Thursday, October 2, 2008

08/09 - Best ever for Utah?

Utah takes on Oregon State (who just beat #1 USC) tonight and BYU takes on Utah State tomorrow night. I predict a third straight BYU shutout victory. All signs point to an undefeated BYU team going up against an undefeated Utah team in late November, with both of them ranked in the top 10 (perhaps BYU as the #1 team in the nation?) and both vying for a BCS bowl game. Talk about the best rivalry game ever. If BYU won that game as well, it might just end up in the BCS title game. I've looked at the 6 teams ahead of BYU in the polls and I wouldn't be surprised if all of them lost at least one game between now and the end of the season. The problem is how many 1 loss teams would be ahead of BYU in the rankings? Either way BYU is poised for it's biggest season since 1984, if not ever.

Meanwhile of the professional side of sports in Utah, the Jazz are looking mighty fine in Boise according to head coach Jerry Sloan. Sloan usually rips into most the team for not being into shape but this time he has praised most of the players fitness, such as Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, CJ Miles, Memo Okur, and Morris Almond. This year's team will be EXTREMELY good. Expectations haven't been so high since Stockton and Malone ruled the west in '97 and '98. John Hollinger, ESPN statitician, predicts the Jazz will be the best in the west this year and go to the NBA Finals. Yeah that is right, the Jazz over the Lakers. Go check it out if you haven't already: I am thinking the same thing, but then again when don't I predict the Jazz will win it all?

But seriously this year could be the year. Boozer and Okur will be super motivated because it is their contract year essentially, with both of them likely to opt out of the rest of their contracts. D-Will has been improving at an exponential rate, and it is scary to think what he'll be like this year. Sloan says he will play Kirilenko more at the power forward spot this year, where he is much more effective. All 4 of the shooting guards are in tip-top shape, and all want to contribute as much as possible. Remember how good the Jazz were after they acquired Korver? They posted the best record in the league after that. And now they will have him right from the get go at the beginning of the season. Having a 3 point shooter who opens up the middle and who will make all the free-throws at the end of the game is an amazing benefit.

So, a BYU/Utah football game with the winner going to a BCS game, if not the national championship, and another Jazz finals appearance, if not their first championship? It doesn't get better than that folks, and that would easily top the 97 and 98 years where the Jazz went to the finals and the Utes ended up in the NCAA title game as the best sports year in the state of Utah.

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