College Gameday coming back to Salt Lake City for a third time is a big deal no matter how you look at it. Great news on the recruiting front, a boost in exposure for the University at large, a lot of fun for the fans who have always supported the team, etc. We’ve been talking for days about the possible celebrity pickers. The list of nominees is probably best described as eclectic. Celebrities born here, but since distant, like Chrissy Teigen and James Woods. A gaggle of true Utahns like the Hough dancers, Donnie and Marie, and even Mitt Romney, but they all seem to have a distinctly Utah County (BYU) flair. Even notables who’ve settled in the Beehive State get a little bit of love. Katherine Heigl has a house in PC. But so does Michael Jordan, are we gonna have His Airness pick for us.
The ONLY correct pick is to have one of the great former Utah Athletes do the celebrity picking. Sure, names like Keith Van Horn and Eric Weddle might have less national appeal than Will Ferrell or Katie Perry, but aren’t we as Utahns somewhat proud of our “diamond in the rough” status? Don’t we embrace the idea that we are a lesser-known, but equally appealing commodity? One of the best things about being a Ute and a Utahn is that this little mountain haven of ours is the best kept secret in America. Most of the time, we wouldn’t have it any other way. So I hope that on the College Gameday we don’t attempt to trot out somebody who is merely recognizable. Give me someone who is quintessentially Ute. Somebody who helped put Utah athletics on the map and forced sports fans to Google what a Ute actually is. I want to see Miller and Van Horn, or the Dirty Bird, Steve Smith Sr., Weddle. Better yet, Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut twin #1 picks in the same draft year. Bogut is a world champion now with the Golden State Warriors. They are household names to any true sports fans, and both have represented Utah well over the years. (Also, I know that the Chiefs play Sunday and that’s not really possible, but let’s dream for a moment shall we)
Sure, Gameday could dig up the lead singer from the Killers, or a Neon Tree, or even Wilford Brimley to tell us about oatmeal and “Diabeetus” but we should embrace our quirky separation from the glitz and glam that some other schools and their uber-famous alumni can pull off. We are what we are. A strange little mountain kingdom that produces great singers and dancers, funeral potatoes, missionaries, the best snow on Earth, and every once in awhile, some really kick-ass college football and basketball. So give me a Utah athlete as a celebrity picker and let everybody else watching say “wait… WHO is that again?”
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