Tag: Sexy

Arizona Black Label® Bacon Fest Returns Bigger and Better than Ever

 

AZ BaconFestThe Second Annual Bacon Fest returns to Tucson on Saturday, June 7, 2014 with new title sponsor Hormel and Black Label® Bacon. The event quickly outgrew its inaugural event space and will be held at the Kino Sports Complex from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. under the lights of the ballpark.  General admission starts at 6pm.

Joining title sponsor Hormel will be local sponsors Harley Davidson of Tucson, RideNow Power Sports, Rock 102.1, KLPX 96.1, NBC affiliate, KVOA 4 and KNST.

San-Diego-Bacon-Fest-520x347Festival goers will be treated with bacon-centric samplings from 30+ local restaurants and 20 breweries from Tucson, across Arizona and even Canada’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company. Chefs will compete with their bacon-filled creations submitted to a panel of celebrity judges from television and radio for the title of “ABF Best in Show.”

Attendees will also receive a 4-oz. tasting glass to taste the latest craft beer offerings and to learn about proper pairing of styles of beer with different types of food. Live music from Love Boat delivering “Yacht Rock” and Evolution bringing “Arena Anthem Rock” will provide the entertainment with DJs Super Mario and Michael “DJ Bignut” Lopez spinning party music in between sets.

This 21 and over event will also provide interactive games such as horseshoe toss, steer roping and much more.

Tickets start at $40 in advance from local merchants Brushfire BBQ, Plaza Liquors and Lindy’s on 4th Avenue. Online tickets can be purchased at www.arizonabaconfest.net for $45 with VIP packages at $100. The VIP package will allow you an hour early entrance, a separate gated entrance, t-shirt and a tented “trough” with a waitress to deliver the beer and bacon.

baFree parking will be available onsite as well as hotel accommodations at Fairfield Inn and Suites offering free shuttle service to and from the festival and a promo code for that Bacon Discount.

A portion of the proceeds will go to La Frontera of Arizona’s Rally Point. Rally Point is a service of military veterans helping veterans. Whether it be substance abuse, family violence, housing crises or medical issues, Rally Point is at the front line to fight the war at home.

Women and Wine Wednesday Returns to Tucson

Wine & WomenTUCSON, Ariz. — The professional women of Tucson will be descending upon the Viscount Suite Hotel at  4855 E. Broadway Blvd. on Wednesday night. Over 200 people have registered for a free wine tasting sponsored by one of the America’s finest vintners, Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

This will be the 14th meeting of Women + Wine Wednesday and it promises to be better than ever with Coppola Wines sponsoring the event.

Event promoter Rob Betancourt is excited for the event. “The women of Tucson prove their position in today’s business world with their products and services placed at the forefront, ready to deliver presentations and samplings of their goods on hand, ” said Betancourt.

“Guests will be able to celebrate business and network like a pro over wine tasting provided by Francis Ford Coppola Winery and indulge in gourmet appetizers. Music will also be provided by DJ Kasky and Super Mario.”

coppola-diamond-logo-bottlesAlong with the free, yes – free wine for ladies, there will be vendors, entertainment, prizes and giveaways! With so many Tucsonans already registered to attend, you don’t want to be left out in the heat – get into the Viscount Suite Hotel for Women + Wine Wednesday.

If wine isn’t your thing, there will also be Diva Del Bravo Tequila on hand for your sampling pleasure.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and goes until approximately 8:30 p.m. When the tasting is over and you still feel the need to shake your groove thing, Wilbur’s Sports Bar, under the same roof will be the official after party. Fireball cinnamon whiskey will be on special all night long to keep the party going for after-hours networking.

A simple dress code is requested – Men with collared shirts, women with heels or wedges. No denim, flip-flops, sandals or sneakers for ladies or gentlemen.

For those that prefer to stay the night, the hotel is offering discounted room rates of $79 a night and deluxe suites for only $89, both rates include breakfast.

Sponsors for the event include:

  • The Studio Hair Artistry
  • Sanchez Team – Nova Home Loans
  • Yellow Cab
  • AZ Weekly Magazine
  • Seacret – Minerals from the Dead Sea
  • Angie’s Pure Romance
  • L’Oreal Flowerbomb – Dillard’s Tucson Mall
  • Cashbox Jewelry & Pawn
  • Visi
  • Steve Gonzales – Watson Chevrolet
  • Lesco Optique
  • The Memory Box Photo Booth

For more information, contact Rob Betancourt at rob@mainandmace.com

West’s Best Bets – The Championship

wbb final1

 

 

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The West’s Best Bets has reached the finals and it has comedown to two great schools. The culmination of four months and 16 cities and their fine institutions of higher learning has come down to this moment.

Will it be the laid-back beach village of Westwood, California or the desert oasis of Tempe, Arizona that brings home the title of the “Best College City in the West?” We examine not only academics, but also look at athletics, bar scene, weather and most importantly, the lovely ladies that attend the school.

The city of Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix situated on the southeast corner and is bordered by Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler on the north, east and south sides respectively. The city is 40.2 square miles and is home to over 161,000 residents.

The main campus of Arizona State University is located on the north side of the city just south of the once-flowing Salt River. The 642 acre campus is home to nearly 60, 000 students and is the heart of the four-campuses thoughout the metroplex.

ASU is a school that had its fair share of notoriety as one of the top party schools in the country in the past. With a new President and culture change, can Arizona State shed its party image and become a respectable institution of higher learning or is it just a facade?

Let’s revisit the rankings and see how ASU fared.

Athletics Teams

  • roblesx-largeFootball – Bowl Record of 12-12-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 1-1, and 17 Conference Championships; seven in the Border Conference, seven in the WAC and three in the Pac-10.
  • Baseball – 35 Tournament appearances and 22 College World Series appearances with five National Championships. They have accumulated 21 regular season championships, including four straight in the Pac-10 from 2007-2010.
  • Softball – 23 Tournament appearances and nine College World Series appearances including the last five with two National Championships. They also have two Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 13 tournament appearances, advancing three times to the Elite Eight. They also have eight regular season championships; four in the Border and four in the WAC.
  • 23 Total National Championships
  • Other National Championships (16) – Women’s Golf (7), Women’s Track & Field (3), Men’s Track & Field (2), Men’s Golf (2), Wrestling (1).

Arizona State University seems to be one of those bubble teams when it comes to athletics. They show flashes of brilliance in some areas but suffer from an inability to get over the hump when it comes to maintaining a solid presence in any sport. Notable ASU individual athletes are war hero and former football player, Pat Tillman, golfer Phil Mickelson and undefeated one-legged wrestling champion Anthony Robles. For their lack of consistency, I award ASU 22 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

ASU-girlsASU has the hottest women on campus that I have ever visited. Just think about every hot girl at every high school in every Podunk city across this great country of ours…and they all want to go to Arizona State. Wearing bikini tops and daisy dukes to class isn’t out of the ordinary, it is the status quo. With so many drop dead gorgeous women at this school, even normal, everyday beauties that would blow the minds at many other campuses get overlooked at ASU. Thank God for ASU and the bevy of beauties that grace the campus – 25 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Bordering Phoenix to the south east, the city of Tempe caters to the college crowd with several great college hangouts along Mill Avenue, but there is also a wide range of bars, pubs and breweries within a stone’s throw from campus. If you are adventurous, there are literally a thousand other bars, pubs and hangouts a quick freeway ride away. The beautiful people get dressed up and hit Scottsdale, the hipsters head to downtown Phoenix, the music fans stay in Tempe or go to Chandler while the pro sports fans hit up the northwest wide where the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes call home. One thing is for sure, you are never going to get bored here – 19 out of 20 possible points.

 Weather            

asu flagTempe and the rest of “the valley of the sun” is a true asphalt jungle in the middle of the desert. Many say that it is a shame having so much urban sprawl in the beauty of the desert and it only adds to the scorching summers. While I see the logic, Tempe is a beautiful city and the heat allows for flip-flops and t-shirts to be worn nearly year–round. With summertime highs hovering around the 110 mark, you don’t want to spend too much time outdoors. The winters are gorgeous with temps rarely, if ever getting below 40 degrees.  – 11 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

Although acceptance to any of the public universities is ensured to residents in the Top 25 percent of their class; Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University is highly selective and is ranked first in the nation among peer institutions and 5th in Overall Excellence among all universities. The Honor College enrolls over 3,500 students including 613 National Merit Scholars. The Schools of Journalism, Business and Nursing are also ranked in the top in the country – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 84%

 

The University of California, Los Angeles or more commonly known, UCLA is located in Westwood neighborhood west of Los Angeles. The area is bordered by the extremely affluent towns of Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills.

The sprawling campus covers 419 acres and is home to nearly 40,000 students. It was originally called the University of California Southern Branch before he name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. Finally, they removed the “at” in 1958 for its current name.

The campus is absolutely gorgeous and is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted. Time to revisit the rankings:

 

Athletics Teams

  • john-woodenFootball – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

UCLABustyCheerleaderWith such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blosssom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather      

Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative –13 out of 15 possible points.

 Academics

UCLA-CheerleadersAs previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #25 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #14 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 88%

UCLA has it all, a beautiful campus with legendary bars, close proximity to the beach and all that Hollywood has to offer. The women are beautiful and the academic standards are a lot higher than many private schools throughout the country. The history of great athletic teams and the most National Championships by any school make UCLA the victor. I am by no means saying that Arizona State is not a great place to go to school, it was good enough for yours truly and enjoyed it thoroughly, if only it had been on the beach.

Will the Wildcats Suffer the Same Fate as the Football Team?

Will Cats

 

The Arizona Wildcats basketball team is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll on the heels of one of its best starts in program history at 15-1. They began the 2012-13 season at No. 12 and have slowly climbed the rankings before reaching as high as No. 3 prior to the beginning of Pac-12 Conference play in January.

After two razor-thin victories at home to non-ranked opponents, the Wildcats dropped a spot to No. 4. Their first road trip of the season ended with a four-point loss to another non-ranked team in Oregon and a convincing 10-point victory over Oregon State. The loss at Oregon caused the Wildcats to drop three more spots in the AP poll with many thinking that the tumble wasn’t far enough.

The roller coaster ride in the polls is nothing new for the Wildcat faithful as their football team took fans on a similar trip in their 2012 campaign. With a new head coach in Rich Rodriguez, the Wildcat football team had a new swagger and belief that 2012 would be their year.

Rodriguez led the team to a convincing victory over Oklahoma State and it decimated South Carolina State to enter the rankings at No. 22. Then they went on to lose three straight games to ranked opponents. Their will was strong and their talent shone brightly in convincing wins over Washington and then No. 9 USC.

They were once again rewarded with a No. 22 ranking and once again were embarrassed—this time in a 56-point loss to UCLA. The Wildcats beat up on the Pac-12 cellar dwellers, Colorado and Utah, and were once again ranked in the AP Poll.

Then came the Territorial Cup.

The No. 24 Wildcats lost at home to a struggling Arizona State team by giving up 24 points in the final quarter and limped into the New Mexico Bowl.

Saturday will see another ranked Wildcat team take on an unranked Arizona State team—this time in basketball. Will history repeat itself on the hardwood or will the Wildcats prove that they deserve to included in college basketball’s elite?

The Details

azcatsWhere: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.

When: Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX Sports Net

Listen: 1290-AM in the Tucson area, 620-AM in the metro Phoenix area Sirius 94/XM 193 

 

The New Additions

The Sun Devils are a much improved team with the addition of redshirt freshman phenom, Jahii Carson and two new assistant coaches in Eric Musselman and Larry Greer. The Sun Devils are playing a non-Herb Sendek style of game this year in which they are taking it to opponents and playing a much faster offense with Carson at the point.

The Wildcats have a big team up front and an even more impressive depth. The addition of the “Big Three” freshmen in 7’0″ Kaleb Tarczewski, 6’10” Grant Jerrett and 6’8″ Brandon Ashley will be tough to defend and could cause fits for the Sun Devils as forwards Jonathan Gilling and Carrick Felix are considerably smaller.  

The Rankings Comparison

azcats

  • The Wildcats average 76.1 points per game, third best in the Pac-12 while the Sun Devils are fifth with 72.6 per game.
  • The Sun Devils average 38.3 rebounds per game, sixth in the conference and the Wildcats are ninth with 37.8 per game.
  • For the Wildcats, Mark Lyons is tied for 12th in the conference in scoring with 14.6 points per game and Solomon Hill is 15th with 13.6.
  • For the Sun Devils, Jahii Carson is fifth in the conference in scoring with 17.1 points per game and Carrick Felix is eighth with 15.1.
  • The Sun Devils have three players in the top 15 in the conference in rebounds while the Wildcats have four players in the 22-29 range.
  • Arizona’s Nick Johnson is second in the conference in steals with 2.25 per game while Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski leads the conference and is third in the nation with 4.47 blocks per game.

The Prediction

Wildcats head coach Sean Miller has an extremely deep and versatile bench and he uses them almost like a backup line in hockey. Miller has three non-starters that average quality playing time per game while Kevin Parrom averages more playing time than two starters.

2009 Arizona @ ASU Men's BasketballConversely, Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek’s bench is relatively quiet with only two players averaging in double digits. This could prove costly for Sendek and the Sun Devils in the long run. In three conference games, Carrick Felix and Jonathan Gilling have played all but three minutes with Jahii Carson playing all 40 minutes each game. The top minutes for the Wildcats hover around the 35-minute mark, leaving the starters well rested come crunch time.

This will be a hard-fought battle in enemy territory as the Sun Devils have a rare sellout in Wells Fargo Arena. I predict the Wildcats will once again start off slow but pull away down the stretch. 

Arizona 80, Arizona State 88

West’s Best Bets – The Final Four

UCLA-cheer

 

The Final Four of the West’s Best Bets is here. While we may not be in Atlanta with a bunch of 6-foot plus giants, we have smoking hot cheerleaders and the best college bars on the West Coast.

We begin the third and final round where we began the first two rounds—Seattle, Washington. The University of Washington has won the northwest region by besting in-state rival Washington State handily and narrowly beating the University of Oregon.

The University of Washington or UDub, as it more commonly known is a Public Ivy institution and has been annually ranked in the Top 20 worldwide schools for the past decade. They currently rank at No. 16 by the American Ranking of World Universities and No. 42 by U.S. News and World Report.

Will these accolades be enough to knock out the UCLA Bruins or did the Dawgs bite off more than they can chew in the Bruins? Let’s revisit the rankings and see how they fared.

 

Athletics Teams

  • moon-huskiesFootball – 4 National Championships, Bowl Record of 16-14-1 with seven Rose Bowl victories and 15 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, five Sweet Sixteens and one Final Four. 20 regular season championships and three Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Softball – 3 Conference Championships, 19 Tournament appearances, 10 WCWS appearances and a National Championship in 2009.
  • Baseball – 8 Tournament appearances
  • 67 National Championships in other sports with Swimming & Diving, Rowing & Track & Field all in double digits.

 

The sheer number of titles and championships date back to the 1920’s and as recent as this year in Rowing is outstanding and a true testament to their Championship mentality. I award the University of Washington 25 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

hopeWith the exception of US Women’s soccer gold medal winning goalie, Hope Solo and actress Anna Faris; the women at the University of Washington didn’t really stand out too much. They seemed a little too wrapped up in their galoshes and umbrellas but there was an underlying hotness that if they were on a beach, all that would change. – 19 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Since the University of Washington is in the heart of downtown Seattle and the city basically grew around the University, there are plenty of bars nearby, but they are not all necessarily college bars. In the downtown area alone, your typical college student looking to watch the game or just throw back a beer has numerous options. There are also several breweries in the city including the world famous Pyramid Breweries – 18 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

UW girlEverybody knows about the constant rain in Seattle, but when it is not raining, it is absolutely beautiful. Located in between Portage and Union Bays, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much, with highs in the 80’s during the summer and rarely dropping below freezing in the winter – 10 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

The University currently has 136 Fulbright Scholars and 35 Rhodes Scholars and awarded over 14,000 degrees last year including 723 Doctoral and 528 Professional degrees – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 80%

Leaving the Emerald City behind, we make our way to the city of angels—Los Angeles, California. The University of Cailfornia at Los Angeles to be more precise.

Located in Westwood, bordering the extremely affluent towns of Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills is a sprawling campus that was originally called the UC “southern branch.” The name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted.

Time for the rankings:

Athletics Teams

  • JOHN WOODENFootball – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

BridgetWith such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blossom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.

 ucla beachWeather

Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative – 13 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

As previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #25 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #14 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 88%

There is no denying that the University of Washington is a great school. With its storied athletics, its gorgeous setting in the heart of a thriving city and top-notch academics, it scored high marks. Just not high enough to take out UCLA. UCLA has it all, a beautiful campus with legendary bars, close proximity to the beach and all that Hollywood has to offer. The women are beautiful and the academic standards are a lot higher than many private schools throughout the country. It even bested the “Ivy League of the West” in Stanford in the second round. The history of great athletic teams and the most National Championships by any school make UCLA the victor and once again, they have Giada.

Giada-De-Laurentiis-sexy

West’s Best Bets – Snow Bunnies And Ski Bums

snow-bunnies

 

Welcome back to the West’s Best Bets!

I trust everybody had a great holiday break and spent time with family, beer and of course plenty of college football. As we are nearing completion of the best colleges of the West, we are looking to fill the final spot on our Final Four when the new newcomers to the Pac-12 Conference enter a head-to-head battle. We will first visit the University of Colorado in Boulder, then venture 500 miles northwest to Salt Lake City and the University of Utah.

For those that might have forgotten where we left things off last year, here is a quick recap:

  • Washington beat Washington State
  • Oregon beat Oregon State
  • Stanford beat Cal Berkeley
  • UCLA beat USC
  • San Diego State beat the Univ. of San Diego
  • Arizona State beat Arizona
  • Colorado beat Nevada – Las Vegas
  • Utah beat Boise State

 

In the second round, we had the following:

  • Washington beat Oregon
  • UCLA beat Stanford
  • Arizona State beat San Diego State

Now on to this week’s battle between Colorado and Utah for the coveted fourth final spot.

Located 25 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado, the city of Boulder has long been a refuge for hippies and those looking to eschew the modern world and all its accoutrements. The University was established the same year that Colorado achieved statehood in 1876 and the city of Boulder is often regarded as a premier location for health and well-being. It is also conseidered one of the countrires 30 Public Ivy League schools.

Let’s revisit the rankings to see how The University of Colorado at Boulder fares:

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Bowl Record of 12-16 with one National Championship shared with Georgia Tech in 1990. They have won 26 Conference Championship although only six at the Division I level- Big Eight (5) and Big 12 (1). They have also won four Big 12 North Division Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 11 tournament appearances, advancing four times to the Elite Eight and the Final Four twice. They have nine regular season championships and are the defending Pac-12 Conference Tournament Champion.
  • Women’s Basketball – 13 tournament appearances, advancing three times to the Sweet Sixteen and three times to the Elite Eight. They have two regular season championships and five-time Conference Tournament Champions.
  • Skiing – Leave it to CU-Boulder to dominate the sport of college skiing with 18 National Championships and 25 Conference Championships.
  • 24 Total National Championships
  • Other National Championships (5) – Men’s Cross Country (3), Women’s Cross Country (2).

The football teams of CU-Boulder dominated the Big 12 North Division winning it four of five years in the first half of the 2000s but have since been terrible especially after joining the Pac-12 Conference. The Men’s Basketball team in the other hand shocked the Conference in beating Arizona in the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Tournament. They absolutely dominate the sport of skiing with 17 National Titles, 83 individual National Champions and 50 individuals competing in the Olympics 80 times. For this I award the University of Colorado – Boulder 23 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

One would think with such cold weather for most of the year, the student body would be bundled up in layers of clothes hiding what God gave them – one would be wrong. CU-Boulder is often listed in the Nation’s Top Party Schools by Playboy and other national publications and the women are beauties. Nicole Fox, a CU-Boulder grad won America’s Next Top Model and is an absolutely stunning redhead – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Colorado has many local brews and breweries including five in Boulder alone, but if you don’t mind a little driving, some of the best beer in the country and world is waiting for you. If you are just looking to hang out around campus watch the game and pound some suds, Boulder has you covered as well. The Sink is a great college bar and I would recommend it to anybody in the Boulder area looking for a funky, hip vibe. If you are looking for a crazy drinking experience with some of the wildest concoctions in a rooftop bar, head on over to K’s China and live it up – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather            

Cold, snowy and cold, even when it looks nice outside, it is still cold. With summertime highs in the 80’s, it is an incredibly beautiful time of year to enjoy the outdoors and everything that the Rocky Mountains have to offer. The summer is short-lived and when the weather changes, it does so on a dime and stays that way for a long, long time. If skiing and snowboarding are your thing, then Boulder is for you, if you are like me, I need the sun and women in skimpy clothes   – 10 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

CU-Boulder has a delicate balancing act, ranked as top party school as well as in the top of many academic areas. It is the home of 11 Nobel Laureates, eight MacArthur Fellows and a stunning 18 astronauts including members of the Challenger and Columbia crews. Sixteen of the colleges programs are currently ranked in the Top 50 in the nation with four in the Top 10 of U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking. It is ranked No. 24 nationally by the Academic Ranking of Worldwide Universities and a noted member of the Public Ivy League of colleges.  – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 80%

I leave the beautiful city of Boulder and make my way to Salt Lake City. The two newest additions to the Pacific 12 Conference are just over eight hours apart but there is no direct path between the two cities. I elect to take the northern route up to Cheyenne, Wyoming and travel across the desolate state until I reach “The Crossroads of the West.”

Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and other Mormon followers. The University was started three years later in 1850 as the University of Deseret, the provisional name of the territory that included most of modern-day Utah and Nevada. The name was taken from the book of Mormon and means honeybee. The Beehive is the main image of the school’s seal and was renamed the University of Utah in 1892.

Let’s see how they did in the rankings:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Men’s Basketball – 27 tournament appearances including 12 out of fifteen years. 15 Sweet Sixteens, five Elite Eight appearances, four Final Fours and two National Championship games winning one. They also have 36 regular season championships and five Tournament Championships.
  • Football – Bowl Record of 13-4 with nine consecutive victories. Ranked #2 on the AP Poll following the 2008 season. They have 24 Conference Titles in five conferences including two in the WAC and four in the Mountain West.
  • Women’s Gymnastics – The “Red Rocks” team has 26 Regional Championships, 30 NCAA postseason appearances, 28 Super Six finals and 10 National Championships including six in a row.
  • 22 Total National Championships
  • Other National Championships – Skiing (11)

The University of Utah Men’s Basketball had a great run during the Rick Majerus era in the ‘90s and the early 2000s but failed to capitalize advancing twice beyond the Sweet Sixteen and their last National Championship was nearly 80 years ago. Their football team has an undefeated season and two top five finishes in the AP Poll. The absolute dominance of their women’s gymnastics team is the true star here with 10 National Championships and is the only team to qualify for every postseason tournament, for this I award the University of Utah22 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

When I heard that Holly Rowe of ESPN attended the University of Utah, I thought to myself “Wow, this is going to be a tough one.” I knew that their gymnastics team was arguably one of the best in the country and I love bendy women, so I checked out their squad. A great combination of cute, “girl next door” types, but not any standout hot women. I suppose that the conservative upbringing of many Utah students and the cold weather makes the female population less likely to show off their talents while on campus. Former Miss Utah and No.4 finisher in Miss USA Laura Chukanov claims University of Utah alumni status. – 17 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

I was a little leery about finding a good bar in the land of the Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons. However, I was pleasantly surprised not only by the amount of bars in SLC, but the amount of local breweries and accessibility of great craft beer. I absolutely loved the Beerhive Pub on Main Street with one of the best beer selections I have seen in a while. If you are looking for the best place to cheer on the Utes or other sports teams, our best bet is going to be the Green Pig Pub. They have an upstairs patio that is nice in the summer, live music and the food is of the gastropub variety – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather      

Perhaps the largest variance of temperatures of all the cities I have visited as of yet. Perhaps best known for its blustery winters given its proximity to seven world-class ski resorts, Salt Lake City has an actual summer with highs reaching into the 90s in July and August. A city that experiences a full four seasons and is well known for the litany of outdoor experiences waiting just outside the city limits. Snow is very common in Salt Lake City from mid-November to mid-March. If you are there in the summertime, it is heavenly, but snow for five straight months is not – 11 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                                                            

The University of Utah has a current enrollment of just under 31,000 students and is home to the states only accredited architecture program as well as the only medical school. They have been ranked No. 1 in “Generating Startup Companies” by AUTM and also the No. 1 University Health Care System by the UHC Consortium. U.S. News & World Report ranks 17 of their programs and colleges in the Top 50 in the nation. ARWU ranks the University of Utah at No. 47 while the London Times ranks them as no. 51 – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 75%

Although The University of Utah and Salt Lake City are major hubs of education and industry as well as being an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, it is evident that the University of Colorado is the clear winner. Their athletics programs are good, their academics are great and the party scene in little Boulder is one of the best in the country. If you are looking for a true college atmosphere with all four seasons and plenty of good times, get your butt up to the Rocky Mountains and enroll in the University of Colorado-Boulder, I hear they just made marijuana legal there.

WINNER: COLORADO

 

West’s Best Bets – California Dreamin’

The West’s Best Bets hits the road leaving the great Pacific Northwest and heading for California! In the second matchup of the second round we visit a rivalry as old as the state itself. Which is better – NorCal or SoCal? Read on to find out the answer…

After besting Cal in the first round; Stanford, the Harvard of the West takes on the University of California, Los Angeles. One of the nation’s best private universities versus arguably the best public institution in the country, this is going to a great matchup.

Located approximately halfway between San Francisco and San Jose lies the city of Palo Alto and the home of Stanford University. The 8,180-acre campus is located about five miles west of the famed San Francisco Bay and 25 miles east of the Pacific Ocean.

Stanford University was found by railroad magnate, U.S. Senator and former California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife Jane in 1891 to honor their only son, Leland Jr. who passed away prior to his 16th birthday. They declared that the chldren of California to be their own and donated their country estate “Palo Alto Stock Farm” as the site of the university.

Stanford asked then president of Harvard, Charles Eliot in 1885 how to replicate Harvard on the west coast and the two moved forward with the plans opening the campus to students in 1891. The school offered free tuition up until the 1930’s.

Stanford has finally grown in to the vision that the founders had in mind producing over 50 faculty, staff and alumni that have won Nobel Prizes and is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and one of the leading producers of the United States Congress.

Let’s revisit their rankings:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Two National Championships, Bowl Record of 10-12-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-6-1 and 12 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eight, two Final Fours and one National Championship in 1942 as well as two pre-tournament championships. They have fifteen regular season Championships and five Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 30 Tournament appearances including 27 out of 30 years while going to the College World Series 16 times and winning back-to-back championships in 1987-1988.
  • 61 total Men’s National Championships including Tennis (18), Water Polo (11), Golf (8), Swimming & Diving (8), Gymnastics (5), Outdoor Track & Field (4), Cross Country (4) and Volleyball (2).
  • 42 total Women’s National Championships including Tennis (17), Swimming & Diving (9), Volleyball (6), Cross Country (5), Synchronized Swimming (6), Water Polo (3), Basketball (2), Rowing (1) and Soccer (1).
  • 116 total National Championships and 448 individual sport champions.
  • Winner of the NACDA Directors’ Cup for the past 17 years straight, the award has only been given out for 18 years.

Absolute dominanceand I didn’t even mention Tiger Woods – for this I award Stanford University 29 out of a possible 30 points.

 

Women

Women with big brains turn me on…as long as they are wearing skimpy outfits that show off their “assets.” Unfortunately, too many women had their noses buried in books and were always bundled up. The night life/party scene seemed to bring out some beauties, but I doubt they were Stanford students. I have always had a thing for Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Connelly though. – 20 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Much like Berkeley, Palo Alto has its fair share of good college bars and pubs but it seems to be overrun with wine bars, like it was still stuck in the 90’s. There is a Gordon Biersch and a local brewpub called the Firehouse Grill & Brewery, but you really need to leave Palo Alto to find some real night life.  – 15 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

The coldest winter I have ever spent is the summer in San Francisco is a famous saying from Mark Twain an it pretty much rings true 35 miles south east in Palo Alto, but at least it gets into the 80’s there…or so I am told. The winters are a little cooler than Berkeley, but once again, no snow…just a bunch of rain– 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                              

Is there anything about Stanford’s academics that you don’t know? In a head to head battle of academia, the Ivy League of the West is head and shoulders above the rest. Stanford is a virtual breeding ground for billionaires, the millionaires settle for Berkeley. Google, PayPal, Netflix, LinkedIn, Victoria’s Secret, Pandora, Electronic Arts, Cisco Systems, Trader Joe’s, Dolby Labs, Charles Schwab, Capital One, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo! And Sun Microsystems were all were founded with Stanford degrees. If you are looking to get ahead and you are smart enough, get your ass to Stanford   – 10 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 82%

 

A short five-and-a-half hour drive south we find the University of California, Los Angeles, or UCLA in the city of Westwood.The city borders some of the most affluent towns in the state if not the country. WIth Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills(site of the Playboy Mansion) and Beverly Hills close by, the sprawling campus that was originally called the UC “southern branch” is gorgeous. The name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. The campus is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted.

This has marked the 14th year that UCLA has been the most applied-to public university and has been one of he most selective public universities in the country along with UC-Berkeley and The University of Virginia.

The University ranks 10th by the American Ranking of World Universities and was ranked 12th by Newsweek Magazine. The Washington Monthly ranks UCLA third nationally based on research, community service and social mobility. The Princeton Review listed it as the only public institution on the “Dream School” edition selected by students and parents. Lastly, it ranks ninth nationally and tied for second among public schools for most billionaires produced.

This is going to be close, so let’s revisit the rankings for UCLA:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

With such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blosssom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather      

Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative – 13 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

As previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #24 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #13 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 88%

It looks as though the public school beats out the private school – take that Muffy! The academics and athletics are better at Stanford, but the lifestyle of the typical UCLA student seems to be just a little bit better. Whether it is because it is on the beach or because the weather is nicer. You can’t deny that both schools are wonderful, but it seems that UCLA is just a little bit better and they have Giada.

West’s Best Bets – Clash in the Cascades

Welcome back to the West’s Best Bets. We are moving into the second round of competition and re-visit the schools in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, we begin in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington and the University of Washington then travel to Eugene, Oregon to visit the University of Oregon.

The University of Washington or UDub, as it more commonly known is a Public Ivy institution and has been annually ranked in the Top 20 worldwide schools for the past decade. They currently rank at No. 16 by the American Ranking of World Universities and No. 42 by U.S. News and World Report.

Spread out over three campuses in downtown Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, the University of Washington occupies more than 500 buildings and 20 million gross square footage of space. The main campus in Seattle has an enrollment of just over 42,000, accepting 59% of all freshman applicants with an average grade point average of 3.63.

Let’s revisit the rankings and see if they can advance to the next round:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – 4 National Championships, Bowl Record of 16-14-1 with seven Rose Bowl victories and 15 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, five Sweet Sixteens and one Final Four. 20 regular season championships and three Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Softball – 3 Conference Championships, 19 Tournament appearances, 10 WCWS appearances and a National Championship in 2009.
  • Baseball – 8 Tournament appearances
  • 67 National Championships in other sports with Swimming & Diving, Rowing & Track & Field all in double digits.

The sheer number of titles and championships date back to the 1920’s and as recent as this year in Rowing is outstanding and a true testament to their Championship mentality. I award the University of Washington 25 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

With the exception of US Women’s soccer gold medal winning goalie, Hope Solo and actress Anna Faris; the women at the University of Washington didn’t really stand out too much. They seemed a little too wrapped up in their galoshes and umbrellas but there was an underlying hotness that if they were on a beach, all that would change, take Playboy’s Ophelia Shallot (pictured below) as an example. – 19 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Since the University of Washington is in the heart of downtown Seattle and the city basically grew around the University, there are plenty of bars nearby, but they are not all necessarily college bars. In the downtown area alone, your typical college student looking to watch the game or just throw back a beer has numerous options. There are also several breweries in the city including the world famous Pyramid Breweries – 18 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

Everybody knows about the constant rain in Seattle, but when it is not raining, it is absolutely beautiful. Located in between Portage and Union Bays, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much, with highs in the 80’s during the summer and rarely dropping below freezing in the winter –10 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

The University currently has 136 Fulbright Scholars and 35 Rhodes Scholars and awarded over 14,000 degrees last year including 723 Doctoral and 528 Professional degrees –8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 80%

 

 

Once again, we jump on Interstate 5 in the shadow of the great Cascades Mountain Range and head 280 miles due south to the city of Eugene, Oregon. Much like the University of Washington, the University of Oregon has four campuses statewide with the largest contingent being in Eugene. The main campus is spread over 295 acres and holds over 60 buildings as well as a forest of over 500 varieties of trees.

A much smaller enrollment with over 24,000 students, the University of Oregon accepts over 75% of applicants with an average GPA of 3.5. This past fall, the honors program received 1,570 applicants and enrolled only 205.

The University hovers around the Top 100 rankings by U.S. News and World Report and the American Ranking of Worldwide Universities. Perhaps the most auspicious recognition is that the University of Oregon was the setting for fictional Faber College in the movie Animal House.

After a narrow victory of in-state rival Oregon State University in the first round, let’s see if they can beat their Pacific Northwest rival:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – 1 National Championship appearance, Bowl Record of 10-15 with six Rose Bowl appearances, winning two and 10 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 10 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, one Final Four and one National Championship in 1939 as well as a CBI Championship in 2011. They have four regular season Championships and two Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 4 Tournament appearances and one College World Series appearance.
  • 19 total National Championships including Cross Country and Track & Field for the Men & Women.

The University of Oregon football team is currently ranked the #2 team in the country and has been a force to be reckoned with since 2000. Prior to that, the only thing that UO was famous for was their track teams. Rose Bowl appearances and a National Championship in Basketball in the 30’s and 40’s but a long 60 year stretch where nothing happened of note- for this I award the  University of Oregon 20 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

I have been in love with the University of Oregon cheerleaders for quite some time now. How would I hear of UO cheerleaders in the desert you may ask? Arizona State football player Aaron Pflugrad has a twin sister, Amanda who was a UO cheerleader and current Fox Sports mega-babe. I could go on for days about the lovely ladies in Eugene but I have to stop myself– 24 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

The Eugene-Springfield metro area has over 300,000 residents and a student population of approximately 25,000 students. UO students will not have a problem finding a great place to sit back and watch the game with a bunch of friends and brews or even fancy it up a bit with a higher class of restaurants and brewpubs. As mentioned before there are several breweries statewide yet Eugene has many of their very own including Ninkasi, Steelhead & Oakshire Breweries – 18 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

Surrounded by forest land to the south, east & west you would expect Eugene to be a winter haven. Yet, at an elevation of only 426 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer and has less rain and snow than Corvallis to the north which is basically in flat, farming land. The city center of Eugene has an urban heat island due to the asphalt which rises the temps a little as well – 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                              

The University of Oregon offers nearly 300 academic programs with more than 25 research centers and institutes statewide including locations in Portland, on the coast in Charleston and atop Pine Mountain. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.59 and a median class size of only 19 students for the hands on personal experience. Former students include Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, the CEO’s of Columbia Sportswear, Palm, Inc. and Gucci as well as the Principal Owner of the Golden State Warriors and the General Manager of the New Orleans Saints   – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 77%.

In a close, hard-fought battle, the University of Washington prevails over the University of Oregon. I will always hold the Oregon cheerleaders near and dear to my heart, but man cannot live on hot cheerleaders alone. The University of Washington simply has a lot more to offer a student if he was dead set on attending college in the Pacific Northwest.

WINNER – WASHINGTON

West’s Best Bets – Rocky Mountain Rumble

For the final preliminary matchup of the West’s Best Bets, we are heading into the Rocky Mountains to visit the schools that make it as difficult to study for ski bums as the Southern California schools are for beach bums. This trip has me visiting Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. After our visit with the Utes, we travel to Boise, Idaho and check out the famed blue turf that the Broncos of Boise State University call home.

I leave the beautiful city of Boulder and make my way to Salt Lake City. The two newest additions to the Pacific 12 Conference are just over eight hours apart but there is no direct path between the two cities. I elect to take the northern route up to Cheyenne, Wyoming and travel across the desolate state until I reach “The Crossroads of the West.”  Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and other Mormon followers. The University was started three years later in 1850 as the University of Deseret, the provisional name of the territory that included most of modern-day Utah and Nevada. The name was taken from the book of Mormon and means honeybee. The Beehive is the main image of the school’s seal and was renamed the University of Utah in 1892. Let’s see how they do in the rankings:

Athletics Teams

  • Men’s Basketball – 27 tournament appearances including 12 out of fifteen years. 15 Sweet Sixteens, five Elite Eight appearances, four Final Fours and two National Championship games winning one. They also have 36 regular season championships and five Tournament Championships.
  • Football – Bowl Record of 13-4 with nine consecutive victories. Ranked #2 on the AP Poll following the 2008 season. They have 24 Conference Titles in five conferences including two in the WAC and four in the Mountain West.
  • Women’s Gymnastics – The “Red Rocks” team has 26 Regional Championships, 30 NCAA postseason appearances, 28 Super Six finals and 10 National Championships including six in a row.
  • 22 Total National Championships
  • Other National Championships – Skiing (11)

The University of Utah Men’s Basketball had a great run during the Rick Majerus era in the ‘90s and the early 2000s but failed to capitalize advancing twice beyond the Sweet Sixteen and their last National Championship was nearly 80 years ago. Their football team has an undefeated season and two top five finishes in the AP Poll. The absolute dominance of their women’s gymnastics team is the true star here with 10 National Championships and is the only team to qualify for every postseason tournament, for this I award the University of Utah22 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

When I heard that Holly Rowe of ESPN attended the University of Utah, I thought to myself “Wow, this is going to be a tough one.” I knew that their gymnastics team was arguably one of the best in the country and I love bendy women, so I checked out their squad. A great combination of cute, “girl next door” types, but not any standout hot women. I suppose that the conservative upbringing of many Utah students and the cold weather makes the female population less likely to show off their talents while on campus. Former Miss Utah and No.4 finisher in Miss USA Laura Chukanov claims University of Utah alumni status. – 17 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

I was a little leery about finding a good bar in the land of the Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons. However, I was pleasantly surprised not only by the amount of bars in SLC, but the amount of local breweries and accessibility of great craft beer. I absolutely loved the Beerhive Pub on Main Street with one of the best beer selections I have seen in a while. If you are looking for the best place to cheer on the Utes or other sports teams, our best bet is going to be the Green Pig Pub. They have an upstairs patio that is nice in the summer, live music and the food is of the gastropub variety – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Laura Chukanov
Weather      

Perhaps the largest variance of temperatures of all the cities I have visited as of yet. Perhaps best known for its blustery winters given its proximity to seven world-class ski resorts, Salt Lake City has an actual summer with highs reaching into the 90s in July and August. A city that experiences a full four seasons and is well known for the litany of outdoor experiences waiting just outside the city limits. Snow is very common in Salt Lake City from mid-November to mid-March. If you are there in the summertime, it is heavenly, but snow for five straight months is not – 11 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                                                            

The University of Utah has a current enrollment of just under 31,000 students and is home to the states only accredited architecture program as well as the only medical school. They have been ranked No. 1 in “Generating Startup Companies” by AUTM and also the No. 1 University Health Care System by the UHC Consortium. U.S. News & World Report ranks 17 of their programs and colleges in the Top 50 in the nation. ARWU ranks the University of Utah at No. 47 while the London Times ranks them as no. 51 – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 74%

After visiting the Great Salt Lake, I leave the city of salt and head northbound into the great state of Idaho. Best known for producing potatoes and separatists, I was wondering if and how the two mixed. I jump on the I-15 out of SLC and connect to the I-84 and arrive in the “City of Trees” in less than six hours. Boise State University was opened in 1932 as Episcopal College and then gained independence as Boise College. After many decades as a junior college, it continually grew and began awarding baccalaureate degrees as a four-year institution in 1965. It was renamed Boise State College in 1969 and achieved University status in 1974 and is now the largest university in Idaho.  Although not in the Pac-12 Conference, Boise State University earns a chance to battle in the West’s Best Bets, now onto the rankings:

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Bowl Record of 8-4, one Junior College National Championship and one FCS National Championship. They claimed six Conference Titles in the Big Sky (FCS) before moving to the Big West winning two conference titles and eight in the WAC. Two perfect seasons finishing in the Top 5 of the AP & Coaches Polls.
  • Men’s Basketball – 5 tournament appearances, 7 regular season championships in three conferences and 5 Tournament Championships in the Big Sky and WAC.
  • Wrestling – 6 Pac-12 Conference Championships and two individual National Champions.
  • 9 Total Individual National Champions
  • Other National Champions (7) – Men’s Track and Field (5), Men’s Skiing (1), Women’s Track & Field (1).

Boise State University is a relative newcomer to the athletics scene with teams competing as a junior college for many years and 30+ years at the Division I-AA level. Since moving to Division I-A, their football team has made a splash going to 12 bowl games in its 15 years and finishing in the Top 10 four times as well as two undefeated seasons and one of my favorite games of all time – defeating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. While football is important, their basketball teams are non-existent, they don’t have a baseball team and can only claim two team National Championships, in lesser conferences. For these reason, I award Boise State University 19 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

Genevieve Nutting

Boise, Idaho and hot women, two things that rarely get spoken in the same sentence, so I was on a mission to see if there was a reason why. No reason, just not a lot going up here. The City of Boise barely cracks 205,000 in population and the school enrolls just over 23,000. Not really known as a destination university, Boise State is made up of 86 percent Idaho residents. The good news for the Idaho guys is that BSU is 55 percent female. Former Miss Idaho, Genevieve Nutting and current Seattle Sea Gal Cassie went to Boise St. and let’s not forget porn star, Tera Patrick    – 16 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

In the quaint town of Boise, Idaho, I was not expecting much beyond the realm of college bars and townie joints. Going into it with this state of mind, I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite place by a landslide was The Taphouse on Main St. This is a great place to watch the game with an extensive beer selection and better than average food. The Red Room is the perfect dive bar for live music and cheap beer   – 15 out of 20 possible points.

Weather  
At only 2,700 feet above sea level, Boise gets considerably hotter than Salt Lake City and summer highs reaching into the upper 90s and sometimes 100s. The winter is similar to that of SLC with snow and freezing temps from mid-November to mid-March but in considerably smaller amounts. The weather in Boise is nice for seven months out of the year and bearable for the other 5 – 12 out of 15 possible points.
Academics

Boise State is a great college for those Idaho students not looking to leave the area. The current student body includes 10 different Scholars, i.e. Rhodes, Truman. It has been listed twice in U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Top Up and Coming Schools” and ranked No. 67 in the West Region. They offer 5 doctoral degrees, 77 master’s degrees and 99 baccalaureate degrees.  – 5 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 67%

 

I think U.S. News & World Report said it best, Boise State University is an “Up & Coming School” it just isn’t there yet. The school has made great strides not only in its athletics, but also in it academics in the past 40 years offering only Associates’ degrees to now offering Ph.D.s. The University of Utah and Salt Lake City are major hubs of education and industry as well as being an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The women and weather at both schools are suspect, but if you are looking for a great school when all the chips are down , the University of Utah wins out easily over Boise State University.

WINNER – UTAH

West’s Best Bets – The “Not So” Civil War

Welcome back to the second installment of the West’s Best Bets, this week we are traveling down the I-5 through the weirdest city in America en route to Corvallis, Oregon – the home of Oregon State University and their beloved Beavers.

I am just going to say it, Portland and the state of Oregon is weird. I remember growing up in the 70’s and seeing full-serve versus self-serve gas stations but I found out that it was illegal to pump your own gas…and they literally go berserk if you touch a gas pump. I had heard all of the stories that Portland was strange and I moved quickly through the hippy Mecca on my way to my happy place -a college town with keg stands, $2 PBR’s and frolicking co-eds.

This week’s competition begins in the small-ish town of Corvallis located a couple miles west of the interstate and is the home to Oregon State University, a sprawling 400-acre campus located in the southwest portion of the city that is situated in the middle of the Willamette Valley which is equidistant to the coastline on the west and the Cascade mountain range on the east. The judging begins…

Dominant Baseball Team

Athletics Teams

 

    1. Football – Bowl Record of 10-5 with a Rose Bowl record of 1-2 and five Conference Championships.
    1. Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, six Sweet Sixteens and two Final Fours. 20 regular season Championships and a CBI Championship in 2009.
    1. Baseball – 13 Tournament appearances, four College World Series appearances and back to back Championships in 2006 and 2007 along with 22 regular season Conference Championships.
    1. National Championships in Wrestling and Men’s Cross Country.

With the exception of the incredible back to back Championships in baseball, the teams of OSU haven’t done much in the past couple decades, for this I award Oregon State University 20 out of a possible 30 points.

2007 Playmate of the Year – Sarah Jean Underwood

Women
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of beautiful women on campus. It must be the whole global and environmental awareness of Oregon that brings out the “hotties in hoodies” in Corvallis. It is no surprise that two Playboy Playmates of the Year have come from Oregon State including Jodi Ann Peterson in 2000 and Sara Jean Underwood in 2007 – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs
For a town with some 50,000 residents and a student population of roughly half of that, Corvallis and Oregon State has a great number of local hangouts and breweries including national favorites Deschutes Brewery, Widmer Brothers, Rogue & Full Sail Brewing Company within 100 miles in any direction – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

You Gotta Love the Goonies

Corvallis has a strange temperature thing going on, it is most always overcast, but the rain doesn’t fall as much as it does up in Washington. About an hour drive to the beach or coastline, because it isn’t too “beachy” – remember “The Goonies?” At an elevation of only 235 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer but does average 5 inches of snowfall annually – 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics
The State of Oregon’s largest public research university and is one of only two universities in the country to have Land, Sea, Sun & Space Grant designations. The school ranks #4 among sustainable universities for using renewable energy. They rank #1 nationally in five separate programs. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.53 and they have a presence in all 36 counties in Oregon – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 74%

Your Oregon State Beavers

Leaving Corvallis with a smile on my face, I head back to the I-5 and head an hour south to Eugene and the University of Oregon. For as big as Oregon is, coming in as the 9th largest state in the Union, the population is concentrated along the interstate with 80% within 20 miles on the 110 mile stretch from Portland to Eugene. The city of Eugene is the 2nd most populous city in the state and is the birthplace of Nike, which has since moved to Beaverton in the metro Portland area.

“Some” of the New Football Uniforms

Athletics Teams

    1. Football – 1 National Championship appearance, Bowl Record of 10-15 with six Rose Bowl appearances, winning two and 10 Conference Championships.
    1. Men’s Basketball – 10 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, one Final Four and one National Championship in 1939 as well as a CBI Championship in 2011. They have four regular season Championships and two Conference Tournament Championships.
    1. Baseball – 4 Tournament appearances and one College World Series appearance.
    1. 19 total National Championships including Cross Country and Track & Field for the Men & Women.

The University of Oregon football team is currently ranked the #2 team in the country and has been a force to be reckoned with since 2000. Prior to that, the only thing that UO was famous for was their track teams. Rose Bowl appearances and a National Championship in Basketball in the 30’s and 40’s but a long 60 year stretch where nothing happened of note- for this I award the University of Oregon 20 out of a possible 30 points.

FOX Sports’ Amanda Pflugrad in College

Women
I have been in love with the University of Oregon cheerleaders for quite some time now. How would I hear of UO cheerleaders in the desert you may ask? Arizona State football player Aaron Pflugrad has a twin sister, Amanda who was a UO cheerleader and current Fox Sports mega-babe. I could go on for days about the lovely ladies in Eugene but I have to stop myself– 24 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs
The Eugene-Springfield metro area has over 300,000 residents and a student population of approximately 25,000 students. UO students will not have a problem finding a great place to sit back and watch the game with a bunch of friends and brews or even fancy it up a bit with a higher class of restaurants and brewpubs. As mentioned before there are several breweries statewide yet Eugene has many of their very own including Ninkasi Brewing Company, Steelhead Brewing Company & Oakshire Brewing18 out of 20 possible points.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Weather
Surrounded by forest land to the south, east & west you would expect Eugene to be a winter haven. Yet, at an elevation of only 426 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer and has less rain and snow than Corvallis to the north which is basically in flat, farming land. The city center of Eugene has an urban heat island due to the asphalt which rises the temps a little as well – 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics
The University of Oregon offers nearly 300 academic programs with more than 25 research centers and institutes statewide including locations in Portland, on the coast in Charleston and atop Pine Mountain. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.59 and a median class size of only 19 students for the hands on personal experience. Former students include Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, the CEO’s of Columbia Sportswear, Palm, Inc. and Gucci as well as the Principal Owner of the Golden State Warriors and the General Manager of the New Orleans Saints – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 77%

The Ducks Quacked Out a Slim Victory


This was a lot closer than I thought it was going to with the University of Oregon taking the slim victory of Oregon State University. The breweries and the women really do justice for the state of Oregon or at least that 110 mile stretch from Portland to Eugene. If you are environmentally conscious and looking for a little bit of weirdness in your college, city and lifestyle, you can’t do much better than the two state universities, but ultimately, UO emerges the victor based on my criteria.