Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 3 Bradlee Van Pelt
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. 2 Kyle Whittingham vs. No. 3 Bradlee Van Pelt
It took Kyle Whittingham a couple days to admit he made a "bad decision."
With Utah clinging to a 43-0 lead midway through the third quarter of a 2007 meeting with the Cowboys inside Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utes flat-topped head coach decided it was the perfect time to get a little payback.
Earlier in the week, Joe Glenn, in an attempt to fire up some students, guaranteed a victory over Utah. UW's head coach, known for his fun-natured personality and big smile, didn't appreciate what was about to happen.
Kicker Louie Sakoda attempted an onside kick.
Though the Cowboys recovered, Glenn was caught by television cameras flipping off the Utah bench. After the game, he played dumb. Monday, he stepped up and took the heat.
"I met with my team on Sunday and apologized to them for the
gesture I made toward the Utah bench during the game," Glenn said
in a statement. "I also want to apologize to all fans for that action. Football
is an emotional game, and I let my emotions get the best of me. I felt it was appropriate for me to let my team and all fans know that I am truly sorry for that emotional moment."
Whittingham told reporters he was sorry, too, but only after saying this in his postgame press conference:
What some forgot about this 50-0 blowout, is Whittingham also ran a fake punt late in the first half with his team holding on to a commanding 26-point lead. Of course the Utes converted. Of course they scored on the ensuing handoff.
Wyoming cornerback Julius Stinson gave his postgame thoughts on Whittingham without saying anything at all.
"I mean, if you're a coach that kicks an onside kick, and you're up 40-0, I mean ...," Stinson said, followed with a smirk.
Whittingham changed his tune at his Monday press conference. Well, the best he could, anyway.
"We had worked two weeks on it and wanted to find a spot to use it," he told reporters. "You get caught up emotionally in a football game, you want to be competitive and the juices are flowing, but when I had a chance to digest it, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't."
Whittingham boasts a record of 5-1 against the Pokes. As a college player, at BYU, of all places, Whittingham won three of his four meetings against Wyoming. The one loss, a 33-20 setback in a Laramie snowstorm. That's when his mentor, LaVell Edwards (The No. 1 seed on this list), uttered his infamous slam.
"I'd rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie," Edwards said.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 wiped out a meeting in Laramie between these two schools in 2020. According to fbschedules.com, that game has been rescheduled for 2025. The Cowboys will travel to Salt Lake City in 2027.
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Is there really any other player to wear that Colorado State uniform that got under your skin more so than Bradlee Van Pelt?
The shaggy hair. The skateboarding. The arrogance.
Van Pelt is a guy you love if he's on your team. If he's not, well, you get the gist.
The two-time Player of the Year in the Mountain West made light work of the Cowboys during the first meeting back in 2001. The Rams rolled to a 42-14 victory inside War Memorial Stadium. UW won just two games that season under then-head coach Vic Koenning.
That was Van Pelt's first-ever collegiate start under center. He completed 11-of-20 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. He added 85 more yards -- and a score -- on the ground during that rout.
Van Pelt and the Rams were once again victorious the following season en route to a conference championship. CSU outlasted a scrappy -- yet still 1-10 -- Wyoming squad, 44-36.
That night inside Hughes Stadium -- head coach Sonny Lubick's 100th-career win -- Van Pelt threw for 157 yards and a score. He rushed for 64 more yards and another touchdown. But before Lubick could celebrate, he was busy yanking his starting QB for on-the-field antics that had become all-too common.
Driving deep in UW territory and holding a slim 37-30 lead early in the fourth quarter, Van Pelt was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he purposely stepped on a Cowboy defender inside the 10-yard line.
With UW an afterthought on the college football landscape at the time, it's easy to see why Van Pelt and the CSU faithful put all the focus on their in-state rival, Colorado. Van Pelt sparked that even further with his infamous spike into the helmet of a CU defender before entering the end zone earlier that season.
Casey Bramlet and the Cowboys served a reminder to the over-confident QB and that fanbase down south in the final meeting of his career in 2003 -- the Border War was still very much alive. Heavy underdogs, Joe Glenn's squad pulled off a 35-28 stunner in Laramie.
The field goal posts came down with the snow. CSU's winning streak in the series was halted at four.
So, who do you consider more of a villain? Vote here:
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium