WITH THE START of the college football season just four days away, the newsstands are overflowing with those annual preseason football magazines, each with its own set of predictions.
Predicting what teams will do isn't exactly a science. Injuries, ineligibility and other factors can undermine what was originally supposed to be a very astute pick. Sometimes the copy for such magazines has to be finished as early as March to be ready for publication in late summer.Nevertheless, the publications come out, bold as ever.
College Football Scene magazine doesn't take any chances picking the WAC's winner this year. It has three teams winning the title: Utah, BYU and San Diego State. It has all three teams going 6-2 in league play, while it projects last year's conference champion, Colorado State, to finish seventh.
CFS had Utah's Brandon Jones picked as the starting quarterback, even though that decision wasn't actually made until last Monday - weeks after the magazine's stories went to press.
The magazine wasn't so impressed with Utah State, which it picks to go 1-6 in league play.
Utah is projected to go 8-2-1 overall but falter at the end of the season, losing to Wyoming and BYU. BYU is projected at 7-4 and Utah State at 2-9, winning its first two and losing nine in a row.
BIG STRIKE ZONE: At 7-foot-1, 290 pounds, Jazz first-round draft choice Greg Ostertag takes up a lot of space in the middle.
He takes up even more space in the batter's box.
Last week Ostertag showed up prior to a Salt Lake Buzz game and took batting practice with the team. On a previous visit he took infield, playing second base.
Another two-sport Danny Ainge in the making? After last week's visit, Buzz general manager Tammy Felker-White asked Osterag if he hit one out. To which he replied no. But he did add that he had "several" base hits.
DELIVERY WATCH: If you've ever wondered what obstetricians do when out of the room during labor, maybe here's the answer: working out.
Former Ute and NFL football star Darryl Haley, now a personal trainer, says he has clients - some of them OB-GYN types - who do their training between patient contractions.
Haley rises at 3:30 a.m. and begins seeing appointments shortly thereafter. "My clients are doctors and lawyers, and they don't have a regular schedule either, so they have no choice but to work out at 4:30 or 5 in the morning," says Haley.
Haley recently worked with an OB-GYN who met him at the hospital's wellness center while her patient was in labor. "If anything would have happened," adds Haley, "she was right there. Usually you can just go to the wellness center and work out, do your thing, and about the time you finish, maybe the lady having the bady will be ready to go."
ADD PREDICTIONS: Two other magazines aren't so optimisticabout the Utes' chances. Street and Smith's magazine has Utah finishing seventh in the WAC and
BYU third, behind Colorado State and Air Force. Weber State checks in at No. 5 in the Big Sky and USU seventh in the Big West.
Colorado State is picked to win the WAC.
AND FINALLY . . . : The Sporting News weighs in with Fresno State winning the WAC, BYU third and Utah all the way down at No. 8.
Despite the low ranking, though, the Utes apparently show promise. Albuquerque Journal staffer Phil Casaus, who wrote the article, said, "Utah nevertheless has attained an impressive talent level under Coach Ron McBride and should make it back to the mountaintop before too long."
Just not this year.
While not optimistic about Utah's immediate future, the magazine has the Aggies picked fifth - higher than most publications - in the Big West.
Meanwhile, Weber State, its football program now secure, apparently won't be able to say the same about its win-loss record. The Wildcats are projected to finish eighth in the league.
Sports Illustrated, which considers itself the final word on, well, everything, has BYU ranked 24th nationally, Utah No. 64 and Utah State No. 100 out of 108 Division I schools.
QUOTEFILE: Bobby Knight in Inside Sports on what he'd like to do besides coach: "I wouldn't mind taking over the Drug Enforcement Administration. We'd have to hide the Constitution for awhile."