COMMENTARY – BYU football is now officially bowl bound for the 10th straight season with Bronco Mendenhall as the coach. This is a true accomplishment as a head coach in Division 1 football these days, regardless of what conference or scheduling issues a team might face. To fans, a winning season is a good thing and winning is 100 percent more acceptable than losing.
While most BYU fans are happy to see the Cougars on a two-game winning streak, others are just trying to get through this season as fast as possible. To be honest, it’s not much of an accomplishment to win six games with BYU’s softer 2014 schedule. To go a little deeper, it’s not really to exciting to become eligible to a bowl game that you were predetermined by agreement to attend if eligible. At this point the Miami Beach bowl was not exactly what anyone wanted to settle for after BYU’s 4-0 start this season.
There was a lot of speculation of potentially going to a bigger bowl, but it was just not very likely to happen. There was still a lot of hope for this year’s team and that hope was removed with the four-game losing streak earlier this year. The Cougar faithful will still be happy as this program stays on the winning side of things for this season as well as the opportunity to watch this team play in one more game this year.
Remember, practice time is limited and if a team gets an extra few weeks to continue to learn and grow, it can do nothing but help.
After beating UNLV 42-23 at home last Saturday, the Cougars can now keep moving on in a positive direction. It was not some huge win to beat a bottom-dweller of the Mountain West Conference, but BYU should still be happy though. Although beating a team like UNLV is not something very impressive, a win is still a win.
The Cougars are now faced with an upcoming game that won’t do anything for this program this year. Win or lose, BYU will find itself in the same position playing the same team, in the same bowl game.
BYU will be playing Savannah State, 4 p.m., Saturday, for those who want to watch a demolition and an unfair match-up of two programs. To give you an idea of the quality of program the Cougars are playing this week, just look at the BYU vs. Middle Tennessee game from two weeks ago. BYU had no problem beating the very mundane Blue Raiders from Middle Tennessee. Well Middle Tennessee really beat up on Savannah State 61-7 this season. SSU holds a current record of 0-11. With 11 games lost so far this season, you almost have to feel bad for SSU coming into Provo this time of year.
BYU is not playing very good football right now, and has more backup players starting (due to injuries) than any other Division 1 program. This will still be a game where BYU should have the ability to let all of its current reserves get some good playing time at some point. Savannah State is from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and may possibly be one of the worst teams in the country, statistically as well as all the way around.
The Cougars are going to have to keep their heads held high as they play Savannah State this Saturday. It was not the players who scheduled this match-up, nor is it their fault SSU is a terrible team. Playing a really weak team is a normal occurrence for all programs, but it seems unusual because it’s at the end of the regular season. Most teams play a couple cupcake games during the season, even your elite teams from the SEC, Big 12, Pac 12 and so on, all play weaker early season games.
These are typically known as warmup games and common in September. Whoever scheduled this game should have made it work into the first half of this season’s scheduling, in my opinion. It just looks bad this late in the year and does not help BYU out. Even with another win, it may as well be a bye week.
Will this be another stepping stone and sign of some of the changes that BYU will need to make to become a powerhouse once again? Can BYU build upon something here beating Savannah State and then upset Cal to finish their regular season? Well I hope that the process of change has already started at BYU and that getting back to winning is just a start for some bigger changes that need to be done for BYU become an elite football program as an independent team.
I see these last two games going down as a split in the win/loss column and BYU ending its regular season 7-5. No matter who meets BYU in Miami Beach Bowl game, BYU will end up having a sub-par record for its relatively softer schedule for 2014. I will try to continue to be optimistic as a BYU fan, but BYU needs to win out the rest of 2014 to start next year on a good note!
Scott Young is a sports columnist and former BYU player. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
Blue Blood is a weekly column written by former BYU captain Scott Young. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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