Are you ready for your annual June BYU football appetizer?
For one day, all Cougar fans get a chance to get excited about the upcoming season on the gridiron as once again football takes center stage.
Of course, everyone knows fall camp is still a month-and-a-half away and the season won’t get started for two more months – but for a few short hours, it’s all about BYU football.
Given the timeframe, it’s not surprising that many of the questions fielded by players and coaches at Tuesday’s BYU football Media Day will likely be vague in nature and some won’t be applicable at all when August rolls around.
Others, however, will provide some solid insight to the 2019 Cougars and the future of the program in general.
Here’s a look at the most overrated and underrated questions likely to be brought up at BYU football Media Day:
Overrated: Should head coach Kalani Sitake get a contract renewal done now?
Many Cougar observers have made this a big deal, although Sitake himself has never seemed like it was something he thought much about.
The reality is that Sitake’s Cougar teams are 20-19 overall in three seasons and although there is an upward trend, he still needs to earn a solid extension by making more waves on the field this fall.
Underrated: How much will having only one change on the coaching staff benefit the Cougars in 2019?
The feeling around BYU football is very different right now than it was a year ago at this time when there were a lot of question marks regarding a mostly-new offensive coaching staff.
Now the Cougars seem pretty settled, having only brought in a new offensive line coach in Eric Mateos. The expectation should be more consistency because of that continuity but how much impact does BYU realistically believe that will have?
Overrated: Will BYU get a new ESPN contract?
This question could easily be the first one answered, since it won’t be surprising for the Cougars to start Media Day with a splashy TV deal announcement.
Even if it remains unconfirmed, neither BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe nor ESPN seem to be indicating a desire to part ways. The Cougars provide flexibility for the broadcasting giant while ESPN gives BYU security in terms of scheduling and bowl prospects.
Everyone should expect that to continue and not get too .
Underrated: How does having support across the country benefit Cougar football?
Sometimes diehard BYU fans, particularly those living along the Wasatch front, lose some perspective when it comes to what Cougar football means to supporters throughout the country and the world.
Many travel long distances to get to the closest games possible, giving BYU a formidable road presence wherever it travels. With trips to Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts and California on the slate in 2019, what type of energy does that broad support give the program?
Overrated: What does BYU have to do to get more top-ranked recruits?
It can be tough to bleed Cougar Blue when reading the pundit rankings of recruiting classes, since BYU inevitably gets ignored most of the time. That often evokes frustration and disappointment from the Cougar faithful, who want the BYU commits to get a lot of respect.
What sometimes gets lost in these questions is that college football is all about team success. Talented individuals are certainly important but it is more important for each athlete to take care of his area of responsibility. Those are the guys the Cougars need, not just ones who get flashy star labels.
Underrated: What does additions of graduate transfer running backs this spring indicate about the impact transfers can have at BYU in the future?
Kalani Sitake has previously discussed the challenges of getting transfers to meet the academic and conduct standards, as well as getting them enrolled in a timely fashion.
Then BYU went out this spring and signed a pair of graduate transfer running backs (Emmanuel Esukpa from Rice and Ty’Son Williams from South Carolina). Was this a unique situation or will the Cougars be more active in recruiting transfers moving forward?
Overrated: How healthy is BYU sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson?
Ever since news of Wilson’s shoulder surgery became public at the beginning of the year, there has been concern about the impact and extent of the issues.
While it is certain to come up frequently at Media Day, Wilson has already consistently expressed on social media that he believes he will be ready when fall camp comes around. It seems unlikely there will be any startling revelations on this front.
Underrated: How healthy are the Cougar defensive leaders like Zayne Anderson, Austin Lee and Isaiah Kaufusi?
While it’s understandable that the QB position would get the bulk of the attention, the reality is that the Cougar defense has more key guys needing to be at full strength when August rolls around.
The BYU linebackers and safeties have talent, athleticism and experience – but only if guys like Lee, Anderson and Kaufusi have successfully rehabilitated from injuries. The success of the Cougar defense might hinge on whether those guys can spearhead the defensive charge.
Overrated: Is BYU’s early-season schedule too difficult?
On paper, the early slate for the Cougars (Utah, Tennessee, USC and Washington) looks pretty daunting. When you realize that all of those teams had between four and seven losses last year, however, it doesn’t have the same impact.
While unlikely, it’s not impossible that BYU could catch all those teams at times when they are all very much beatable and the rewards could be impressive. A 4-0 or even 3-1 start could put the Cougars back in the national conversation, which is the stated goal for the BYU program.
Underrated: What have been the benefits of starting the season against rival Utah?
It’s tough to imagine a more motivating experience than what happened to the Cougars in Salt Lake City last November as BYU blew a 20-point second-half lead.
Since that point, the Cougars have mentioned that their goal is to finish the job this time when the two teams meet in Provo to start 2019. All teams talk a lot about the first game but this time it is even more personal.