I don’t remember a more talented defense than 2019, especially in the backfield. 4 of those guys went to the league and are still there: Jaylon J, Blackmon, Burgess & Guidry. Throw in Huntley & Moss who are also earning NFL paychecks, and it was a very high talent team, maybe our best ever.
2020 didn’t really count, then last year we went to the Rose Bowl. Mid November this year and we’re still in the hunt for a return to Pasadena.
Diabate said the cold last night was fine, he’s adjusted, and actually weather is actually a big reason he came to Utah because of the cold weather venues in the NFL. His priorities: 1) great defensive coaches and 2) weather not like the SEC.
We’ll be fine next year, the recruiting stars mean less & less, though still important.
Less noticeable, finding talent that wants to transfer to prep for the NFL is moving up as a factor that helps us reload. The transfer portal is a great friend of the Utes.
I predict we’ll start to see USC and UCLA as bigger transfer sources in a couple of years, because even though they’ll play some cold weather games, no player wants their film them looking like they’re playing on a bottle of cough syrup.
The travel alone will send transfer talent to Utah from the LA schools, especially as it becomes apparent the NIL money won’t help in NFL evaluations.
The travel for UCLA and USC will validate the jet lag & circadian rhythm research… some of which was done at USC.
lol - I have a colleague who came back to work the day after a flight home from Malaysia. (Much longer flight, granted). It’s kind of funny to watch them struggle to complete sentences and everyone is telling them to take a nap at work, etc. We’re having fun with it.
The physiological impact of eastbound jet travel includes lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that works with adrenaline, etc. Researchers have found measurable differences in athletes - it’s not a myth or old wives tale.
I commuted by air 2-3 weeks out of 4, for nearly 10 years, from SLC to Miami. I can personally attest that it that the two hour time zone change, and resulting impact on circadian rhythm is no way to live.
For the athletes, it will be worse. They will have minimal time to adjust to the change, and face the intense rigors of competition at the college level in brutally physically demanding sport. Then turn around, fly home, get homework done, go back to class for a few days and do it again.
They are young and will therefore tolerate it well for a few weeks, but by midseason, those travel games against teams who have not been traveling like this for half a season will get a lot harder.
@Ma-ake nailed it, many will look to the portal and Utah will be an attractive alternative.
Becoming what is going to be in actuality the Continental Hawaii teams of the B1G is going to render U$C and fUCLA both to the land of “Also Ran’s.” Yes, kids handle travel better than adults (especially us older ones ). That said, there have been more than a few studies of high-performing athletes being affected by short turn around, long distance travel that concluded it was a great way to end up losing. It’s why high end cyclists spend a month in France prior to riding in the Tour de France. Flying a couple of hours to Denver or Seattle is no biggie. Flying to B-more or Jersey, or Bugaha is far more impactful to performance.
When I traveled to Europe a lot it was a real eye-opener, or rather made me look like I was on pot at the office.
These really long distance experiences don’t apply as strongly for intra-US travel, of course, but what was noticeable for SalUte going to Miami absolutely applies for athletes trying to compete at the highest levels.
Ask the NFL. Everyone adds an extra day now, which helps, but the research suggests the highest level of performance requires several days of adjustment.
About your experience with the really long distances… I have a lot of colleagues from India, which is about 180 degrees opposite us. I keep prompting them to try & go westbound both ways and see how that goes. LA - Singapore - Chennai and then Chennai - Qatar - Dallas (or whatever) on the return. Might make a difference, but it’s still a grind, moreso than going to Latin America.
(Unrelated to jet lag but still interesting - Ferdinand Magellan’s three chronographers were stumped when they finally got back to Lisbon that they were off by one day. Why did he have 3 chronographers? Being at sea for day after day - like sailing across the Pacific for 99 freaking days without seeing land - makes it more likely you’ll miss recording a day, and having two creates an argument in that situation, so the 3rd chronographer was the tie-breaker.)
I just read that Whit tells the guys who are even thinking about moving on to walk with the seniors. Meaning…that they might not necessarily go, but he tells them to walk anyway. To me, that’s a good thing and is meaningful to potential recruits…helping kids pursue their dreams.
After spending a lifetime in Los Angeles, I’m generally friendly to UCLA, and don’t like USC. This LA Times article reminded me of how brutal that newspaper can be to its hometown teams. Snip:
Commentary: UCLA’s choke job robs L.A. of grand return to college football’s big stage
It would have been thrilling to see Los Angeles as the beating heart of a college football Saturday, with UCLA and USC playing as top-10-ranked teams for the first time since Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete were quarterbacking their respective universities.
After UCLA’s shocking 34-28 loss to Arizona in the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, the thrill is gone.
Simply put: What a choke.
Ironically, with UCLA administrators praying for the University of California Regents who meet Wednesday to let them leave for the Big Ten without real punishment, the Bruins could not have behaved more like a Pac-12 football team that suddenly had legitimate aspirations for the College Football Playoff.
What is more Pac-12 than losing a home game to a 3-6 team (now 4-6! Bear Down, Wildcats!) at the exact moment that a clear path to national relevance opened up?
Somehow, in mid-November, it was all there for UCLA, whether the Bruins were actually playoff good or not. Hold serve against Arizona, win the biggest crosstown rivalry game in recent memory against a beatable USC squad, hold serve against that jilted Berkeley bunch and then play the game of their lives against Oregon or Utah in the Pac-12 title game…
Pretty straightforward, in my experience. Interesting background, fairly new to SoCal:
J. Brady McCollough is a sports enterprise reporter with a focus on national college football and basketball topics. He joined the Los Angeles Times in May 2018 as USC beat reporter. McCollough was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and the former projects reporter for sports and news at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, specializing in narrative nonfiction and human-interest reporting. His stories have taken him to Russia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mario Lemieux’s wine cellar. From 2007-11, he covered the University of Kansas for the Kansas City Star. His work has been recognized 12 times as a Top 10 winner in the Associated Press Sports Editors annual writing contest, and he has received notable mention four times in the Best American Sports Writing series. McCollough began writing on college football when he launched his own website, NCAAtop25.com, as a 13-year-old. He is a proud Michigan Daily alum.