PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. After a 14-month hiatus, the Rock Report was rolling soaring, actually right up until the security guard at Paradise Valley Mall said, "Sir. I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
It lost steam after that.
"I'm not selling anything. I'm conducting a poll for the newspaper in Salt Lake," the Rock Report explained.
Pretty soon another security officer arrived. A regular Welcome Wagon. They whispered a minute.
"I'm sorry. You're going to have to leave. It's policy," the first guard continued. "No news media allowed unless it's cleared by the management."
The Rock Report is pretty sure he was lying but wasn't interested in finding out if mall security had a policy of conducting body cavity searches, too.
The purpose of the latest Rock Report was to determine exactly how up to speed Arizonans are on the Utes and their bid to win the Fiesta Bowl.
Answer: Not very. Unless Keith Urban actually is the coach, Joseph Smith the quarterback and Mele Kalikimaka the right guard.
"What's the name of that team again?" said Elizabeth, of Phoenix.
The Rock Report, by way of explanation, is a highly respected if somewhat unscientific poll. It normally involves interviewing 10 people on a given subject. Thanks to the security staff at Paradise Valley Mall, this time the poll included just seven. The questions were as follows:
1. In what conference does Utah play? (a) Big Sky (b) WAC (c) Big Easy (d) Mountain West (e) Sky West.
2. Who is Utah's starting quarterback? (a) Alex Smith (b) Joseph Smith (c) Jaclyn Smith (d) Emmitt Smith.
3. What is a Morgan Scalley? (a) a Utah assistant coach (b) a skin condition (c) a Utah defensive back (d) a stock brokerage.
4. Which is an all-American offensive lineman? (a) Chris Kemoeatu (b) Sione Pouha (c) Makai Aalona (d) Mele Kalikimaka.
5. Who is Utah's coach? (a) Keith Urban (b) Urban Meyer (c) Oscar Mayer (d) Urban Legend.
On the first question, answers varied. Three of seven believed Utah plays in the Sky West Conference, while two each chose the Big Sky and WAC. Nobody correctly picked the Mountain West.
As to who will start at quarterback in the Fiesta Bowl, three correctly chose Alex Smith just one more vote than Joseph Smith received.
"That name just sounds right," said Greg of Phoenix.
Yeah, to him and about 12 million Mormons.
Also, one picked Emmitt Smith, who actually plays for the Arizona Cardinals. Another chose the ol' Charlie's Angel herself, Jaclyn Smith.
"I just thought it sounded cool," added Elizabeth.
Three respondents correctly guessed Morgan Scalley is "a Utah defensive back," while two saw him as an assistant coach. Elizabeth said it was a skin disease because "it sounds like a medical thing, kind of."
Only if he tackles you.
Question four was the most evenly distributed, but only one person correctly chose Chris Kemoeatu as an all-American lineman. Two apiece said it was Sione Pouha, Makai Aalona and Mele Kalikimaka.
Breeanna, of Phoenix, chose Mele Kalikimaka, which is actually a holiday song ("On a briiiiight, Hawaiian Christmas Day!").
"I liked it because it was the hardest to say," she said.
She should try singing it.
The name of Utah's coach also baffled some Arizonans. (Actually, it baffled the Rock Report, too. Is it Urban Meyer or Kyle Whittingham?) Three picked country star Keith Urban, who earns only slightly less than Urban Meyer will earn at Florida. Two picked correctly, while one apiece chose Oscar Mayer ("They make weird food") and Urban Legend ("I've seen the movie 'Urban Legend.' It was gory, but I laughed").
Shortly after that was when the security showed up. The Rock Report moved outside, but not before passing two City of Phoenix cops and several security cameras. They all looked on with suspicion.
A couple of interviews later another mall cop passed in an electric cart. Three times.
The Rock Report was getting tired.
Finally it found a knowledgeable sports fan. Tim, of North Scottsdale, got three of the five correct.
"All I know," said Tim, as he started across the parking lot, "is Utah's gonna beat the crap out of Pittsburgh."Would that be with or without the help of security?