The Block

I was nervous the whole day. My team wasn’t playing great. Actually the defense played pretty well – holding the other team to only 16 points. My team’s offense just wasn’t doing it. That is until the fourth quarter. You know what I’m talking about… the Utah-BYU game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Finally the Utah offense started to roll putting up 17 points in about 11 minutes. When the Utes took the lead, there was just over four minutes to go. Too much time. BYU moved the ball down the field with just a little too much ease. Then it all came down to this – The Block:

 

From: Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s Brandon Burton got in on the left side of the line, practically untouched, and blocked Mitch Payne’s field goal attempt as time ran out to seal the win for the Utes. That pit I had in my stomach all day all of a sudden went away. Finally, it was Utah’s turn for one of these games to finish in our favor. Here’s the scene on the field from section N20 moments after the block.

Amber and I went to the game with my dad and my Uncle Blair. It was cold. I was prepared for the cold. But, I was still cold. The win and the hot chocolate after the game made up for the coldness. We’re not coffee drinkers, so we don’t go to Starbucks. But, they have dang good hot chocolate and we stopped to get some. I got the peppermint hot chocolate this time. It was good!

Overall, I think the game was good as far as the fans go. It seemed like most fans were trying to be on their best behavior, given the crap that’s gone on during the last 12 months. I think people were afraid to say anything and take a chance at offending someone. I’m glad this rivalry will be changing with the move to the PAC 12 and BYU’s move to independence. Playing in September will change things up a bit. No more 12 weeks of build up which adds to the issues. Here’s Amber and I showing our U’s after the win. And Amber and I with my dad.

These two guys make a new sign every game. They based this sign on one that a BYU student put up on the scoreboard at the Marriott Center in Provo after BYU beat Utah State in basketball last month.

Overall, I was very happy with the way the Utes played this year. 10-2 isn’t too bad. It could have been better. They definitely weren’t as crisp during the last four games of the year. Next up is Boise State in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. Boise had a heart-breaking lose to Nevada last week. It spoiled their hopes of a chance at the BCS title game. National media are already stating that Boise’s going to work the Utes to death as a statement to the nation that they deserved to be in Glendale in January. What people forget is that Utah has a coach who is one of the best at preparing for bowl games. The Utes have gone to 8 straight bowl games and won 9 consecutive bowl games – longest in the nation. Coach Whit will have this team ready – even with Wynn out with season-ending shoulder surgery. Terrance Cain will be ready. At least that’s my hope.

We’ll be making the trip to Las Vegas for the game. We’re taking the boys and going with my dad and Amber’s parents. We’re excited. They boys are even more excited! Looking forward to the quick trip and the game. Go Utes!

 

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Who’s the Turkey – 2010 Edition

So Who’s the Turkey in 2010 according to Neal? Before we get to this year’s Turkey, let me give you some history. Neal loves to draw. In November 2007, he came to me with a couple of well-done pieces for a 6-year old. The first was of a Utah-BYU football game. Check out the score on this one! The second was of a turkey dinner. Both masterpieces in my eyes.

In November 2008, Neal took a different angle on his piece. He decided to combine Thanksgiving and turkey and the Utah-BYU game. BYU all of a sudden became the Turkey. The Utes won big in 2008. All was well in Uteville. In November 2009, Neal put together this masterpiece – Utah aliens destroying BYU. Even though the Utes lost a heartbreaker, we still all knew that BYU – and especially Max Hall and his hate were the Turkeys! I would like to introduce to you the 2010 version of Who’s the Turkey?

Again, the Turkey is BYU. I sure hope that’s the case again on Saturday. Hoping for a nice Utah win to finish out the season 10-2. Go Utes!

Seriously, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Rivalry week is here

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to dread the third or fourth week in November. Growing up in Utah was great. Growing up a Utah football fan in the 70’s and 80’s in Utah was a test of my faith. BYU fans at school and church were ruthless. Each and every year my team would end up losing. Well, November 1988 was a different story. I was in 9th grade. As always, I was optimistic that my Utes were going to win. Our quarterback was Scott Mitchell. He was shattering NCAA passing and offense records right and left. He was a stud. My optimistic dreams came true that year — Utah beat BYU, 57-28. They ended the game on a four game winning streak.

Not much else happened for a few more years in this rivalry. It turned back into dominance by BYU. But, this was the first step in what has become a neck and neck battle. Utah is 10-7 against the Cougars since Chris Yergensen kicked the game winner in Provo in 1993. Since 2000, both teams have won five games each. This year is set to be another great game. Utah started strong this season, but dropped two against TCU and Notre Dame. They seem to have the offense moving again after a nice win at San Diego State. BYU started soft and is improving each week right now. Of course I’m hoping my Utes will finish strong and take a 10-2 record and second place in the Mountain West into the Las Vegas Bowl.

Here’s a few videos of the games I’ve mentioned above: Utah’s win over BYU in 1988 – the first time in ten years. My favorite part of the first video is at the beginning. Eddie Johnson scores a touchdown and ends up in front of a BYU cheerleader. Eddie sticks out his hand and the cheerleader gives him five. Classic. Then, the one that started it all – Chris Yergensen’s game winning 55 yard field goal in Provo in 1993. Have fun on Saturday and cheer loud!

Happy Thanksgiving – Who’s the turkey?

Well, according to Neal for a second straight year, BYU’s the turkey! Neal brought me his latest drawing the other night and it had a Thanksgiving/BYU/Alien theme to it. So, to honor this great holiday, and Utah’s picking apart of BYU on Saturday, and the premier of Ben 10: Alien Swarm on Cartoon Network last night, I give you the following:

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My favorite part is Kyle Whittingham saying: “Wha, ha, ha”. I can hear it being said in the voice of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.

Happy Thanksgiving and GO UTES!

Working out for the Utah Jazz

Yesterday, my brother-in-law, Geoff had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show off his goods in a pre-draft workout for the Utah Jazz. They called him up on Sunday night and asked him to come participate. This workout will help Geoff see what he needs to work on. He’s a bit too small for the NBA. But, he’ll have a long career overseas in Europe. Congratulations on getting the call for a workout Geoff. I don’t recall Lee Cummard being asked by the Jazz to workout prior to the 2009 NBA Draft…

Check out his interview after yesteday’s workout (courtesy Utah Jazz):

Here’s a link to a story from KSL-TV –  Jazz continue pre-draft auditions Monday

Finally, here’s a link to a story in the Deseret Morning News – Utah Jazz: Payne honored to workout for Jazz

Congratulations Geoff! We’re proud of you.

On another note, my other brother-in-law, Dave, was accepted into the Professional MBA program at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah this past weekend. He’s slated to begin classes in August. Congratulations Dave! Now the hard work begins!

Basketball camp

Neal participated in basketball camp at Westminster last week. He attended the same camp last year. Since Geoff finished his eligibility this past season, and this was his last summer helping at camp, we thought it would be important to have Neal there again. Neal did a great job. He’s really learning a lot! Good job Neal!

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Here’s Neal with Geoff and Jeramie Hopson. Riley wanted in on the photo action as well.

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Perfection

DNEWS Sugar Bowl UU 2009

Well, the Utes finished the season perfect. The only team in all of college football (FBS) to finish the season unblemished. I have many opinions on whether or not the Utes deserved to be in the BCS national championship game. Obviously, I am supportive of it. Utah deserved it. Their dominating win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 31-17, last week proved that the Utes can hang with any of the big boys. But, the overwhelming bias of the coaches and media east of the Mississippi River became even more obvious. Many of the national big boys were siding with Utah (Jim Rome, Dan Patrick, John Feinstein, and Rick Reilly to name a few). Still, it wasn’t enough to sway the voters.

Many around the nation jumped on the Utes bandwagon this week, but it wasn’t enough to sway the voters in the USA Today Coaches poll, and the Associated Press poll. Utah finished second in the AP poll, garnering 16 first place votes, and fourth (give me a break!) with one first place vote in the coaches poll. The sole first place vote was from Kyle Whittingham. Good on ya coach! Unlike Mack Brown, the head coach at Texas, you at least followed through with your promise to vote your team number one in the final poll.

Of course I am disappointed that Utah didn’t get a split national championship. But, five months ago their finish was the furthest thing from my mind. I am so excited about where they ended up. This tops the perfect season in 2004. That was amazing, and it was a blast to go to the Fiesta Bowl, but, this was by far much better in my mind. What an amazing team. The BCS is flawed, and I hope a change comes very soon. President-elect Barack Obama even weighed in on the problems with the BCS this week, saying the Utes deserved a chance at the title. Maybe our soon-to-president can make this part of his “change.” Either way, Utah is helping pave the path for some change in the system. One day there will be a playoff. One day it will be fair for all 119 NCAA FBS teams.

The holidays…

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The holidays at our house were great. We had a great time together. We went to family Christmas parties, and got a little bit silly (above). Riley’s snow hat doesn’t fit too bad, does it? We went on a sleigh ride with the Voorhees family at Wheeler Farm, and watched the great-grandkids perform the nativity with the Poulsen’s. Then, we had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner with the Payne’s.

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I took a few days off both weeks, which gave me some time to be with the family, and work on Amber’s design room, and Neal’s new bedroom in the basement. In fact, this week, we had the carpet installed in Neal’s room. All we have left to do in his room is finish putting polyurethane on the moldings around Neal’s window, install shelves in his closet, and then install his closet door. Our computer was down this week, so I’ll post some pictures of both rooms soon.

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The picture above is our annual Christmas morning picture. Don’t we all look outstanding! The boys actually didn’t wake up until 7:30, then they wanted to watch Arthur’s Christmas on PBS. We had to talk them into coming into the living room at 8:15 to see if Santa came. Santa took care of the boys this year. Despite what others think, Neal and Riley were good boys this past year. Our Christmas and New Year’s were great. I hope your’s was too.

Neal started up basketball in December. He really seems to be enjoying it. I am coaching his team again. Because of logistical problems, we moved out to the league at Gene Fullmer Recreation Center in West Jordan. I really like the league they are running. We know six of the kids on the team. Neal’s cousin Dayton is on the team as well.

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