them.  Washington does not claim the national title.  I bet Alabama would. (wow that was a long ways to go for an SEC joke)

Utah v. USC

Raider: Six seasons ago, Brian Johnson separated his shoulder during the season opener against Oregon State–a game at Reser Stadium in which I attended, by the way–when you mentioned on the Internet that we should just completely overhaul the offense, have Corbin Louks (remember him?) run the wishbone and just become Air Force 2.0.  I was still young enough to feel the pressure to join the prevailing groupthink about this team, but not too deep down, I thought “he might be from Evanston and he may have owned a Whitesnake album or two in his life, but that’s an awesome idea!”

The injury to Travis Wilson and this whole “Team Schulz” v. “Team Manning” banter got me to thinking about that.  I am not about to entertain delusions of grandeur about winning this game.  But similar to the way the Dolphins ran 500 wildcat formations one year to beat the Patriots, it would make my weekend if Kyle, Dennis Erickson and the rest of the coaching staff just came out and said “ah, to hell with it, we’re running the triple option”.  Saying to my wife as we watch the game “look honey, they’re running the option!  And they can’t stop it!  It’s a Pac-12 miracle!”

Here is usually the part where my wife says “there’s something wrong with you”.

MAC: First I was at that game too.  Second I had just returned from my wedding/honeymoon in Costa Rica and my wife and I got really sick.  Also if you stop at that convenience story right by the interstate on the way to Corvallis after leaving the game, it’s impossible to get back on the road.  But I digress.

I did have high hopes of winning this game until it turns out Travis Wilson has a bloody stump for a throwing hand.  The thing Team Schulz people need to realize, the coaches would rather go with Travis Wilson’s bloody stump than a healthy Schulz.

And for the record I never owned a Whitesnake Album.  I did secretly listen to Depeche Mode which in the late 80’s in Evanston, Wyoming was grounds for being called a Fag.