Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 4 BYU QB’s vs. No. 13 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 matchup:
No. 4 BYU Quarterbacks vs. No. 13 Troy Calhoun
The picture above is of former Heisman Trophy winner, Ty Detmer, but we couldn't just pick one Cougar signal caller for this list.
So, we selected all of them.
LaVell Edwards brought his aerial assault to Provo in the 1970's. Then he found the right crop of QB's to execute the run-and-gun attack. One after another ... after another ... after another.
From Marc Wilson to Robbie Bosco to Max Hall, these guys have all terrorized the WAC, Mountain West and, more times than not, Wyoming. And we haven't even mentioned a handful of extra-maddening characters like Gifford Nielsen, Steve Young, Jim McMahon and John Beck.
Don't forget about John Walsh, Kevin Feterik, Brandon Doman, Tanner Mangum and Steve Sarkisian.
Even though the Cowboys never faced Taysom Hill, Jake Heaps or Zach Wilson, they really fit the mold too, right?
Edwards, the No. 1 seed in our villain series, coached seven of the Top-10 passing leaders in program history. Detmer leads the list with 15,031 yards between 1988-91.
Check out these gaudy numbers. That Top 10 has thrown for 94,830 yards and 738 touchdowns.
To put this in perspective, Wyoming's all-time leading passer is Casey Bramlet. He amassed 9,684 yards through the air during his four-year career in Laramie. Those are great numbers. It would rank him fourth in BYU history, ahead of McMahon.
Brett Smith tossed 76 touchdowns in just three seasons. That would rank him fifth all-time in Provo. Detmer threw 121.
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:
* 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)
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players