Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nevada Won't-Pack

Wow, the content is just pouring out of my fingertips these days. In my record sixth post in two days, it is my pleasure to break the news that Nevada will NOT be making the trip to Provo next year to play the mighty Cougars.

I heard the news while listening to Coach Mendenhall's weekly call-in show on KSL, and I thought I would be the first to break the story, but it seems the Salt Lake Tribune found out as well.

Welp, no Nevada next year. And with no one under contract, it looks like BYU will have to schedule another FCS (D-1AA) team next year in addition to playing Utah State. It's not going to help our strength of schedule, but when you're dealing with those slimy WAC teams, what can you do?

BYU in the BC$

In case you Cougar fans aren't already aware, BYU is officially one of 18 teams being considered for a BCS bowl game this year, as per a teleconference including conference commissioners and BCS bowl representatives.

What I would like to do now is list everything that has to happen this weekend for the Cougars to be invited to a BCS game. For a non-BCS school to get in a BCS bowl game, by the way, the school has to be a conference champion in the top 12 of the final BCS rankings. Or, it has to be in the top 16, ahead of another BCS conference champion. I hope that makes sense.

So on Saturday, here's what needs to happen:

1. BYU needs to beat SDSU (And beat them soundly. A blowout might look good to pollsters.)

2. Washington needs to beat Hawaii (No easy task; the Huskies will be playing in the islands, and Hawaii is dang-near invincible in Aloha Stadium.)

3. UCLA needs to beat USC (Sorry, Eliot)

4. Arizona needs to beat Arizona State (Rivalry game: anything can happen, right?)

If those four things happen, it will create a four-way tie in the Pac-10. The tie-breaking formula used in the Pac-10 conference will send UCLA to the Rose Bowl and make them the conference champions. Hawaii will fall behind BYU in the BCS standings, and BYU will finish ahead of UCLA. Therefore, BYU will secure a BCS bowl invite.

It's a long shot, but definitely not impossible.

For more info, read Jeff Call's article in the Deseret Morning News.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's Fourth

All right, I know 4 posts in one day gets a little excessive, but I had to give this juicy nugget to all my loyal readers. Thanks to Shawn B. for the assist.

MWC Coach of the Year

Who's your pick for MWC coach of the year? The trendy pick is Air Force's Troy Calhoun. He took the Falcons to an impressive 9-3 record in his first year, after AFA was picked to finish very close to the bottom in the pre-season. Air Force beat a very good Utah and TCU squad early, and then got some national air time by putting the hurt on Notre Dame.

They did, however, lose a tough game to Navy.

Oh yeah, and they got blown apart by BYU.

But, there's no doubt that Troy Calhoun is a great coach, and he'll have a great career at the Air Force Academy.

However, Calhoun falls a bit short of MWC Coach of the Year, in my humble opinion. To me, no one deserves that honor more than our very own Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall, even before the season started, had the toughest test of any coach in the MWC (besides maybe Gary Patterson from TCU - but Patterson couldn't rise to the challenge. TCU finished the season woefully below average): Rebuild a powerhouse program after losing virtually all of its offensive talent to the NFL/graduation.

In case anyone has forgotten, let me remind you that BYU lost John Beck, Jonny Harline, Curtis Brown, Zac Collie, MacKay Jacobson, Nate Meikle and on defense Cameron Jensen and our favorite undersized corner back Justin "J-Rob" Robinson.

He inherited a quarterback, Max Hall, who hadn't played in a meaningful game since high school - nearly four years earlier. Skeptics picked BYU to finish third in the MWC during pre-season voting, and rightly so: There were large shoes in BYU's locker room, and no one knew who was going to fill them.

Mendenhall remained confident, however, that a system was in place to produce success regardless of personnel.

Now, as the season winds to a close, we all know what Bronco knew all along: a system is indeed in place, and BYU will be successful for many years to come. The Cougars have mirrored last year's accomplishments with a 9-2 (soon to be 10-2) record, and they have done it with a completely new cast of characters. Mendenhall has taken a new crop of athletes and has led them to an incredibly successful season. More importantly, he has instilled a culture of winning.

Last year, BYU had a great team. This year, Bronco has built a great program. Bronco gets my vote for Coach of the Year.

Austin Collie's Controversy

"When you're doing what's right, on and off the field, the Lord steps in and plays a part." - Austin Collie

It was 4th and 18, but it might as well have been 4th and 1,800. After a near fumble, a near interception and a dropped pass, the Cougars looked like they were done. Their collective heart had been broken. It seemed the Utes would once again claim victory in LaVell Edwards' hallowed field. And then... we all saw it. We watched Max Hall break out of the pocket. We saw him wind up and let loose. Then we looked down field and saw Austin Collie wide open on the Utah 40 yard line. And then we went crazy.

And I mean, WE WENT CRAZY.

When AC caught that ball it was BYU's game. Sure enough, Harvey Unga sealed the deal by running into, through and over the Utah defense, including Steve "The Tool" Tate (Pictured here eating turf)

In a post-game interview, Austin Collie gave the above quote. In essence, he gave credit for his ability to the Lord. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Utah fans became enraged. It's like clockwork: Every year, no matter what happens on the field, it always has to come down to religion with these two teams. We can't escape it.

And why shouldn't it? I mean, how dare a BYU student athlete give God the credit after a wonderful win, right? How self-righteous!

Austin Collie later said, "I just think it's absolutely ridiculous that people take something like that [his earlier quote] and blow it up. I really think it's because I'm a Mormon white kid from Brigham Young University. Anybody else says that from any other team and it's just 'how spiritual that guy is.'"

How true. When Illinois QB Juice Williams led his team over then #1 Ohio State, the first thing he did in the post-game interview was thank God. There are myriad other examples of different players doing the same thing every game. Kneeling after a touchdown, crossing themselves, pointing to the sky - these are all ways of giving God credit. And yet, when Collie does it, somehow it's offensive and self-righteous.

Essentially, Austin Collie said 'when you do what's right the Lord blesses you.' If you believe in a higher power, how can you disagree with that statement? I now quote from an article printed in today's Deseret Morning News:

(Austin Collie speaking)"It's true. You can see that around the world, God cares about his children and that he's going to bless them whether it's on the football field or any other areas of their lives. I think if you're doing the things you should do on and off the field, things are going to come together for you."

"To tell you I got here on my own and that the Lord hasn't had a hand in my success and our team's success and every other athlete's success in this world is just B.S., because he's had a hand in every person's life."

When asked how he felt about the commotion his quote has caused, Collie, a freshman All-American before leaving for his mission three years ago, replied, "People need to get a life. It's just ridiculous. People have to get a life, that's all."

My break

Sorry for the long vacation from the blogosphere. I regret my absence, but let me just say, it was a very nice break for Adam Olsen. Here's what I've been up to:

I braved the icy winds of Laramie

I ran a freezing cold Thanksgiving race

Most importantly, I witnessed the Utes get vanquished by the mighty Cougs

It was a great break, and a great weekend to be a Cougar!

PS: BYU football - ranked #19 in BCS, Coaches poll; #21 in AP
BYU basketball - ranked #21 in AP; #23 in USA Today

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On To Laramie!

Before I begin, I want to apologize for not updating my blog. I know it has been too long for the loyal readers (sorry, Mom), but I'm back now and the sky's the limit.

This Friday, the crew will be rolling thick to Laramie, Wyo. for the BYU football game. The high plains of Wyoming is an intimidating place, even for someone like me who has never even been there. The stories of urine bombs, whiskey bottles, livestock and other projectiles have me a bit concerned, to say the least, but this is a trip that needs to be taken. This is more than a road trip; this is a defining moment in my life.

I stand at the crossroads of manhood.

This weekend, I will shed the persona of the awkward college student and become a crusader. I will march dutifully to the home of the heathen with my sword in hand ready to reclaim the holy land. I will either return victorious, or die a martyr on the field of War Memorial Stadium.

I do not know what awaits me on the high plains of Laramie, but I do know this: I will follow BYU to hell, and I'll surely follow them to Laramie.

Laramie: From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!