COMMENTARY – Well rested after a long bye week, BYU should be healthier and ready to get back to work.
First, great news for Cougar Nation: BYU did just announce that they scheduled Michigan in the Big House in 2015. This will be a great opportunity for these players to play in a stadium with over 109,000 fans. These two teams have not faced each other since the 1984 Holiday Bowl, where BYU beat Michigan 24-17. This, if you do not know, was the National Championship game in 1984.
Also, they have worked out a series between with Virginia and Cincinnati, with the Cavaliers home-and-home in 2013 and 2014 and the Bearcats home-and-home for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. I am excited to see that these great programs are having no problem wanting to work BYU into their scheduling.
This brings up my thought from a couple months ago about BYU’s old rival, Utah. If teams like Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Virginia and Boise State have excitement about playing the Cougars, then maybe Utah’s administration could learn a thing or two. I would still like to see something worked out between these two programs before it’s too late.
As for the current team, BYU is 8-1 after a bye week with Bronco Mendenhall as the head coach. That is one of many impressive stats that Coach Mendenhall is counting on adding to this weekend. Bronco will also be coaching in his 100th game as the BYU head coach on Saturday. He has 71 wins and only 28 losses as the head coach. I like to give credit where credit is due, and right now this is a milestone for Bronco at BYU. His winning percentage is higher at this 100 game mark than LaVell Edwards, and that is impressive.
The Cougars will face the Idaho Vandals in their final home game of the season this Saturday, 8:15 p.m. One interesting fact about this game is that if you look up the records between these two teams facing each other it is 2-2. BYU did beat them very easily last year 42-7 in Provo. Idaho is sitting at a terrible 1-8 while the Cougars are at a mediocre 5-4 record.
BYU’s No. 4-nationally ranked defense has the opportunity to shut out Idaho. The Cougars have shut down many offenses this year, but have just one shutout on the scoreboard, the 47-0 win over Hawaii.
Idaho’s key players to watch include senior running back Ryan Bass, senior QB Logan Bushnell and wide receiver Mike Scott. On defense, the vandals have experience in senior safety Homer Mauga. Idaho is a team that will compete, but they just are no match for a team like BYU. The Vandals have not played a team this year with a defense that has the grit of this Cougars D. BYU’s offense has finally started to gel as well.
As a former player and current BYU fan, I am looking forward to a few, well, let’s be honest, cake games coming up in the next couple weeks. It will be fun to watch the Cougars have the opportunity to roll up some great stats and add to their win totals for this 2012 season.
I always enjoyed getting ready to play a team that was struggling. It took a lot of pressure off of the entire team and organization. In a weird way it made football that much more fun. We just went out there and played a game without all of the hype and pressure from all angles. It is not a time to look past anyone as there is always the potential for a David vs Goliath scenario. But if the Cougars play like they are capable of playing, things should be fairly easy. BYU’s coaching staff should be able to clear the benches as well, using players from the entire depth chart. There are plenty of good players buried in the depth chart that should be getting some playing time in each of these next three games.
If the Cougars win on Saturday, they will automatically become bowl game eligible. This will put them in eight straight bowl game appearances. BYU is expected to play on Dec. 20 in the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl.
Scott Young is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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