BYU football vs. Boise State

BYU defensive back Austin Kafentzis (24) listens to head coach Kalani Sitake during the second half of the 28-25 Cougar win over Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head.

So was anyone excited to watch the Pro Bowl on Sunday? Anyone? The Pro Bowl is literally the first (and only) football game where I fell asleep while watching. I was a teenager and during those days NFL games were only televised on Sundays, so I watched every game I could. I was shocked to wake up and realize I had fallen asleep sometime during the second quarter. The Pro Bowl is the least interesting pro sports all-star event and least resembles watching a real NFL game.

A consistent football team

Let’s discuss consistency.

As my friend John Call once said in a staff meeting at Ultimate Electronics, “I’m not talking about thickness.”

I’m going to define the form of consistency I’m thinking about as “conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, fairness or excellence.”

Achieving consistency in sports isn’t easy. The biggest variable is your schedule. You could argue that this year’s BYU team was better than last year, yet both teams posted 7-6 records. You don’t play the same teams every year and even if you did there would be differences in personnel and coaching. BYU’s limited recruiting prospects and lack of true depth are key elements of struggling with consistency.

So achieving consistency as a football program is really, really hard. Even elite programs such as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have down years. Instead of getting to the college football playoffs, they may “only” win 10 or 11 games.

So how do you achieve consistency? LaVell Edwards did it during the 1970s and 1980s with an innovative passing game. The Cougars also had considerably more talent than most of the opponents in the Western Athletic Conference. Later in the Mountain West Conference years the talent gap closed somewhat and teams caught up to what the Cougars were doing in the passing game.

Bronco Mendenhall achieved a measure of consistency, even through independence. He did it through position mastery and will. This quote from Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney --“They may be able to prepare for what we do, but they can’t prepare for who we are” — held true through many of Mendenhall’s successful seasons.

The challenge of consistency is real for Kalani Sitake and his coaching staff.

Shopping around

Boise State is suing the Mountain West Conference. League officials say the Broncos won’t get special treatment in future TV deals – as apparently promised by Commissioner Craig Thompson — while Boise State wants to make sure they keep getting that extra money. The Broncos have contacted the WCC as a possible landing spot for its Olympic sports teams while they contemplate the future of their football program.

BYU got out of the MWC while the getting was good, huh?

Could this be a tremor that starts a realignment quake throughout college football?

It’s more likely that things could shift when the TV contracts get negotiated in a few years, but it is intriguing to think about BYU and Boise State forming some sort of new G5 super league.

Recovery mode

BYU’s stunning men’s basketball loss to San Francisco on Saturday is just another reminder that winning on the road in conference play is hard and that the Cougars are not Gonzaga.

The ’Zags make it look so easy. They cruise merrily on their way through the WCC every year, home or away, with very few exceptions. They could literally sleepwalk through most league games and still win handily. All Gonzaga really has to do is get up for games against Saint Mary’s and BYU in Moraga and Provo, respectively, and another WCC crown is in the bag.

The Cougars, meanwhile, must scratch and claw for every victory. Their metrics didn’t take a big hit after the loss to the Dons but the defeat does place some huge stakes on home games this week against Pacific and Saint Mary’s.

BYU simply cannot lose either game. The good news is that the Cougars are 9-1 in the Marriott Center with the only loss to 20-0 San Diego State.

USF exploited one of BYU’s major weaknesses – one-on-one defense against quick guards on the perimeter. The other weakness is lack of depth in the post. News flash: The Cougars aren’t going to get quicker or taller this season. They have to play defense with effort, execution and physicality. Saturday was a very good example of what happens when you don’t take care of that part of the game.

I’m not saying this team is headed to the NIT. I still think the Cougars are an NCAA Tournament team.

It’s just that the margin for error is shrinking.

Entitled

I got lost in a thread on Twitter the other day. Vulture staff writer Rachel Handler was posting hilarious updates from an encounter on an airplane. It seems a woman in the middle seat next to her loudly asked Siri about middle seat etiquette and declared a “legal” right to both armrests.

Someone pointed out that Siri probably isn’t the legal authority on arm rests, seeing as she has no arms.

Man, people are loco.

Old habits die hard

I can’t cheer for the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

I just can’t.

I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan and have been pretty much since I started watching the NFL on TV. Every time Dwight Clark and “The Catch” comes on ESPN I want to throw a chair through my big screen. I won’t, because that sucker cost a pretty penny, but you get what I mean.

Kudos to former BYU linebacker Fred Warner for getting to the big game in just his second season, but as for me and my house, it’s Kansas City all the way.

That’s all for today, but for this: I was never a great fan of Kobe Bryant as a player because I was never a Lakers supporter but I certainly respected his enormous talent. The news that he and his daughter were killed in a helicopter accident on Sunday is another sobering reminder of our mortality and how much we miss those we call heroes when they are gone. What strikes me is that so many people from regular Joe Fan to fellow athletes to movie stars to politicians are all in the same spot right now: Disbelief and sorrow.

Call someone you care about right now and have a great week.

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

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