Mike Sorensen: Utes should play SUU, not Oral Roberts, please

Published: Sunday, Dec. 5 2010 11:01 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A couple of weeks ago, Utah State coach Stew Morrill complained prior to his annual game with Utah that the Utes were unlikely to play his Aggies in the future because of their impending Pac-12 schedule.

It was kind of ironic for Morrill to gripe about scheduling when he has feasted upon a schedule of preseason patsies for years, something Utah might be preferring to do more of with a tougher 18-game Pac-12 schedule on the horizon. Why go to Logan and lose when you can play Montana Tech at home and win?

But I agree with Morrill that the Utah-USU series should continue without interruption. I've always said the local schools should make a point of playing each other more often rather than less.

I remember back in the 1980s when Utah State only had nine non-conference games with an 18-game PCAA schedule, yet played six of them in home-and-home series against BYU, Utah and Weber State. Rather than complain, USU coach Rod Tueller just went out and beat his in-state foes the majority of the time.

Those home-and-homes with in-state opponents went by the wayside in the early 1990s when some of the local teams started worrying more about too many L's piling up in the preseason.

However, with athletic budgets so tight these days, doesn't it make sense to play games closer to home? Why shouldn't Utah take a bus ride to Logan rather than jet to various parts of the country several times for non-league games?

For that matter, why doesn't Utah schedule Southern Utah or Utah Valley, which are close and have a bunch of local players, rather than play the likes of Oral Roberts or Grand Canyon at home? Southern Utah is in the same Summit Conference as Oral Roberts, but 700 miles closer. However, the Utes and T-Birds haven't played for four years.

Sure, it's fun to go to new places and bring in some interesting opponents occasionally, but I believe first priority in scheduling for local teams should always be other local teams.

WYNN OUT: I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Or at least everybody that has asked me in the past two months, "what is wrong with Jordan Wynn?"

My answer about the Utah quarterback always was, "I think his injured throwing shoulder is worse than he's letting on." I also wondered in last week's column whether Wynn's various injuries had led to his poor second half of the season.

I had watched Wynn consistently underthrow receivers on long routes, misfire on short ones and not have his usual zip on the ball in the last few games when the Utes have all but given up throwing long passes.

Wynn clearly hasn't been the same quarterback since the Iowa State game when he completed 23 of 31 of his passes for 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns and hurt his shoulder sometime during the game.

The following week against a poor Wyoming team, he threw for just 230 yards, including three interceptions. The week after that, he did have a good game against an even worse Colorado State team at home, but passed for only 148 against Air Force, 148 against TCU, 194 against Notre Dame with four interceptions in the three games. He had a good game against San Diego State before going 13 for 30 for 199 yards and an interception against BYU.

That's two good games in his last seven. But now he's undergoing surgery that will keep him out for a few months.

Sitting out the bowl game as well as spring practice should give Wynn time to be back to 100 percent when the Utes take on their 2011 Pac-12 schedule.

GOLLY GEE: Gordon Gee seems like a good guy. He's a native of Vernal, a graduate of the University of Utah and was a professor at BYU for a short time. He is smart enough to have been the president at five major universities, more than any other living American.

However, the Ohio State president didn't sound too smart when he denigrated TCU and Boise State a couple of weeks ago for playing the "Sisters of the Poor" every week. Gee was trying to make the case for his Big Ten Conference and his former conference, the SEC, saying they faced a "murderer's row" every week.

I didn't agree with Gee at the time and he got blasted by a few fellow media folks for his disparaging comments about successful non-BCS teams.

However, I have to give Gee credit for backtracking last week, something most people in the spotlight have a hard time doing when they say something stupid.

Rather than try to defend himself against widespread criticism, Gee apologized and took the self-deprecating approach, saying, "What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football."

Nice recovery, President Gee.

e-mail: sor@desnews.com

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