When I first arrived here in Salt Lake City, I was inclined to disparage the sports sections of the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune. After all, there's BARELY any sports here, so what could they possibly write about - and how would any GOOD writers actually want to write here? But over time, both papers have had some impressive moments, so due credit is deserved.
Among other things, it's fantastic that lil' ol' Salt Lake is actually a two-paper town editorially (and the two papers could not have more disparate viewpoints) - even if the Joint Operating Agreement known as NAC is a competition-murdering monopoly from the business perspective. Can't have everything, I guess. Michael Lewis has already made one appearance here in the Hat Rack, but now I turn the spotlight on Kurt Kragthorpe.
Not only did Kragthorpe write a compelling game recap that Saturday's 33-31 BYU victory over Utah will go down as the "Holy War's" greatest game, but his preview that morning was particularly fresh.Kurt went to the rocket scientists, who populate Utah disproportionately thanks to ATK Thiokol and Hill AFB, and some brain surgeons to get their take on the game. The results are humorous:
The brain surgeons never describe something as "not football coaching." Just the same, Dr. Randy Jensen said, "One nice thing about brain surgery is on Saturday, you don't have to read about how you did on Friday. If I had to read the paper about, 'Oh, that wasn't a very nice incision; the approach to that tumor was pretty lousy . . .' It would be a whole different thing, living in a fishbowl as the head coach of a major university."
Read the entire article here. Thanks for rescuing us, Kurt, from a week of stale over-analysis on Utah radio, TV and print.
By the way, my take on the game... It was an incredible finish with Beck-to-Harline ranking with Montana-to-Clark in terms of exciting, improbable last plays of a game even if the stakes weren't the same. BYU deserved to win and Beck shook a major monkey off his back in the process. But that's about where my enthusiasm wanes.
BYU's breakout 10-win season under new head coach Bronco Mendenhall nets them exactly what? A bid in the Las Vegas bowl against 7-5 Oregon. Give me a break. What people here don't seem to get is that it's ONLY Mountain West football - and no one, no one, cares about this conference outside of Utah and a couple of its other strongholds (Las Vegas!?). Once every 10-20 years, a team like the '04 Utes will run the table, break into the BCS and make some noise. But, draw a real BCS opponent like USC, Michigan or Ohio State and NO Mountain West school has a prayer. (BYU's "National Championship" victory over Michigan in 1984 was over a decidedly mediocre 6-5 Wolverines' team.) Fortunately for Utah, they drew Pitt in 2004 in their BCS debut, allowing them to finish the season untarnished and un-national-titled. So what?
We'll all root for Boise State and Louisville to make some noise in the BCS this year on behalf of the little guys, but Utah-BYU will never be anything more than a skirmish in an obscure desert state. The rest of the country yawns at you (us? now that I live here?). Give me Michigan-Ohio State, Cal-Stanford, Harvard-Yale. And, of course, Northwestern-Illinois. Go Cats.
(Speaking of which, I'm so bummed that the 'Cats lost in the NCAA Soccer Elite Eight last weekend to UC Santa Barbara... but tonight's win over Miami in basketball in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge was redemptive. Too bad the 'Cats couldn't beat who? Cornell? Sheesh.)