Friday, December 7, 2007
Unfortunately, Tuesday night they lost to the lowly Sacramento Kings 119-109 in northern California. Tonight, they face the San Antonio Spurs in Texas on ESPN, in a huge game that has Western Conference top-finish implications.
The Spurs are 11-0 at home, but will probably be without Tim Duncan. The Jazz franchise hasn't won in San Antonio since 1999, when John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jeff Hornacek were leading the crew. Jerry Sloan would obviously still remember that one, since he was the head coach back then too (like he has been for 20 years).
The BCS is a very convoluted system, and this year's wild, unexpected finish in the last week of the season- both #1 Missouri and #2 West Virginia lost- proves the need for a playoff. However, given what college football has now with the BCS National Championship, I think the pairings are correct with Ohio State and LSU.
In Logan, Utah, at the HPER Basketball Court 1, the Party Poopers fell in the next round of the playoffs 14-31, 21-32 to McLovin. McLovin was a HUGE team with massive buffaloes who could also shoot from the outside- up to 5 feet behind the three-point line. If they do not win the entire tournament, I would be shocked.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
After finishing third in the four-team pool of teams in round-robin play, the Party Poopers faced a 2-2 team in the playoffs. With just three players, due to one (Nick Michaelson) having to work at JC Penney that night, compared to six for the other team, the Party Poopers prevailed in the best-of-3 series nonetheless, winning 32-22 in the first game, falling 32-29 in overtime the second game, and winning the third 22-16.
What was worse for the Party Poopers in that contest was the fact that two of their three players, Rhett Wilkinson and McKell Bowen, rolled their ankles in Game 2, a heartbreaker that featured a deep, 23-foot buzzer-beating three-pointer from the opponent to force the game into overtime, before they won it in the extra time.
However, the Poopers perservered, taking the third game. The win, and a trip to the next round, was sealed by Wilkinson's swoosh from 13 feet.
The four players- Wilkinson, Michaelson, Ryan Reid, and Bowen- are peaking at the right time, and have as good a shot as anybody in the upcoming four rounds of the tournament.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Pac-10 Championship (Basically): With a win over their respective arch-rivals December 1, the winner of this battle between #6 Arizona State (9-1, 6-1) and #11 USC (8-2, 5-2) in Tempe can lay claim to at least a share of the Pac-10 title; in ASU's case, the whole thing. A victory for the suddenly resurgent Trojans will keep them the hunt for a BCS game (Rose Bowl). The Dennis Dixon-less Oregon Ducks, with their loss to Arizona last Thursday, are now big Trojans fans if they want a piece of the Pac-10 trophy and hopes of that same Rose Bowl. Trojans 34, Sun Devils 24
Day after Thanksgiving
WAC Championship: The #15 Hawaii Warriors (10-0, 7-0) and the #19 Boise State Broncos (10-1, 7-0) meet on the islands for the WAC title, but possibly a BCS berth as well. The winner will be big fans of Connecticut to beat West Virginia; if that happens, chances are almost certain that they will be in one of the big-money games. Colt Brennan's shoulder is perhaps the biggest factor to this battle. The Warriors did prove that they can win without him last week vs. Nevada, but would they defeat BSU without him? The Broncos have sure proven with a pair of sophomore running backs that they can function just fine without Ian Johnson. Broncos 53, Warriors 45
#1 LSU vs. Arkansas: The Tigers (10-1, 7-1) still have to defeat two more good opponents just to get to January 7, the national championship. At step #1, they must slow down powerful running back and top-5 Heisman canidate Darren McFadden. The Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4) can still move into second in the SEC West and harbor slim January bowl game (Outback) hopes with a win. Tigers 24, Razorbacks 14
#18 Tennessee at Kentucky: The ranked Vols (8-3, 5-2) are SEC East Division champs and will play #1 LSU in the conference title if they win. Remarkable, considering the Vols' rocky 2-2 start in a division that experts were sure Florida or Georgia would win. Experts also didn't give Kentucky (7-4, 3-4) much of a shot this season, but behind senior QB Andre' Woodson, the Wildcats have proven that they cannot be overlooked this season. Just ask LSU. Vols 36, Wildcats 23
#13 Texas at Texas A&M: If the Longhorns (9-2, 5-2) can beat their hated rivals, and Oklahoma loses to theirs (see below), then Texas is in the Big XII Championship vs. Kansas or Missouri. For the Aggies (7-4, 4-3), Dennis Franchoine could hold on to his job with the upset. Longhorns 23, Aggies 17
#10 Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State: Freshman Sam Bradford quarterbacks the Sooners (9-2, 5-2) for the first time in this rivalry. He can help save what was a national championship-contending season before the loss to Texas Tech last week with a win and a spot in the Big XII title in Kansas City. The Cowboys (6-5, 3-4) are simply playing the role of spoiler. Sooners 41, Cowboys 20
Big XII North Title: It took an 11-0 run, but #2 Kansas (11-0, 7-0) finally has the nation's attention heading into its made-for-TV event vs. #4 Missouri (10-1, 6-1), who is also harboring national title berth-hopes, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. People have finally began to learn who Kansas QB Todd Reesing is, a humble, 5-10 pocket passer who has already given the Jayhawks program their finest season ever. Not that he's the only reason. Similarities abound with Mizzou QB Chase Daniel and the connection he has with stellar wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, a freshman speedster. Both are finally on the map and Daniel is making his own Heisman campaign. One concern for both teams is if they are truly tested; the only truly elite opponent either has faced is the Tigers, who lost 41-31 to Oklahoma in October. With that said, the winner will make a real statement to be in that national championship on national television with a large audience, especially considering it's Saturday night on Thanksgiving weekend. And, oh yeah, the winner is the Big XII North champion. Tigers 31, Jayhawks 27
Big East Championship (Basically): #3 West Virginia (9-1, 4-1) is champions of the Big East with a victory over #20 Connecticut (9-2, 4-2), following a win over Pittsburgh in the Brackyard Brawl the week after. On top of that, they will be big fans of Kansas to lose, because if that happens, the Mountaineers, who are 32-4 the last three seasons (way to go Rich Rodriguez), will be in the national championship. But what if UConn wins? It's very possible. The Huskies would suddenly be making their plans for Miami or New Orleans, and be ready to take the $15 million or so that comes with it. A Huskies win would sure make the winner of Hawaii-Boise State very happy too, since that would almost definitely give the WAC another BCS team. But Pat White and Steve Slaton shouldn't let that happen. Mountaineers 34, Huskies 21
ACC Coastal Division Title: Gotta love an instate rivalry to settle a division title. That is what is going on at the land of America's original colony, between #8 Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1) vs. #16 Virginia (9-2, 6-1). It's impressive what the Hokies have done with their season just three months after the shooting there that claimed 32 students. They were unimpressive in a 17-7 win over lowly East Carolina in their season opener, but have played great since, save the final three minutes in their 14-10 loss to Matt Ryan and Boston College. The Cavaliers have also surprised, especially considering that in their second game, they lost 23-3 to a 5-6 and not-going-bowling-even-if-they're-eligible Wyoming squad. Hokies 20, Cavs 16
#23 BYU vs. Utah: One of the nation's most underrated and intense rivalries, the Cougars (8-2, 6-0) will win the Mountain West conference outright with a win, but the Utes (8-3, 5-2) still harbor hopes for a share of the title if they can win and BYU can lose to San Diego State the following week. Both teams are on fire, with both currently on 7-game winning streaks. For proof of how intense this rivalry is, consider that 11 of the last 14 contests have been decided by a touchdown or less; every game but one during the last nine has gone down to the last minute, averaging a 3.9 margin of victory; and six of those nine games went down to the FINAL PLAY. Incredible. Utes 31, Cougars 27
#7 Georgia at Georgia Tech: While this rivalry contest is out-of-conference, the Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2 SEC) will still have conference on their mind in hopes of winning the SEC East if Tennessee falls to Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (7-4, 3-5 ACC) are a dangerous opponent for Knowshon Moreno and Georgia. Dawgs 28, Jackets 24
#12 Florida vs. Florida State: The Seminoles (7-4, 4-4 ACC) will want to spoil the Gators' January bowl hopes, as Florida's (8-3, 5-3 SEC) bid to win a second consecutive division and conference title fell short with a very different team from last year. Doesn't mean that sophomore QB Tim Tebow might not win the Heisman, however. The big multiple-threat has accounted for 47 touchdowns this season, more than 85 of the 120 Div. 1 teams! Gators 27, 'Noles 17
#22 Clemson at South Carolina: The Tigers (8-3, 5-3 ACC) fell short of an ACC Atlantic Division title after losing a close one to Boston College last week, but have a chance to express their frustrations on the field against the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5 SEC). SC won't be a pushover, however. Tigers 21, Gamecocks 14
Washington State at Washington: The Apple Cup! Two bad teams, though. But one of the nation's best rivalries up there in the Pacific Northwest.
Auburn vs. Alabama: Nick Saban went WAY over the line with his comments earlier in the week comparing his club's home loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and the need to heroically rebound against Auburn, to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The comparison is there, but it isn't right to compare a game to the nation's two worst tragedies. He may fire up the Crimson Tide (6-5, 4-3), but it won't be enough to win possibly the nation's best rivalry and SEC battle against Auburn (7-4, 4-3). Tigers win sixth in a row vs. 'Bama, 23-21
Friday, November 16, 2007
#6 West Virginia at #22 Cincinnati: Thanks to the surprise of the Bearcats (8-2, 3-2), this game is going a long way towards determining the Big East champion. A win by the Mountaineers (8-1, 3-1), lead by the electric backfield play of QB Pat White and TB Steve Slaton, will essentially put the Big East title game in East Hartford next week, where the Mountaineers will play at #24 Connecticut. A win by the Bearcats will cause Cincy to be big fans of West Virginia next week. Mountaineers 37, Bearcats 24
#9 Georgia vs. #23 Kentucky: The Bulldogs (8-2, 4-2) still have hopes of winning the SEC East if they win their final two conference games, and Tennessee loses one of their final two vs. Kentucky or Vanderbilt. Bulldog RB Knowshon Moreno has been dominant on the ground all season, and should continue that run against a weak Wildcat run defense. Meanwhile, Andre' Woodson has the ability to tear it up in the air for Kentucky (7-3, 3-3), though Georgia has a strong defense, much tougher than the Wildcat defense. Dawgs 34, 'Cats 27
#15 Clemson vs. #17 Boston College: My oh my, how things change in two weeks. Just like USC, Cal, LSU at one point, and now Oregon, the Eagles (8-2, 4-2) find themselves far from the #2 ranking that they held just two games ago. Two losses later, the national title berth hopes are dashed. However, a BCS bowl berth isn't. The winner of this game wins the ACC Atlantic Division and faces either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Dec. 8 for a spot in a BCS game. So, just like USC and Oregon, B.C. can be sad about their fall from grace but can still hold hopes for a lucrative January game. Matt Ryan, can you deliver like you delivered in the final three minutes against Virginia Tech? Who knows. One thing we do know is that Bobby Bowden's boy Tommy sure can coach the Tigers (8-2, 5-2). Tigers 26, Eagles 20
Utah vs. New Mexico: The victor of this battle will remain in contention for the Mountain West Conference title, a position that the Utes (7-3, 4-2) couldn't have imagined themselves in after falling to 1-3 and 0-2 in the conference way back in September. Meanwhile, the Lobos (7-3, 4-2), behind the surprisingly good play of QB Donovan Porterie and TB Rodney Ferguson, have exceeded preseason expectations. Both teams are notorious for being hard-hitting on defense, as the nationally fifth-ranked Ute defense has particularly proven with shutdown performances against UCLA (44-6) and Wyoming (50-0) this season. However, the Lobos have beaten the Utes four of the last five meetings, with the lone Ute victory during that span coming during their unblemished 2004 BCS campaign. Utes 24, Lobos 20
Purdue at Indiana: Both schools have their sights set on a bowl game, and the winner of this contest may realize that goal. The Boilermakers (7-4, 3-4) are seventh in the Big Ten currently, and will lock up a bowl bid with a win. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers (6-5, 2-5) are ninth and could possibly fill the potential open spot in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. the Mountain West Conference champion with a win and the Pac-10's potential inability to field a fifth bowl-eligible team for the game. Boilermakers 21, Hoosiers 17
Monday, November 12, 2007
Halftime score: Utah 40, Wyoming 0.
3rd quarter: Utah 43, Wyoming 0. Ute coach Kyle Whittingham calls for an onside kick. The Utes would have recovered, but grabbed the ball after 9 1/2 yards rather than allowing it to go a couple more feet for the required 10.
Final Score: Utes hit the half-century mark to make Cowboy coach Joe Glenn, who guaranteed the victory in front of Wyoming students, look absolutely stupid.
The Utes rolled up 505 yards of offense, while doing it in style. Utah run a "fumble-rooskie" play early in the game, with freshman Jerome Brooks running it in for six points on the left side as most of the Wyoming defense was looking towards the right side at quarterback Brian Johnson. The Utes also scored touchdowns on a reverse play, a hook-and-ladder, and later on a 41-yard flip pass from punter/kicker Louie Sakoda to huge 300-pound lineman Neli A'asa, which led to a one-yard TD run from Darrell Mack the next play.
On the other side, the measly Cowboys mustered just 122 yards of offense.
Obviously, the Utes made good use out of their bye week.
Some Wyoming players took offense to Whittingham's onside-kick call, particularly junior running back Wynel Seldon, who promised the Utes payback next year in Laramie.
Yeah, we'll see how well he can live up to that promise.
However, after the game Whittingham explained that he was simply trying to ensure the victory, because apparently Glenn "knew something about the outcome of the game that (Whittingham) didn't know," said the Ute head coach.
Good for Kyle. He sent a message back at Glenn, and proved a point to Wyoming and anybody else who wants to make a guarantee about their game against Utah.
Because, looking at how the Utes responded after Glenn's remark, any others who dare make a guarantee better watch out.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Expect the Aggies to open the game with Gary Wilkinson and Steve DuCharme in the frontcourt, DeUndrae Spraggins and Jaycee Carroll at the wings, and Kris Clark at the point.
First off the bench will be speedy point guard Desmond Stephens, followed by forward Tai Wesley, swingman Pooh Williams, and then center Brayden Bell.
Small forward Nick Hammer is done with his basketball career. Due to an irritation to his previously broken collarbone, the senior declared that he is physically unable to play his last season with the Aggies.
Carroll: 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 62% FG, 50% 3FG
Wilkinson: 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 65% FG
DuCharme: 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds
Spraggins: 6.5 points, 3.5 assists
Clark: 5.5 points, 3.5 assists
Stephens: 6.0 points, 4.0 assists, 60% FG, 33.3% 3FG
Wesley: 6.0 points, 2.5 rebounds
Williams: 8.5 points, 2.0 assists
Bell: 4.0 points, 1.5 rebounds
#6 West Virginia vs. Louisville: The Mountaineers (7-1, 4-0) are one game behind UConn in the Big East title race but six spots ahead in the BCS Standings, thus harboring both conference and Nick Fazekas-slim national championship hopes. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (5-4, 2-2) are just trying to salvage a season that they expected was going to be like the Mountaineers' so far. Mountaineers 41, Cardinals 31
BYU vs. TCU: The Cougars (6-2, 4-0) are trying to hold off Utah, Air Force and New Mexico for their second consecutive Mountain West Conference title, while the Horned Frogs (5-4, 2-3) are looking to ride the momentum they found in last week's blowout of New Mexico to propel them to an unlikely win in Provo. Cougars 21, Horned Frogs 10
#17 Florida at South Carolina: The Urban Meyer-led Gators (6-3, 4-3) are still very much alive in the SEC East race, while the Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4) can't exactly say the same. However, Steve Spurrier knows the program that he used to run, and he has 'em at home. Gators 24, Gamecocks 21
#1 Ohio State vs. Illinois: The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0) have just one more game between them and the surprisingly good Michigan Wolverines. They just can't overlook the Fighting Illini (7-3, 4-2), who have the ability to knock off the Buckeyes if Ohio State is looking too far ahead. Buckeyes 34, Illini 17
#10 Georgia vs. #18 Auburn: The Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) are leading the SEC East for now, but the Tigers (7-3, 4-2) could help a lot of Georgia-chasers, AKA Florida and Tennessee, with a victory. Bulldogs 24, Tigers 20
#22 Tennessee vs. Arkansas: The Vols (6-3, 3-2) are trying to keep up in the wild SEC East, but the only keeping-up they should be worried about on Saturday is trying to keep up with phenomenal Arkansas (6-3, 2-3) running back Darren McFadden, who tied the SEC rushing record with 323 yards last weekend and should still be getting serious Heisman consideration. Volunteers 31, Razorbacks 24
#16 Connecticut at Cincinnati: Shouldn't this be a high-profile game for football, not basketball? The Huskies (8-1, 4-0) are still (surprise!) winning the tough Big East. But the Bearcats (7-2, 2-2) will provide a good challenge. Huskies 28, Bearcats 24
#11 Virginia Tech vs. Florida State: The Boston College-killers the Seminoles (6-3, 3-3 ACC) are not what they used to be, but proved they are still plenty capable of knocking off highly-ranked teams. Teams like the Hokies (7-2, 4-1). Hokies 20, Seminoles 14
#13 Michigan at Wisconsin: After embarrassing defeats to Applachain State and Oregon (39-7 at the Big House), the Wolverines (8-2, 6-0 Big Ten) have been unstoppable since, even in their last two games without Mike Hart. The Badgers (7-3, 3-3) didn't do much to slow down Ohio State last week, but maybe playing a highly-ranked team at home for the second week in a row will change things around. Wolverines 27, Badgers 14
#12 USC at #24 California: Applauds are in order for Cal (6-3, 3-3 Pac-10) who ended their three-game slide from #2 to unranked with a victory last weekend. Kudos are also in order for the Trojans (7-2, 4-2), who thumped Oregon State last week to move to 4th/5th to 3rd place in the conference with the victory, behind newly-returned quarterback John David Booty. Trojans 35, Bears 24
#15 Texas at Texas Tech: It is a rivalry game, and rivalry games always get their due here at Dubya. Hopefully Colt McCoy, #2 in the nation in interceptions thrown with 15, can avoid more than he's used to against a porous Red Raider defense for the Longhorns (8-2, 4-2 Big XII). On the other side, stellar yard-racker Graham Harrell faces a tough test against the Texas 'D' for Tech (7-3, 3-3). Longhorns 45, Red Raiders 31
#14 Hawaii vs. Fresno State: The Warriors (8-0, 5-0 WAC) face their first real test of the season against the decent Bulldogs (6-3, 5-1). Unfortunately, they will not lose since the game is on the island, where Hawaii never loses if they're good that year. Warriors 56, Bulldogs 45
#2 LSU vs. Louisiana Tech: It's an in-state rivalry! The only thing that LSU (8-1, 5-1 SEC) should be worried about is if their BCS average will drop if they don't win this game by at least 25 points over Tech (4-5, 3-3 WAC), who at least boasts Karl Malone and Paul Millsap as their alma maters. Tigers 48, Bulldogs 10
Friday, November 2, 2007
Ducks 34, Sun Devils 23
#3 LSU at #17 Alabama: Nick Saban faces his former team for the first time in a battle for first place in the SEC West and the inside track to the SEC Championship Game. Both the Tigers (8-0, 4-0 SEC) and the Crimson Tide (6-2, 3-1) are well-rested coming off bye weeks. However, don't expect either team to be that rusty. Backup QB Ryan Perriloux, who constantly is inserted into the game for running plays in particular, will be out with an injury, leaving the responsibility solely on the shoulders of senior starter Matt Flynn. Tigers 21, Crimson Tide 14
#1 Ohio State vs. #21 Wisconsin: The Badgers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) are back in the rankings for the first time in three weeks following three straight victories, which followed two consecutive losses. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0) will look to keep an even keel after their surprising win in Happy Valley last week vs. Penn State. Buckeyes 24, Badgers 14
#12 Michigan vs. Michigan State: We have ourselves a rivalry game! The Wolverines (6-2, 4-0 Big Ten) continue their resurgence against the pesky Spartans (5-3, 3-2). Don't expect UM to get slowed down in this game. Wolverines 41, Spartans 24
#19 USC vs. Oregon State: The Trojans (6-2, 3-2 Pac-10) face what was believed in August to be an impossible reality: fifth place in the Pac-10 if they lose. The place in the conference will be the same for the Beavers (5-3, 3-2) with a defeat. However, starting quarterback John David Booty has returned to the field for the Trojans after missing the last three games, and USC should have revenge on their minds after having their national title berth hopes ended by the Beavers' 2006 victory in Corvallis. Trojans 35, Beavers 24
#13 Connecticut vs. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 2-2 Big East) were giant-slayers once already this season when they topped then-#2 South Florida in New Jersey. However, this second giant-slaying opportunity comes on the road, without the previous advantage of a home crowd behind them. Meanwhile, the Huskies (7-1, 4-0) look to continue their surprising run this season after jumping from unranked to 13th with one victory.
#2 Boston College vs. Florida State: The Seminoles (5-3, 2-2 ACC) are one of four mediocre teams left for the Golden Eagles (8-0, 4-0) to conquer before their national championship-berth hopes are realized. Can FSU give BC a battle? Eagles 27, Seminoles 21
#23 Virginia vs. #24 Wake Forest:First place in the ACC Coastal Division is on the line between the Cavaliers (7-2, 4-1 ACC) and the again-surprising Demon Deacons (6-2, 4-1), who would most likely face Boston College in the ACC Title Game. Cavaliers 31, Deacons 28
Notre Dame vs. Navy: Why this game? Because it's a bit of a rivalry, with the two schools having played 43 times. However, the rivalry is a bit one-sided, with the Fighting Irish (1-7) a perfect 43-0 against the Midshipmen (4-4). If there is ever a year for Navy to get that first-ever win, it's this year. Fighting Irish 24, Midshipmen 20
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This prediction may sound pessimistic, but a quick evaluation of the Jazz and of the rest of the league makes this prediction understandable. First, the Jazz lost Derek Fisher, losing leadership, wisdom, professionalism, outside shooting, and our starting shooting guard and backup point guard in the process. Fisher brought all of these factors to the table. No matter what replacements Jason Hart and Ronnie Price do, it is unlikely that they can replace all of these attributes.
Signing Hart and Price is all we did in the offseason, along with drafting Morris Almond and Kyrylo Fesenko. Meanwhile, what did the rest of the league do? Well, Boston obviously took large strides forward with acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. How about in the West? Houston made their weak position a strength by acquiring Steve Francis (again) and Mike James from Minnesota, only getting rid of Juwan Howard, whose career is nearing its end. This basically pushes shaky point guard and '06-'07 Rafer Alston to the third string, if not the fourth, if former Oregon guard Aaron Brooks keeps playing the way he did in the Vegas Summer League. Meanwhile, Denver has Melo and A.I. together for a whole season, while Kenyon Martin and Nene will be completely healthy to make a strong front line when teamed with Marcus Camby.
For these reasons, I'm afraid that the Jazz will be slightly worse. We lost the intagibles that Fisher brought to the table, while Houston and Denver, the teams directly above and below us in the playoff seeding last season, made huge steps toward improvement. In addition, super sub Matt Harpring's effectiveness may be limited for a while with recovering from his surgeries. So our depth has taken a huge hit as well.
I love our team, and they still have a lot of core pieces that will carry the team, but the question is how far can they take them when everybody else around them in the West is so tough still, and improving?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Against TCU, the defense gave up just 13 points to strong running back Aaron Brown and the Horned Frog offense, while the Ute offense did enough, behind Darrell Mack' 100 yards. The offense particularly came through in the first half and fourth quarter, to buoy the 'D.' The defense, however, helped themselves out when defensive end Martail Burnett returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
The Utes intercepted Frog quarterback Andy Dalton four times, with a fifth taken away by a horrible pass-interference call.
Utah then followed up the big win with a 24-point stomping of Colorado State yesterday. The Utes had two 100-yard rushers in Mack (142 on 20 carries) and junior Ray Stowers (123 on 11). Brian Johnson went 13-20 for 130 yards, marking his third straight so-so game following a fantastic performance on ESPN against Louisville.
However, it didn't matter as the defense was dominant, holding the Rams to 2-13 on third-down conversions and 0-4 on fourth-down attempts. Utah most likely faced longtime Rams coach Sonny Lubick for the last time, who is contemplating retirement.
Now, the fun is set following a bye next Saturday. The Utes are set to make a push for the title with games all in the state of Utah, with home games against Wyoming (5-3) and New Mexico (6-2), who is second in the conference and one game ahead of the Utes. If Utah can get the job done as they have the last five weeks in those games, then the stakes may be pretty high in the showdown in Provo.
Utah's five-game winning streak has not only awarded them bowl-eligibility and a rise in the conference rankings, but in the national hierchy as well. Following the Utes' loss to Air Force, they were at #89 out of 120 on the CBSSportsline.com rankings. However, after beating UCLA 44-6, they jumped to 78th before falling clear back to 94th after the embarrassing defeat to UNLV. However, with the winning streak, the Utes are up to #46, just nine spots behind BYU and are in good position to go to a bowl game.
Friday, October 26, 2007
*Gary Wilkinson- Showed a various array of moves around the basket and played solid defense. He will make a major contribution to the team this year. A-
*Brayden Bell- Was lost on defense, had horrible shot selection on offense, and got his coach upset with his one decent play of the night. D
*Moduo Niang- The project showed that he has potential to help the program in a couple of years. C-
Power Forwards: B
*Steve DuCharme- The senior, who averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season, had a difficult time finding his place in the post on offense. Solid on defense, however. B-
*Tai Wesley- Worked hard in the post against bigger players, but had a couple TOs and went just 1-4 from the free-throw line. B
Small Forwards: B-
*Deundrae Spraggins- Was fairly impressive in this scrimmage. Showed he can probably hit the outside shot with consistency, is a good perimeter defense, and penetrated to the basket well. B+
*Nick Hammer- Struggled coming off of his collarbone injury, which kept him from playing basketball for three weeks. Played fairly decent defense, however. C
*Pooh Williams- The 19-year old freshman showed flashes of being a decent college swingman with his tremendous athleticism. He is one of the two or three most athletic players on the team. B-
Shooting Guards: A
*Jaycee Carroll- Leading scorer, hit the 3, nabbed many steals, threw down a fabulous dunk. Won't be surprised if he reaches second-team All-American this season. A+
*Brad Brown- The true freshman from Minnesota played the last four minutes of the game and missed his only shot from the corner with 7.2 seconds left. C
Point Guards: B+
*Kris Clark- The word that comes to mind every time with this guy is solid. The 2006 WAC assists-to-turnover ratio leader did a great job running the rotation players. A
*Desmond Stephens- Demonstrated tremendous quickness and a great ability to run the fast break. Should be a major ignition switch every time he enters the game. B
*Jaxon Myaer- This true freshman from Salt Lake City did a surprisingly good job, handling full-court one-on-one pressure from the older point guards and hitting a couple of nice three-pointers. B+
Whole Team: B
Standouts from the game included Jaycee Carroll, obviously, who went 2-4 from three-point land and had numerous breakaway steals. Carroll led the team in scoring with 18 points.
Also impressive were two of the newcomers: post Gary Wilkinson and swingman Deundrae Spaggins. Wilkinson demonstrated an array of moves around the basket, and had a strong take to the bucket in the first half. Spraggins showed that he has the capability of being the Aggies' other top three-point threat, in addition to being a strong penetrator. JC transfer, point guard Desmond Stephens, also demonstrated tremendous quickness and ran the fast break well.
A surprising strong performance came from true freshman Jaxon Myaer, who as the team's #3 point guard is expected to redshirt. Myaer hit a couple of three-pointers and commanded the offense impressively for a young player.
Returned missionary Tai Wesley, who came back just last May, did well working the post, despite being a bit undersized at 6-6 compared to the 6-9 giants Wilkinson and Brayden Bell, and the 6-8 posts Steve DuCharme and Matt Formisano. However, he went just 1-4 from the charity stripe.
However, a couple of other players showed a bit of rust. Small forward Nick Hammer's play indicated that he hasn't fully recovered from his broken collarbone injury. The senior hit a three-pointer in the first half, but was out of sync on offense most of the time. He was solid on defense, however.
Meanwhile, Ohio State transfer Brayden Bell, the all-state player from Brighton High School who redshirted in Logan last year, did not impress. All he did was fade away in an ugly fashion when shooting, was lost on defense, and when he did do one good thing, a behind-the-back assist to Wilkinson, coach Stew Morrill was upset with his unnecessary flashiness.
Also, DuCharme, who should still do well this season, didn't do to well in this particular mock game, with some awful passes out of the post that missed everything, including Coach Morrill on the sideline. It is obvious that DuCharme is having a little bit of trouble finding his place on offense in the post with Wilkinson and Wesley around. However, I have confidence that the senior will figure everything out by December.
In the first half, the Blue team beat the White squad 21-13. In the second, the Blue, with a new mix of players, beat the White 23-19.
#5 Oregon vs. #9 USC: For the first time in four years, the Trojans head into a game as underdogs. This game marks the first time that Autzen Stadium will be hosting two Top-Ten teams as both squads look to stay one game behind both Arizona State and UCLA in the Pac-10 race, and work themselves into the national championship hunt. Ducks 31, Trojans 27
#1 Ohio State at #24 Penn State: Joe Paterno, speaking about this game, said it best earlier this week when he said "If we're good enough to win this game, then we will." In a season that is so crazy and complicated, it's good to see a wise football master like JoePa simplify it all. Todd Boeckman has done a fabulous job quarterbacking the Buckeyes (7-0) to another #1 ranking. But the hostile environment of Happy Valley may be too much pressure for him. Buckeyes 24, Nittany Lions 14
#7 Arizona State vs. #18 Cal: The suddenly reeling Golden Bears (5-2, 2-2 Pac-10) will try to play spoiler and end the Sun Devils' national title aspirations, a situation that California was in just two weeks ago. Surprisingly ranked #4 in the BCS, Rudy Carpenter should throw for plenty of yards in Tempe. Problem is, DeSean Jackson is on the Golden Bear side. Bears 42, Devils 38
#9 Florida vs. #20 Georgia: The stakes are high, but simple: the winner grabs control of the SEC East and gets the inside track to the SEC Championship Game in December. Matt Ryan's heroics yesterday may have put him on the inside track just before Gator QB Tim Tebow, giving Tebow the opportunity to make a statement of his own in the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party-" er, apologizes to the two prestigous universities who don't want to call it that anymore. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is a pretty decent quarterback himself, especially for a sophomore, who could make fireworks happen in Jacksonville. Gators 23, Bulldogs 13
#11 South Florida at Connecticut: Explain this: The UConn Huskies (6-1) are leading the Big East, one of the nation's four toughest conferences this season, with a perfect 3-0 record. They are the only undefeated team left in the conference. This means they are leading West Virginia, the Bulls, Cincinnati, and Rutgers, all who are ranked, yet they are not ranked themselves. Do not be surprised if UConn, the home team, hands the Bulls their second consecutive loss. This is the Huskies' chance to show the nation that they are for real. Huskies 27, Bulls 24
#15 South Carolina at Tennessee: Yet another huge game in the muddled, but extremely good, SEC East. The Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2) are tied for first in the division with Florida and Georgia, while the Vols (4-3, 2-2) are just a half-game behind the three teams. Steve Spurrier has done a great job with his squad, but faces a stiff test at the Rocky Top, particularly after their surprising loss to Vanderbilt last weekend. Volunteers 21, Gamecocks 20
#17 Texas vs. Nebraska: While they are 5-2, the Texas Longhorns feel that they have underachieved this season, especially when there is little chance that they can work their way into the Big XII Championship when they are two games behind Oklahoma in the Big XII South. Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers feel the same way at just 4-4 and two games behind Kansas in the Big XII North, a division they were supposed to win this season. When they were 4-3, New Husker AD and Nebraska coaching great Tom Osbourne said that it was OK; at least they were still having a winning season. I won't be surprised if his feelings drastically change in just two weeks when the team is a losing club with just three games remaining. Longhorns 34, Huskers 17
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
After dropping the first game, despite leading 18-13 at one point, the Poopers roared back in a dominating second game before losing a close battle.
Next Monday the Party Poopers play the second game of their four-game round robin group play.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The Utes prevailed 44-35 Friday, October 5 against the Cardinals in Kentucky. Ute QB Brian Johnson threw for 312 yards and Darrell Mack rushed for nearly 160 as Utah maintained a 27-7 halftime lead.
The win was a stunner for both teams. The Cardinals, behind Heisman candidate Brian Brohm, began the season in the Top 10, favored to win the strong Big East, and viewed as a prime national championship contender. However, they are just 4-3 after defeating #23 Cincinnati eight days after the surprising loss to the Utes.
Meanwhile, Utah was facing a 2-4 record without the win, creating a must-win situation if they had any postseason hopes.
The following week, Utah defeated San Diego State 23-7 in Rice-Eccles Stadium to up their record to 4-3. Mack rushed for 131 yards on 22 carries, propelling the offense to productivity, behind a stellar defensive effort.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for Utah came from the defensive side, where true freshman linebacker Loma had a sack and a tackle-for-loss. Loma saw playing time due to the loss of senior linebacker Kyle Brady for the season.
The Utes now focus on TCU for tomorrow, October 18, for a showdown with the Horned Frogs (4-3, 1-2) at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. The winner has an inside track for a bowl game, while the loser will be looking desperate for a berth, especially when considering that the Mountain West currently sports six of the nine teams with winning records. All of the other four teams- BYU, Air Force, New Mexico, and Wyoming- have better overall records than the Utes or Horned Frogs.
Kickoff is at 6 PM Mountain Time on Versus. The Frogs won the last meeting in Fort Worth in 2005, 23-20 in overtime, while the Utes prevailed last year in Salt Lake 20-6.
The Aggies resume play this Saturday, October 20, against the Nevada Wolfpack (2-4, 0-2 WAC), who nearly became the first-ever WAC team to win in Bronco Stadium after losing a heartbreaker to Boise State, 69-67, in four overtimes.
Utah State (0-6, 0-2) surprisingly gave Hawaii a game, leading 13-10 midway through the first quarter after a Peter Caldwell field goal before giving up a touchdown on the following kickoff.
The Aggies also knocked out fading Heisman candidate Colt Brennan in the second quarter with a vicious hit that involved linebacker Paul Igloebi.
The star for the Aggies was again receiver/kick returner Kevin Robinson, whose night included a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 77-yard catch-and-run reception for a TD.
The Aggies' game against Nevada will be in Logan and kickoff at 1:00 PM.
The K-Bears (3-2) opened a 6-0 lead to open the game, and made a crucial goal-line stand in allowing just 1 yard in three plays on Delta's opening offensive drive.
However, things mainly went downhill from there.
McKell Bowen threw two interceptions, both of which were in the red zone. Delta (3-2) also had a field day passing the ball.
Landon Bastian remained out with a sore ACL.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Landon Bastian was out of action recovering from a sore ACL. Meanwhile, Rhett Wilkinson missed the game serving a one-game suspension.
The K-Bears are now set on focusing for the Intramural Flag Football Playoffs, which begin starting Monday, October 8.
Final Group Play Standings:
Monday, October 1, 2007
Let's play a 163rd game. 162 wasn't enough.
Despite leading the wild-card for most of the last month-and-a half, the Padres (89-73) find themselves deadlocked with Colorado (89-73) after 162 games. San Diego will send NL era leader Jake Peavy to the mound opposite Josh Fogg (4.52 ERA).
The reason for this game manifest themselves by Sunday afternoon, after San Diego had lost to Milwaukee 9-4, while the Rockies edged NL West Division Champion Arizona 4-3 behind a clutch three-run double by NL MVP canidate in the eighth inning.
Despite a dominant season, there is a good chance that Peavy will struggle against the Rockies. This season, Colorado has hit well against Peavy, particularly when compared to other teams. Meanwhile, Josh Fogg has risen to the occasion in big games this season, defeating Brandon Webb, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe and Chris Young, among others.
At the same time, a major trend regarding teams that have been successful in the playoffs has been the indication of how well they have been playing in September to end the season. That theory definitely favors the Rockies, who had their 11-game winning streak snapped on Friday before winning both games over the weekend.
Prediction: Rockies 5, Padres 3.
Things looked bad for the Utes when Utah State pulled ahead 7-0 in the first quarter after a long interception return. However, the Utes responded with two passing scores and a 75-yard return by Derrek Richards to seize a commanding 21-7 lead before taking a 24-10 lead into halftime.
However, on the first offensive possession of the second half, Aggie linebacker Jake Hutton intercepted Ute quarterback Brian Johnson on an errant throw, leading to a long run by Derrvin Spreight to the 1-yard line. However, the Aggies were stuffed for negative-4 yards on three successive running plays, leading to a missed 22-yard field goal attempt by freshman Pete Caldwell.
Utah appeared to have to punt the ball away soon after, however, before Louie Sakoda ran 22 yards on a fake punt on fourth-and-8 to maintain the drive, which lead to a 3-yard touchdown run by Darrell Mack and a 31-10 lead.
In a serious 34-10 hole late in the game, the Aggies narrowed the deficit to sixteen following a jumpball throw for a TD from Leon Jackson III and a successful 3-yard conversion run by Speight. The Aggies also recovered the onside kick and drove 47 yards before turning the ball over on downs at the Ute 13.
The Utes (2-3) play at Louisville (3-2) on Friday, October 5, while the Aggies (0-5, 0-1) leave the mainland to play offensive-minded Hawaii (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
They mark the sixth and seventh starters out with injuries, rather than eight, since Brian Johnson has returned as the starting QB.
Johnson was named Bronco Nagurski National Player of the Week a week-and-a-half ago for his stellar performance against UCLA, grabbing two interceptions and forcing a game-changing fumble. He will be replaced by Joe Dale, who lost his spot to Johnson after two games.
Jiannoni, a senior, is in his third season as a starter at linebacker. He will be replaced by sophomore Stevenson Sylvester, who returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in last season's game against the Aggies.
Johnson is expected to be out 2-4 weeks, and Jiannoni 1-2.
Currently, both the Utes and Aggies are suffering through bad seasons. The Utes are 1-3 and searching for answers after getting blanked 27-0 by UNLV after destroying formerly #11-ranked UCLA 44-6 just the week earlier. Meanwhile, Utah State is winless at 0-4 after blowing fourth-quarter leads in three of those four contests.
All in all, it was not a good game for the Koalas. They look ahead to next Tuesday's game against the LLC Men's squad.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Also, on the next possession, the Utes turned the ball over on downs at the Rebel 30 after the Ute defense forced a three-and-out and a punt after the offense stalled at the 1.
These two failed possessions essentially did the Utes in, when they could have made it a game with scores out of those possessions.
In Logan, Utah State lost to San Jose State 23-20 in the final seconds. The Aggies found every way possible to lose in the contest.
Friday, September 21, 2007
#16 Alabama vs. #22 Georgia: The Nick Saban ride continues for the Tide (3-0) against the Bulldogs.
#21 Kentucky at Arkansas: Behind quarterback Andre Woodson, the Wildcats are in unfamiliar territory in the Top 25. Will it hold on the road against Darren McFadden and the Razorbacks?
Arizona State vs. Oregon State: The Sun Devils (3-0) are off to a great start. Sean Canfield still has some issues to work out as the Beavers' starting quarterback.
UCLA vs. Washington: The Bruins will try to recover from their shocking 44-6 loss to Utah at home against a surprising Husky squad (2-1) who defeated Boise State but fell to Ohio State at Columbus.
#10 Penn State at Michigan: Joe Paterno's boys will look to add more dents to an ugly Michigan season.
Air Force at BYU: The Falcon Watch is officially upon us as Air Force looks to go 3-0 against the Mountain West's top 3 predicted teams. Meanwhile, BYU is looking to head forward again after a surprising 55-47 shootout loss at Tulsa.
Offensive lineman Corey Seuili will be out of action due to an injury that occurred late in last Saturday's stunning demolition of UCLA in Salt Lake City.
Inexperienced freshman Caleb Scheurhaff will start in his place.
However, one of those six injured starters might be back for the game. Starting quarterback Brian Johnson might be ready to make his return tomorrow.
Meanwhile, defensive end Gabe Long remains out 3-5 more weeks. Running back Matt Asiata, H-back Brent Casteel and offensive lineman Jason Boone are done for the season.
LSU is one heck of a team. Their performance against Virginia Tech was so impressive, it was almost as impressive as...
Florida's dominance of Tennessee! Who thought Urban Meyer could completely skip any resemblance of rebuilding and go straight to a national contender with a whole new cast of players?
Virginia Tech isn't as good as we think. Neither is Texas A&M. The Hokies followed a lackluster 17-7 win over East Carolina by getting massacred at LSU, then had another very unimpressive win last week. Meanwhile, the Texas Aggies survived three overtimes at home to get past Fresno State before getting waxed yesterday.
Who knew Oregon would be this good? The Ducks have done nothing but impressed on their way to a 3-0 start. They could finish third in a very, very strong Pac-10 this year.
California is the real deal. Though they couldn't close out Colorado State in Week 2. That's OK, they're gonna give USC a run for their money in the Pac-10, if not the championship, title race.
Charlie Weis needs help rebuilding that thing in South Bend. Where did Brady Quinn go again?
The Big Ten needs to hope that Michigan is genuinely bad this season. The worse thing for that conference, which already is enduring several embarrassing defeats, would be having a team in the Rose Bowl, or the Capital One Bowl- or even the Outback Bowl!- that lost to Appalachian State.
What did the K-Bears do in a absence of an actual game? They scrimmaged.
The yellow side beat the red side 43-28 in the scrimmage.
KB will face fellow 2-0 squad What The next Tuesday.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The University of Utah, 0-2 due largely to the losses of five starters to injuries, mauled #11-ranked UCLA 44-6.
Ute tailback Darrell Mack seemingly solved Utah's issues at running back, rushing for 107 yards on 19 carries in becoming the first Utah running back to gain 100+ yards in a game since Quinton Ganther in the 2005 Emerald Bowl.
The Ute defense also played astonishingly well, shutting down the highly-touted Bruin running game and forcing three interceptions and two fumbles from vaunted quarterback Ben Olson, who is now 4-3 as a starter.
The Utah defense also sacked Olson five times.
Eight receivers caught passes for the Utes, who restructured their offense to better suit quarterback Tommy Grady's lack of mobility. Louie Sakoda was also perfect on 47 and 45-yard placekicks for Utah (1-2).
The Utes face UNLV (1-2) in Las Vegas next Saturday. Injured #1 quarterback Brian Johnson may be available after missing the past two contests.
Knowing that they had no chance of winning the game, Aggie coach Brent Guy opted to give backup quarterback Jace McCormick some playing time. Guy played starter Leon Jackson III in the first and third quarters and McCormick in the second and fourth.
Curiously, the Aggies' only points came with McCormick at the helm in the second period, going on a 47-yard drive following an interception.
However, it was 38-3 at halftime.
Utah State (0-3) faces San Jose State, who is also 0-3 after facing three straight BCS foes, in their homecoming game next Saturday in Logan.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
McKell Bowen threw for four touchdowns, 3 to receiver Landon Bastian. Two came from across-the-body throws while running down the opposite sideline.
Rhett Wilkinson, David Tate and Andrew Haws each hauled in a pass for the K-Bears (1-0).
Tate's reception led to a touchdown and 12-0 lead in the first half. After nabbing a high floater from Bowen, Tate turned and headed upfield before running what looked like the option with a lateral to Mark. Mark promptly took the lateral 10 yards down the sideline for the score.
The closest the LLC Men's team got was 18-6 early in the second half.
That was before Bowen zipped a short pass to Bastian along the sideline, allowing Bastian to race past the defense for a 55-yard score and 27-6 advantage after a 3-point conversion.
The scoring was capped with a touchdown run and a second 3-point conversion after a pass to Haws after Bowen headed right and then cut back left before delivering the pass.
Nick Baker added an interception in the first half when it was only 6-0. That lead to Tate's lateral for the TD.
The K-Bears play Game 2 next week Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 4:30 on the HPER Field against Ninja Strike.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
|BEES FALL TO RIVER CATS IN PCL CHAMPIONSHIP|
| Sep 9, 2007|
The Sacramento River Cats rallied to score four runs in the fifth inning to defeat the Salt Lake Bees 4-2 and claim the PCL's Pacific Conference Championship Series three games to two. Terry Evans gave the Bees a 2-0 lead in the first with a two run double, but Gregorio Petit led off the fifth for Sacramento with a single to right. Two outs later, Nick Blasi hit a slow bouncer to short that he beat out for an infield single, as Brandon Wood hesitated before he threw to first. Lou Merloni then singled in Petit with a grounder to center. Daric Barton then followed with the three run homer into the right field bullpen.
Nick Green pitched well, but took the loss in his triple-A debut, as he allowed four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
USU held an 18-14 advantage before being blanked 18-0 in the fourth quarter en route to a 32-18 defeat.
The Aggies, despite trailing 25-18 with five minutes left in the game, were still in contention even with a punt. The Aggie defense could have at least mustered a defensive stand against the Cowboys, giving the offense one last shot.
However, Leon Jackson fumbled the ball on the Aggie 25 on a 3rd-and-6 run, leading to a quick and easy Wyoming touchdown and nail in the coffin. Jackson's fumble marked the second time in as many weeks that Utah State has essentially been done in with a fumble late in the game.
USU will be 0-3 after a loss at Oklahoma on Sept. 15.
These injuries compounded the growing list of problems for the University of Utah, who have already lost starting quarterback Brian Johnson for at least 2 more weeks and starting tailback Matt Asiata for the year.
And, oh yeah, starting offensive lineman and all-conference player Jesse Boone was done for the season and essentially his career before the season even began.
However, despite this ridiculous amount of continuous injuries, the Utes had chances to win the game on Saturday, with the biggest blown chance occuring on the last sequence of the game. Down one possession at eight, new starting quarterback Tommy Grady hit Derrek Richards with a pass to move to the 1-yard line late in the game. However, the Utes failed to punch it in, most notably with two failed runs up the middle. These failed runs are yet another indication of how stupid head coach Kyle Whittingham and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig often are with regards to their play-calling.
Both Whittingham and Ludwig tried to defend the play-calling afterwards. Whittingham noted that "'he likes anybody's chances when their on the six-inch line," as if anybody should score from there no matter how predictable the play, while Ludwig insisted that the 3rd-down play in which receiver Eddie Wide took a direct snap forward was "a play that has worked for us in the past."
Yeah, that was when you had NFL safety, second-round NFL draft pick and play-any-position Eric Weddle carrying the ball.
That is also considering that you have running backs who struggle just to average 3 yards per carry without running against a stacked goal-line defense.
Both teams were absolutely inept on offense until the Utes stopped the Falcons on a failed fourth-down run from midfield. However, Grady promptly responded by throwing an interception, leading to a Falcon touchdown and 17-6 lead moments later.
Utah responded with a shocking 74-yard, 4-play drive that took just 33 seconds to cut the lead to 17-12 after a failed two-point conversion run. Air Force scored a field goal in response, leading to Utah's stalled drive 99/100 of the way to paydirt to essentially end the game.
The Utes will now be 0-3 after their home defeat to UCLA next Saturday.
Friday, September 7, 2007
That is a good thing.
Led by returning players Jaycee Carroll, Kris Clark, and Steven DuCharme, the Aggies have high hopes for this season, which include a return to the NCAA Tournament, due to the expected immediate contributions of many new players, which include Div. 1-A and junior college transfers, returned missionaries, and possibly even a freshman straight out of high school.
Sophomore Brayden Bell will again play basketball in the state of Utah after spending one season at Ohio State and redshirting last season. He is expected to make contributions at center, if not in a starting role then off the bench.
Three junior college transfers come to Logan this year with expected pivotal roles. They include post player Gary Wilkinson, a third-team and honorable mention JC All-American from Salt Lake Community College; swingman Deundrae Spraggins, an all-Region 14 player from Paris, Texas; and point guard Desmond Stephens, from SE Illinois JC.
Wilkinson could likely start at center, while Spraggins will either start at small forward or share time with Nick Hammer at that spot in the lineup. Stephens will back-up Clark at point guard and see significant minutes.
Returned missionaries include Tai Wesley, an all-state player from Provo High, and Matt Forisamo, from Minnesota. Wesley could see minutes at the forward position relieving DuCharme.
One freshman who could see action this year is small forward Pooh Williams, also from Minnesota.
The Aggies should have at least 8 and up to 10 players who can make contributions this year, relieving the scoring load off All-America canidate Carroll. With Wilkinson and Bell, DuCharme will no longer be forced to play an undersized center role, balancing the rebounding responsibilities.
Last year, the Aggies were one piece short of being Dance-worthy. This year, Utah State should not only qualify for the Big Dance but perhaps even win the WAC, where they have placed 3rd and 4th in their first two seasons as part of the conference.
Transformers-***: I was skeptical of how a toy line would translate over into a live-action movie, but oh did they "get it right." If you like big explosions, and if you like to see huge robots battle, and if you like Shia LeBeouf, you like Transformers.
Spider-man 3-***: The message is as profound as ever for a Spiderman flick. If this is indeed the final Spidey film, it finished well. Three villains, a solid moral on overcoming vengeance, a story of sacrifice. Gotta love it.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer-**1/2: Better than the first 'F4' film, due to a more interesting villain, a better storyline, a little conflict, and much bigger action sequences. The dialogue is often weak, but the movie succeeds in presenting a comic-book feel.
Ratatouille-**1/2: I am reluctant to say this, but I suggest that Pixar has taken an ever-small step backward in the entertainment value of past productions. Others may scuffle at this suggestion, since audiences have absolutely loved 'Cars' and 'Ratatouille,' but they haven't done it for me the way a 'Toy Story' or 'Incredibles' has. Still, very fun and entertaining.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End-**: For as good as 'Curse of the Black Pearl' and 'Dead Man's Chest' were, 'Worlds End' was a very unsatisfying end to the epic trilogy. The characters are inconsistent, the story itself runs dry, and it is flat-out strange. Though the supernatural elements in 'Dead Man's Chest' were digestible, the supernatural elements in 'Worlds End' go over the top. It hints that the writers had run out of a script to fill nearly 3 hours. But at least the war at the end was pretty cool.
With a dominant pitching staff, led by John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, supported by the consistent Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, and bolstered by the return of Ervin Santana to the majors, and a more-than-capable, if not potent, offense, lead by Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera, and Garret Anderson, and backed by the likes of Gary Matthews, Jr., Reggie Willits, and Casey Kotchman, the Angels just about have a complete team to make a run deep through October. In addition, the bullpen is more than strong, bolstered by setup men Scot Shields and Justin Speier and finished with Fransisco Rodriguez.
There are two minor concerns for the Halos: number one, the health of leadoff man Chone Figgins, and number two, the experience behind the plate. Figgins is working to be ready soon, while the catchers are Jeff Mathis and Ryan Budde. The jury is out on whether Mathis is ready to be a starting catcher in the majors, while Budde isn't MLB-ready yet. However, the Angels didn't have a choice but to call them up from Salt Lake when they traded ex-starting catcher Jose Molina to the Yankees and supposed successor Mike Napoli went down with an injury the next day.
However, these are indeed minor concerns for the Halos. Also, with the rehab of Bartolo Colon and Juan Rivera recently completed, and the return of Howie Kendrick from injury, the Angels roster is stocked with talent and savvy experience. They may have to face New York in the first round, who they defeated in the same round in 2002 and 2005, but if that is the case, so be it. Boston should be the only hurdle for this club this season.
For this Utah Jazz team, it has been a rough season, one filled with multiple injuries and many setbacks, painful growing experiences that no one would want to encounter.
Friday night at the Delta Center, this young group -- again missing guard Raja Bell due to injury, and of course without Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer -- endured another rather embarrassing defeat, falling 108-91 to fellow Western Conference cellar-dweller Golden State.
Largely in part to below-35 percent shooting from the field, the Jazz witnessed their 50th loss of the season.
"We seem committed to watch guys trying to score and play one-on- one instead," he said. "When we get the ball and hold it and clear (the court) out, then we struggle."
Simple things such as executing their designed offense was one of many problems for Utah. Only two Jazz players managed to shoot above 50 percent -- Ben Handlogten and Kris Humphries. Handlogten registered his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
But neither he nor his coach were satisfied with the effort, which is something that has eluded the Jazz as the season has progressed.
"They just outplayed us," Handlogten said. "They moved the ball around and got some good shots outside and it just got worse."
The numbers concur.
Golden State pulled down 15 offensive rebounds and nailed 10 3- pointers, including five from Derek Fisher, who led his team in scoring with 19 points.
The Jazz did hold a narrow four-point advantage at the end of a free-throw contest commonly known as the first quarter.
However, it mainly went downhill from there.
Golden State went on a quick 12-1 run early in the second quarter, and the Jazz never were able to recover. By the time 18- point scorer Jason Richardson threw down a scintillating dunk late in the fourth quarter, the Jazz found themselves down 100-77 and the game all but over.
"Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems when we stay together, we have a chance to compete," Sloan said. "Sometimes it seems like our players think winning isn't important."
That is a harsh reality one must face as just 10 games remain on the schedule.
Jazz rookie Kirk Snyder, acknowledging that this year has been a bit of a grind, said, "We just have to try to find some positives, and that needs to be our focus in practice."
A focus that seems to be dwindling down as the losses pile up.
Rhett Wilkinson, a sophomore basketball player at Viewmont High School, is the winner of the Deseret Morning News' "Cover a Game" contest.
Copyright C 2005 Deseret News Publishing Co.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.
The winner of the "Cover a Jazz Game Contest" for seventh- through 11th-grade students is Rhett Wilkinson of Centerville, a sophomore from Viewmont High School. Rhett and two guests will meet Deseret Morning News Jazz beat writer Tim Buckley this Friday night in the press room at the Delta Center for dinner prior to the game. Rhett will be interviewed on KFNZ radio's Jazz Talk, 1320 AM, and have his picture taken with a Jazz player. Rhett will sit on press row alongside other sports writers during the game and watch as the Jazz square off against the Golden State Warriors.
The hard part of the evening begins after post-game interviews as Rhett writes his report on deadline. His coverage will be published in the Saturday morning edition of the Deseret Morning News.
The second-place winner, Alie Yorgason, a seventh-grader from Salt Lake City, wins a Club Suite Night to a regular-season game for eight guests.
The 10 third-place winners who receive a Utah Jazz baseball cap are William Carlson, Trevor Vlam, Dakota Guenther, Destiny Calvano, Hayley Buchman, Derek Flint, Brooke Hodson, Ben Lockhart, Jeff Merrell and Justus Minardi.
The Special Class Award goes to Mrs. Bachmiller's third period English class from Crescent View Middle School. They win a Sky Box night at an upcoming game.
Copyright C 2005 Deseret News Publishing Co.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.
Dee Dee Nelson from Bountiful is the winner of the "Cover a Jazz Game" contest. The contest was open to seventh-11th graders. More than 200 entries were received and judged on detail, writing style, conciseness, clarity and humor.
Nelson and two guests will be hosted at Friday night's game as the Jazz take on the Indiana Pacers. Nelson, along with her two guests, will meet Deseret Morning News Jazz beat writer Tim Buckley in the press room at the Delta Center before the game. After dinner, Nelson will have her picture taken with a Jazz player and be interviewed on "Jazz Talk" on KFNZ 1320.
During the game, Nelson will sit on press row alongside other sports writers. The hardest part of the evening begins after the post game interviews as Nelson goes to the press room and writes her story on deadline.
The second-place winner is Rhett Wilkinson of Centerville. He will host his friends in a Delta Center club suite at an upcoming regular- season game.
Five third place winners will receive Utah Jazz T-shirts. They are: Brooke Hodson, Dallin Turner, Steve McKee, AJ Nunley and Amber Hunt.
Fifteen fourth place winners will receive Utah Jazz baseball caps. They are: Evan Levesque, Allison Griffiths, Hilary Dent, Kirk Logan, Zach Adams, Matt Knowles, Ryan Smith, David King, Katie Little, Doug Wallingford, Emily Gainer, Jason Bradshaw, Brooke Quinn, Matt Behunin and Rachel Tanner.
Special Prize: Lisa Hayward's second-period class, Crescent View Middle School.
Copyright C 2004 Deseret News Publishing Co.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.
#7 Texas vs. #19 TCU: For so early in the season, the Horned Frogs will be sitting pretty in the BCS picture with a win over the Longhorns in Austin. Colt McCoy and Texas have to play better than they did vs. Arkansas State last week if they expect to win heading into Big XII play.
#5 Oklahoma vs. Miami: These are the types of matchups you like to see: two national powerhouses squaring off in a non-conference game. No more Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Texases. (Though you could never get Applachain State beating Michigan if that were the case!)
#15 Penn State vs. Notre Dame: Can the Irish have any hope of winning after last week's pitiful home performance against Georgia Tech? Maybe with new freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
#13 UCLA vs. BYU: The Cougars, despite losing quarterback John Beck, tight end Jonny Harline. and RB Curtis Brown, turned in an impressive performance last week against Arizona. How will they fare in the Rose Bowl against a UCLA team determined to make national waves this season?
Michigan vs. Oregon: The Wolverines try to bounce back from the most embarrassing loss in their illustrious history, while Oregon looks to prove that they are still a top-tier Pac-10 team. The Ducks will have their hands full with Wolverine TB Mike Hart. QB Dennis Dixon has the ability to send Michigan to 0-2 on the season.
#11 Georgia vs. South Carolina: Gamecocks coach and SEC legend Steve Spurrier has beat the Bulldogs plenty of times, but that was with Florida. He has yet to do it with Carolina.
Washington vs. #22 Boise State: The Broncos have long bragged about being so successful against the Mtn. West and undefeated in WAC play at home, but how will they fare playing on the road against a Pac-10 school? (A struggling Pac-10 school, but c'mon, for drama's sake.)
Colorado State vs. #10 California: Two teams going in opposite directions morale-wise: The Rams lead most of the game last week vs. Colorado before blowing it with 12 seconds left and in overtime, while the Bears made a statement with a big win over Tennessee, cemeting themselves as a team to watch as a contender with USC for not just the Pac-10, but possibly the BCS National Championship.
New Mexico vs. New Mexico State: Why this game? It's a rivalry game. And rivalry games are always going to be given their due here at Dubyaworld. New Mexico seeks to continue their nine-year run of averageness after losing to UTEP last weekend.
Episode 1, 'Bizarro,' will pick off where Season 6 ended, as Lex Luthor has dispatched the phantoms from the Phantom Zone, created by Clark Kent's Kryptonian father Jor-El, to use their DNA to power the bodies of U.S. soldiers from the Middle East. The last and most elusive phantom, however, took hold of Clark's body, prompting Clark to ask "What are you?" The phantom promptly replied, "I'm you... just a little more bizarre!" This line refers to a Superman nemesis in Bizarro, who is an exact duplicate of Superman, turned-upside-down.
Other story threads to be resolved in Season 7 include the futures of Lana Lang and Chloe Sullivan, two characters who were seen in fatal situations in the Season 6 finale.
After six years, Clark finally told the truth to Lana about who he is, though she had found out six episodes earlier. Lana, also disguisted by the lies and deceit of her forced husband Lex, promptly tells Lex that she is done in her relationship with him. The next scene we see with Lana is her getting into her SUV, when all of a sudden, the SUV explodes. Is this retaliation by Lex? Is Lana truly dead? Or was she even in the car after all?
Chloe, known to be so sacrificing for the sake of her friends, sacrifices herself through a revealed power in saving Lois Lane from death. Lois had gone to investigate Lex's secret labratory 33.1, where he was storing the soldiers, when she got fatally stabbed by a lab guard. Chloe, always intuitive as a budding top-flight reporter, follows the trial to the site of Lois. In her grief, Chloe cries over her cousin, revealing a tear that reverses the effect of death and turns it on Chloe. Though it has been debated over whether Chloe has a healing power created by the effects of kryptonite, or whether it is a supernatural power of sacrifice, I believe it is a power of sacrifice.
Other new events to be seen in Season 7 include the arrival of Supergirl, who will have all of the same powers of Clark with the addition of flight. When Kal-El (Clark) had been sent to Earth as a baby at the time of the destruction of Krypton, Kara Zor-El (Supergirl), as a teenager, had been sent by her parents to watch over Kal-El on Earth. However, her spacecraft had gotten stuck in suspended animation, freezing her aging as Kal-El continued to grow on Earth. Now, in Season 7, Kara has escaped the suspended animation and finally arrived on the planet, albeit younger than the person she was intended to watch and protect. However, Kara knows much more about her Kryptonian past than Clark does, allowing her to teach Clark much about who he and his race is, thus assisting in his growth to Superman. This fact has also been confirmed by "Smallville" head writer Al Gough.
Other storylines to be seen in Season 7 include the increasing evil of Lex Luthor, the mutual interest of Lois & Clark, and the ever-elusive motives of Lex's father Lionel, which include his relationship with Clark's mother Martha and his approach as a self-proclaimed "father figure" to Clark. The first six seasons of this show has been nothing but a success, and Season 7 promises the same.
Jazz General Manager Kevin O'Conner also failed to extend Dee Brown's contract, leaving two new point guards to back-up budding star Deron Williams- point guards that I feel aren't as good as a #2 like Fisher or a #3 like Brown. Fisher was also Utah's staring shooting guard, leaving a hole there- and leaving it up to Croatian Gordan Giricek, young Ronnie Brewer, and '07 first-round draft pick Morris Almond to seize the role. Overall, less experience and talent now fill Utah's backcourt, leaving it up to Mehmet Okur to play consistently, Carlos Boozer and Williams to be even bigger stars than they were this year, and Andrei Kirilenko to regain his typical form. Matt Harpring again takes on a larger bench role with one of last year's bench players destined to take over the starting 2-guard position.