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Utah Valley coach Mark Pope pitches UVU The Bachelor and challenges students to ping pong

In which we come up with ideas for UVU The Bachelor

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NCAA Basketball: Utah Valley at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope is a man of ideas. He’s known to occasionally bring those ideas onto the UVU Coaches Show, where he is free to say whatever is on his mind.

On Monday, during his final appearance of the season, Pope unleashed perhaps his two greatest gems.

The first will satisfy literally every reader of this site because it’s related to The Bachelor, which I’m told sports fans enjoy more than sports.

Presenting UVU The Bachelor!

Here’s how Pope pitched it on his show:

Next year we might do a UVU The Bachelor, where we take one of our most eligible players, we get a crew of 25, give or take, 25-or-so of the most eligible UVU female — what’s politically correct? Can I say bachelorettes? And what we do is after every game — we have events throughout the week, promo stuff — every game, whichever one of our guys is chosen as the Bachelor will go to that section and will hand out the requisite number of roses until the final home game, senior night, it will be the final rose delivered. And we’re going to broadcast the entire thing TO THE WORLD!

He says he came up with the idea because his team seems to be obsessed with the show. “You wouldn’t even know it’s basketball season,” he said, because that’s all his team is talking about.

I, your fearless site manager Russell, do not watch The Bachelor (sorry, sorry, I’m really sorry). So I enlisted the help of staff writer and resident The Bachelor expert Ellie Lieberman to help come up with some ideas for dates. Here are some player-specific ideas in the event that any of the below athletes are chosen.

  • Conner Toolson: The team’s leading scorer is reminiscent of a jacked-up version of Jef Holm, the first-place winner and Utahan who finished first on Emily Maynard’s season. A classic first date for Neilson could include a visit to his ‘ole buddy Holm at his bottled water company, People Water. If Holm is unavailable, Connor could always swing a 2-on-1 date with his brother and teammate Jake, in which they would fight to the death for the woman of their dreams.
  • Isaac Neilson: In an effort to emphasize manliness at all costs, Neilson, who is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game, would take his date to watch him duel it out with his former team, BYU. As we’ve seen in previous seasons, these types of dates usually end in a rose for most women.
  • Joonas Tahvanainen: Due to typical bachelor suspense, Tahvanainen will take an unsuspecting woman on the date only to receive a surprise from none other than her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be Tahvanainen's teammate from the U-20 Finland team and Arizona star, Lauri Markkanen.
  • Brandon Randolph: The team leader in assists with 4.4 per game is especially suited for dishing it out, so what about a trip to UVU's cafeteria, The Valley View Menu, where he and his date can try their hand at whipping up some meals for UVU’s students?

We should also note that Pope had an alternate idea in case a bunch of his players wanted to participate. This would involve one UVU female student handing out roses to Pope’s players after each home game:

We’ll do it literally as we finish. Right at the end of the [handshake] line she could be handing out the roses to the people still in it.

Have we had enough of The Bachelor? OK. Here is the second wacky idea that Pope proposed:

Beat Pope or his daughters at sports and stay in Vegas for free during the WAC Tournament

Pope is confident in his ping pong abilities. He’s also confident in his daughters’ 2-on-2 foosball abilities. If you’re a UVU student and you defeat him at ping pong, he will pay for you hotel in Las Vegas for the WAC Tournament. If you’re a UVU student and you have a friend, the two of you could take on his daughters in foosball for the same prize.

But be warned: Pope’s daughters are apparently really good. He said this about potential competitors:

They got no chance. My daughters have been playing foosball against all the Division I athletes in the state of Utah — BYU, you name it — and still five years in are undefeated in 2-on-2 foosball. We take these games seriously.

Pope made it clear that whether you choose ping pong or foosball, it would all be streamed on Facebook Live for the world to see. So don’t embarrass yourself.

Listen to the whole thing here: