As many of you know, I love sports! Well, I love college football and college basketball. I don’t really watch professional sports much (unless it is the playoffs), but I follow it. So, the summers are usually very long in anticipation of the upcoming college seasons. My favorite of all the sports has to be college football.
Today was quite possible the greatest day I can remember in a long time. This is why:
Even though everyone knows what a huge Rebel fan I am, I always root for teams in the conference because they don’t receive the media coverage or respect that they deserve. If conference teams do well against the teams that do receive respect and media coverage, it makes us look good. Today, four Mountain West teams had games against PAC 1o Conference opponents. The Mountian West went 4-0!!!
BYU had a historical game. They shut out a talented UCLA squad 59-0. This was UCLA’s worst defeat since the great depression. That is something none of the foes from their “awesome conference” have done.
In the days leading up to the game, the media constantly whined about the fact that BYU had won unfairly. They claimed that Washington should have had a chance to beat them the week before in overtime, had a celebration penalty not been called when Washington scored the game-tying TD. The Cougars dropped three places in the polls as a result. An analyst on ESPN even called them the most over-rated 2-0 team in America (even though I know he probably doesn’t watch them). This morning, another “analyst” (that doesn’t watch the conference) picked UCLA as his upset pick of the day.
Can you say motivation? Can you say statement game (they need this to make a BCS Bowl in Jan.)? Can you say lack of respect? I don’t even like BYU that much, but I couldn’t help but have a chip on my shoulder for them. I could only imagine what the players felt like. UCLA lost 44-6 last year when they played at Utah, so I was expecting a similar result for their trip to Provo this year. Since BYU QB Max Hall had already played against UCLA twice in his young career, I knew he’d be primed to shred their defense…he is that GOOD! UCLA was also down to their 3rd string QB, 2nd string RB, and missing a starting LB. With BYU’s tremendous track record at home and the media baiting bettors into picking UCLA against the spread, I couldn’t resist placing a wager on the game for BYU ( especially after the books had to lower the lines with all the money coming in on UCLA). I have never placed a bet at a sports book (and don’t know if I ever will again), but his just seemed like a “sure thing”, so I picked BYU to cover the spread that had been bet down to 8 points. Since they won 59-0, I covered my bet by a historic 51 points! Cha-ching! Like I said, I only bet this cause I felt it was a sure thing! I rarely, if ever, get that feeling! Oh, and can I get a “Max Hall for Heismann please”? Seven TD passes in just 2.5 quarters of play is OUTSTANDING!!! They could have won 80-0 if they wanted.
TCU beat Stanford 31-14
New Mexico beat Arizona 36-28
and…..UNLV beat #13 ranked Arizona State (on the road) 23-20/OT!!!
Since the Rebels have only had 4 winning seasons since 1984, big wins have been very scarce. Especailly on the road. Tonight, the Rebels were down 20-10 in the 4th quarter, when they mounted one of the most spirited comebacks I have ever seen in the program’s history. To cap this comeback, WR Philip Payne made a spectacular one-handed catch (pictured) in the endzone to tie the game with 18 sec. left. I lost my voice screaming like a little girl! In overtime, the Rebels scored a FG. ASU had a FG attampt too, to keep the game alive. That is when Malo Taumua charged through the line to block the kick and win the game for the Rebels.
The post-game interview with Coach Sanford was awesome! He started to cry. This may sound sappy, but after years of disappoinitment, I could help but cry as well. We may still finish with a losing record this year. We may not go to a Bowl game for another 10 years, but it is moments like this that make being a fan all that time, worth it! Congrats to the Rebels, and congrats to the Conference in going 4-0 against the big boys!