Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 1 LaVell Edwards vs. No.2 Troy Calhoun
LARAMIE -- There's a few things that can land you on a list like this one.
Beating Wyoming with regularity certainly makes you a thorn in the side. Making stupid decisions will also draw the ire of fans. Being an all-round jerk will do it, too.
This is our version of the Un-Sweet 16, pitting the biggest villains in Wyoming Cowboys football history against one another and eventually crowning the worst of the worst. This won't be our opinion, it's yours. You can vote for who will advance to the next round by clicking on the box at the bottom of this page.
We did our best to round up the ultimate enemy of the Cowboy State. We reached out to people in the know, from different decades of UW football. Don't be surprised to see plenty of rivals on this list.
Here's today's Final Four matchup:
No. 1 LaVell Edwards vs. No. 13 Troy Calhoun
Let's start with the top-seed, the late LaVell Edwards. Why is he ranked so high on this list?
Let us count the ways.
Prior to arriving in Provo as the head coach in 1972, BYU was not what you would call a national brand. Actually, a more accurate description would be the Cougars were a doormat. The program won eight games or more just twice in its first 47 years of existence. Twenty-seven times BYU finished with a record below .500.
That all changed when Edwards took over. Utilizing a rare pass-first attack, by 1984 the Cougars were crowned National Champions. Edwards racked up 257 career wins on the sidelines in Provo.
Nineteen of those victories came against the Cowboys. Edwards finished with a 19-6 record against Wyoming, including ousting the Pokes 28-25 in overtime in the 1996 WAC Championship game in Las Vegas.
Bringing back some bad memories yet?
One of those UW victories came in 1981. After the 33-20 win inside a snowy War Memorial Stadium, Edwards vaulted himself right to the top of this list in just 13 words.
"I'd rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie," Edwards said
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Our No. 13 seed is none other than Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun.
Now, maybe you don't like Calhoun because of his quirky personality or the way he dances around questions and rarely gives a straight answer. He definitely has no desire to label UW a rival. He told me so in Las Vegas in 2021.
He's also a pest because he's continued the Falcons' tradition of slamming that trademark option right into defenders' lower extremities.
Also, let's be real, he wins a heck of a lot more than he loses. Not so much against the Cowboys, though he does hold a winning record of 8-6 overall.
The real reason you might have disdain for Calhoun is what happened late in the fourth quarter of a 28-27 Air Force victory inside a drizzly War Memorial Stadium.
Starting quarterback Connor Dietz was allegedly dinged up after a play inside the Pokes' 10-yard line. He walked nearly 20 yards toward the visiting sideline before taking a knee. Trainers took several minutes to assess the situation.
During that extended stop in play, which also saved Air Force a valuable timeout, by the way, back-up signal caller Kale Pearson took plenty of snaps under center on the Falcons' bench. The staff worked up the perfect play.
Heck, they had the time, right?
Pearson entered the game (an injured player has to leave the field for at least one play), took one snap and cruised around the edge and into the end zone on a naked bootleg. Air Force pulled off the win, but UW head coach Dave Christensen was none too thrilled with what he called a "fake injury."
"There was nothing wrong with that player except that his helmet came off," Christensen told the media postgame. "And I have a real problem with that.
"In this game we're supposed to be ethical and that's not ethical. I don't know what they teach at Air Force, but I'm not going to teach that to my kids. I want my guys to get off the field when they're hurt, and we don't want to stop the game."
That's not all Christensen said.
As he approached Calhoun for the postgame handshake, he exploded into a tirade for the ages. The video is no longer available on YouTube, but just imagine a man in a camo hat dropping tons of F-bombs and coining the phrase that will live in infamy forever: "Yeah, right, look at me, Mr. F------- Howdy Doody!"
Calhoun responded to the outburst in his press conference.
"It's probably not a conversation that I'd have with my mom," he said. "Not that kind of dialogue."
Christensen was suspended for one game and fined $50,000.
The following season inside Falcon Stadium, Christensen got his revenge -- and then some -- hammering the Falcons, 56-23. Smith threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns and added another 138 on the ground to break the school record for yardage in a single game.
He even had enough energy to give Christensen a symbolic Gatorade shower after the final whistle.
So, who do you dislike more? Vote here: