Bruce and Bruce

Episode 44 – Winning Streaks on the Wasatch Front

Episode 44 – Winning Streaks on the Wasatch Front

Listen Here! I should start this blog entry with a disclaimer: I didn’t watch either the Utah or the BYU games this past week. It wasn’t a lack of interest, but I had other, previous engagements during both games. I did catch a bit of each on the radio, and read the post-game articles, but that was it. I only mention this in the interest of full disclosure. Well, that, and it gives me an excuse when all of my thoughts and opinions are more foolish than usual. Anyway, I had written Utah off for the year as recently as the afternoon of Friday, October 5th, just prior to their win over Louisville. At that point they were a shaky 2-3, and already with two conference losses. Their only wins at that point were a bizarre rout of UCLA that seemed to have come from another team, and a very pedestrian showing against Utah State. On that same afternoon, BYU was 3-2, and undefeated in two conference games. Their two losses were non-conference away games, and they were looking every bit like the team to beat in the MWC. They had beaten Air Force, who started strong, and opened the year with a nice win against Pac-10 Arizona. Since that afternoon, Utah has rolled off three wins in a row – two of them on the road against teams that were projected to be their respective conference champions. BYU has won twice, both in games where they were favored. There are a few similarities at this point in the season: both teams have won four games in a row, each with two wins at home and two on the road. Both teams have five total wins on the season. Both teams have a win and a loss against Pac-10 schools. However, Utah seems to be playing better football than BYU, at least at the moment. Last Thursday Utah held on for a big conference road win against TCU, and the next day local radio shows were buzzing with talk of the “swagger” returning. Two days later – and in spite of beating Division 1-AA/Championship Division/Whatever Eastern Washington by five touchdowns – the Cougars did not impress their fans or the local media. The consensus seems to be that Utah is coming together as a team, and BYU may be losing their focus a bit. The Cougars have a significant advantage in conference record (BYU 3-0, Utah 2-2), even though the overall standings are fairly close. Utah is still alive in the conference race, although they would need BYU to lose at least once before the Utah/BYU game, and then beat the Cougars in Lavell Edwards Stadium, accompanied by Air Force losing both of their remaining conference games. That is an unlikely scenario, to say the least. For BYU, all they need to do is keep on winning; which could be prove difficult considering they have to play TCU at home and Wyoming on the road in the weeks leading up to the Utah game. The unplanned bye this week may help them refocus and heal some nagging injuries, but it will also extend their regular season a week longer. If their level of play doesn’t improve, it could be disastrous. The final conclusion for both teams is far from clear, and the season is much more interesting than it was on the afternoon of October 5th. We have more about BYU and Utah in the podcast, as well as a bit about the end of RSL’s season, and even some preseason Jazz talk. We also rolled out a special edition “Top 3 from Real Salt Lake” to commemorate the very forgettable season: Our Top 3 from Real Salt Lake: 3. Eddie Pope 2. Nick Rimando 1. Robbie Findley Our Top 3 in Utah for this week: 3. Martail Burnett 2. Harvey Unga 1. Steve Tate Finally, we want to extend our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes to everyone in Southern California who has been misplaced by the wildfires. We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us at comments@utahsportscast.com.

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