Tag:Utah
Posted on: December 3, 2010 5:17 am
 

Mike Stoops: 'I wanted to go for two'

Posted by Adam Jacobi

So, Arizona continued its tailspin tonight, dropping a 30-29 double-overtime contest to hated(?) rival Arizona State en route to falling to 7-5. Not only did Arizona's loss come on a blocked Alex Zendejas extra point in that second overtime, but the two teams only went to OT in the first place because Zendejas had another PAT blocked with 33 seconds left on the clock and a tie game.

It's sort of fitting that ASU picks up its sixth win this way (though this doesn't necessarily clear the way for bowl eligibility ), seeing as how the Sun Devils lost two games this year on late blocked extra points. Wisconsin swatted a game-tying PAT in the fourth quarter in September's 20-19 Badger win, and USC 's two-point return of a blocked extra point with under seven minutes left paved the way for a game-winning field goal in the Trojans' 34-33 victory four weeks ago. Yes, this still leaves ASU 1-2 on games decided by point-after follies this season, but that's certainly better than the 0-2 the Sun Devils were staring at 24 hours ago.

Funny thing of it is, though, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops must have had some inkling that the second blocked kick was about to happen, because his initial instinct was to not kick the ball in the first place.

"I wanted to go for two," Stoops told the Tucson Citizen. "And I should have stuck with my gut and I didn't. And that's my fault. I just had that feeling to go for two."

Of course, this ex post facto second-guessing isn't exactly a new or unique phenomenon; personally, I can point to at least five specific games in the Expert Picks where I ignored doubts against better judgment and blew the pick (Utah at Notre Dame, for one, was a classic letdown game and I chickened out and took the higher-ranked team instead), but the fact that I didn't make those picks is much more meaningful than any after-the-fact lamentation. We've all made dumb decisions, sports-related or not. The trick is to not make them in the first place.

Further, game-winning two-point conversions aren't exactly sure shots to begin with; just ask Iowa State about that. If Arizona had failed on its two-pointer and lost like that, Stoops is all of a sudden on the hook for the loss, rather than just Zendejas and his low PATs. While it's not like Stoops is on a hot seat anymore, biffing on a shot at the Territorial Cup by taking an arguably unnecessary two-point conversion isn't exactly a great way to inspire confidence from the moneyed interests. Make it, and Arizona wins, and everyone's happy, but who wants to put their career trajectories on the flip of a coin like that? That's tantamount to gambling, and last I checked, gambling's illegal, pal.

Posted on: December 1, 2010 7:17 pm
 

Utah headed to Las Vegas Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The bowl dominoes have continue to fall this afternoon as the Salt Lake Tribune has reported that Utah has accepted a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl (or, to be precise, the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas ). Despite the game's longtime affiliation with the Mountain West , this will be the Utes' first postseason visit to Sin City since 2001, when they defeated USC 10-6.

As recently as yesterday, Utah appeared to be on the fence about accepting their invitation to Vegas, but changed their minds for reasons Lya Wodraska explains via Twitter :





Though you can't imagine playing Boise State being overly excited about a Mountain West team for a third consecutive season, it would likely beat playing a .500 at-large team to be determined (our bowl projections slot in Georgia Tech ) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl .

If Boise bites, the Las Vegas Bowl has a smashing must-see matchup between the lightning-rod Broncos and a ranked Ute team that despite its back-to-back flops vs. TCU and Notre Dame  still finished a robust 10-2 on the year.If you'll pardon the Vegas pun, the game appears to halfway home to hitting the jackpot.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Mountain West issues statement after losing TCU

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Following today's announcement by the Big East that the TCU Horned Frogs would be joining the Big East in 2012-13 in all sports, the nation turned its eyes back to the Mountain West Conference for some sort of reaction. After all, in TCU's six-year stay in the MWC, the Horned Frogs were one of the most successful members of the league, and could have been the catalyst for an automatic bid to be awarded out west (which still might happen, so that's worth mentioning).

Ah, but TCU went east, and now the MWC has to react. Here's the statement released earlier today by conference commissioner Craig Thompson:

"Today's intercollegiate athletics environment is very fluid," Thompson said. "Our Board of Directors and Directors of Athletics, as they have throughout the history of the MWC and with even more focus recently, will continue to analyze the landscape and chart our course in the context of ongoing changes. That includes conversations already underway with potential future members, as well as related discussions with our television and bowl partners.

"We appreciate the many contributions TCU has made to the growth and development of the Mountain West over the past six years. We look forward to shaping the future of the Conference in the coming months."

That's certainly a better response than Thompson's first draft, which was fifteen paragraphs of panicked expletives over and over. Probably. Maybe.

At any rate, losing TCU as a conference member is still a gutshot for the conference, as it sees its top football programs flee just as the WAC's top schools transition in. After all, even though TCU's scintillating 2010 campaign will still be "officially" considered in the MWC's bid to receive an automatic qualifier bid, is there any doubt that the BCS will find the conference lacking? There's no incentive for the BCS to actually bring the Mountain West into the fold -- just to maintain the appearance of due diligence. Shame, too, because it'd be nice to see that conference in a situation where it's not depending on one team to be perfect just to get the same shot at money as every other power conference gets. That arrangement didn't work for BYU , Utah , or TCU (all of whom have fled for more lucrative and forgiving situations), and Boise State shouldn't have to accept it either.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Saturday Meal Plan: Week 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

We're less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and apparently the NCAA has taken that into consideration with this week's schedule.  It seems they're kind enough not to give us anything too heavy this weekend so that we're able to gorge ourselves to death on Thursday.

The NCAA: always concerned about the fan and their digestive limitations.

Breakfast

Main Course - Michigan vs. #6 Wisconsin - Noon - ESPN

Listen, people, if Bret Bielema can put up 83 points on Indiana, then surely he can do the same against a Michigan defense that has been the polar-opposite of stout this season.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Badgers shoot for 100 this weekend.

First of all, they need a win a win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and second of all, the Badgers have some BCS computers to impress.  What's more impressive than 100 points?

There's also the fact that Bielema has already gotten Tim Brewster fired this season, and may have added Bill Lynch to his tally last week as well.  Why wouldn't he take a shot at Rich Rodriguez?

Side Orders: Not much else of importance on Saturday morning, but there are options.  Oklahoma State goes to Kansas looking to stay atop the Big 12 South division, and West Virginia will try to keep its slim BCS hopes alive on the road against Louisville.   There's also the battle of North Carolina when the Tar Heels take on N.C. State.   Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State looks to maintain its spot on top of the Big Ten hosting Purdue.

Lunch

Main Course - #21 Iowa vs. #8 Ohio State - 3:30pm - ABC

We have a couple of games featuring ranked teams during the afternoon, but in my opinion, this one should grab top-billing.  Iowa saw its chances at winning the Big Ten ruined by Northwestern last week, so what could be better for the Hawkeyes than to ruin Ohio State's chances?

After all, it was Ohio State that beat the Hawkeyes last season and ended their hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, so why not return the favor?

If nothing else, it's just another chance for Ricky Stanzi to spread the message of loving America and hating hippies throughout the country.

Side Orders: The other ranked game this afternoon features Miami and Virginia Tech.   Miami has a very slim chance to win the ACC Coastal division, but in order to keep those hopes alive, they have to knock off a Hokies team that's won eight straight since dropping that game to James Madison.    There's also some Les Miles fun on the mothership when LSU hosts Ole Miss, and seriously, after all that's gone on surrounding the game, how can you not tune in to Illinois and Northwestern at Wrigley Field?  I'll be at that game witnessing the insanity from the press box.

Dinner

Main Course - Maryland vs. Florida State - 8pm - ABC

The game that would decide the ACC Atlantic! 

Who saw this one coming?  Essentially, the winner of this game will be going to the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks.  Now, while seeing Florida State in this position doesn't come as much of a shock, the fact that Maryland is here is rather surprising.

Though that's just the way the ACC rolls these days.  One minute you're terrible, and then the next you still aren't very good, but you're good enough.  Seriously the ACC should adopt the motto of "Hey, at least we aren't the Big East!"

Side Orders: If ranked teams are more your thing, then you can check out Texas A&M and Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers look to hold on to their ticket to Dallas while the Aggies -- who have done a 180 this season -- still want a chance to buy one.  Mississippi State and Arkansas will be going at it in Starkville as well.  Also, if you're into football games being played in baseball stadiums that use two end zones, Notre Dame and Army continue their annual rivalry on Saturday night, but this time from Yankee Stadium.  Show up and chant Derek Jeter's name for no reason!

Late Night Snack

Utah has not had a good November.  One week its getting pasted by TCU at home, and the next it's getting beat up on the road by a mediocre Notre Dame team missing half of its offense. Now they get to take on a San Diego State team that played TCU much better than the Utes did.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Greg Romeus's season (and college career?) over

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Sometimes, college football just isn't fair. Just ask Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus .

Romeus collected eight sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss in 2009 on his way to being named Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year, and could have been a high draft pick had he decided to leave after his junior season. Instead he returned to help the Panthers try and win Dave Wannstedt 's first Big East title, and while Pitt might manage that anyway, it won't be for Romeus's expolits on the field; he suffered a back injury in the Panthers's season-opening loss to Utah , missed seven games, returned for last Thursday's matchup against UConn ... and promptly suffered a knee injury that Pitt announced today was a torn anterior cruciate ligament .

The injury will end Romeus's season after just those two appearances without either a sack or tackle-for-loss. If there's any silver lining* to what has to be a crushing disappointment for both Romeus and Pitt, it's that it's possible that after missing so much time in 2010, the NCAA could grant him a medical waiver and a sixth year of eligibilty. (Romeus redshirted as a freshman.) It's premature to say he's played his last game in a Pitt uniform.

Then again, Romeus may want to capitalize on whatever lingering good will he has with NFL scouts while he can. Either way, it's hard to pick out any top-level draft prospect who's suffered a more difficult season than Romeus.

*OK, there's one more silver lining at least for Pitt: in Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey , they have a pair of defensive ends with 27 combined sacks over the past two seasons. Few positions on few teams in the country were as loaded as the Panthers were at DE entering this season.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Utah struggling in South Bend

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Coming off an embarrassing 47-7 loss at home against TCU last week, Utah was hoping to restore some of its credibility this week in the school's first trip to South Bend.  Instead the Utes look as though they're determined to shed whatever amount of dignity they have left.

To be honest, the team looks like it hasn't shaken off last week's loss, and they trail Notre Dame 14-3 at halftime.  A Notre Dame team that, last we saw, was losing at home to Tulsa a few weeks ago.  A Notre Dame team that is without it's starting quarterback, starting running back and has freshman Tommy Rees under center.

The Utes have managed to have a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, pick up 11 penalties for 65 yards -- Notre Dame has none-- and only put up 118 yards of total offense.  What's worse is that the Irish have only managed 95 yards of offense, and Utah held on to the ball for over 18 minutes in the half.  It's just that Utah can't do anything with the ball when they have it, and have now been outscored 61-10 over the last six quarters.

Granted, the fact that Notre Dame hasn't been able to do much on offense does bode well for Utah in the second half, as an 11-point deficit certainly isn't insurmountable.  It's just that the Utes will have to wake up and get over last week's loss to do it.  If they don't, well, I can think of some folks in Boise who wouldn't be very upset to see Utah lose again.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:22 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 11

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's definitely fall these days, and the wind will be whipping across the heartland. All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

No. 13 Iowa at Northwestern , 12:00, Evanston, IL: Mid 50s, scattered showers

Indiana at No. 6 Wisconsin , 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, scattered showers

Kansas State at No. 20 Missouri , 12:30, Columbia, MO: Mid 40s, cloudy, windy

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 15 Utah at Notre Dame, 2:30 , South Bend, IN: Low 60s, scattered thunderstorms

No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina , 3:30, Chapel Hill, NC: Mid 60s, clear

Penn State at No. 8 Ohio State , 3:30, Columbus, OH: Upper 60s, partly cloudy

Georgia at No. 2 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear

Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma , 3:30, Norman, OK: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

San Diego State at No. 3 TCU , 4:00, Ft. Worth, TX: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

Evening kickoffs

No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor , 7:00, Waco, TX: Upper 40s, clear, breezy

No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida , 7:15, Gainesville, FL: Upper 50s, clear

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama , 7:15, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 50s, scattered showers

USC at No. 18 Arizona , 8:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

No. 21 Nevada at Fresno State , 10:15, Fresno, CA: Mid 50s, clear, breezy

Posted on: November 10, 2010 3:49 pm
 

Boise eyeing stadium expansion as way forward

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Boise State writers and fans want to know : why exactly is the TCU team that's virtually identical to the TCU team that lost to a Boise team that virtually identical to this year's Boise team in last year's Fiesta Bowl so widely considered to be better of the two teams? If the Broncos were better then, why are the Frogs better now?

It's a valid question. One answer, the simplest one, is that TCU owns both the better strength-of-schedule to date and the bigger win; as dominant as Boise has been and as valuable as a win over likely ACC champions Virginia Tech should prove to be, no win in the country is as impressive as TCU's dismantling of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Then again, part of the answer might also be that like it or not, in the minds of many poll voters Boise comes across as the mor e "mid-major" of the two mid-major programs. The Broncos are tucked away in one of the most remote parts of the continental U.S., while TCU is located in the middle of Texas in one of the nation's largest metro areas; the Broncos wear loud bright blue and orange uniforms and play on the notorious (and notoriously unique) blue turf while TCU stays with a muted purple-and-black color scheme; the Broncos play in a league where the biggest challengers are outsiders like Nevada , Hawaii , and Fresno State , whereas the Frogs get a former national champion in BYU and a team in Utah that has two BCS bowl wins this decade; Boise occasionally plays Tuesday night games against the likes of Louisiana Tech ; etc.

It's not fair --- it's not even close to fair -- but to say for certain those kinds of stereotypes don't have any effect on the perception of the two programs is to give poll voters the benefit of an awful lot of doubt. So it's no wonder that Boise is aggressively working to change that, first with their jump to the Mountain West and now with expansion and renovation plans for 33,500-seat Bronco Stadium :

 

Longtime Boise State donors Larry and Marianne Williams and Jerry and Muriel Caven have pledged a total of $5 million toward Bronco Stadium expansion — money that is earmarked to build the new football complex on the north end.

The football complex, 5,000 seats and the completion of Dona Larsen Park — where the track will be relocated — represent Phase I of the stadium master plan.

"We are at a significant disadvantage in supporting a nationally ranked team with half the number of seats to raise the revenue to pay for the program and thereby forcing us to raise ticket prices too often," Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a press release.

It's no secret that money is what makes the world of big-time college football go round as often as not; when Kustra cites the need to "pay for the program," he's not just talking about shoulder pads and cleats, he's discussing the need to pay for coach Chris Petersen , a larger recruiting budget, staff raises -- all the things that go into making a football program every bit as successful away from the field as the Broncos already are on it.

It will take more than a "stadium master plan" to erase all the skepticism regarding Boise (or even to hold on to Petersen if one of the sport's true heavyweights comes calling). But Broncos have to happy to have the school and its donors making the effort all the same.

 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com