Thursday, August 28, 2008

College Football Preview: Double Stuffed

Football is finally here!

I'm so happy for football this year that I got season tickets to both BYU and Utah. I could be watching college football in person for the next 12 weeks. Not once to the teams play at home on the same Saturday!

Why Utah, you ask (considering I'm BYU alumni)? Well, it's simple, buying season tickets to Utah was the only way to guarantee tickets to the BYU vs. Utah game in Salt Lake City this fall.

Rhett, Jon and I have talked about going to the 5 games Utah home games leading up to the BYU game and making friends with the real Utah season ticket holders around us. We'll cheer, have a good time, and be a part of the MUSS (whatever the hell that is). Then for the final game, low and behold, we show up in Blue. Ahhh, it will be worth it just to see the look on their faces!

In fact, maybe I should finally buy a digital camera to chronicle my 12 straight weeks of adventure on this very blog...

Alas, I have been waiting for football to finally be here since the Giants upset the 18-0 Patriots in the final minute of the Super Bowl!

If any of you know me, I am more of a pro football fan than a college football fan. My reasoning is that in college, there are way too many teams to follow, and the same over-rated teams get the BCS hype every year; not to mention that the BCS has helped ruin the tradition of bowl games. I think the BCS has done good things (like the UCS vs. Texas national title and the Boise State vs. Oklahoma game, neither of which would have happened in the old bowl system).

College football is a better experience if you purchase tickets to watch it at the stadium (which is partly why I bought season tickets for two teams) than pro football is, but pro is better for television. Pro football has better star power, better talent and a better playoff system. College basketball gets the postseason right, but college football and its out-of-date bowl system needs new blood, and bad!

Anyway, back to college...

I have already written my BYU preview (posted on my blog two months ago on June 25th), and I STICK WITH IT. Everybody expects BYU to run the table and be the non-conference team to crash the BCS this year with a berth into the Fiesta Bowl, but I just don't see the team going 8-0 in the Mountain West Conference for the third consecutive year, especially with games at TCU and at Utah. I see another 11-2 season with a possible MWC title and a berth into the Vegas bowl (an extra home game for BYU supporters) for the 4th consecutive season.

BYU has historically let its fans down because its fans choose to live with blue blinders on, thinking that BYU deserves to be a national powerhouse. But we are just not as good as we think we are. We were a really good WAC team and we are a really good MWC team, but we wouldn't survive in the PAC-10 or any BCS conference, so why should we be expected to be mentioned with the best schools from those conferences when we can barely play .500 ball with them? We barely beat UCLA in the bowl game we were favored by 10 points in. We lost to Tulsa! And we lost two years in a row to Boston College (almost the cream of the crop in the ACC). If you look through BYU history, we've generally played average against real teams. Sure we beat Pitt and Michigan to win the 1984 title. Sure we shocked No. 1 Miami in Provo, only to lose at Oregon a month later. Sure we went 14-1 in 1996 and barely beat Kansas State in the Bowl Game, but we lost at Washington that year and beat up on Rice and UTEP in that crazy 15-game schedule that including barely getting by Wyoming in Las Vegas in the WAC championship. We just aren't as good as we think we are on a national level.

I know our offensive line is better, but we have a lot of new faces in the secondary. So tell me, why 12-0 this year with a BCS berth? I know we have the favorable schedule to do it (with Washington, Utah and TCU being our tough road games), but please don't expect it Cougar fans. It's simply too lofty of an explanantion.

Other things to expect from the 2008 college football season...

Georgia won't be in the title game. They are the preseason consensus number 1 team, but they will crumble under the expectations.

LSU and Florida won't be in the title game. They just are not ready.

Oklahoma has a really good shot at making the title game. YIKES. They only have to get past Texas with their cupcake schedule. Hopefully that doesn't happen 'cause Oklahoma hasn't done squat in the BCS since 2000, yet they keep going back back to BCS bowls (qualified or not).

Ohio State could be in the national title mix, but they have to play at USC in week 3 (a lock for a loss), and could lose one Big Ten game to pretty much anyone.

Missouri lined up a cupcake schedule, with a returning senior QB in Chase Daniel, but I think the football gods will frown upon that and they will lose.

TCU and Utah should be as good as advertised, and TCU could sneak away with the MWC title. Utah tends to choke early on, and TCU gets BYU at home.

Hawaii will stink, but we all knew that already.

West Virginia won't be great with a new coach in place.

Clemson can make the title game with their talent and returning QB, if they get by Alabama in Week 1. I like Clemson a lot, even if Bowden Jr. is a terrible coach.

USC should be great this year. They've been too quiet since Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush left.

And I hope this is the year that two PAC-10 teams finally represent in the BCS bowls. The PAC-10 should have been screaming about this every year! It's not fair that the Big 10, Big 12, SEC and even the Big East have all gotten two bids almost annually and it hasn't happened once in 10 years just because they play on the west coast. They play the toughest and truest conference schedule. They play the toughest non-conference schedules, so they should be the ones that reward the top two teams from their conference into BCS bowls for double dipping in the BCS pie.

One last thing, I hope 2008 is the year that the PAC-10 qualifies two teams into BCS bowls. There are ten BCS bids now. There used to be eight. There are six BCS conferences: PAC-10, ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, and the Big East, which means that two spots are always open for "wild card" bids. Those spots almost always go to a BCS school (with the 2004 Utes, 2006 Boise State, and 2007 Hawaii as the only non-BCS conference selections).

Every season, those extra spots are given to other BCS conferences except the PAC-10 (usually, it's USC). It's not fair that the Big 10, Big 12, SEC and even the Big East have been awarded two teams. The PAC-10 has never received a second team to play in the BCS game. The PAC-10 should be screaming about this every year! They play the best conference schedule and always have the best non-conference schedule, yet it has not happened once in 10 years just because they play on the west coast, and they don't generate the TV ratings like Ohio State and Michigan can. It's just not fair, and I don't think the PAC-10 commissioner raises enough stink over it.

I'll raise it for him! That's the only thing I want this year because I know that BYU isn't BCS busting this year. If they do, great. I'll eat my words. But I just want PAC-10 to finally get some love when I'd put their top two up against the top two from any other BCS conference any day of the week, especially championship Monday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympics: Week 2

a) Usain "Lightning" Bolt from Jamaica is the fastest man in the world, so he'll probably sign with the Dallas Cowboys or Oakland Raiders...

b) "Redeem Team" (the USA basketball team) will win the gold with one of the keys being PG Chris Paul and PG Deron Williams coming off the bench...

c) Football season starts next week!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

2 0.lympic 0.bservations, Gr-8!

Yeah, you like that silly AP/ESPN headline!?! Sometimes those headlines on really try too hard.

Today has two main Olympics stories (Phelps and USA Basketball) with 8 mini-Olympics thoughts squished in between...

First and foremost, I wanted to save this until the last of the blog, but sometimes I can go on and on and you wouldn't make it that far down the page -- MICHAEL PHELPS IS AMAZING!

It's easy to get caught up in hype as it happens, but we are witnessing the most dominant swimmer in our lifetime. Not just a swimmer, but he is right up there with Jordan, Barry Sanders, and Tiger as the best athlete of our generation! He just dominates. And he is well on pace to win 8 gold medals thanks to teammate Jason Lezak's amazing sprint to the finish in the 4x100m freestyle relay final. That was the most exciting swimming event I have ever witnessed! Get your pens out Disney script writers, here's your new movie: "Down with the Frenchies!" Then we'll eventually get the "Down with the Frenchies 7: Competitive Eating," direct to DVD release at Wal-Mart.

So please, he swims Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. If you have plans, have someone TiVo it for you. Just watch and witness history. It's been 36 years since Spitz's record seven gold medals. It could be another 30-50 years before someone challenges Phelps. Relish it!

1) So women's diving got a little more interesting with the shower scenes in between each dive, but it's just plain homophobic with the men's diving team. But I guess you have to please the female audience. I wish more women's sports cut to shower scenes in between game action. Except softball of course.

2) The Olympics need to cut down on the number of overall sports. It's just too much. Badminton? Field hockey? Sailing? ("Take me away from here!") Keep it simple: swimming, track and field, gymnastics, rowing and a few of the basic team sports with basketball, volleyball, etc. Luckily baseball and softball are being eliminated because they aren't really world wide sports. Only a small fraction of countries play baseball or softball.

3) But since we deal with the over-saturation of Olympic sports, if I were a semi-decent collegiate athlete, but wanted to stay in sports after school, I would totally join the U.S. handball team -- which is totally the wave of the future (awesome combination of soccer and basketball). Plus, if you won a gold medal in some obscure team sport, you could always Penelope (one-up) someone at any party. "Oh, you had seven wisdom teeth removed? Well, I won a gold medal!"

4) Even though the U.S. gymnastics team got beat by a bunch of 12-year-old Chinese girls, it still allowed for about 50 great Chinese jokes like "Yeah, I just won the Gold Medal, now my father won't get shot!"

5) I almost bought into the human rights hype as a lazy excuse of not to watch the Olympics, but the games aren't doing the Chinese any favors. The thought of millions of children publicly defecating around Beijing actually opens the eyes to millions of people of how bad communist China really is. Hosting an Olympics isn't doing the country any favors. It's just unlocking dark secrets for the world to see and makes us dislike their politics even more.

6) Someone needs to get rid of Bob Costas once and for all! He keeps showing up. Please keep him on HBO where nobody watches. I really, really dislike the man. He gained his fame in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, but during the 1997 & 1998 NBA Finals as Jordan torched my Jazz, he starting calling him Michael on every possession. I'm sorry Bob, but you and Michael are not on a first name basis. Please call him Michael Jordan or Jordan. You didn't go to high school together, and even if you did, you were calling him Master as he gave your short, nerdy a$$ a swirly in between classes.

7) I also want to b-slap the color commentator during the women's gymnastics finals. He gave the U.S. no love, yet applauded the Chinese 10-year-olds at every turn. I think he even squealed like a little girl during one of the Chinese girl's routines. I swear they hired him straight from the set of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

8) The other night, I was able to watch women's judo without any announcers or commentators. If you don't know the rules of judo, it just looks like two women fighting, and winner face plants her opponents and proceeds to give her a wedgie! We have a winner!

I think Team USA (no longer referred to as Dream Team) will win gold this year because of the additions of Chris Paul and my man, Deron Williams. Bringing those two off the bench (Jason Kidd only played 5 minutes with a fork sticking out of his back against Greece) will propel this team to the Gold.

Basketball is truly an international sport now. It may be the second most important worldwide sport, still way behind soccer. I heard someone on the radio say it surpassed soccer, but he's an idiot. We're still 100 years away from that.

But yes, Kobe, Lebron and Dwayne Wade will lead "Redeem Team" to the Gold and everybody will be happy for another four years. That game against China on Sunday morning was the most watched basketball game of all-time, which is good for the NBA and all of its problems that David Stern refuses to fix.

And to honor the Olympic games, I suggest we all eat Chinese food for breakfast, lunch and dinner until the torch fades. Who's with me?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

7 Reasons the Jazz Need to Keep Boozer

1. He’s a top 5 power forward. You can have either Duncan or Garnett as a power forward, but not both.  Throw Bosh and Gasol in there and he may even be top 4. David West and Brand are close, but Boozer is either better or as good as those two. You don’t typically trade top 5 guys unless you’re Memphis or Minnesota.

2. We need to keep the Jazz competitive and DWill happy. What happens to Boozer this offseason seems to be on Deron's mind. They are buddies and they make a really good tandem. If the Jazz shun Boozer, you never know if that might turn Deron off too.

3. 32 points, 18 rebounds, 60% shooting. Those are the numbers Carlos put up in the Delta Center the last year he played for Cleveland, leading the Cavs to their first win in SLC in 14 years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want him putting up those numbers against us again, or against any other team for that matter, if he isn’t a Jazzman.

4. Paul Millsap averages a foul every 6 minutes. Millsap is an absolute beast and I can’t mention how much I love his tenacity and hustle. But he fouls at one of the quickest rates in the game and if he was forced to play significantly more minutes, it would be a huge problem. In comparison, Boozer committed a foul every 10 minutes last year.

5. There would be a decrease in funny fan signs at the games. “I’m a Mormon, but I love my Booze” is nothing short of a riot. Where would the fans get a laughs from when going to the arena if Boozer got traded? I mean, it’s good for at least five belly laughs from Bolerjack a season. There is the Bear’s "make fun of the refs" schtick. 

6. He’s only 26 years old.  He doesn’t put up as many points as Karl Malone did at 26, but he rebounds as well and shoots as well from the field as the mailman. And even though defense is his apparent weakness, he gets as many steals and blocks as Malone did at the same age. Remember, even though Malone was a good defender, he didn’t make the 1st-team defensive list until his 13th year. And he was only 2nd team once before that. Boozer has some time to learn.

7. Boozer might only be the scapegoat the fans need. The same fans that want to see Boozer shipped out, probably wanted Kirilenko gone after last season’s overly emotional playoffs and pout session. And whether you would like to admit it, Andrei had a great season. Fans always need a reason the season didn’t result in a trophy and Boozer is the popular reason now. If he has a stellar season, we will forget that we ever called for his head just like we forget that we wanted AK’s last season.

Bill Parcells is a Turd

Yes. There is a reason Dallas did so well in their first year without him last year. Yes, he's good at rebuilding rosters with youth, but sometimes you need veterans to win games. This article should cost him a win or two this year with the Dolphins.

Also, he brought in Chad Pennington (which should be a good short-term solution to the 2008 season) at QB which means that former BYU QB John Beck should find himself looking for a backup job at the end of August when teams are trimmed down to a 53-man roster. The Dolphins should keep Pennington, McCown, and newly drafted Chad Henne from over-rated Michigan as the three QBs on the rosters.

I'm sure John Beck should land a backup job in the league somewhere. I just hope he sees playing time by next year. In fact, it would do Beck some good to stay unemployed until about week 2, then when a QB gets hurt on some team (say the Packers, Vikings, Ravens, etc.). He should be able to play right away.

Parcells hasn't done squat since Scott Norwood's potential Super Bowl winning kick went wide left back in 1991. Yet 18 years later he's all you hear about, even though he is no longer a head coach. So Brian Kehl (former BYU linebacker now drafted by the Giants), please use the New York media to get yourself as much modeling and marketing contracts as possible while you're still out there.

Yup, it's all about ego when it comes to Parcells and his nasty tight
shirts he wore on the sidelines with the Cowboys that made millions of
Americans collectively and simultaneously dry heave. He can't admit
anybody can have success unless HE hand-picked them. Jason Taylor (the
NFL's Defensive player of the year two years ago), Zack Thomas (the
all-time leading tackler for the Dolphins) and Trent Green (a
reliable backup/starter) are no longer with the team just because of
what happened last year and Parcells will throw out talent just to
make sure that it's all about his architectural work on the roster.

P.S. I've been working on my 2008 NFL upcoming picks for the upcoming season, so stay tuned.

P.P.S. I'd work out some college picks, but it doesn't really matter because Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida, and all other major conference schools will finish at the top no matter what happens anyway. DOWN WITH THE BCS!