It can be delightfully satisfying to complain.
After all, there is always something to grumble about:
The weather is too hot or too cold or too wet or too unpredictable. Work is too hard or too boring or too frustrating. Friends are too busy or too demanding or too needy.
Sports fans have it even easier:
Their teams are always too slow or too undisciplined or don’t recruit well enough or don’t win enough.
The BYU football program added to that list two years ago when it took an unprecedented move into independence. The complaints could be heard from many places:
The Cougars now don’t play any good opponents. The November schedule is ridiculously bad. All of the games are in the middle of the night.
For any who have enjoyed trumpeting these particular issues, 2013 might be disconcerting.
With Tuesday’s announcements of the times for two more football games, BYU continued systematically eliminating some of the biggest complaints of critics.
The word from Provo is that the Cougars will take on Texas in the home opener on Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. MDT (ESPN2) and will close out their home schedule against Idaho State on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. MDT (BYUtv).
So here’s the current status of those troublesome problems of independence:
The Cougars now don’t play any good opponents
It’s hard to complain about the schedule this fall. BYU is playing five “Big 5” conference opponents plus Notre Dame and Boise State. Add in Utah State, a team on the rise, plus a Houston team who has had its moments recently and the schedule is pretty impressive.
The November schedule is ridiculously bad
The Cougars play Wisconsin and Notre Dame on the road, plus have another game at Nevada this year. Yes, there is a game against Idaho State in the mix but is that schedule much worse than some of the others BYU played back in the “good ole’ days” of conference play (UNLV, CSU, New Mexico and Utah in 2010; Wyoming, New Mexico, Air Force and Utah in 2009; CSU, SDSU, Air Force and Utah in 2008, etc.)?
All of the games are in the middle of the night
After a couple of years of many contests at inopportune times, this fall will be different. Seven games have announced times and the latest game so far? 6 p.m. (Utah State on Oct. 4 and Boise State on Oct. 25). The Texas game will be at 5 p.m. on national TV on ESPN2 and that’s probably a great time in early September since it will allow the late summer/early fall heat to hopefully begin to dissipate. The other games are all at 1 p.m. (Idaho State on Nov. 16 and Nevada on Nov. 30) and at 1:30 p.m. (Virginia on Aug. 31 and Notre Dame on Nov. 23).
But I do have good news for anyone who enjoys some good grousing: There are still five games with times that have yet to be announced. At least a couple of them are almost certain to be worthy of some objection.
Plus there are still other topics you can turn your attention to. Recruiting always provides material since the Cougars don’t get Top 10 recruits very frequently.
Coaching as well can be a fertile field for doubt and concern, since after all BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has yet to lose fewer than two games in a season and the Cougars weren’t exactly unstoppable offensively during the first tenure of offensive coordinator Robert Anae.
And, of course, if someone really needs reassurance that they’ll plenty to complain about, there will be the inevitable wins and losses which are certain to brighten their mood.
BYU will certainly lose games it should win (again) and win by fewer points than it should even if it does come out on top.
The defense will give up too many points, the offense will miss too many opportunities, the offensive line will be too porous, the defensive coverage won’t be tight enough, etc.
But at least in early June, the Cougar football program has done what it can to make the lists of criticisms somewhat shorter.
And there is no doubt that the majority of BYU fans are no doubt thrilled at having so many good games at such great times.
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.