Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle (32) during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Editor’s Note: This is Part I of this weeks visit from our friend Raider Ute. Part II where he and I discuss this weeks Pac-12 matchups will be up, God Willing, later today.
At some point during my rambling I will attempt to make sense of the ASU defeat, but I would like to touch on a few things that have been bothering me lately.
Like most people who use the Internet for evil or for good, you’ve probably been either the victim or the beneficiary of some form of trolling. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term–and if you aren’t, you might want to email me about horseless carriages and the internal combustion engine, they’ll blow you away–trolling is ordinarily an inflammatory statement designed in part to get a very angry reaction on the part of the reader. So for example, if I were to post in either a comment on this blog or in your mentions on Twitter that “Clarence Kay was a pederast” I would be trolling. It would also be something only you and maybe some barfly in Aurora would get and be offended by, but it’s still trolling.
Trolling is, by its nature, an anti-social endeavor. Someone for example who is…how should I put this?…oh, I know, “special” likely wouldn’t walk up to me as I’m walking in the upper bowl of Energy Solutions Arena during a Warriors/Jazz game a few years ago and shout at me, “you need to go back to San Francisco, this is Utah Jazz country!” (Oh, wait, that actually happened to me). So I suppose that to most people who aren’t incredibly cranky Jazz fans it probably is an inherently anti-social act.
Not to be outdone by us commoners, mainstream media isn’t exactly immune from trolling its readers. Anyone who has ever read anything posted at either Slate or Deadspin knows exactly what I’m talking about. Take this link from CBS’s Jason La Canfora about the potential return of the Prodigal Son of the Silver and Black, Jon Gruden. This isn’t in the pantheon of “should we drop the Utes nickname” or “should the Raiders move back to LA” of abhorrent topics which I absolutely hate discussing, but it’s right up there. A lot of Raider fans can’t quite get over the fact that Gruden ended up leaving–well, “traded” is the proper term if you stop and look at it. Sure, we did win the division that one year and probably should have won it again if he didn’t babysit the 19th ranked defense in the league back in 2001. I also don’t want to be the wet blanket that has to remind Raider Nation that when Gruden was here the first time you all whined about how conservative the play calling became. But, a wet blanket I must be.
Recently, though, I made mention of this, as seen on Twitter:
"I kept thinking yesterday during the Ute game: “at some point, Brian Johnson will be the head coach here”. Its based solely on emotion."
Mind you, my trolling touch isn’t what it used to be, and your body of work in Internet rabble rousing speaks for itself. But I did get to thinking about how many Ute fans have a rather whacked sense of what Brian Johnson has done here at Utah.
Let’s go back to the 2005 season and consider the losses the Utes had that year.
1. The overtime loss to TCU in Fort Worth, which lead to the Frogs winning the MWC in their first season in the league. For you new Ute fans who got curious right around the Cal or Oregon victories in 2003, this was your first real taste of heartache. We tried to warn you, but I guess you all didn’t listen.
2. Colorado State in Fort Collins, where the Utes had four downs to get one yard and didn’t get it. To this day, I still think Quinton Ganther crossed the plane on 2nd down, but that’s another Thursdays with Raider topic for a summer when everyone is jonesing for football like the meth addicts that ask me for change to ride TRAX downtown.
3. San Diego State at Rice-Eccles Stadium where the Aztecs picked that game to just out-athlete their opponent.
4. New Mexico where Brian is about to lead the Utes to a game-winning score when he runs out of bounds, ends up missing the entire 2006 season and gets his knee destroyed, not necessarily in that order. It does make the BYU victory the very next week with Brett Ratliff starting even more hilarious though.
(I would mention the North Carolina loss where Eric Weddle had a pick six called back due to a pass interference call, but let’s just keep the focus here to conference games, shall we?)
For the sake of argument, let’s say that even two of these losses turn into victories and the Utes somehow win at least half of the Mountain West title that year. Let’s also say that the fans that showed up to the fan base sometime around the Oregon or Cal victories a decade ago had some more perspective on the Fouts/Crosswhite/Crowshaw/
Arcenaux/Rice quarterbacking and the Tommy Lee/Craig Ver Steeg offensive coordinating? Would fans opinions of Brian Johnson be different? Would people be tweeting back to me things like “oh yeah, that’s a great idea” with the thought I had about him eventually being the HBC here? I mean, if it’s this easy to win conference titles like it was in 2003 and 2004, this team ought to do this every year, right?
You see, this is really the joy of trolling. The reader can parse through the intent of my troll, but only I know the true intent. I mean, Brian is certainly no Tom Amstutz, but still.