Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 5 Local Turncoats vs. No. 12 Urban Meyer
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. 5 Wyoming Turncoats vs. No. 12 Urban Meyer
Is there really anything more frustrating than watching a Wyoming native play his college football anywhere but Laramie?
Taven Bryan (Casper) suited up at the University of Florida before becoming a first-round selection of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. He's now in Cleveland. Adam Archuleta (Rock Springs) spent his college years at Arizona State before enjoying a seven-year career as an NFL safety.
Boyd Dowler was the 1959 NFL Rookie of the Year. The Cheyenne High School graduate, who was born in Rock Springs, snagged a 62-yard touchdown from Bart Starr in the first quarter of Super Bowl II. He's a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and was named to the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team.
He attended the University of Colorado.
Now, I'm sure these guys all had their reasons for not choosing UW. I'm sure some would immediately say, 'well, those are big schools.' Heck, maybe UW didn't choose them? Things happen.
Nonetheless, when you're from the least-populated state in the nation, it's not ideal to watch talent stroll past the border.
You know what's even worse? When guys play for the Cowboys' traditional rivals.
We're looking at you Ben Stratton (Colorado State/ Cheyenne), Dane Stratton (CSU/ Cheyenne), Clint Oldenburg (CSU/ Gillette), Mike Vomhof (CSU/ Gillette), Bob Vomhof (CSU/ Gillette), Zane Beadles (Utah/ Casper), Brett Keisel (BYU/ Greybull), Brady Poppinga (BYU/Evanston), John Chick (Utah State/ Gillette) and Chris Cooley (Utah State/ Powell). There are others, too.
Now, I'm sure those guys all have their reasons for leaving, too. Cooley, for instance, wanted to go to UW. He grew up listening to the Cowboys on the radio from his childhood home in Park County. During high school, he remembers sending VHS tapes to then-head coach Vic Koenning. There was no response.
He went on to become a third-round selection in Washington. The tight end hauled in 33 touchdowns during his nine-year NFL career.
You can listen to our podcast with Cooley right HERE.
But is there anything worse on a football field than witnessing a Wyoming native raise the Bronze Boot over his head after beating the Pokes?
That's the very definition of villain, right?
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* Pokes Practice Report: Position battles heating up
You might be surprised to see Urban Meyer making this list, especially as a No. 12 seed. First off, don't put too much weight into the seeding -- we didn't. If we did, for me, the Wyoming turncoats would've been right at the top.
The worst of the worst will be crowned no matter what.
Yes, Meyer spent just two seasons as the head coach at Utah. His teams ran the spread-option offense to perfection, led by future No. 1 NFL draft pick, Alex Smith. The Utes outscored the Cowboys 92-45 in those two meetings. Meyer went 22-2 during his tenure in Salt Lake City. In 2004, the Utes won the Fiesta Bowl and finished No. 5 in the national polls before Meyer bolted to the University of Florida.
That was all bad.
It propelled that program into the national spotlight and eventually landed it an invite to the PAC-12. Salt Lake City hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics certainly didn't hurt matters in the facilities department, either.
UW and Utah played one another 84 times, the first meeting a 15-0 Cowboys' victory back in 1900. Now, the two haven't met since 2010, though that is set to change when the Utes visit Laramie in 2025.
Let's not forget, before Meyer went on to win a trio of national titles and make Utah a national brand, he spent six seasons on Sonny Lubick's staff at CSU. He hoisted the Bronze Boot four times and helped lead the Rams to the No. 14 ranking in 1994.
So, who do you dislike more? Vote here:
* No. 1 LaVell Edwards vs. No. 16 Donnel Pumphrey (Edwards 98% of the vote)
* No. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 15 Morgan Bros. (Whittingham 90% of the vote)
* No. 3 Bradlee Van Pelt vs. No. 14 Philip Dubois (Van Pelt 63% of the vote)
* No. 4 BYU Quarterbacks vs. No. 23 Troy Calhoun (Calhoun 62% of the vote)