Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s Head. You know, I am so glad my face doesn’t have a progress bar that shows how much I’m understanding what other people are saying to me.
Bye, bye, Beehive
BYU and Utah State sent the Beehive Classic packing with a pretty good game.
After three years, the event that brought together four of the top in-state basketball schools to one site is no more.
The Cougars and Aggies played in front of a nice crowd at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Saturday (10,291) and produced, well, a classic. BYU got a big 3-point shot from Alex Barcello with 27 seconds to play in a 68-64 win. Last year’s game at Vivint between the Cougars and Utah claimed attendance of 10,678.
Alas, it wasn’t enough to continue the Beehive Classic. Obviously, not enough money was being made on ticket sales and concessions to keep it going. Or, not enough coaches were willing to give up a home game every other year against an in-state foe. Some fans stayed away because of the long drive to Salt Lake City and the pricey tickets.
It’s too bad. Both fan bases represented well on Saturday and created some real electricity. Not so much for the Utah-Weber State game, which was played earlier in front of far less of a crowd.
Some of us remember the Cougar Classic, a four-team tournament held at the Marriott Center during December until the 1999-2000 season. It was really difficult to get good teams to come to Provo so the attention was turned to playing at neutral sites to entice quality opponents. Getting a team from a Power Five conference to come to the Marriott Center even for a home-and-home agreement in the present day is almost impossible.
BYU picked up a very nice win against the Aggies, who will battle with San Diego State for the Mountain West Conference title this year. The Cougars are 9-3 with games at home against Weber State and Oral Roberts remaining on the preseason schedule. An 11-3 mark — with Yoeli Childs out for nine of those games — would be a very encouraging start heading into West Coast Conference play.
Gonzaga graduated a ton of pro-level talent. They are very young this year but also very talented with wins so far against Texas A&M, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. Saint Mary’s is going to be a beast to play, especially in Moraga, but BYU should be right in the mix. Maybe this is one of those year’s three teams from the WCC makes the NCAA Tournament.
You know when your computer randomly decides to make you sign into a program, even though it has automatically signed you in for months, and you can’t remember which one of a couple dozen passwords you need?
Yeah, that’s when I long for the good old days with a college-ruled notebook and a pen.
That next step
If BYU beats Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve the Cougars will end the season with a record of 8-5.
Do you consider that a success? A step forward? More of the same?
I think there has been improvement in the football program this year but sometimes it hasn’t translated to game-day performance. Some of that has to do with key injuries, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But it also falls on the coaching staff to get a more consistent performance out of their players.
Here’s what I believe: Until BYU is able to get to a New Year’s Six Bowl game I consider the program to be mid-level and nothing more.
Who’s that guy?
My daughter told me this week, “The narrator in the movie ‘The Grinch’ is Anthony Hopkins, who played Odin in ‘Thor.’”
I’m sure Sir Anthony Hopkins — who won an Academy Award for his performance in “Silence of the Lambs” — is happy to be recognized in our home mostly for his work in a superhero movie.
Let’s talk about it
Man, Friday was nuts.
Ben Criddle asked me to host his BYU sports radio show on ESPN 960 while he took a couple of days off. My co-host was former BYU men’s basketball coach Tim LaComb, whose phone contact list is a veritable who’s who of sports in this state. He called Utah coach Larry Kryskowiak, Weber State coach Randy Rahe and former Cougar Craig Cusick — who beat Utah State on a last-second shot in 2013 — and they all came on the show. Then he called BYU coaching legend Dave Rose, who came to our live remote and spent an hour just chatting with us. The fraternity of coaches is very tight and you could tell the friendship LaComb and Rose formed over the years will continue forever.
You can listen to all of the interviews at http://espn960sports.com.
That’s all, but for this: “Rise of Skywalker” arrives in theaters on Thursday and there is always something a little special in the air when a new “Star Wars” movie comes out. I saw the first one in the summer of 1977 for my 14th birthday. We arrived late at the theater and it was full so my two sisters and I sat on the floor with our backs against the doors (hello, fire hazard). My own family and I will have much better seats on Thursday night and we’ll all have our own opinions on the ride home about how good the movie turned out to be.
“Star Wars” is a language I’ll always be able to speak with with my family.
May the Force be with you and have a great week.