Bruce and Bruce
Episode 47 – A Week of Winning
Listen Here! On the surface, this was a pretty good week for the Utah SportsCast. The Jazz swept all four of the games they played since our last show, BYU won a critical conference game in Provo, and Utah completely outmanned their hapless opponent. That is a 6-0 combined record for the “big three” of this point in the sports season, and a fan could hardly ask for more than four game, five game, and six game win streaks, respectively. However, results do not always tell the complete story, and there is a deeper level of concern for each of these teams. The Jazz are off to a quick start at 6-2, but the wins seem to have come against lesser competition (although I still say Cleveland is a good team), and the two losses at by the only good conference teams they have played. BYU has a perfect conference record and only two early-season losses, but their offense didn’t look great in the second half against TCU. They still won, and their defense secured the game in the second half, but they did so without much scoring support. Then, there was the Utah game. I am the designated Utah fan here at the Utah SportsCast, and while I don’t have a fancy t-shirt indicating as much, I consider myself an invested follower of the team. I mention this because I have also noticed a vague and uncertain negative emotion – centered on the team – that bubbles up in me on occasion. I usually just ignore the feeling, and have never bothered to understand it, but it all crystallized early in the third quarter of the Wyoming game: Sometimes it’s hard to be a Utah fan, because sometimes they behave despicably. The latest example was the nationally-covered brouhaha between Kyle Wittingham and Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, but this isn’t the first time I have felt that way about Coach Kyle’s program. Every time a Utah player jumps up to strut around after a big play, I cringe. Each camera shot of Utah’s bench horsing around on the sidelines or laughing at the other team causes me to turn away. Any on-field mocking conversations cause me to shake my head in disapproval. Don’t get me wrong, it is just a game and I think players should be passionate about it. I like the excitement that comes after big plays, and I don’t have a problem with not being buddies with the other team. But Utah’s brand of attitude sometimes comes across as mocking, and that is intolerable, in my opinion. Worst of all is when that despicable behavior comes from the top. I could not have disagreed more with Coach Wittingham kicking onside when they were up by six touchdowns. After the game he made a lot of growled excuses about still playing in the third quarter and responding to guaranteed victories from Coach Glenn, but that point was made when it was 40-0 at halftime. Winning big without going out of the way to embarrass the other team would have been a more powerful statement; instead, the Utah coaching staff came across as petty and vindictive. The commotion is beginning to fade now that both coaches have apologized, and the Mountain West Conference has publicly reprimanded the obscene gesture. But deep down inside, anyone who watched it live, saw it on replay, or heard it described felt that Joe Glenn was justified in his one-fingered opinion. But that is the burden of being a Utah football fan: sometimes you have to deal with despicable behavior from your team and coach. As always, we have much more in the podcast, including more about BYU’s big win, a good start for the Utah Jazz, and local college basketball. Our Top 3 in Utah for this week: 3. Gabe Long 2. Max Hall 1. Andrei Kirilenko We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.