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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009

Breakneck:

"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Aggie fans bummed that BYU avoids playing in Spectrum

By Cambry Beazer

December 11, 2008 | Some USU basketball fans were outraged when the decision had been made for BYU and Utah State University to play each other at the Energy Solutions Arena for future games. This included Saturday night's game that resulted in the Aggies first loss of the season with BYU winning, 68-63.

USU student Brandon Alder said, "Coach Rose is a pansy. If he can't handle a tough crowd he shouldn't be coaching."

The Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is a 10,270-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Although it also hosts the women's team as well as gymnastics, volleyball, and other sporting events, the Spectrum is mostly known for being the home to the USU Aggies men's basketball team.

One of the main reasons USU now has to go down to Salt Lake for both home and away games against BYU is because BYU head coach Dave Rose doesn't want to bring his team back to play at the Spectrum -- he says the Aggie crowd is too mean.

The Spectrum has gained a reputation as one of the nation's toughest venues for visiting basketball teams. In December 2005, Utah State University played its 500th men's basketball game in the Spectrum. In those games, USU had accumulated a dominating record of 398 wins and 102 losses vs. its competition.

At the end of the 200708 season, the Aggies home record, over the last 10 years since Stew Morrill has been the coach, is 76 to 8 against league opponents and 142 to 12 overall. Large crowds are another characteristic of the arena, as the Aggies have averaged better than 7,000 fans per game in 32 of their 36 seasons in the Spectrum. A frenzied student section and loyal fan base from the Cache Valley region create a level of noise that is widely credited in giving the men's basketball team their incredible home court advantage.

Several schools despise coming to the Spectrum because of the taunting fans. USU fans do the specific research on the other schools and their players and find things to say to get into players heads. It is a fact that once the ball is headed the opposing direction, player performance rates drop at least 10 percent. When it's game time Aggie fans don't mess around.

Last year in the home game against BYU at the Spectrum, Aggie fans had some mean things to say. One chant that seemed to stick and even came back this year at the ESA was, "waste of tithing." Alger says, "That was my favorite chant at last year's game. I know it's mean but it's those hilarious chants that make a great game."

Having to play at the Energy Solutions Arena didn't stop loyal USU fans. In fact, students were lined up hours before tickets were being sold and they were sold out within two days. This year the two undefeated teams went head to head and both played very well. USU was able to hold off star-player Lee Cummard to only scoring 6 pts in the game, 14 less than his average, but the rest of his team was able to step up and beat the Aggies by a handful of points in the last couple seconds.

Overall the game seemed to have had a good turnout from both schools and Rose seemed pleased. "It was a great atmosphere," Rose said. "There was a good feel to the game. Players enjoy playing in these atmospheres. For a game in early December, it felt more like a late-January, early-February game."

Still some Aggie fans think that the game will be brought back to the Spectrum next home game against BYU and they say they will be ready for the Cougars.

MS
MS

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