Cosmo's Cougar Corner

A BYU sports blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

UNLV (Men's Basketball)

So today is a pretty big game for the Cougars. UNLV is always a difficult team to play, even in the Marriott. Last year didn't turn out the best for the Runnin Rebs, but BYU definitely went in the toilet against New Mexico on Saturday, so who knows what to expect for sure. I'm not sure what to expect as far as crowd turnout, except I do expect a lot of students to show at the very least. We're going about 6 tonight to try to get the best seats possible. I guess this is somewhat of an experiment for the season to see just how early we need to go. It seems like we keep needing to go earlier and earlier to get decent seats. But I'm definitely looking forward to mocking Darger and Wink tonight.

Chris Miles (Men's Basketball)

Chris Miles was getting chewed out by Coach Rose for having only made 7 (it's actually 8, but Rose said 7) rebounds in 3 games of conference play. Rose was screaming for Miles to put a body on somebody and get some boards. Hopefully that changes here pretty quick for Miles sake and the team.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Change of Direction

So the bowl game blog didn't really work out like I would have hoped, so I decided to completely revamp this bad boy and turn it into a BYU sports blog. I'm sure it won't be nearly as exhaustive as I would like, but I'm going to try to cover what I can. I'm still in the Provo area at least until April, so I should be able to comment about things from a more personal perspective by attending many of the events. If anybody happens to stumble upon this blog and enjoys what you read, please pass it along and I am certainly open to inviting other authors along for the cause. I plan to attend the Men's Volleyball match tonight and so I should have some things to post concerning that match. Volleyball is not a sport that I am terribly up on and I'm going to need some serious reminders of the players, but I'll do what I can. Hopefully I get some sort of readership. Thanks!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Poinsettia Bowl Wrap Up

Well, I came down with a pretty nasty illness of some sort so that's put me back from blogging for a bit. But I'm finally back at it now and so the big thing I'd like to talk about is the Poinsettia Bowl, a matchup between the Boise State Univesity Broncos and the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. There was another bowl game that occurred between now and then but I don't think that's really worth talking about.

The bowl featured BSU vs. TCU*

So I was actually in attendance for this one, which was pretty sweet. I'm sure it's the only bowl game I will actually attend this year (of course I don't think I've ever gone to more than one in a year anyway). It really was an impressive game. Of course I missed most of the BSU show. We had our tickets on will call and the line was ridiculous so we missed kick off. Apparently we missed some fire works as far as an intro (I mean that both literally and figuratively, there were some actual fireworks, but of course BSU got off to a pretty good start as well). The final was TCU 17 BSU 16. Really a tight game, but here are my thoughts as far as everything.

The first half looked pretty ugly for TCU. They did finally score a TD right before the half which seemed to be a great momentum shifter. TCU had 4 turnovers total: 2 INT's and 2 turnovers on downs. BSU on the other hand, had only 2 turnovers: 1 INT and 1 fumble lost. I think to some degree, that was somewhat of a surprise since these are both pretty good defenses. The BSU offense did come in quite highly touted, but that wasn't enough. BSU gained 250 total yards on the TCU defense, but the TCU offense gained 472 yards. Some bad turnovers really were the biggest difference makers for BSU. It seemed like Coach Gary Patterson for TCU did not have a whole lot of faith in his field goal kicker, since they elected to go for it 3 separate times on 4th down. The BSU kicker, Kyle Brotzman went 3-4 having a missed 38 yard field goal midway through the 3rd quarter. That really might have made the difference for the Broncos.

I think the thing I came away from the most impressed with was the TCU offensive game plan. Andy Dalton threw A LOT (22 completions on 35 attempts for 197 yards) and I'm not sure I completely agreed with that, but that might have been what opened up the rush so much. However, two of their plays seemed especially killer against the BSU defense: the speed option and what I would call a sweep pass. The speed option is employed by a lot of offenses and simply consists of a mostly traditional option play to the outside out of the shotgun formation. BSU has a lot of speed on the outside, but that really was a difficult play for BSU to handle terribly well. I suppose the close out blocks on the end by either the tackle or the tight end were probably just too good. It seemed like Dalton would typically give it to the pitch man (which is often the way the speed option seems to work, not so much as a true option but more of a stretch play to get the ball far away from the bulk of the defense with the QB as more of a decoy) and the pitch man could take it for a good 5 yards or more on most downs. However, the real play that seemed to work out great for TCU was that sweep pass. Technically by all means it was a pass play to the running back. However, in practice it was more of a designed running play that was thrown as a forward lateral by Dalton. The RB would promptly swing out on a normal swing route, but without hesitation Dalton would immediately look his way and dump it off. This is a bit more effective than a true sweep because the RB already has a much greater step on the defense, he's gotten out wide on the defense while the defense has hesitated playing the pass. Ideally this would put the RB alone against either the corner or sometimes the outside backer. Either way, he seemed to make good use of the sideline and take it for a fair bit of yards. These two plays combined were very difficult for BSU to stop. Both defenses seemed to get things together a bit more when it came close to the red zone though. BSU's defense seemed to be reasonable soft up the middle as well.

TCU's Andy Dalton Passing*

The BSU offense seemed like they really gave the TCU defense a lot of trouble, but the stats don't really show that. I think that mainly it seemed like that because BSU had a number of plays that broke for good gains. Also, the TCU defense was rather penalty prone, especially at crucial times which caused them to give up a number of first downs. The BSU rushing offense was nonexistent, even though their only TD of the game came on a 20 yard rush by Ian Johnson. The BSU wide receivers were able to play the TCU corners rather well. They often would get position and make some pretty good catches. They seemed to often find the space they needed. I was surprised to not see considerably more pressure being applied by the TCU defense than what they often sent. They did seem to play things a bit more timid often times. BSU looked like they were mostly trying to capitalize off of mismatches between their RB's and the TCU LB's, which worked out especially for a couple of pass interference calls. However, BSU just did not seem to have the punch to close out their drives. They would get close enough to score, but that just was not quite enough.

BSU's Ian Johnson for the Broncos' only TD*

I think what really was the deal breaker for BSU was their decision to go for a field goal late in the game instead of continuing to pursue a touchdown. With a little under 5 minutes left on the clock, Coach Chris Petersen elected to kick a field goal while down 17-13. I think this really was the key decision of the game, which cost Boise the game. They faced a 4th and 12 on the TCU 16, so it was a rather difficult first down and a chip shot of a field goal. Conventional wisdom tells you, kick the field goal. However, I've learned that these new clock rules are really not your friend at all from about 5 minutes on. It's amazing how quickly the pre-2 minute clock gets eaten away. Against TCU's heavy rushing offense, especially with how much stronger they had been going late in the game, this didn't seem like the best idea. If you made the field goal, you were still down 3 requiring another score anyway. If you hit the touchdown, that would require TCU to score a TD in a rather low scoring affair. If you did not convert, they were still left in rather lousy field position and you had 3 times outs. Coach Petersen went with the field goal and the TCU offense only took the ball for about 25 yards to roughly the 50 yard line. TCU punted and it was downed on the 17 yard line. The next play, QB Kellen Moore threw his only interception of the game, which pretty much closed it out for the game. It's hard to know that would have happened, but BSU would have had their work cut out for them to get that final score even still. They had just under 2 minutes left against a rather stingy defense and they were down to 1 timeout. It was certainly doable, but difficult to say the least. It's easy to second guess the decision now, but either way, that field goal really didn't change much of anything except to make the game seem a bit closer.

Late interception by TCU's Stephen Hodge*

I will say I was thoroughly impressed with Coach Petersen's clock management. Coaches still do not understand how to best use their timeouts and manage the clock. Unfortunately, with the new clock rules requires a new strategy to clock management. Using time outs is all about getting the most time conservation for your timeout. Well, in the final 2 minutes of each half the clock works like standard football time. That means it's best to use timeouts when the clock is rolling under non-standard conditions (which is kind of a misnomer now with the fact the majority of the game is played under these conditions). Coach Petersen gets this, so he used his timeouts before the 2 minute mark. I'd recommend getting down near the 2 minute mark ideally, but really you need to make sure you're saving yourself period. Also, it isn't smart to use those timeouts after a first down unless there's no other option. The play clock isn't as long after a first down so save them for a later down. That's how to maximize clock conservation.

Overall this was a really great game though. I had a great time in the stands. Unfortunately we left a little bit early so we didn't get a chance to see the BSU desperation attempt at the end. For a good rundown of the game, read Dr. Saturday's contribution.

I did have a couple of other observations relative to my experience, but that weren't necessarily football oriented entirely. First, if you don't like idiots, don't go to sporting events. I think everybody should have the right to enjoy sports without having to deal with morons. Wouldn't that being wonderful? That being said, it's not going to happen in this life. The crowd is filled with people called fans and that name was given for a reason. Keep in mind, fan is short for fanatic. That's what you often find in the crowd and sometimes those people can be obnoxious. Of course, I think often times the really obnoxious one's aren't the one's who are these type, but more of the social sports fan.

At the game, a group of rather loud and rowdy young men were sitting not far from my group. I'd guess these guys were probably in their late teens, so either still in high school or they had barely started college. I didn't notice them drinking is one of the big tip offs I'd say. Most of the individuals sitting near our seats were BSU fans. These boys, however, were cheering on what they referred to as LT-U (and making moronic signs with their hands to show it). I think nobody was paying them much notice until they happened to get their hands on some purple thundersticks. Well, they really went to town with those thundersticks and undeniably, they were smacking them around in part just to be absolutely obnoxious. Well, it started getting a number of the BSU fans a bit upset. Part of the problem I'm sure was the fact they were rooting on TCU, rather than their precious Broncos. Well, that got a pretty good rise out of the BSU fans which I'm sure the kids loved, but they did decide to behave better. I can't deny I got a pretty good laugh out of it too because frankly I think people are just too uptight about a lot of things. Anytime TCU did well, these boys took their opportunity to get loud and proud, much to the chagrin of the BSU fans but they started using the thundersticks during appropriate times so it was hard for the BSU fans to object. But just to restress the idea: If you don't like idiots, don't go to sporting events! In this case we were all lucky that these boys weren't inebriated because that only intensifies the problem. Honestly, if you're looking for a good, well cultured, calm experience, a sporting event isn't where you're going to find it, except to some degree at BYU. But even at BYU, you have so many fans that have absolutely no idea what is even going on to drive anybody who knows even a little bit insane.

Second, if you're looking for good Mexican food don't go to a place called Roberto's Very Mexican Food. I can't deny, the food in the pictures for their website look reasonable authentic and good, but if a restaurant has to reassure you that their food is "very Mexican" it's probably not all that Mexican. I didn't actually try this place, I just saw it in passing as we were riding in the trolley. If there's one thing that gets me worked up in life it's crummy Mexican food and places like that just scream wannabe so I avoid them like the plague.

*All photos were taken from the Idaho Statesman's Poinsettia Bowl photo gallery

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Poinsettia Bowl - TCU v. BSU

Well, I've been a bit lazy with the blog over the past couple of days. I haven't done a rundown of Saturday's games, but mostly because that was a pretty big let down day for me with losses by both BYU Basketball and Football. I should do wrap ups of those games from Saturday, but at this point it probably wouldn't matter. Apparently the game from Sunday was pretty good as well. Also, I'll be missing out on a preview for the game tonight, but I'll be in attendance. Maybe I'll do a rundown after I get back tonight. If you would like a preview, check out ESPN. Also, Dr. Saturday will be running a live blog during the game tonight. I'm a big fan and highly recommend checking it out. Anyway, go Horned Frogs!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mid Day of Day One

So the first quarter of the New Mexico bowl is halfway through and this is looking like it's going to be a high scoring game. It's already 14-7, Fresno State. Might be a long game and ugly. But as far as the rest of my day, I probably won't blog much other than some previews/picks at the end of the day. There's a BYU basketball game on this afternoon and I care about the BYU football game, os that's going to draw my attention. Maybe I'll do some wrap ups or something. All I know is I won't be looking at these games too in depth, at least in a live manner. Hopefully these games turn out to be decent today, but other than the Las Vegas Bowl, don't hold your breath.

Preview: The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl - BYU v. University of Arizona

OK, so if you know me at all, you already know my pick. It's not just because I'm a BYU homer either. This offense is really rather impressive. Although I want to gouge my eyes out watching Max Hall play. He has no clue what he is doing, it's completely the great offensive weapons he has. I hope I don't have to endure another season of watching his poor decision making and favoring of Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta. I understand completely, those guys are great players. That being said, that means everybody else should be wide open because honestly there's a number of other players that are pretty darn good on this offense as well. I really don't know a lot about Arizona. There's a lot of comparison of their offense with BYU, which certainly is what defines BYU. But BYU is 2-0 on Pac-10 teams this season (although they were two of the worst). I suppose this game comes down to whoever has their defense show up. I think both offenses are going to show up to play and score a lot of points. The over-under is set at 59, I'd take the over.

My pick: BYU. The Cougar offense is just going to be a little too much for Arizona. While the Wildcats' offense will probably echo BYU for a large part, I expect the BYU defence to rally behind a successful offense.

Here's a list of previews for the game: ESPN, Yahoo/,