Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am a Utah Man sir and I live across the green

Still working on finishing up the final bit of writing that my committee has asked for, but in the meantime, I did find time to enjoy the Utah football victory over BYU on Saturday. My good friend Jon, of Spring Break trip to NYC fame, flew down from Seattle with the primary purpose of being in attendance at the game, and thankfully the Utes did not disappoint.

Muss Tailgate
Our game day experience started at the Muss (that's the Utah student fan club) tailgate, where we ate chicken wraps and marveled at Ute fandom.

Long-time Utes play-by-play man, Bill Marcroft
I even got my picture taken with retired long-time Utah play-by-play man Bill Marcroft.

Crazy Lady and Subway Jared
There was a superfan contest judged by no others than Crazy Lady and Jared from Subway (wearing a Utah jersey). From what we could tell it looks like Jared might not be eating at Subway as much any more. Working on a bit of gut. I'm just saying.

Walking down to the stadium
After the tailgate we headed down to the stadium with plenty of time to watch some pre-game warmups.

BYU Fans
Just across the aisle from our seats there was a group of about 20 BYU fans (in the Utah student section mind you). They certainly took a lot of abuse throughout the game, but were wise enough (or maybe just really patient) to avoid starting any physical violence, because things might have gotten really bad then.

Watching warm-ups

Script Utah
Marching Band - Script "Utah"

Louie Sakoda on Senior Night
It was also Senior Night so they had all of the Seniors come out individually. The timing of this was all screwed up, with the PA guy saying their names waaaaay after they had run out and was usually 3 or 4 people behind. It's too bad, we had some great Seniors who deserved better if you ask me. Oh, well. Oh, this picture is of P/K Louie Sakoda who at one point a few years ago was, IMO, the best player on our team.

Putting a stop to the Haka
Now, BYU has a tradition of doing a polynesian war dance called the Haka before their games. As they were lining up to begin said dance, some Utah players took issue with them war dancing on our field, and wandered over to exchange some words.

Putting a stop to the Haka
Before long most of the team had joined them.

Putting a stop to the Haka
And after some posturing, BYU decided maybe it wasn't the right time to being Haka-ing.

Then the game finally got under way, and I really didn't do a good job of taking pictures during the game. For one, I was sitting too high to get decent pictures, and for two, I was too busy watching the game. Here are a couple decent shots:

Louie kicking a PAT. I especially like the way the focus was on the hands near me.

The Muss
Shot looking behind us at the Muss. Actually during a quarter break while some kid was down there shagging punts for cash.

Nearing the goal line
Driving for another TD

Here's Brent Casteel Tip-toeing down the sideline for six

I took this video just hoping to get a shot of the Muss doing their "3rd Down Jump", but it also ended up being a play where DE Paul Kruger made a sweet interception of Max Hall. However, at that point, I stopped filming because I was so excited to watch the game.

Utah went on to win the game in convincing fashion, which meant that we had finished our regular season 12-0 and are pretty much a sure lock to go to a BCS bowl game. And as my personal rule is that if the Utes ever go undefeated and qualify for a BCS game then I have to go out on the field, we made our way down toward the field and prepared to make the 10 foot jump down from the student section.

A quick video of the immediate aftermath of the game.


Post-game celebration
We decided to stop and get pictures showing the crowd on the field

Down on the field
At first, we were just down there, looking for anyone we knew or anything going on.

MWC Champs!
Eventually we figured out that there was a truck over on the far side where they were going to award the conference championship trophy. So we headed over there and watched as Coach Whittingham, Brian Johnson, and Paul Kruger accepted the trophy.

Hanging out on the field

Hanging Out on the Field
Good times

Sean "The Legend" Smith
We eventually made our way off the field, which was kind of slow moving. Along the way, we passed DB Sean "The Legend" Smith who was up in the front row of the student section signing autographs and taking pictures with people and just having a good time.

Anyway, it was a really fun game, although perhaps not as euphoric as the first time we went undefeated and qualified for a BCS bowl. Definitely this team had more ups and downs in their undefeated season than the 2004 team, which certainly led to its share of heart attack finishes over both Oregon State and TCU. I'm excited to see what bowl we end up going to and considering making travel plans to join them. Guess we'll see.


CJ said...

Since BYU lost and I'm bitter (not really--Max Hall just sucks when it counts, apparently), I must say "itssssssssssssss", not "it'ssssssssss" :D :D

j said...

If you can't win at football at least you can win at grammer. :)

I've been working so hard at correcting inappropriate "its" and now I've gone too far in the other direction. :) If you'll notice I did get it right in one case earlier in the post. The later error has now been corrected.

j said...

Great. Now I'm losing at spelling as well. That should have been "grammar".

lovestrong said...

cool pics. excellent win. nice.

CJ said...

You're right--I had forgotten that your issue used to be "its" all the time. The progress is duly noted and lauded, my friend.

I'm curious to see how Utah does if they play a real team. (BYU clearly was an impostor this year.)

j said...

My gut says they're a good team, but nowhere near as good as the 2004 team, but the 2004 team never really played a decent team. Not sure what my preference would be in terms of opponents either. I'd like to see us win, but I'd hate to see us end up playing a crappy team from the ACC or Big East. If we played USC, I think that would be an interesting game, as we beat the only team they've lost to (Oregon State). And because the MWC beat up the Pac-10 pretty good this year.

The real travesty is our MWC bowl ties. Our #1 against the Pac-10's #4 or #5? And then the Poinsettia Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, and the New Mexico bowl? Craig Thompson has already botched our TV situation so that no one can watch us play. If he can't turn this high watermark year for the MWC into some better bowl games, I'd say it's time for him to go.

CJ said...

All good points. My little knowledge likewise indicates to me that the '04 team was significantly better. But you're right that the lost exposure has really hurt them (and all MWC teams). It's just hard to break through the cartel of big conferences b/c they're entrenched and have all the bargaining chips. It's not like business where you can willfully produce a better product at a cheaper price to compete; they control all the channels of distribution and have almost exclusive access to the very limited supply of top talent. Not easy to overcome.