The Choke Award and the Unsportsmanship Award

The Academy of Choke Artists is pleased to present BYU #15 Max Hall with the Biggest Choke Award for the 2008 season. Hall threw 5 interceptions, had 6 passes swatted down, and who knows how many hurries. The Academy credits Hall with the Cougars' loss.
Up until the last Cougar offensive play of the first half, I really thought that BYU had a chance. They were standing up very well against Utah's offense and defense. It was a very competitive game! But once Max Hall was shaken up by that intercepted pass and personal foul, it was game over for the Cougars. Everyone else on the Cougars played a stellar game, even the secondary that has been plagued by injuries this season. BYU should have been keeping pace with Utah the whole game. It is unfortunate that Max Hall doesn't have the mental toughness to put a mistake behind him. He's shown it again and again this season, so I peg the loss mostly on him. Hopefully next season he'll be a stronger player mentally. He has great skill as a quarterback. Now he just needs to match it with an ability to shake off bad plays and show everyone that BYU is a BCS-caliber school. 
I can't wait to see my Cougars in action during their bowl game next month! I am predicting right now that they will go to the Armed Forces Bowl (the same bowl game that Utah went to last year).
The other award I would like to give out today goes to the Utes. We all know that there is a huge rivalry between Utah and BYU and that it is a heated one. But what happened when BYU was doing their ritual haka dance before the game was unacceptable.
The Cougars had just done their ritual haka war dance and Utes crossed over toward the other sideline for some words. Officials kept the confrontation to pointing and shouting and no players got close enough to each other to turn it physical.
That was the report this morning from USA Today. When I saw it happen, I was ticked! BYU does the haka in a very respectful way. They don't face their opponent when they do the dance. They just use it as a way to pump themselves up for the game. To see that Utah would try to pick a fight before the game had even begun was just low and classless, so I award them with the Unsportsmanship Award. Good job, Utes! You've really shown your true colors.