We're talking college football and basketball today beginning with some thoughts on still another thrilling Utah-BYU game ...

If the Utes could somehow learn how to finish a game against BYU, they could be looking at an 11-game winning streak vs. the Cougars. Instead it's just 6-5 for Utah since 1997 with all but one game being decided by seven points or less.

Amazingly, in the last four BYU wins over Utah, the Cougars have had to come from behind to win in the final minute three times and final 1:16 in the other.

In 2000, the Cougars completed their incredible comeback with 23 seconds left, less than two minutes after Utah took the lead. In 2001, BYU scored twice in the final four minutes, the latter with 1:16 left for a 24-21 win. In 2006, the Cougars scored on the final play of the game after Utah had scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:18 left. Saturday, Utah scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:34 left, only to have BYU score with 38 seconds left.

Then there was 1998, when the Utes didn't blow a lead but couldn't "finish the deal" as Kyle Whittingham would say, with Ryan Kaneshiro's 32-yard field goal try in the final seconds ...

Ute fans can complain, with some justification, about the two 15-yard penalty calls that gave BYU position for the final score. The first was very similar to a non-call against Bryan Kehl earlier in the quarter, while the interference call on R.J. Stanford was such a puzzler that even announcer Todd Christensen questioned it. However, what lost the game for Utah was the absolutely inexcusable 49-yard pass on 4th-and-18 against what had been an excellent defense most of the season ...

It's unfortunate when athletes make comments such as Austin Collie's after the win over Utah — "When you're doing what's right, on and off the field, the Lord steps in and plays a part." That implies a higher power favors one team over another and that his team is favored for being more righteous. Seems to me the Lord cared so much about BYU winning, the Cougars would beat the Utes 100-0 every year and not lose games to UCLA and Tulsa ...

Don't look now, but the Mountain West Conference is off to an outstanding start in basketball. I thought the league was way down this year, but the MWC has a glossy 36-10 record so far, led by New Mexico (6-0) and TCU (4-0). A closer look, however reveals that a lot of the league wins have come against the likes of Presbyterian, Angelo State, Western, Liberty and South Carolina Upstate. Still it is off to a much better start than fellow Western conferences such as the WAC (19-25) and the WCC (22-20) ...

BYU's win over No. 6 Louisville and near-upset of No. 1 North Carolina, were both extremely impressive and stamp the Cougars as the team to beat this year. We'll see how good the other MWC teams are when they meet teams such as Wake Forest, Arizona, Oregon, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas and Gonzaga over the next month ...

It's only Nov. 26, but Utah State has already played more than a fourth of its basketball schedule. Nobody in Division I basketball has played more games than the Aggies, who have squeezed in eight games already. The 4-4 Ags will finally get some practice time this week with no game until Saturday against Santa Clara ...

I got a kick out of watching the Hawaii win over Boise State Friday night. Not just because of that crazy sight of paper littered all over the field like we used to see in the days when BYU and Utah played there. But also because it might humble the Boise fans who have been insufferable since their win over Oklahoma last year ...

Hawaii is in position for a BCS bowl bid now that it has reached No. 12 in the BCS standings. However, don't forget the Warriors play Washington this week and they haven't beaten a team from a BCS conference all year ...

And finally, I've got to get my Heisman ballot in this week but have no idea how to vote. Right now my top candidates are Missouri QB Chase Daniel, Hawaii QB Colt Brennan, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, West Virginia QB Patrick White and Florida's QB Tim Tebow. If you have any advice, let me know.


E-mail: sor@desnews.com