Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head. I just realized I’ve never actually seen my real face, just a reflection of it. Mind. Blown.

Dark days indeed

While preparing to host Ben Criddle’s radio show on ESPN 960 last week, I came across a couple of truly amazing (in a bad way) statistics about BYU football that calls into question independent scheduling and the future of the program.

These come directly from BYUStatsman on Twitter.

Since the 2011 season – the first in independence – BYU is 2-22 (8%) against teams that finished in the Top 25 in the final Associated Press poll.

Wow.

Now, generally I think college football polls are stupid. One week a group of voters tell you who they think are the Top 25 teams. Then the schools all play games and the voters are like, “OK, last week’s list is wrong, be we definitely got it right this week.”

The final poll of a season is a lot more accurate and I feel as if teams settle into a true representation of the Top 25.

So 2-22 … that’s abysmal. Comparatively, Utah is 6-21, Utah State is 1-11 and Boise State 3-3.

There’s more. Since LaVell Edwards took over the Cougar program in 1972, BYU is 14-74 (16%) in games against teams that finished in the Top 25. Edwards was 10-34-1 (22%), Gary Crowton 0-7, Bronco Mendenhall 3-23 (11%) and Kalani Sitake 1-10 (9%).

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more sobering set of statistics that indicate the difficulty of what the Cougars are trying to do.

Take a look at next year’s schedule. There are some great matchups but based on empirical evidence, how could even the most blue-goggled BYU football fan be optimistic that a special season – and by “special” I mean 10 or more wins or a New Year’s Six bowl berth – is in the works?

I mean, why schedule games against so many Power 5 clubs when you have almost 40 years of evidence that shows you win a very low percentage of games against good teams?

I’ve got eight months to work on my attitude, but man, those stats are very hard to dismiss.

A crowded room

Can you ever have too many good quarterbacks?

Sol-Jay Maiava – who signed with BYU in January – won the offensive MVP of the Polynesian Bowl on Saturday. Maiava was 8-of-10 for 73 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 29 yards and game-winning score with 1:30 remaining.

Smile and the Cougars

smile with you

Redshirt freshman Kaylee Smiler picked a great game to have her career high.

The New Zealand native filled in nicely for an injured Paisley Johnson at Saint Mary’s on Saturday, scoring 19 points and making 4-of-4 from the 3-point line in a 65-55 victory. Smiler’s previous career high was six points against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 14. What’s more, Smiler hadn’t scored a single point in her previous five games.

Whatever she ate for breakfast on Saturday, keep eating that.

As for Johnson – who scored a career-best 31 points in Thursday’s overtime victory at Pacific – I hear she had an ankle sprain but should be fine.

The Cougars are now 5-2 in West Coast Conference play – second place – and are 4-0 on the road in league play. Two home games this week gives them a chance to improve a 1-2 WCC record in the Marriott Center.

All in the family

Junior Sara Hamson had a combined 15 blocks against Pacific and Saint Mary’s this week, giving her 273 for her career. That’s third all-time in BYU history. Who’s ahead of her? Older sister Jennifer (340) and mother Teresa Spaulding Hamson (494).

Blue brethren

Congratulations to former Cougars Andy Reid and Daniel Sorensen (Chiefs) and Fred Warner (49ers) for helping their respective teams advance to the Super Bowl. Although, there are probably some BYU fans that were kind of hoping Reid wouldn’t be quite so successful so that one day he might end up coaching the Cougars. But I imagine most of Cougar Nation will be in the Chiefs’ corner.

We have two weeks to wait (Feb. 2) for the Super Bowl.

Get over your aversion to red and party on.

Don’t test me

If there’s one thing where I can still beat my kids it’s music trivia. We play music trivia games on our Echo Dot and I destroy them every time. Alexa loves me.

Window closing?

It sure seems as if BYU men’s basketball fans were pretty content with Saturday night’s blowout loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.

All I read on social media from Cougar fans was “the effort was good” and “the refs were bad” and “we’ll be better when Yoeli (Childs) is back.”

Maybe some valid points, but I would have liked to have seen BYU simply play better, despite being short-handed.

The game was fairly close at halftime, with the ’Zags leading 38-31. The second half was all Gonzaga on both ends of the floor.

This is what we know.

The ’Zags are long and athletic at every single position. It’s no wonder BYU struggled to rebound, but what I noticed was how well Gonzaga players challenge 3-point shots. The Cougars missed their fair share of open triples but the ’Zags make it difficult to get a clean look.

On offense, Gonzaga is just a machine. The ’Zags move the ball well and executed to perfection. They shot better than 70% from the field in the second half and there’s no way you can beat them if you allow that kind of shooting.

Meanwhile, BYU has a really, really tough week ahead with road games at Pacific and San Francisco. If the Cougars want to continue to put together a good NCAA resume they simply cannot lose this week.

Eastern sweep

The No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball swept two matches at Mount Olive in North Carolina this weekend, giving Eastern seaboard Cougar fans a chance to see them live and in person.

It was a great opportunity for the young Mount Olive program – which plays in Conference Carolinas – to compete against a Division I men’s volleyball powerhouse. It’s likely the Trojans will come to Provo for a pair of matches next year and it will be an incredible experience to witness the magic of the Smith Fieldhouse.

The catchphrase in men’s college volleyball is “grow the game” and this is how it’s done.

The Cougars are undefeated (6-0) with a pair of matches at UC Irvine this week and come home to the Fieldhouse in two weeks against UC Santa Barbara.

That’s all for now, but for this: It sure seems like one day you’re the best thing since sliced bread and the next, you’re toast.

Keep your head on a swivel and have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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