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Dear Utah, You Have Officially Been Jimmered

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Uncategorized

Jimmer Fredette’s brother T.J. has always said he is amazing (see rapper T.J. Fredette’s song that is, interestingly enough, titled “Amazing”) — and after seeing Jimmer put up 39 points on UNLV last week in Las Vegas only to follow it up with the madness that was last night in Salt Lake City, I think I have to agree.

Fortunately for me I am not alone on this one. Jimmer and the BYU Cougars were the lead on SportsCenter last night, beginning the show with highlights of the BYU-Utah game, only to be directly followed by an interview Scott Van Pelt of ESPN had with Jimmer.

Despite embarrassingly missing a wide-open dunk late in the second half of last night’s game, Jimmer was able to do just about everything else. He had 47 points (32 of which came in the first half alone — more than any other Mountain West player has scored in an entire game this season), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and, for good measure, a 42-foot shot at the buzzer to complete the run Jimmer BYU made to end the first half.

My favorite part about last night was not only his stellar performance, but the attention he is finally receiving from the media outside of Utah. The Twitter universe was flipping out as soon as the halftime buzzer sounded, and the nation began spreading the word that the All-American guard out of BYU had 32 points… in the first half.

I recognized that ESPN and CBS analysts like Andy Katz, Scott Van Pelt, Jalen Rose, Billy Packer, current NBA players, and even a few underground rappers I had never heard of were all tweeting about the show Jimmer was putting on in Salt Lake City. For example, I am sitting here eating lunch this very second listening to a group of girls (yes, females) talk about how Jimmer’s half-court shot was the #1 play on Sports Center last night. With an appearance on College Basketball Live late last night and an interview with Dan Patrick this morning on ESPN Radio, it is safe to say that Jimmer and the 10th ranked Cougars are receiving some well deserved attention.

Maybe the best part of last night was that all this took place in Salt Lake City — at the Huntsman Center on the Utes’ home court. Jimmer’s 49 points last year against Arizona was as impressive as any game I had seen from a college player. He set a personal career high in points and set the BYU all-time single-game scoring record. But last night, the same night teammate Jackson Emery passed former BYU great Danny Ainge as BYU’s all-time steals leader, against the Cougars long-time rival the University of Utah, on the Utes’ home court, his 47 points in 35 minutes of playing time could not have been sweeter.

Dear Utah, you have officially been Jimmered.

LeBron James

SPORTS: Podcast: College Football Wrap-Up, NFL Playoffs, The Rise of the Heat

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

Back from their holiday hiatus, the PB&J Report crew return to the palatial Rhombus studios for a look ahead to the upcoming 2011 sports year — including the conclusion of the college football season, the impending NFL playoffs and the ominous rise of the hated Miami Heat. What does it all mean? We’ll find out in the next 12 months. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 033 — The PB&J Report (2011.01.05)

89

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Uncategorized

Eighty-nine University of Connecticut women’s basketball team wins later and the PB&J Report crew still believe that, given a month to practice together and get in shape, they could take the UConn women in a game at the palatial Rhombus courts (a.k.a. 24 Hour Fitness).

Rumor is our very own Ben Wagner is just tired of the publicity UConn is getting all together:

“24 hours of ESPN overload later, I still don’t care about the UConn win streak, and I don’t know anyone who does.” — 12:26 a.m. on December 22nd via Twitter

You out there, Geno Auriemma? You hear that? We want to take you on.

We win, UConn gets pulled from all ESPN broadcasts for the rest of the year. By the rare chance we lose, however, we have decided in advance to nominate the host of The PB&J Report himself, Jake Welch, to cover ball boy duties at UConn for a minimum of one lifetime. It is a chance here at Rhombus that we are willing to take.

Geno, you name the time and day. We’ll bring the Cactus Coolers.

Who do you think would win in The PB&J Report vs. UConn “Game of the Century”? Make your voice heard by voting in the poll below!


It Might Sound Crazy, But It Ain't No Lie, Robert, Bye, Bye, Bye

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Uncategorized

The news is in. Not only was the entire offensive staff for the BYU football team released this afternoon by head coach Bronco Mendenhall and encouraged to search for job opportunities elsewhere, but my fellow colleagues here at Rhombus Magazine are starting a boy band. We plan to dedicate our first cover of the ground-breaking hit “Bye Bye Bye” from none other than ‘N Sync to BYU’s very own Robert Anae.

The news broke about 3:00 p.m. today from the Deseret News. Funny enough however, at 5:41 p.m. when I went to check the article before writing my thoughts here, the page that broke the news officially can “no longer be found” or “may not exist.”

Really? Is this going to be a major let-down to BYU football faithful everywhere? Let’s face it — Robert Anae has been a suspect (to say the least) play-caller for years. Thanks to a few questionable games he called this season without veteran quarterback Max Hall or running back Harvey Unga there to bail him out, Anae’s ineptitude was on full display and, thankfully for us, Bronco realized this… or so we thought.

I was on cloud nine for the last two hours. Robert Anae, finally gone. This is what BYU needed. I have been saying it for the last two years repeatedly. Not only was he asked to leave, but the entire offensive coaching staff was asked to seek employment elsewhere while Bronco evaluated each member. In my opinion, this could not have come at a better time for the Cougars.

We have a promising future on the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Jake Heaps, wide receivers McKay Jacobson and Cody Hoffman, and the entire running back core returning for at least one more season. Why not put the best possible coaching staff together now when the team looks to be making big steps onto the national scene going independent next season? Reassessing things on the offensive side of the ball is exactly what Bronco needs to do.

Many believe that quarterback coach and former BYU quarterback Brandon Doman would be the perfect man for the job. He has a brilliant young mind, is liked by the players, and is said to be BYU’s best recruiter as well. The story that broke the news this afternoon also mentioned that each coach is encouraged to reapply, hinting that Doman could be hired back on to the staff to be the Cougars new offensive coordinator.

Before we determine anything else, we need to clarify if the report that “is no longer” is valid.  For our sake and the sake of the BYU football program, let’s hope that it is (otherwise our future smash cover of “Bye Bye Bye” may have to wait.) We will keep you posted as we receive updates, but until then, I want to know your thoughts:

1) Good or bad move to get rid of Robert Anae?

2) Who would you like to see take over the play calling for the Cougars?

3) Or more importantly, how do you think BYU will fare next season with the new independent schedule in 2011-2012?

———————

UPDATE: 8:24 P.M.

BYU has issued a statement through football sports information director Brett Pyne regarding reports in The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News and elsewhere that coach Bronco Mendenhall met with members of his offensive staff this morning and advised them to pursue other employment opportunities outside BYU.

Here is the statement issued by BYU:

Any reports that BYU football coaches have been released from the staff are inaccurate. BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall has begun the evaluation process of the recently completed season. As part of the process, Mendenhall met with offensive coaches and indicated a restructuring of the offensive staff is being evaluated. Mendenhall told the coaches this includes possible changes in assignments and personnel. The review will continue after the holidays and has no specific timetable.

What to Watch Tonight

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

Despite a very meaningful Thursday night NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans, a college football rivalry game between Arizona St. and Arizona, and my intramural bowling league championship playoff that begins tonight on ESPN 8 (The Ocho), the game everyone will be watching in t-minus 45 minutes is going to be the NBA matchup between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The great return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Quicken Loans Arena.  A possible Eastern Conference Finals match-up teaser between an 11-8 Miami Heat team and the 7-10 Cleveland Cavaliers. A heated rivalry that dates back to, well, just this past summer. Or, all my kidding aside, the significant return of the all-time leading scorer in Cleveland franchise history, Lebron James. (This is including former Cavalier greats such as Craig Ehlo, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, and even the legendary Shawn Kemp.) I think it’s safe to say LeBron James was a big deal in Cleveland.

Then “The Decision” happened, on national television, when we saw Lebron backstab his hometown and former team and take his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat. It was following that announcement that we saw LeBron James jerseys being burned in the streets, bars full of men and women weeping their title hopes away, and GM Dan Gilbert writing a letter to LeBron, Cavalier fans and the rest of the world promising a championship title in the next 5 years. (Good luck with that.)

Needless to say, tonight’s game in Cleveland is said to possibly be the biggest and greatest booing performance by any one city in any sporting event, ever. On the headline of ESPN.com earlier this week we read that the Miami Heat would not release their travel plans, due to the fact that an ambush of the team plane or bus would probably be likely once they arrived in Cleveland. Quicken Loans Arena security is going overboard to ensure that the rowdy and ruthless crowd does not become a dangerous one.

I am personally interested, though, to see how LeBron responds. He has yet to step up in big time pressure situations in the past, and I do not see tonight being any different. I actually think the Cavaliers will win the game outright despite being significantly less talented and six-point underdogs at home. Each player for the Cavaliers will be playing the game of their lives and have every single voice in the crowd behind them.

I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was at stake tonight.  A game consisting of all these unique ramifications will probably not occur again in sports for a very long time.  Take the time this evening to grab a drink, pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.

BYU Utah

SPORTS: 48 Hours Later: BYU-Utah

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

A delayed flight from LAX to Salt Lake City due to a blizzard, unable to locate my car in the airport parking lot due to the same blizzard, driving over an hour at 20-30 mph over the 20 miles from the airport to Sandy due to the same blizzard, having to pull off the road and stay in a Comfort Inn over night because I could not make it home due to the same blizzard, and an awful first day back at school after an infinitely better and warmer Thanksgiving break in Southern California later, I can now sit down to reminisce about the BYU-Utah football game that took place about 48 hours ago.

Stats that need to be thrown around:

1) BYU’s record under Bronco Mendenhall when leading after three quarters prior to Saturday’s BYU-Utah game?  48-1. Last loss was in 2005 vs. TCU in overtime, 50-51.

2) Not since BYU’s 23-20 overtime loss to Boston College in 2006 had the Cougars lost a game decided by 7 points or fewer. That is absurd.

3) Bronco Mendenhall’s November record?  20-3 — all losses to Utah (2005, 2008, 2010).

4) Jake Heaps on Saturday: 22/37 passing for 228 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception.  Utah’s Wynn/Cain QB combo: 15/37 passing for 207 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions.

If you were to ask me who won this game after hearing about the QB play and BYU’s 13-0 lead entering the fourth quarter (especially after seeing Bronco’s career stats in that regard), I would have picked BYU 100 times out of 99. No typo there — I would have been that sure of it.

So how is it that Utah pulled out the victory over BYU 17-16 last Saturday? Was I dreaming? What does this mean for the future of each program and the rivalry? Knowing I probably needed a weekend to think this game over and let it settle in so that I am not overly biased toward BYU and a few suspect plays that occurred late in the game, I decided to wait till today to address these questions.

Unfortunately for Ute fans, it has only gotten worse.

My response in regards to how in the world Utah got the victory on Saturday? Luck, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it. I will call it luck. There were four particular plays that prove this to be a valid conclusion:

1) Early in the fourth quarter with Utah trailing 13-3, the great Jordan Wynn threw up a bomb down the sideline to DeVonte Christopher. The only problem with this play was that BYU’s Brandon Bradley was all over Christopher. In fact, his coverage was so good that he was able to deflect the ball… right into Christopher’s hands for a touchdown.

2) Following a BYU field goal that put the Cougars up 16-10 with about 7 minutes left in the game, the Utes needed to drive 80-plus yards to score a touchdown. Three brilliant defensive plays later from BYU (or three terrible Jordan Wynn balls that missed receivers by a mile — however you wish to look at it, I look at it both ways), Utah was forced to punt in hopes that their defense could get a stop and give their offense another chance to win the game. Fortunately for the Utes, they shanked a punt about 20 yards that happened to find the leg of a BYU player who was blocking a few yards from the sideline.  The Utes recovered the fumble and got the ball back with great field position and plenty of time on the clock.

3) Two stellar Jordan Wynn passes later, Brandon Bradley intercepted a pass that, in my opinion, was thrown to one of three BYU defenders, not a Ute wide receiver. The instant I saw Bradley intercept the pass I stood up off my couch and yelled at him four or five times to GET DOWN. The last thing I wanted was the Utes to catch some lucky break and have Bradley fumble the ball he had just intercepted right back to Utah. Of course, he fumbled the ball right back to Utah.

4) Fortunately for Cougar fans, after seeing the replay of this specific fumble mentioned above, we had no need to fear as it was very clear Bradley’s knee was on the ground well before the Utah player forced the fumble. I was not even sweating it. I had no doubt. Three different camera angles, almost a full second of knee-ground contact before the ball was stripped, no problem. BYU ball, 100 times out of 98. Interestingly enough though, despite the advantage of video replay — in slow motion, viewed multiple times — the booth review official ruled the play a fumble, and the Utes were given the ball. At that point there was no question, they were going to score. They did, and won the game 17-16. BYU was not meant to win this game.

To the Ute fans that want to argue that this was actually not luck, I want to ask them what the odds are of Bradley deflecting a perfectly played ball upwards right to the falling Christopher for a touchdown. I want to know what the odds are of the Ute punter shanking one of many punts he kicked all game directly off the BYU player’s leg with such impeccable timing. I want to know the odds that an interception is fumbled right back to the same team that had just turned the ball over — in the same play.

I looked this one up to help you out. It is less than 2 percent.

I want to know, first, the odds that the review booth official assigned to this BYU/Utah game did not have a brain, and then, second, the odds that despite clear evidence the play should be reversed, he decided to call the play as stands. How many times has this happened? Two or three maybe? Ever? Then, after all is said and done and you have calculated the precise numbers in each of these situations, I want you to tell me the odds that they all happen, in the same game, in the same quarter, benefiting the same team. I am 100 percent serious. I want a number.

Aside from dwelling on the past, I decided it would be better for me to take what I learned from this game and figure out what it means for the future of the programs at BYU and Utah. I was not being sarcastic throughout the entire article in reference to Jordan Wynn by accident. If he is the future of the Utah football program at quarterback, then the move to the Pac-12 next season could be a brutal one. He has yet to blossom into a QB that you can trust and that can make big plays, and he definitely has not shown up for any big games (see TCU, Notre Dame, BYU).

I do not and will never blame Utah for bailing on the Mountain West Conference to accept the Pac-12 invitation and, despite the attitude of the majority of this article, I actually will root for Utah to do well in the Pac-12 and represent the MWC and smaller schools in the best way they possibly can. Unfortunately for them, however, I do not foresee anything great in the near future.

BYU, in my opinion, has a much brighter future. The way Jake Heaps played Saturday in his first ever BYU-Utah rivalry game, and considering it was at Rice-Eccles Stadium, was impressive to say the the least. Even after the Cougars found themselves down one point with a couple minutes to go and after two absurd play calls from Robert Annae to start the potentially game-winning drive, Heaps stepped up and looked as poised and composed as any quarterback in the nation playing at any level. His arm is there, his accuracy is there, the IQ is there — but what I had not seen prior to this game was how he would perform in crunch time.

He stepped up. Big time.

Oh yeah, I do not think I mentioned this either, he is still a 19-year-old true freshman.  The independent schedule that BYU will face in the near future will make it tough to win every game, but one thing I do not doubt is that Jake Heaps gives the Cougars the best chance to do just that.

Many people are wondering what will happen to the BYU-Utah rivalry. I personally do not think it is going anywhere. Yes, it is true that both schools have parted ways and left the MWC, but if last Saturday’s game showed us one thing, it is that both schools — players and fans united — care about this game more than any other. I do not see that changing whether they meet in November or September.

To end, I would like to share one last final stat, perhaps the best of them all:

1) BYU-Utah in the last 15 years: 12 games decided by 7 points or less, the most by any two teams that have faced one another in the nation.

I learned that this is what counts. This is what the rivalry is all about.

Black Friday for College Football (Literally)

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Uncategorized

There is probably nothing I could have asked for more on a Black Friday following turkey day than seeing the #1, #2, and #4 teams in college football play on national television. Unfortunately for me, as the day has recently concluded, I am able to say with 100 percent certainty that this Black Friday, November 26th of the year 2010, will go down as the worst day in my college football history.

Before the day began, we saw a possibility for one of two non-automatic qualifying schools (#3 TCU or #4 Boise St.) to jump either #1 Oregon or #2 Auburn and have a shot at playing for the national title. Oregon found themselves facing a a tough Arizona opponent, but were expected to win the game without much of a problem despite their recent struggles against Cal Berkeley.

Auburn, though, was set to play the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, and many analysts (including myself) predicted Alabama to pull the upset. If this were to have happened, the nation would have been looking at the likely chance that a non-automatic qualifying school like TCU or Boise St. would be given an opportunity to play in the national title game for the first time in the BCS era.

What did we all see instead? An early Christmas present given to the BCS and everything the flawed system stands for.

If I were the BCS commissioner and could have scripted the way each of these three football games ended today so that the system already in place would stay in tact, I probably could not have asked for a better outcome. I would have hoped for an incredible performance from Heisman Trophy candidate Cameron Newton and the Auburn Tigers, and then gotten more than that in a most impressive 24-point come-from-behind victory over Alabama, 28-27.

I would have asked for a dominating performance from the Oregon Ducks and their offense to show any doubters from last week that they are the real deal. They succeeded without any problems by beating Arizona 48-29 and, more importantly, outscoring the Wildcats 34-10 in the second half.

Then, if all else had failed, I would have prayed to God for a miraculous upset from the Nevada Wolf Pack over Boise St. to prove to all the small school and underdog homers out there that they really just aren’t that good. That happened, and in the most sickening way.

This is where the real me enters. I am as big a fan of the small school and underdog team as you can find. I love the idea of a playoff in college football and think that teams like Utah, TCU and Boise St. have proven that, on any given day, they can compete with any team in the country. We were on the brink of something amazing to happen this season in college football, and on this Black Friday, we saw it all come tumbling down.

BCS: 1. Justice and equality in college football: 0.

The worst part for me is that we may never see an opportunity like this again. Is it too much to ask for a small school to have their shot? Or for everyone in the nation to recognize that the current non-playoff BCS system is flawed? Is it too much to ask for either Oregon or Auburn to lose a tough game today and Boise St. to get a big win on the road? We failed on all accounts. In my opinion, we may have lost our only chance at ever seeing a playoff implemented in college football today.

For me at least, I will always remember today as my true Black Friday.

Jimmer Fredette

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU Basketball Preview

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

The new basketball season is here, the new basketball season is here! Special guest and Rhombus editor-in-chief Steve Pierce joins the PB&J Report crew for the podcast’s annual preview of the BYU men’s basketball season and the team’s prospects — both in the Mountain West Conference and beyond. Also, as always, a little football talk is thrown in for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 029 — The PB&J Report (2010.11.18)

Cam Newton

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-CSU Preview, College Football Update, Jazz Resurrection

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

Is the new, competent-looking BYU football team for real — or was it just a one-time aberration against a sub-standard opponent? How will the Mountain West shake out — and does BYU actually have the potential to go to a respectable bowl game? Will Auburn stumble in the face of the latest allegations against star quarterback Cam Newton — and will that open up a slot in the national title game for TCU? And what the heck is going on with the Utah Jazz? The answers to all these questions and more are in this week’s edition of The PB&J Report. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 028 — The PB&J Report (2010.11.12)

cast-bachelor-pad

Fantasy ‘Bachelor Pad’ Will Change Your Life!

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in TV

If you haven’t watched The Bachelor Pad yet, you’re missing out. It’s easily the greatest television show of the last 10 years, if not of all time. Is it dumb? Yes. Is it trashy? Certainly. But that’s what makes it so great!

If you’re not watching the show, start now — your Monday nights will be infinitely more entertaining. If you’re already watching, amplify your experience by trying out some Fantasy Bachelor Pad — featuring rules and regulations by Rhombus’ very own Preston Johnson (listed below). Throw your inhibitions out the window and try it out — you won’t be disappointed.   — Steve Pierce