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I'm sure the irony is not lost on anyone that after this summer of tumult, BYU opens its football season September 4th against a team from the soon-to-be-expanding Pac-10.
BYU's meeting with Washington represents more than a chance to extend the Huskies' road losing skid to 13 games. A BYU win over UW would strike another blow for the Mountain West Conference in its continuing efforts to secure AQ BCS status, and to a lesser extent, demonstrate again BYU's power conference viability, despite its lack of suitors.
Indications are the game will attract a great deal of attention, in large part because of the notoriety now attached to the Huskies' starting quarterback. Jake Locker is on a two-day eastern media blitz ahead of a senior season that is expected to launch Locker to top of the 2011 NFL draft board, and many will watch to see how the Steve Sarkisian protege performs in Provo.
Adding to the intrigue would be the possibility that a fellow Evergreen State product might be going head-to-head against the more polished opposite signal-caller. Should Jake Heaps get the call against Washington, two of the state of Washington's best-ever QB prospects would be engaged in a high-profile showdown. If the freshman were to outshine the senior, we would have a national story on our hands--a story Cougar fans would love to see written.
According to Phil Steele's ranking of draft-eligible quarterbacks, BYU faces four of the country's top ten upperclassmen QBs this season:
5. Christian Ponder, Florida State
8. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
10. Andy Dalton, TCU
BYU running back-turned-linebacker Malosi Te'o is living back home in Hawaii and it appears he may stay in the islands and not return to the Cougars. Word I get from Provo is that while Te'o has yet to make a final decision, he is considering walking on at the University of Hawaii.
A soccer joke:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
According to FIFA, it didn't cross the road.
Just a thought...
How many soccer stars will say "thanks, but no thanks" the next time Nike wants to put them in one of their big-budget commercials?
Nike's "Write the Future" World Cup TV ad campaign featured:
Wayne Rooney: Brutal. Abysmal. Invisible. All of those words all apply to his World Cup performance. As for his England, they were an embarrassment; three goals in four matches and not an ounce of creativity. The Three Lions are in trouble for the foreseeable future.
Didier Drogba: broke his arm shortly after the commercial was released; his Ivory Coast failed to make it out of the group stage.
Fabio Cannavaro: he and Italy finished last in their group, four years after winning the World Cup. Cannavaro and his defensive mates looked less than cohesive in South Africa, and the Italian captain just announced his retirement from international soccer.
Ronaldinho: was not named to Brazil's World Cup squad; his team has performed quite well without him.
Cristiano Ronaldo: he and Portugal qualified for the round of 16, but his side played two scoreless draws in the group stage. Ronaldo played well in spurts, but his only goal came on a bit of a fluke. (UPDATE: Portugal went out in the round of 16; Ronaldo played poorly and was again scoreless, as was his team, which was blanked in three of four matches).
Parenthetically, other prominent players featured in the three-minute ad included France's Frank Ribery (no explanation required) and England's Theo Wolcott (not named to the World Cup squad).
In short, Nike's otherwise awesome ad amounted to one huge World Cup curse. Yes, the company tried to extricate itself by substituting Brazil's Robinho for Ronaldinho in a late modification, but by and large, Nike was backing the wrong horses in South Africa.
UPDATE: With all of its "star players" under-performing (late add Robinho notwithstanding), this Nike campaign was all style over substance and despite its cinematic glory and worldwide appeal, pretty much a dud.