Sleight of hand and now playing hide the ball
Utah refuses to announce the call
Who will be the quarterback Thursday night?
Not until Thursday will we see the light
COMMENTARY — You’ve got to love moving up four spots in the polls on a bye week just because you didn’t lose. That’s right, Utah is now 20th in the AP Poll. The Utes’ ranking says more about the current state of college football than it does about Utah’s football team.
There are still five undefeated teams at the top of the poll, but it is somewhat surprising who those teams are: Mississippi State, Florida State, Ole Miss, Baylor and Notre Dame. While it is not unusual to have two SEC teams in the top five, or even two SEC West teams, the fact that both of them hail from the Magnolia State is downright astounding!
In the preseason SEC media poll, it was predicted that Ole Miss would finish fourth in the SEC West (not the entire 14-team SEC, just the 7-team SEC West), with Mississippi State checking in at number five. In all fairness, of the 293 votes cast by the media as to who they thought the SEC Champion would be, Mississippi State did receive one vote.
Similar to Mississippi State, Utah was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South. Both teams have already exceeded expectations. Right now the biggest question on everyone’s minds has got to be which team’s bubble is going to burst first, and which team is going to continue to live the dream?
There is simply nothing more American than a good underdog story! America itself was a huge underdog in the Revolutionary War against the world-dominant British Empire. I can only imagine the shock and surprise of the British when it finally sunk in that they had actually lost to the colonists. In fact, tradition has it that when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781 that the British band played an old English ballad entitled, “The World Turned Upside Down.”Similar to the landscape across collegiate football as a whole, the Pac-12 standings reveal that there just is not a dominant team this year. The line between the haves and the have-nots is fuzzier than ever. The Utes are not the only program with an opportunity to prove that they belong and should be taken seriously by every team they play.
It just goes to prove that we shouldn’t discount any team, or anyone, without giving them a fair chance to compete because any one of them could rise to the occasion and prove your misguided preconceptions wrong. I just wish politics were more like sports, and that candidates for public office were each given a fair chance to compete, rather than public opinion being manipulated by mere fluff without any substance.
Similar to the many upsets that have already occurred in college football this year, I am confident that many upsets can and would happen on Election Day if all candidates were given a fair opportunity to compete on an even playing field. Have I mentioned that I am running for Congress in Utah’s 1st Congressional District? I won’t bore you with the details here, but look me up at www.Vance4Utah.org.
Getting back to football, “The World Turned Upside Down” should become part of the playlist for bands of all of the surprise teams this year, including Utah.
The Utes continue their surprising run this week on the road against Oregon State on Thursday night, (Oct. 16). I, for one, can’t wait to see which team shows up to play — the team that blew a 21-point lead at home to Washington State, or the team that held on to beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
Whatever happens, it’s easy to see that the Pac-12 is truly up for grabs.
“For everyone to have a loss this early is unusual, but not unexpected,” Whittingham said at his weekly press conference Monday afternoon. “In my own opinion, it’s a very balanced league. If you’re not ready to play every week, you’re going to get beat, and that’s what’s happened so far.”
Whittingham was conspicuously quiet about who is starting quarterback would be Thursday.
The coach is playing his own game of cloak and dagger as he simply refuses to reveal the Utes’ starting quarterback in advance of Thursday’s game. Similar to Utah’s policy of not providing injury reports on players, I suppose it is reasonable to make the most of any possible advantage a team might have.
Personally, I think Kendal Thompson should be given the starting nod this week. In Travis Wilson’s own defense, Ute receivers have dropped a lot of balls the past few weeks. Nevertheless, there just seems to be a different energy on the offensive side of the ball with Thompson under center, and it is difficult to argue with the results over a very good UCLA team.
I’m just glad that Utah has the luxury of trying to decide between two quality players to start at quarterback. A lack of depth, with a real fall-off in talent from the starters to the back-ups, has been one of the biggest problems plaguing the Utes in their first few seasons competing in the Pac-12. It appears that Utah is finally closing the gap with some real depth at key positions, including, but not limited to, quarterback and running back.
Here’s hoping the Utes make the right call on their starting quarterback Thursday night, and that the Utah band continues to have a reason to learn the tune to “The World Turned Upside Down.”
Dwayne Vance is a columnist covering the Utah Utes. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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