20 October 2012


AP Photo/Michael Conroy

While I was right about the final outcome of this game, I was way off about some of my other predictions about this afternoon.

I said Notre Dame wouldn't be able to run on BYU. The Cougars gave up 270 yards on the ground for 6.3 yards a carry. Beyond that, Notre Dame had zero intention of passing the ball in the second half (three attempts through the air. THREE!) and BYU had no ability to stop them.

I said BYU would lose by 10 if the defense could play well. BYU's defense played about where I expected them to (just the other way around) and the offense was better that I expected.

I said the offense would struggle mightily, and for one half, I was wrong. 14 points in two quarters against an Irish defense that hadn't given up a touchdown since September is pretty great. Zero points in quarters three and four is not great. Williams played well, averaging 4.6 yards a carry, but didn't get many looks in the final quarter.

Other thoughts:

1. I am incredibly frustrated that after BYU's quarterback recruiting the last few years, we're left with fullback Riley Nelson as our starting QB. This is either insanely bad luck or bad coaching.

2. Despite the fact that it's not Riley's fault he's starting (probably), he is terrible. I counted four or five good passes from him today; the rest were pretty much garbage. The misses were way off (Hoffman running free in the Irish secondary in the fourth quarter) and most of the completions were not easy catches for the receivers. At least he took sacks today instead of throwing wounded ducks into triple coverage.

3. I'm tired of moral victories. BYU has a better fanbase than this. Getting 60,000 plus fans to every home game, getting great TV ratings for home games... we deserve more than a middling team. And if this keeps up in the long term, I expect fans to start jumping ship.

Thank goodness Utah isn't any good this year, either.

19 October 2012

BYU at Notre Dame

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's hard to write about a game you're 100% convinced will be a loss for your team.

For the first time in what seems like 20 years, Notre Dame is legitimately a top-10 team, though there are some weaknesses in that facade.

A defense giving up under 10 points a game is definitely something to crow about, and the Fighting Irish's 8.7 points allowed per contest is enough to be ranked second in the nation this year. Their running game is also potent, gaining an average of 181 yards per game on the ground. It's been said for decades, to win a championship the game of football, you need a good defense and a solid run game. Notre Dame seems set here.

Their passing game? Not so much. Sophomore quarterback Everett Golson has completed 58% of his passes for 968 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions on the year. Translation: he doesn't throw a whole lot, and he's not super great when he does. But hey, with a running game and defense like this one backing him up, the coaches don't need a whole lot, right?

That's the good news for BYU. If there's one thing we think we know about this Cougar defense, it's that they can stop the run. The pass, not so much. But it's hard to consistently get off long runs against this front seven, especially if they aren't worrying as much about the quarterback.

Riley Nelson is set to start tomorrow, and that means a vaguely competent quarterbacking performance speckled with moments of horror. Freshman running back Jamaal Williams shows promise, but hasn't really had a breakout game yet. And against Irish linebacker Manti Te'o waiting for him, I don't expect a big day from Jamaal.

So onward to tomorrow, a game in which I expect BYU to lose by 30 if the defense can't pull it together, and a game BYU will lose by 10.

Go Cougars!

13 October 2012

What a season


Six points scored against Boise State.

Six points scored against Utah State.

One is a loss, the other a win.

Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill cannot put the ball in the endzone against the Aggies, but ends up with a decent line and shows a lot of promise.

"Well, this season won't be one we talk about in years to come, but at least Taysom is getting a lot of reps in preparation for the years to come. These games will pay off immensely in 2013 and beyond," I thought.

Then? Hill is injured during a meaningless draw play at the very end of the Utah State game. It is reported that he needs knee surgery and will be out until next year.

So we're back to Riley and/or Lark playing at quarterback. Both are seniors, both have nothing to offer BYU in the years to come.

"Well, maybe Taysom will spend a lot of time working on his arm if he can't run as much, and maybe he'll come back next season a better passer. At least this defense will keep us in every game this year," I thought.

Then? Then Oregon State made BYU's secondary look silly en route to a 42-24 victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium today.

Backup Beaver QB Cody Vaz threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, often finding wide open receivers for long gains. When Oregon State scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, mostly through the air, it became apparent that this defense is not as good as we believed. This defense merely had never seen a good passing attack until this afternoon.

So what are we left with? A good offense (apparently Riley is healthy enough to pass as a starting QB again) and a good defense. I no longer believe BYU will be in every game they play this season. I fully expect blowouts at the hands of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, and San Jose State will give the Cougars a run for their money.


05 October 2012

Best two out of three?

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton - USU athletics

BYU and Utah State have split the last two games between them. The Aggies blew out BYU in Logan two years ago, and BYU barely squeaked out a last-second win in Provo last year.

Aggie head coach Gary Anderson has done a great job elevating the football program to respectability, as last season showed. A close loss to Auburn and other assorted heartbreakers showed Utah State could hang with most teams in the NCAA.

This year, the Aggies 4-1, having lost a squeaker to Wisconsin in Madison, and beating up on Mountain West teams Colorado State and UNLV by large margins. They also beat Utah in Salt Lake City, which would normally be fairly impressive, except Utah stinks this season.

And BYU lost to this stinky Utah team a couple weeks ago, so there's that.

My thoughts about tonight's game:

1. The Aggie players care about this game. They see beating BYU as another step towards becoming a legitimate FBS team. They will be ready for this game, both mentally and physically.

2. QB Chuckie Keaton is a rich man's Riley Nelson. He's got 1281 passing yards on the season with 11 TD's, completing 68% of those throws. He's also got 206 yards rushing. He's no Troy Smith, but he's good enough to make defenses account for his arm and his legs. I believe, however, that BYU's defense will be up to the task. I don't expect to see Keaton running free all night.

3. Utah State's corners are vulnerable. If Hill (assuming he plays) can attack them and connect with Hoffman and Apo on a regular basis, this will make it a lot easier for Williams and company to run.

4. The Cougars' offensive line will have their hands full with the Aggies' front seven. Their run defense is stout, and even if Williams is the next Doak Walker winner at BYU, if he's not getting good running lanes from the line, it could be a long night. And if the Aggies are able to shut the Cougar running game down, I'm not sure either Hill or Nelson are able to win on their arm alone.

In the end, I see a close game. BYU 24, Utah State 21. 

27 September 2012

Hawaii at BYU

Hawaii has a terrible defense, surrendering 49 points to a less-impressive-than-previously-thought USC in Week 1, and 69 points to Nevada in Week 3.

Their offense is also less than stellar, scoring 10 and 24 points each in the aforementioned games.

In a regular season, BYU should easily be able to roll this team, especially since it is in Provo.

But this year? A year in which Bronco is seriously considering starting Riley Nelson at quarterback tomorrow? One week after Nelson recorded a negative passer rating in Boise? A week after rumors came out that Nelson is dealing with severe back troubles? A week after Riley said he's probably lie to the coaches if they asked him if he thought he was healthy enough to play?

It says a lot about my current mindset that I believe even with BYU's fairly dominant defense and Hawaii's anemic offense, the Cougars could still easily lose tomorrow night of Riley Nelson is getting most of the snaps.

Now, do I believe Taysom Hill is the next Ty Detmer? Not really. I see Taysom as a healthier, more talented Riley; someone who can run effectively and pass less than effectively. But with BYU's defense, even a less effective passing QB should score enough points to win tomorrow.

All I want is a quarterback who can make every throw on the field with some consistency. The last one BYU has had was John Beck, and that was six years ago now. The Cougars have recruited and gotten a lot of big arms in the last few years (Heaps, Munns), and either these kids are busts or the coaching staff have had no idea how to develop them. There are some big names coming to BYU (Tanner Mangum, Billy Green), and I hope they can work out. Because this pattern of mediocre quarterbacks starting for the Cougars is becoming a trend.

My prediction: BYU 24, Hawaii 10. Nelson is given a short leash and Hill is able to do enough to get the win.

Combating the flop

Flopping is a big deal in the NBA. I hate it with a fiery passion, and think it demeans a game I otherwise love.

In the past, I have suggested the NBA implement a one-game suspension for flopping. Officials review game tape after the fact, and if there is an instance of egregious flopping, a suspension is handed out, the end.

From there, more flops equal stiffer penalties. Five flops? Two games. 10 flops? 3 games. And so on.

This was my idea four years ago.

Thankfully, David Stern has decided to at least pay lip service to the idea of eradicating this disease. He's announced that the NBA will begin fining players for flopping, and the determination as to what is a flop and what is not will be made after the game.

So I go one for two. I don't think fines will do enough to deter flopping unless the amounts are exorbitant. Manu Ginobili will flop in a heartbeat if he thinks it will help his team win a game, no matter that he'll be $10,000 poorer the next day.

Maybe a $10,000 hit is enough to deter rookies from flopping, but they aren't getting the benefit of those calls anyway.

We'll see if this changes anything. I fear this new directive will go the way of the microfiber ball and be forgotten very soon.

23 September 2012

I kinda hate Matt

You've probably seen a previous incarnation of the above video, in which a surname-less Matt is dancing with people in presumably every country on earth. The songs are catchy, the video moves well and it's a good time had by all.

They are the product of Matt Harding, a 35-year-old former video game designer who, since around 2003, has been traveling around the world making videos like these and uploading them to Youtube. Having garnered sponsorship from companies like Visa and Stride Gum, he's been able to do one of these every few years since, and the 2012 version is his fifth. He even went to Madagascar in his 2008 video.

Why do I hate this man, who appears to have a beautiful wife and baby and exists solely to bring the world together? Mainly because I'm petty and wish I could travel as much as he does.

But seriously, this is awesome.

21 September 2012

Where have I seen this before?


The starting quarterback struggles mightily, showing difficulty scoring points and even completing passes.

In the fourth quarter, BYU's coaching staff decides to bench the starter and bring in the backup. The backup engineers a 95-yard drive, mostly on the strength of a few runs and some iffy-looking passes, and punches it into the endzone in dramatic fashion.

This is where the similarities end, as Quarterback A won his game, while Quarterback B did not.

But it's eerie, right?

Another difference: Coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Riley Nelson would start the next game after his heroics against Utah State last fall, while the same Coach Mendenhall has announced Riley Nelson, this time the disgraced starter, will start the next game again over freshman backup Taysom Hill.

Why? I can explain it only by assuming Bronco loves Riley's heart and grit, which are admirable.

But if heart and grit were all you needed to be a college football star, Rudy would be a Heisman winner.

As I wrote in November,

[Riley is] enough to beat bad teams, will never, ever be the reason BYU beat a great team, or even a very good team. His throwing ability has improved this season from last, but he still has low arm strength and extremely questionable decision-making skills.

Not much has changed, sadly. There are rumors that he has a back injury, but even healthy, Nelson was never the guy to lead BYU to the next level.

And even injured, it takes a special quarterback to deliver a -4.8 quarterback rating during a nationally televised ESPN game.

I liked what I saw from Taysom. I'd love to see his passing improve, but he's a better runner than Nelson has ever been. He's quicker, faster and stronger, and he has better ability to make guys miss. None of his completed passes were particularly pretty, but he had some zip on the ball, and I think his misses can be corrected.

His touchdown run, where he dragged three defenders into the endzone? A thing of beauty.

In other news, Bronco's decision to go for a two-point conversion last night has drawn a lot of ire from fans.

And in the context of trying to win the game, they are 100 percent right.

But in the context of the long-term future of BYU? Not as much.

Consider this scenario. You have a freshman quarterback who has seen limited time on the field this season. He has just engineered a potentially game-winning drive on the road, against a good defensive team.

You tell Tayom, "Son, go out there and win us this game. You have one play to determine success or failure; go succeed."

And you sit back and watch.

Will he implode under the pressure? Will he panic?

Or will he run right, keeping his eyes on the endzone while forcing defenders to account for his ability to scramble, and throw a dart to an open BYU receiver?

Sure, a Bronco linebacker made a super-impressive play to stretch out and tip that pass, but the play was solid.

The play showed me what I want to know about Hill. Is he afraid of the big moment? No sir. Will he wilt under pressure? Nope. If he can develop the passing ability to keep defenses from keying in on his running, he'll be a good one at BYU.

And learning that meant more to me than getting a meaningless win at Boise State on a Thursday night in September.

So please, Bronco. Start Taysom next week. Start him every game this season. You may lose some games you might have won with Riley. It doesn't matter. This season is the Poinsettia Bowl, or worse, for this Cougar team. Give Hill the time and reps he needs to be a special player in 2013. Give him the experience to be ready when Texas and Utah and Notre Dame come to Provo next fall.

Help 2013 be the best season it can be by sacrificing your love for Riley Nelson.


19 September 2012

BYU vs. Boise State: A Rivalry?

Steve Conner/Icon SMI

BYU plays at Boise State tomorrow night.

On first glance, to a college football fan who doesn't really follow either team closely, this looks like a great matchup.

The Broncos have amassed a 74-7 record under head coach Chris Petersen over the last seven years. They've received an invite to the Big East and will be joining the BCS conference in 2013.

BYU has had five 10-win seasons over the last six years and managed to pull off a great TV deal with ESPN.

Two storied programs, right? Two juggernauts of the non-BCS faction in college football, battling to prove who's better.

BYU is 2-1, losing a close heartbreaker to PAC-12 rival Utah.

Boise lost a nail-biter to #13-ranked Michigan State in Week 1, while putting up 40 against Miami (OH) on Saturday.

And the two teams will meet for 12 straight seasons starting tomorrow, establishing what many think will become a rivalry.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and no doubt many people are expecting a high-scoring, exciting matchup.

Let's just say I don't see it happening that way. This BYU offense is not good. They could not run up the middle against Weber State. They struggled to get anything going for three quarters against a Utah team missing three fixtures on defense.

If Boise's defense is any good, and holding the Spartans to 17 points indicates it is, they'll stack the box, assign someone to stick to Riley and dare him to beat them deep. (P.S. this is what good defenses have done to both Riley and Max Hall for the last six years.)

If Riley can take advantage of this and consistently find Hoffman and Apo (4 catches for 31 yards in three games), then Boise will be forced to adjust and I like the Cougars' chances.

If not, it's going to be a long night for the offense.

The good news is that BYU's defense is the stoutest it's been since 2006. I didn't like either of the TD passes they gave up to Hays on Saturday (both not particularly well-thrown balls), but overall the secondary is good, the defensive line is strong and the linebackers are scary.

Prediction: BYU 17, BSU 20.

17 September 2012

8 of the last 11

The Daily Herald

Is it really a rivalry when one team has only won the game three times in the last 11 years?

BYU came out scared and flat, as they always do versus Utah, and it hurt them a lot. By the time they pulled it together, it was too late, and not even the MUSS gifting the Cougars a relatively easy field goal to tie as time expired was enough.

As I've written time and time before, Riley Nelson is fool's gold. He will never been the kind of quarterback to destroy good defenses. Even in his senior season, with almost two full years of starting at the position, he can't make more than a handful of throws consistently. He can't read defenses. His running okay, I guess, but not something opposing defensive coordinators fear.

Give the reins to Taysom. This season is a loss, anyway. He may turn out to be another bust like Heaps (who I still believe can be great at Kansas), but Riley is the bus to Nowheresville. I made the same argument in favor of Heaps last season, and it holds true this season. Give Hill a lot of reps in the games against Boise State, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Give him starts against Idaho and San Jose State. The more real-world time he gets on the field this season, the better he'll be in years 2, 3 and 4. And if he's terrible, I'd at least like to know now.

The winner of our Guess the Score contest is Matt Bat Head, who eerily predicted

"24-21 BYU-Sorenson comes back and kicks a 60 yard field goal as time expires. Hoffman goes for 85 yards."

The last play of the game certainly was a field goal, and the final score was indeed 24-21.

Hoffman ended the night with 120 yards receiving.

Matt, your check is in the mail.

13 September 2012

12 September 2012

Holy War, 2012 edition

Video courtesy BYUTV 

Once again it's September, and once again it feels way too early to be gearing up for a BYU-Utah showdown on the gridiron. I miss the days when this game often meant the difference between a conference championship and finishing third, but there's still plenty of emotion and anticipation as far as I'm concerned.

Who'd have thought at this time last year that we'd be going into the 2012 matchup with two different starting quarterbacks? Both Jake Heaps and Utah QB Jordan Wynn are done with football at the schools they started with; Heaps is now at Kansas (sitting out a year, as per NCAA transfer regulations) and Wynn announced his retirement from the sport yesterday.

In Heaps' place is Utah State transfer and pretty boy extraordinaire, Riley Nelson, while Wynn has handed the reins to Jon Hays, a senior who was never good enough to beat Wynn on the depth chart.

Let's just say neither of these guys are world-beaters. After Wynn was injured during the Utah State game last week, Hays came in and completed 12 of his 26 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in the loss. From the highlights, he has a kinda weird sidearm delivery and doesn't seem terribly accurate. I don't imagine he'll get much done against BYU's improved secondary.

There's a possibility we'll see a lot from Ute freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, who threw a 38-yard touchdown strike against the Aggies and sees to be pretty talented.

Utah's running game struggled against Utah State, mostly due to a poor performance by the offensive line. And word is that the Ute defense, normally very strong, is weak at linebacker and corner. Senior tackle Star Lotulelei is an NFL talent on the defensive line, but there's only so much he can do.

So while there are some concerns about BYU's own offensive line, it seems the flaws for the Cougars are not nearly as glaring as those for Utah. I feel confident about BYU's receiving corp, running backs and the entire defense.

I expect to see several trick plays from Utah (as is the pattern of the last few years), and the score to be a lot closer than my analysis so far would indicate.

BYU has been better than this in the past, and still lost to Utah teams that were pretty bad. Utah always comes out ready to play, amped up, excited, focused, while the Cougars are often timid, rattled and unable to match their opponents' intensity.

From what I've seen, Riley has no fear (for better or for worse) and inspires his teammates. On the defensive end, Kyle Van Noy is always in beast mode, and will keep the defense locked in. I expect this BYU team to show better in the first quarter than they have in the past, and the Cougars will win.

Prediction: 24-13 BYU.

As is tradition, leave your predicted score in the comments below, along with how many receiving yards Cody Hoffman will get, for a chance to win a $10 Amazon.com gift card!

Go Cougars!

31 August 2012

Now that's a home opener

Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo

I'm mentioned this a few times before, but the 2011 Utah game really shell-shocked me, and most of the fanbase, I'd reckon. To have the first game at LaVell Edwards Stadium end in a completely blowout against your rival was pretty disheartening. While Washington State is no Utah, experiencing a 30-6 win over a team with some buzz behind it during the preseason is still nice.

My thoughts:

1. The new replay boards are great. Very nice upgrade; good size and quality.

2. Whoever was running the replay boards was terrible last night. Super slow-motion replays that couldn't be finished before the next play started, skipping a lot of crucial replays entirely, messing up on the down and yardage display. It was bad.

3. I liked Washington State's QB. Tall, did a good job escaping BYU's pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. Sure, none of his work translated into touchdowns, and he benefited a lot from massive holding by his offensive line, but I like him anyway.

4. Riley has improved. He was hitting some fairly difficult passes with ease last night, and while his receivers made some great plays on the ball to help him out, the end results were completions. He's got to settle down on the running, though. He rushed 12 times for 18 yards, got popped more than once, and none of those rushing attempts were sacks. These were just times he decided to take off and failed.

5. The hurry-up worked really well. Washington State seemed confused by it and Riley was making quick reads to move the chains.

6. Kaneakua Friel was amazing. Where did we get a big, strong tight end with good hands? Last season it seems like BYU had 5 tight ends, all tall and skinny without exceptionally good speed or hands. Friel ended with 101 yards receiving and two touchdowns, one of which he punctuated by running over a Washington State defensive back to get to the endzone.

7. For the defense to keep a Mike Leach offense out of the endzone entirely was impressive. I know it was his first game and he was using someone else's recruits, but the scheme alone can be confusing and I felt like BYU's defense did a great job sniffing out screens and managing the misdirection plays. Holding the Wazzu rushing attack to -5 yards was a nice bonus. Van Noy (two sacks) was in beast mode as always, and Kaveinga's pick was awesome. Jordan Johnson highlighted a legit secondary in my eyes. These guys are fast, hit hard and wrap up well most of the time.

8. The offense has got to punch in scores from the 10. I don't know what happened in the second half, but faced with several excellent opportunities to score touchdowns, Riley and Co. came away with field goals. Against Washington State it doesn't really matter, but against Utah or Georgia Tech it may be the difference between a win and a loss.

9. Taysom Hill looked great on his touchdown throw. He clearly had an open lane to run for a first down, but instead he kept his head up and decided to just throw a touchdown pass instead. If he's the future of BYU quarterbacking, I approve.

10. I liked how the offense spread the ball around. Seven guys caught passes and six players recording rushes, not including Riley. Maybe that was a function of Hoffman sitting most of the game with a quad contusion, but if opposing defenses have to worry about any number of guys getting the ball, it makes their job that much harder.

In all, a good win against what I hope is a decent team. Let's clean up the red zone worries and be ready for Utah in two weeks.

30 August 2012

29 August 2012

Washington State at BYU, August 30, 2011

So apparently I couldn't be bothered to blog anything all summer, despite the fact that there were Olympics and some interesting NBA trades happening from time to time.

In my defense, my current job requires me to work weird hours, so I wasn't often home for NBC's nightly Olympics coverage. And as far as the NBA goes, most of the aforementioned trades and signings made me hate the NBA a little bit, so there's that.

But college football! There's something I can't ignore, no matter how lazy I am.

To preface my thoughts on the game in Provo tomorrow, and the entire BYU season, let me say this season I have the lowest expectations for the team I've had since 2007. This is a combination of a few factors:

1. I don't trust Riley Nelson or his abs. Sure, he made some great plays against Tulsa and Hawaii to end the season, and caused some good things to happen against TCU, but there were a lot of wounded ducks and terrible decisions mixed into those games. I consider him a homeless man's Tebow (Florida version); a quarterback who can run sort of well and pass sort of well. His best asset is his determination and fire and belief that he and his hair are awesome. Every quarterback needs that, but I'd rather see it in someone who has the tools needed to be an elite player.

2. The running game is largely unproven. Quezada has transferred, Alisa has potential but only averaged 1.6 yards per carry against TCU last fall, the only real test he faced as a back. David Foote is supposed to be improved from last season, where he was great in garbage time against 3rd-string players, but I don't feel like I can trust any news from fall camp. Which is point number

3. I don't believe much of anything I hear from fall camp. The summer of 2011 has made me very cynical when it comes to news from camps in general. If you listened to the BYU coaches 12 months ago, the offense was going to average 50 points a game and the defense would shut out 10 of the 12 teams they played. Instead, the Cougars barely squeaked out a win against a bad Ole Miss team (2-10) and lost to Texas (7-5) before an epic beatdown at LaVell Edwards Stadium to the Utes. The defense gave up big passing and running plays from Utah, showcasing weakness in the secondary and in the middle of the line. That was that, the season was over. Beating up on Idaho and New Mexico State as nice and all, but it was clear that the 2011 BYU squad wasn't any better than the 2010 or 2009 teams.

And honestly, I don't expect anything to be different this season. I expect good showings against Weber State and San Jose State, but a lot of struggling versus Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Utah and Boise State.

I'll be attending three home games this fall, and taking time off work to watch the rest of them. I still believe BYU can become an elite team in college football, but this isn't the year it'll happen.

Quick thoughts on Washington State

In this Cougar vs. Cougar matchup, I see the blue and white winning. Washington's offense is supposed to be improved from last year, where they averaged 30 points and 322 yards passing per game. The defense, however, gave up 32 points per game, so the team ended with a 4-8 record in 2011.

Considering BYU's strength is its defense and the offense is fairly weak, I see a relatively even game tomorrow. BYU's defense will do a good job limiting, but not shutting down the Cougars, and the offense will score enough to win.

Prediction: BYU 28, Washington State 24.

25 June 2012

NBA 2011-2012 season retrospective

The lockout-shortened 2011-2012 NBA season has ended. LeBron James has won his first Larry O'Brien trophy, and the long wait for next year has begun.

Some of my thoughts about the last few months:

1. A lot of NBA is about help and circumstance. If LeBron starts his career in Los Angeles with Shaq in 2000 he wins several rings by this point. If Kobe gets drafted by the Cavs in 2004, he has zero. LeBron needed the contributions of Wade, of Bosh and even the help of Mike Miller to win it all.

2. Durant will get his rings, assuming he gets similar help. Dude averaged 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (!) and six rebounds in the Finals. It's not really his fault Westbrook was largely bad (absent one amazing performance) or that Harden couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Trade supporting casts and I think Durant wins Round 1 of this budding rivalry.

3. The Lakers are done. Kobe is too much an alpha dog, and getting paid way too much money ($27 and $30 million the next two seasons) to take a backseat and let someone else lead the team. He simply doesn't have it in him to be the leader of a championship-level team anymore. And so he'll keep shooting 40%, taking 25 shots a game and submarining his team's chances to win.

4. As impressive as Chris Paul was this season, I don't think his style of offense where he controls the ball 95% of the time is viable for a championship squad. Derrick Rose tried it with the Bulls last season and the Heat just shut him down and that was it. Basketball needs more ball movement to work, in my opinion.

5. Deron Williams very quietly averaged 21 points and 9 assists for New Jersey. The Nets went 22-44. I wonder if Utah looks any better now.

6. Speaking of the Jazz, I have no idea what to expect from this team this fall. So much depends on the development of three super young players in Favors, Hayward and Kanter. CJ Miles is not under contract, which is good, in my opinion, but I think the team needs another legit shooter, game in and game out.

7. The Celtics are done, and I don't think the Rose-lead Bulls are getting past the Heat anytime soon. Barring a sudden upswing in Atlanta or Orlando or somewhere, it's Miami's conference to lose for the next bit.

Anyway, it was a great season with some highly entertaining playoff basketball to cap it off. Here's to another one in a few weeks.

17 April 2012

Michael Jordan

Great commercial from ESPN.

31 January 2012

In case you missed it

This happened last night.

12 January 2012

The Clippers are bad

Don Ryan / Associated Press 

As part of my New Year's Resolution to only watch NBA games if I'm on my new elliptical machine (boy can I stand to lose some weight), I watched the Clippers/Blazers game while working my quads last night.

And boy are the Clippers not great.

This doesn't feel like news, considering the Clippers have been terrible for as long as I can remember (save the 2005-06 season where they made the conference semifinals), but with the talent they have this season, it's weird.

Blake Griffin flying around, blocking shots and dunking on people's heads, DeAndre Jordan doing much of the same, with Caron Butler holding it down with shooting and defense and Chris Paul directing the offense? Add in an older Chauncey Billups and you have a pretty decent starting five, if not great.

But instead, they're bad. I can't tell if Paul is just injured, but he recorded only three assists last night. I have no idea how you can play with The Blake Show and get three assists, but wow.

As my Quote of the Week indicates, Simmons believes the problem is with Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, who has a stellar 46% winning percentage for his career. From my vantage point, it did seem that the Clippers' offense was stagnant and involved poor ball movement, but my understanding was that Paul was the entire offense in New Orleans, so why can't he just run the show now?

It's a conundrum. Of course, with the season being as jam-packed with games as it is, we may already be seeing the effects of fatigue on some players. Combine a short training camp with weeks where you play five games in seven nights, and problems may arise.

It's be something to watch for sure this season.

11 January 2012

Retro post: Star Wars: Episode 1

This trailer was a big stinkin' deal in 1998. It's one of the first trailers I ever remember downloading from the interwebz, and I must have watched it 300 times with my brothers. The trailer represented so much promise, so much awesomeness and a whole lotta lightsabers to the 14-year-old me.

The today me sees this film for the pile of rotten that it is. Terrible acting, simplistic plot, Jar Jar Binks, etc. etc. etc.

The 1999 me saw Episode 1 eight or nine times in theaters.

In theaters!

Anyway, watching the trailer today, it's apparent that there are some really good pieces in there. That the execution was so poor is just a huge testament to Lucas' ineptitude as a director.

Anyone else remember watching this as a kid?

05 January 2012

BYU vs. Tulsa bowl highlights

BYU vs Tulsa Armed Forces Bowl 2011 from Furious Monkey on Vimeo.

First half was ugly, but a come from behind win is always fun.

04 January 2012

Jimmer in the NBA

It looks like he'll stick around. Jimmer definitely struggles defensively, but when he can consistently hit deep shots, and has a quick trigger to go with it, with good handles and passing, he'll be a commodity for most NBA teams.