Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blog Entry Wednesday, June 25

I have recently been asked to give my opinion for the upcoming BYU season. ESPN just wrote an article projecting the possible Bowl matchups even though we are two months before the first games are played. They predicted BYU would be in the BCS Fiesta Bowl versus the overrated Oklahoma Sooners (the same team that keeps going to BCS games and loses to LSU, USC, and Boise State in the infamous game).

I really do want BYU to go undefeated and get to and win a BCS bowl game, which I think is a possibility especially if it were the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, but there are two things that I can't get over.

First, BYU always starts out slow under coach Bronco Mendenhall. They were 1-3 in his first season and 1-2 in the past two seasons. We could've won a few of those games, namely the double-OT loss at Boston College and the Arizona game. Luckily for the Cougars I think we'll take care of UCLA at home this year, but we've always had trouble in Seattle at the University of Washington. Remember Lavell's last great year in 1996 when the team went 14-1 and beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl? The only loss on what could have been the first ever 15-0 season in college football history: at Washington.

Second, the Cougars have gone 8-0 in Mountain West Conference play the past two seasons. That, in and of itself is amazing! It means we have swept every team in the conference at THEIR place and at OUR stadium. Previously, in the 10 year history only three teams (the 2004 Utes, the 2005 TCU Horned Frogs, and the 2001 Cougars) had gone undefeated in conference play. We have done it two stinking years in a row in 2006 and 2007. No matter how much better the Cougars may be than the rest of the league, I just don't see it happening for a third straight season. Even if we get beat the Huskies in Washington and exact revenge against UCLA, I could still see the top-10 ranked BYU lose at TCU or at Air Force or (gulp!) at Utah with the hated Utes seeking revenge for the John Beck miracle of two years ago. I'm just not sure Harline is still going to be open.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but after being a loyal Cougar and Jazz fan my entire life, I must be a realist and I don't see the Cougars crashing the BCS just yet. My prediction is that Max Hall has a great junior year with an 11-2 record and another Las Vegas bowl win. But the reality will set in that we are not quite there yet, but a BCS bowl is possible in 2009 with a very talent laden senior class, but expectations are way too high this year. I hope karma makes me eat my words come January.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summertime Blues

Oh no! It's the worst time of the year for sports! Summer has officially begun and the only sports happening are baseball, tennis, NASCAR and that hobby that people confuse as a sport called golf. Luckily, the World Series of Poker will give us another hobby worth watching now that Tiger is down and out with knee surgery.

Luckily, NFL training camps are only a month away, and football season is just over two months away. This week we do have the NBA draft, but this isn't a blue chip draft like last year's draft or the infamous 2003 draft that featured LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo, the drunken Nugget.

We have to look upon this past year and notice that all three major sports gave us title matchups that would make each sport proud. MLB gave us a World Series featuring everybody's favorite losers turned winners, the Boston Red Sox, versus the red-hot Colorado Rockies, who made and unprecedented run into the championship. The NFL gave us an undefeated New England Patriot team that got upset by the wild card N.Y. Giants in an amazing 4th quarter perfomance and the greatest play in the Superbowl yet with the amazing Helmet Catch. And the NBA Finals revisited the greatest East Coast vs. West Coast matchup with the Lakers-Celtics series that gave us a lot of drama while we watched the smug Phil Jackson and prima donna Kobe go down in flames!

On the flip side, all three sports needed an amazing championship story to help cover up some of the greatest controversies to ever face each game in the past 25 years. Baseball battled steroids with the Mitchell Report and the disputation over Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's home run record. Football gave us an entire season of drama with Spygate and Bill Beli-cheat. Basketball gave us Tim Donaghy (the only crooked ref to be caught), which allowed us conspiracy theorists to finally have something to latch onto.

What an amazing 2007-2008 run we all experienced. I doubt we'll have anything close next year, but if it means we can go the season without the scandal, I can live with a Nets vs. Hornets Finals.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sucked In

I haven't written much since the Jazz lost to the Lakers in the NBA playoffs. My last blog entry was pretty much me being a sore loser and bitter against the Jazz and the league. I didn't watch any of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals because I was too bitter to watch. When the league got the NBA Finals pairing they had been craving since Jordan beat my Jazz in 1998, I refused to watch.

But due to some bad weather, and not having anything else to do, I sat down to watched game 3 of the NBA Finals last night. I don't know why. I guess I just wanted to hang out with some friends. But there was really no drama involved. We all knew the Lakers were going to win. There was no way the NBA would allow the Celtics to take a 3 games to none lead and suck all the excitement out of the air.

Fortunately for us viewers, it was not a blowout. The Celtics managed to keep the game close despite the turr-ible games from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But in the end, the Lakers got a couple of calls in the final two minutes to secure the victory. I'm not saying the refs were fixed, because the Lakers deserved to win the game due to Garnett's and Pierce's poor outings. But, the only drama of the game is that the Celtics kept it closer than we expected.

I've come to learn that a seven-game series really has no drama. It's just a chance for the league to sell 5-7 games instead of one. We all know how it's going to play out. And somewhere during games 4-6 there is a turning point, where one of the teams (usually the favored one) does just enough, or gets a lucky enough break to win a pivotal game and suck the life out of the other team (usually the underdog). So we as fans, commit ourselves to two weeks of television for one made or missed shot, one bad bounce or one bad call.

I'm not saying it's bad. At least football does all of this in one game, and doesn't spread it out over two weeks like a bad reality show. Think about it -- there is never any real drama in a reality show. We all know what's going to happen, but we sit through seven episodes of yelling to get that one pivotal moment. But somehow the networks "create drama" in every show where "someone is going to get kicked off." Oh NO! But we all know who the drama queen is that is leaving.

That's what the NBA Playoffs have become. One big reality show, like "American Idol," "Survivor," or even "Rock of Love." We all know who is going to be in the final 2-3 from the start, and we sit through two months of obvious crap just to see which one of the 2-3 gets to be "voted" champion.

At least the NFL is more like a movie. You get a week's worth of previews, but then you get one movie to sit through on Sunday that is provided with real drama, then you're done and on to the next week of previews before the next "feature presentation."

And that why the NFL is king. It's Hollywood versus bad cable reality shows. And we all hate reality shows even when we do get sucked in, because we know they are cheap and we hate admitting our guilty pleasures. At least with movies, you don't have to be ashamed to admit you like them.