Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 7 Sonny Lubick
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 matchup:
No. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 7 Sonny Lubick
It took Kyle Whittingham a couple days to admit he made a "bad decision."
With Utah clinging to a 43-0 lead midway through the third quarter of a 2007 meeting with the Cowboys inside Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utes flat-topped head coach decided it was the perfect time to get a little payback.
Earlier in the week, Joe Glenn, in an attempt to fire up some students, guaranteed a victory over Utah. UW's head coach, known for his fun-natured personality and big smile, didn't appreciate what was about to happen.
Kicker Louie Sakoda attempted an onside kick.
Though the Cowboys recovered, Glenn was caught by television cameras flipping off the Utah bench. After the game, he played dumb. Monday, he stepped up and took the heat.
"I met with my team on Sunday and apologized to them for the
gesture I made toward the Utah bench during the game," Glenn said
in a statement. "I also want to apologize to all fans for that action. Football
is an emotional game, and I let my emotions get the best of me. I felt it was appropriate for me to let my team and all fans know that I am truly sorry for that emotional moment."
Whittingham told reporters he was sorry, too, but only after saying this in his postgame press conference:
What some forgot about this 50-0 blowout, is Whittingham also ran a fake punt late in the first half with his team holding on to a commanding 26-point lead. Of course the Utes converted. Of course they scored on the ensuing handoff.
Wyoming cornerback Julius Stinson gave his postgame thoughts on Whittingham without saying anything at all.
"I mean, if you're a coach that kicks an onside kick, and you're up 40-0, I mean ...," Stinson said, followed with a smirk.
Whittingham changed his tune at his Monday press conference. Well, the best he could, anyway.
"We had worked two weeks on it and wanted to find a spot to use it," he told reporters. "You get caught up emotionally in a football game, you want to be competitive and the juices are flowing, but when I had a chance to digest it, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't."
Whittingham boasts a record of 5-1 against the Pokes. As a college player, at BYU, of all places, Whittingham won three of his four meetings against Wyoming. The one loss, a 33-20 setback in a Laramie snowstorm. That's when his mentor, LaVell Edwards (The No. 1 seed on this list), uttered his infamous slam.
"I'd rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie," Edwards said.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 wiped out a meeting in Laramie between these two schools in 2020. According to fbschedules.com, that game has been rescheduled for 2025. The Cowboys will travel to Salt Lake City in 2027.
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Let's get something out of the way right off the bat: Sonny Lubick, the man, is not a villain. His reputation proves that ... and then some.
However, CSU's all-time winningest coach belongs on this list for a couple of reasons.
The first: He returned the Rams to glory. And more times than not, that came at the Cowboys' expense. Lubick tallied an overall Border War record of 11-4 from 1993-07. Lubick won, or at least shared, six titles during that time frame, including three outright championships.
Prior to Lubick's arrival in Fort Collins, that program had appeared in just two bowl games. By the time he rode off into a Rocky Mountain sunset, CSU added nine postseason berths, including a victory over Missouri in the 1997 Holiday Bowl.
The second reason Lubick lands on this list: Jealousy. The guy just wouldn't leave.
During Lubick's 15 seasons on the sidelines, Wyoming went through four different head coaches -- Joe Tiller, Dana Dimel, Vic Koenning and Joe Glenn.
While Lubick's Rams were busy putting up four double-digit win seasons, frequenting the Top 25 and playing in bowl games, the Cowboys always seemed to be starting from scratch.
Because of that success, Lubick became a hot coaching candidate. Not to mention as the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami from 1989-92, he helped lead the Hurricanes to a pair of National Championships.
It was always widely reported that Lubick received, and ultimately turned down, numerous job offers. According to a 2007 article on 5280.com titled "CSU's shameful misfire," he said no to Power-5 programs like Kentucky, Oregon State and Minnesota. It was also speculated that his former school wanted him to return to South Beach.
Despite all of that, Lubick stayed put.
Unfortunately for UW fans, he stayed put.
So, who do you consider more of a villain? Vote here: