Split personality

By By Natalie Dicou

By Natalie Dicou

The U football team is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a jock strap.

This season has been a roller coaster ride — a jerky, unpleasant one — and I’m starting to feel nauseated.

One minute, the Utes’ offense is a well-tuned machine, its gears working together beautifully. The next minute, the machine is leaking oil, sputtering, choking, smoking — and eventually dying.

Last week at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Tommy Grady seemed to channel Dan Marino. A week later, at Sam Boyd Stadium, he didn’t seem capable of tying his shoes.

In one game, the Utes dominated the 11th ranked team in the country, scoring at will. Saturday, the Utes looked like the college football equivalent of the Bad News Bears.

Not even seasoned point-spread makers have the slightest clue what to make of this team.

Against UCLA, the Utes beat the spread by 52 points.

Seven days later, they missed covering the spread by 35.

What this team needs is a nice, long visit with a sports psychologist.

The Utes desperately need someone to dig into their collective psyche and find out what exactly is going on.

How is this possible? How could they prove themselves to be so capable in one game and days later, perform like — for lack of a better word — crap? How do they score 44 points against UCLA and then promptly get shut out by UNLV?

Against UCLA, the Utes showed a great deal of promise. They didn’t just upset the No. 11 team in the country, they humiliated them.

You remember.

Ute fans thought the storm had passed. At last, the Ute football team was back on track.

Turns out it was a mirage. The talent and ability that were displayed last week were real, but the notion that the Utes are a complete team with their heads on straight turned out to be blatantly false.

The numbers don’t lie. They don’t even misrepresent. That was the real Utah football team that destroyed UCLA last week. It wasn’t a fluke. The Utes really are good enough to dominate a solid opponent.

But the team that got embarrassed by the lowly UNLV Rebels on Saturday is also the real Utah football team.

The Utes are — at the same time — a great team and a horrible team. Just below the surface lie both extremes.

It’s strange how seamlessly the Utes transition from brilliance to incompetence. In a fluid motion, they moved back to square one.

Within an eight-day span, the Utes celebrated one of their greatest triumphs ever and one of their most humiliating defeats of the past decade.

Perhaps hypnosis or psychotherapy would help stabilize the Utes and restore some of the confidence that was discarded along the Strip, like one of the countless forgotten coupons for porn that gather in the gutters.

If the Utah football team were a person, it would be Britney Spears. From everyone’s favorite pop star to a basket case unfit to raise her children. Redeemed in one moment, condemned in the next.

Somebody help the Utes. They are not well right now.

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