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Inside Darnell’s Head: BYU and Utah fans still not getting along

By Darnell Dickson daily Herald - | Mar 29, 2021
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Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson throws a pass as part of workouts during the 2021 BYU football Pro Day in Provo on Friday, March 26, 2021.

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Darnell Dickson

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head: Life is a wheel.

The last time Oregon State made the Elite Eight in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was 1982, my senior year in high school while living in Oregon. The Beavers, known as the “Orange Express,” were all the rage. OSU made it to the regional final that season before losing to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown — at the Marriott Center in Provo.

See? It all ties together. Or I’m just so old everything ties together. Let me have the former, OK?

On his way

It was fascinating to watch the battle of social media this weekend with BYU fans raving about Zach Wilson’s performance at pro day and some Utah fans discounting same said performance. The back and forth is amusing to follow.

The Utes just can’t stand it when BYU has nice things.

Of course, it wasn’t just Cougar fans singing Wilson’s praises. Plenty of national media fawned over his arm and his ability to make “off-platform throws” during his workout. He has the chance to be the No. 2 pick in next month’s NFL draft, and that would be the highest a BYU player has ever been taken.

And that irritates Ute fans even more.

Just like @SportsGuyRyan on Twitter, I believe it should be mandatory for every BYU quarterback to be trained by QB whisperer John Beck just like Wilson did.

Nod if you agree

There was an extraordinary piece in USA Today entitled “No, Oral Roberts University basketball doesn’t deserve to be canceled from NCAA Sweet 16” by Ed Stetzer, a dean at Wheaton College.

“In the most recent example of cancel culture, the mob has been coming after ORU — mocking their name, history and beliefs as bigoted or homophobic,” Stetzer wrote.

He went on to write that Oral Roberts ” … apparently lacks the needed qualifications to play college sports today — a willingness to conform to the new moral dogma. The dogma teaches that tolerance must mean agreement, then branding all who disagree as intolerant and harmful. … There can no longer be disagreement, only compliance.”

When you’re reading the article, make sure you substitute “BYU” for “Oral Roberts” because it’s all about the same.

Remember when the Cougars were being considered for the Big 12 and all the special interest groups came out against that possible move?

Think about it

I just realized that “I’m down for that” and “I’m up for that” mean the same thing.

Toss and turn

I understand how a lot of BYU fans are happy with the men’s basketball season. Hey, nobody expected the Cougars to lose so much talent and somehow get back to earn a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

After the first-round loss to UCLA, BYU coach Mark Pope said all the things you’d expect about how the players bought in to creating the best locker room in America and all that stuff.

All true, but I will bet you Pope and his staff have had plenty of sleepless nights in the past week trying to figure out why the Cougars couldn’t find a way to get back in the game against the Bruins.

It was puzzling that a team that prided itself on turning frustration into fight failed to do that in the most important game of the season.

Oh, well. On to the offseason, where Pope will spend the majority of his time trying to figure out how to keep his 2021-22 roster under 20 players. It’s going to get crazy.

Never forget

The women’s basketball team got an NCAA Tournament win before falling to No. 3 seed Arizona, which upset No. 2 seed Texas A&M on Saturday to earn a spot in the Elite Eight. BYU had a four-point lead late against the Wildcats and lost by six. Arizona beat A&M by 15 points.

More fuel for the fire as the Cougars prepare for 2021-22 with what should be the largest selection of talent Jeff Judkins has ever brought to Provo.

A good deed

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to focus on an Inside Darnell’s Head column, but I wanted to thank Lisa Walker of Springville for letting me use her classroom to finish my Springville-Maple Mountain girls basketball state playoff story a few weeks ago.

I fear change

Every NCAA Tournament for the past several years, the “Elam Ending” people keep chirping about how the college game needs that change. If you’re not familiar, the Elam Ending gives the two teams late in the game a target score. When that target score is hit, the game is over.

What results is a game-winning shot in every contest.

My contention is that the thing that makes game-winning shots so exciting is that they don’t happen every game. The Elam Ending equals a game-winning shot every time. If it happens every game, it isn’t special.

The guys in charge

I was watching some old video on YouTube of the 2001 BYU men’s basketball team, the last Cougar squad to win a conference tournament title.

Mekeli Wesley, Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting — along with a very young Travis Hansen — led BYU to wins against Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico to claim the Mountain West Conference Tournament title.

The coaching staff of that team was legit, including head coach Steve Cleveland and assistants Dave Rose, Nate Call, Jeff Judkins, Heath Schroyer and Brian Santiago.

That was an all-star lineup of coaches, wasn’t it?

That’s all for now, but for this: When you think about it, lasagna is just spaghetti-flavored cake.

We had it for Sunday dinner and it was delicious. Wish I’d made it, but I have to credit Stouffer’s.

Have a great week and treat each other with kindness.

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