Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head on my son Devin’s birthday. We’re sitting here and he just used our new ESPN+ subscription to watch the “30 for 30” on the Lakers and Celtics rivalry. He loves the NBA and knows more about it now than I do.
I forgive him for being a Golden State Warriors fan.
Here’s what I want to know: Can BYU football salvage the 2019 season?
Of course it can. The Cougars could go on a seven-game win streak to finish at 9-3. That would propel the program forward and satisfy fans who are down on the team right now.
Are the Cougars likely to go on a seven-game win streak?
Not if they play the way they played against Toledo on Saturday.
Kalani Sitake and his staff have two weeks to get the team ready for the trip to South Florida, which is not a good football team right now. The Bulls are 1-3 with losses to Wisconsin (49-0), Georgia Tech (14-10) and SMU (48-21) with a win against FCS school South Carolina State (55-16). There is a lot to work on if the Cougars want to turn the season around and it starts with commitment and accountability.
I also gotta know this: Has BYU underachieved or overachieved this season?
I don’t think anyone really expected the Cougars to beat Utah or Washington. The Tennessee win is less of a surprise because the Vols are down. The USC win was overachieving, especially since the Trojans found a way to beat Utah.
Most fans would agree losing the Toledo is “underachieving.” Why play all those difficult Power Five games to start the season only to lose to a team from the MAC? What’s the point?
Here’s the point: Toledo was a bad loss, no way around it. But there is still a lot of football left to play and the Cougars can right the ship if they are committed to getting things right. It’s up to the coaches to figure out a way to get more out of this group.
Fans have to believe there is hope that the team they see at the end of the season will be much,much better than the team they saw on Saturday.
OK, one more question
Is it worth playing all of these Power Five schools to start the season?
Some would say it’s the only way to keep the fans interested and puts BYU in a position to make some national noise if they can get some wins. Others would say it’s not worth sacrificing your best defensive player (Zayne Anderson), your best running back (Ty’Son Williams) and now your starting quarterback (Zach Wilson) to injury trying to get through that rugged schedule.
I would like to see a better balance during the first month of the season, say, two P5 schools and two G5 schools. Maybe it’s a pipe dream because scheduling in independence isn’t very flexible. The 2020 schedule is even more difficult and I’m wondering how the Cougars will survive it.
I’ve got the look
I got my hair cut on Friday. My stylist finished and asked if I wanted any product in my hair. I said I use LA Looks and she laughed at me. What’s wrong with gel that’s under $2?
You really like me
The BYU men’s basketball won four games on its summer trip to Italy and new coach Mark Pope was asked what he learned about his team.
The best answer would have been that the Cougars will shoot and defend better than they have the past few years — that is still to be determined — but he did say it was the least cliquish group he’s ever been associated with in his entire athletic career.
“At one point, we were on this boat,” Pope said. “We had 13 of our 16 guys strewn across each other in a big mosh pit riding the boat, all together. I think I have leaders on this team that are very, very interested in making sure every single guy, from the starters to the end of the bench, are part of this deal.
“I think that’s got to be a strength. Hopefully it’s something we can manicure and grow. I don’t hate the idea of us being the most together team in America.”
The good old days
It’s halftime of the Salem Hills at Springville football game I covered on Friday night. I’m sitting on the Springville bench next to former Red Devil, U of U and NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell, whose son Zach is a junior receiver on the Springville team.
As we watched the homecoming festivities, I remarked to the elder Mitchell that things probably looked a lot like they did when he was tearing up the state for the Red Devils back in the mid-80s. He pulled out his cellphone and showed me some pictures from that era, pointing out some of the landmarks on the Springville football field in the background: The same light pole on the east sideline, the same concrete steps leading up to the high school, the same pine tree in the corner of the field that was much, much taller now.
Places like Springville remind me of my humble playing days many years ago. I was never a star, just a good complimentary player for a small high school in a tiny town in Southern Oregon. On Friday I realized just how much I missed playing high school football. Because, man, I looked good in my football uniform.
Excuse me for getting nostalgic. Where did I put my lettermen’s jacket?
Not in my huddle
Former NFL punter Pat McAfee has a radio show and the other day he told an amazing story about former BYU wide receiver Austin Collie in his early days with the Indianapolis Colts.
In short, Collie attempted a one-handed catch of a Peyton Manning pass and couldn’t reel it in. As he jogged back to the huddle, Manning simply pointed him off the field. Collie, stunned, ran to the sideline and the coaches tried to tell him he was still in the game. Collie shook his head and looked out to Manning, who again pointed to the sideline. The message was “Don’t you ever try to one-hand a catch you can get two hands on or you’ll never be in my huddle again.”
Collie’s NFL career was cut short due to concussions, but he still ended up with 179 catches for 1,908 yards and 16 touchdowns, so he apparently learned his lesson.
That’s it but for this: Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go. Be the first guy.
Have a great week.