Bleeding Red: Bowl game is realistic goal for 2-0 Utes

I hate to guess; I’m nobody’s fool
But inquiring minds have to know—
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Just drink it up and enjoy the show

COMMENTARY — The proverbial glass of water has always driven me crazy — is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? In other words, are you a pessimist or an optimist? Why are those the only two options typically discussed? What about the realist who realizes he has a half a glass of water and just accepts it for what it is?

With Utah off to a 2-0 start, the glass half-empty or half-full debate comes into play with respect to how the rest of the season is going to turn out.

half-empty-glassThe glass half-empty person — the pessimist — is just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sure, Utah is 2-0; however, so far they have beaten a Mountain West team and Big Sky team. This week, Oregon State comes to town and the honeymoon is over. Instead of feasting on lesser opponents, Utah is now going to be the main dish for hungry Pac-12 opponents. Forget six wins; Utah is going to end up with a losing record and miss out on a bowl game for the second year in a row.

Before the season ever began, I listened to a number of sports commentators debate back and forth whether Utah could even win six games this year. After Utah’s first press conference prior to the Utah State game, a sports writer I admire very much commented to me that he just couldn’t figure out where Utah was going to find six wins in their demanding schedule this year.

At the other end of the spectrum is the glass half-full person — the optimist. Utah is 2-0, with a quality win over a very good Utah State team quarterbacked by a dark horse to win the Heisman Trophy. While Weber State is admittedly in a different league than Utah, both literally and figuratively, that was precisely the tune-up game that Utah needed to get its offense in sync before taking on the big boys in the Pac-12.

With the possible exceptions of Oregon and Stanford, every game on the schedule is potentially winnable with all of the opponents having some Achilles heel that Utah can attack. If BYU can lay down a beating on a ranked Texas team, then there is no reason why Utah can’t turn a few heads itself.

The way I figure, Oregon State lost at home to Eastern Washington and Utah is at least as good as Eastern Washington. Plus, the Utes are playing Oregon State at home. More on BYU next week (much, much more), but let’s just assume Utah beats BYU. UCLA is another home game and by then Utah will have tremendous momentum having started the season 4-0. USC is still living off of the past and has not been as impressive on the field as its reputation would lead you to believe. Chalk up wins against Washington State and Colorado, and even if Utah splits the games with Arizona and Arizona State, we’re looking at a nine-win season, minimum. In fact, with all of that momentum and confidence, who knows what might happen in the games against Oregon and Stanford.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it typically is.

This is where the realist in me comes out. If Utah is going to get to six wins and a bowl game this year (which I think would be a very positive step in Utah’s improvement as a Pac-12 team), it had to win its first two games. Now that Utah is 2-0, finding four more wins out of the next 10 games does not appear to be such a daunting task.

I felt a lot better about the BYU game before the Cougars ran Texas off of the field. However, Utah is going to be prepared for the run. If the Cougars are going to beat the Utes, they’ll have to do so on the strength of Taysom Hill’s arm, not his legs.

I think wins against both Washington State and Colorado are very realistic expectations. That then gets Utah to at least four, and possibly five wins (depending on the outcome of the Holy War).

I don’t think it is realistic to expect wins against either Oregon or Stanford.

However, can Utah come up with one or two wins against Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Arizona and Arizona State? I honestly think so.

Could the wheels come off and Utah not get to six games? Possibly. Could the stars line up and Utah win more than six games? Maybe. However, I think six wins and a bowl game are very realistic expectations.

Will six wins and a bowl game make this season a success? In my mind, that would be a half a glass of water, and Utah fans just need to accept it for what it is and enjoy the show.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Baby Blue September 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Utah State is a far better team than Oregon State. Lets not pretend Oregon State is anything less than a bottom feeder of the the PAC-12. Its another tune-up game. Utah State was a quality win. Who knows which BYU team will show up next week but if the one that beat Texas shows up, don’t be so confident that Utah can stop the run. Texas was was manhandled and they have better athletes than Utah.

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