Rick Reilly kicks Jimmer Fredette while he’s down

Brigham Young Cougars’ guard Jimmer Fredette reacts during a break in overtime of his team’s play against the Florida Gators during their NCAA Southeast Regional college basketball game in New Orleans, March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Ah, Rick Reilly. We love him here at The Scores Report. Whenever Anthony and I get together for a drink or dinner we always start off with a moment of silence in honor of Sir Rick. (That’s what we call him.) Without Rick Reilly’s genius, neither of us would have ever become writers. It was Sir Rick who inspired us.

Juuuust kidding. Can’t stand the guy. He can write, and he’s the King of the Schmaltz, but we can’t stand the guy.

Example #247, his postmortem on the BYU/Florida game, entitled, “Jimmer grows dimmer.” (Like I said, genius.)

Except for a stretch in the middle, when he was brilliant, Fredette was brutal.

Yes, he scored 32 points, but he took 29 shots to do it. He seemed to be wearing a blindfold from the 3-point arc — 3-for-15. Plus, he committed six turnovers and wandered aimlessly through the lane on defense like Moses in the desert. I’ve seen dead people play better defense. At least they occasionally trip people.

If his last college game is what he’s bringing to the NBA, then I’d say, in five years, he’s got a really good chance to be your Provo area Isuzu dealer.

As Reilly notes later, Fredette played 44 minutes against Florida and is asked to carry most of the scoring load for his team. His defense is definitely suspect, but he can’t be expected to expend a lot of energy on that end of the court if his team needs him to score 40 points to win. Cut the guy some slack.

“He’s a little Maravich,” a guy in a BYU shirt told me.

No! No, he isn’t! He’s not within a mile of Mardi Gras floats of Maravich. Maravich could get his shot off from the bottom of a swimming pool. He could get 40 in handcuffs. He averaged 44 points a game in college (to Fredette’s 28 this season) and that’s without the 3-point shot. With it, studies of his game film have shown, he would have averaged over 55.

Of course he’s not Pete Maravich, but why is Reilly devoting precious column space on ESPN.com on the rambling delusions of a BYU fan? Fredette doesn’t have Maravich’s handle, though he does have a wide range of scoop shots that would make Pistol Pete proud.

It was one of Fredette’s worst shooting nights of the season, but he still managed to score 32 points and lead his team to overtime. Reilly only wants to kick him while he’s down.

Where was he when Jimmer dropped 52 points on New Mexico, or 43 in a home win against a very good San Diego State defense? Or even five days prior to the Florida loss, when Fredette hit 7-of-12 three-pointers en route to BYU’s 18-point win against a pretty hot Gonzaga team?

Shooters shoot. And sometimes they have a night like Jimmer did against Florida.

After all the kid has accomplished this season, why does Reilly feel the need to devote 900 words about what he’s not?

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BYU’s Brandon Davies suspended for the season for having sex with girlfriend

The Salt Lake Tribune has the details of Brandon Davies suspension.

BYU center Brandon Davies was suspended from the Cougars’ nationally ranked team for the remainder of the season because he violated the school’s honor code provision that prohibits premarital sex, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.

Davies was averaging 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 24.9 minutes of playing time, so the loss is certainly a big blow to BYU’s NCAA tournament hopes. The Cougars are currently ranked #3 in both the AP and ESPN/USAToday Coaches Poll.

I give credit to the school for sticking by its (obviously old fashioned) honor code. Most programs would have swept this under the rug, but not BYU. In addition to premarital sex, the honor code doesn’t allow students to consume alcohol or caffeine. (Yes, even caffeine is forbidden.)

What I want to know is… how did they find out about what Davies and his girlfriend were doing? Did someone rat them out? Or did Davies feel so guilty about breaking the honor code that he confessed?

I feel bad for the kid — but he knew what he was getting into when he committed to play for BYU.

Why would BYU leave the Mountain West and become independent now?

PROVO, UT. - SEPTEMBER 19:  Brigham Young Cougars flag bearers run around the field after a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles at La Vell Edwards Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Provo, Utah.  (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images)

Following the lead of Utah (which is headed for the Pac-10 next year), BYU will leave the Mountain West for the 2011-12 season and become an independent in football according to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz.

Speaking purely from a competitive standpoint, I hate the idea that Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada are coming into the Mountain West next year right as Utah and BYU are leaving. A conference featuring TCU, Boise State, Utah, BYU, Fresno State and Nevada would be incredibly fun to watch over the next couple of years, assuming of course that all of those teams stay relevant.

From a football standpoint (all other sports are joining the WCC, most notably basketball), I don’t quite get BYU’s decision here. Utah’s move to the Pac-10 makes sense because they’ll be guaranteed a seat at the BCS table. But because BYU is becoming independent, they won’t.

It feels like BYU is opting out at the worst possible time, unless I’m overlooking something here.

What’s wrong with BYU’s offense?

Despite turning the ball over three times, No. 20 BYU defeated Utah State 35-17 on Friday night to improve to 4-1 on the season. A 48-yard touchdown reception by Luke Ashworth from Max Hall broke a 7-7 tie in the second quarter, then Manase Tonga scored on a three-yard touchdown to give BYU a 21-7 halftime lead. The Cougars never looked back.

Junior running back Harvey Unga rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries to lead BYU, but BYU’s offense struggled on a whole.

The Cougars were held under 300 yards for the second straight game and Hall continues to struggle under center. He’s now thrown two or more interceptions in four of his last five games and has 10 interceptions to 11 touchdowns on the season.

Thanks to Unga’s second straight 100-yard rushing game, BYU was able to overcome Hall’s issues moving the ball in the passing game. But what happens when the Cougars have to play TCU in a couple of weeks? The Horned Frogs have one of the fastest defenses in the nation and BYU isn’t going to be able to turn the ball over three times against TCU and survive.

The good thing for Hall and head coach Bronco Mendenhall is that the Cougars have UNLV and San Diego State over the next two weeks to figure things out. But the Mountain West Conference is going to come down to that October 24 matchup with TCU, so BYU needs to iron out its issues soon.

Florida finishes No. 1 in polls, Utah No. 2

The final votes are in and to the shock and dismay of approximately zero people, the Florida Gators are college football’s No. 1 team. The undefeated Utah Utes are No. 2.

Urban MeyerThe Gators received 48 first-place votes and 1,606 points in the poll released early Friday, after they beat Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS national title game.

Utah, the only team in major college football to go undefeated this season, got 16 first-place votes and 1,519 points.

“I thought we had an outside chance,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a telephone interview with the AP. “There was enough national sentiment, I thought we might get the No. 1 slot. It wasn’t to be.”

Florida won its third AP national championship and second in the last three seasons. Steve Spurrier and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel led the Gators to the 1996 title.

No. 3 USC received one first-place vote. Texas was No. 4, and will have to settle with finishing ahead of fifth-ranked Oklahoma.

The Utes from the Mountain West Conference swept through their regular season, while Florida and Alabama from the SEC, Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 and Southern California from the Pac-10, jockeyed for position in the national title chase.

The Mountain West does not have an automatic bid to the BCS — it’s not considered a strong enough league to deserve one — but the Utes earned their way in.

Utah was seventh in the final regular-season poll, but that perfect record looked much more impressive after the Utes beat Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl last week.

The Pac-10 should do the right thing and bring Utah and BYU (or TCU?) into its conference. Then they could have a conference championship game and Utah and BYU (or TCU?) could show how good they really are.

Imagine if the NFL had the same system college football has. We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to witness one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time when the Giants beat the Patriots last year, because the Giants would have been ranked No. 6 in the polls.

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