Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head after yet another late-night BYU football game. ESPN, I love you, but give a fella a break with these 9 p.m. kickoffs. I need my beauty sleep.

Coming back down to Earth

That loud thump you heard Saturday night was all the dreams of BYU football fans crashing down.

For a week, there was hope the Cougars had turned things around.

Now? The loudest refrain from BYU fans on social media is, “Shoot, we suck again.”

Saturday’s 21-18 loss at home to Cal was certainly disappointing, especially from an offensive perspective. BYU managed just 12 yards of offense in the third quarter and couldn’t take advantage when the defense caused a pair of turnovers. Scores there makes this a very different ballgame.

A lot of criticism came Tanner Mangum’s way, but consider all the dropped passes, lack of a consistent running game and poor pass protection. Mangum didn’t get much help.

I’ve said all along that with so much wrong with the offense last season, it would be the height of optimism that the new coaching staff could fix everything at once. We saw glimpses of what the offense could be last week at Arizona. This week, we saw there is still much work to do.

I really don’t think this is 2017 all over again. Last year’s BYU team would have lost by two touchdowns or more to Cal. You have to like the fight the Cougars showed in getting to within three points in the final minute.

What’s most disappointing? Another home loss at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Last year, the Cougars were 2-4 at home. Protecting the house was a major theme last week. Now it’s just another major disappointment.

BYU travels to play Wisconsin next Saturday in a game no one expects the Cougars to win. They could do themselves a lot of good by making a good showing.

I believe there’s still potential to get to a bowl game. This week will really test Jeff Grimes and his offensive staff. Last year, the offense started slowly and never really got any momentum. They can’t let that happen again.

Defensively, BYU mustered zero pass rush and had problems stopping the Bears quarterback run game. Still, 21 points shouldn’t be that difficult to overcome at home.

This season, it’s all about the offense again. Or lack of it.

To the top

Don’t look now, but the BYU women’s volleyball team may be the No. 1 team in the country.

By Monday afternoon, the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll will be out and the BYU women’s volleyball team might be ranked at the very top.

The Cougars won three matches at the Marquette Invitational this weekend, sweeping No. 10 USC and Syracuse while powering past the 25th-ranked host school 3-1. BYU (7-0) was ranked No. 3 in last week’s poll and received seven first-place votes. The No. 1 team in last week’s poll, Minnesota, lost this week to Oregon and Stanford. The No. 2 team, Wisconsin, lost to Baylor.

That opens the way for the Cougars to be voted No. 1.

According to BYU’s online record book, the Cougars were last ranked No. 1 during the 1986 season, finishing 40-3 and losing to Stanford in the NCAA West Regional Finals.

Vogue

After an interception in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s football game, Cal’s Jaylin Hawkins was called for a celebration penalty. The referee came on the stadium sound system and said the penalty was for “striking a pose.”

He must be a Madonna fan, right?

For you teens and young adults, ask you mom and dad to explain that one.

Lucy, Lucy

My sister is on vacation in St. Lucia, a Caribbean island of 165,000 souls. It was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, the island’s first European settlers. It is the only country in the world named after a woman, or so Wikipedia told me. My sister sent a picture from her day at the beach where the temperature in September never goes above 88 degrees or less than 75.

So while you were struggling home with post-game traffic and wallowing in your disappointment, at least somebody was having a good weekend.

Hey, I know you

I always enjoy seeing former Cougars out and about. While covering the Lone Peak at Pleasant Grove girls volleyball match I saw a familiar face on the Knights bench: Former BYU men’s volleyball All-American Michael Burke. He played from 2002 to 2005 and was a member of the 2004 NCAA champions. Burke’s been an assistant coach at Lone Peak volleyball for the past two seasons.

Very rarely do I cover a sports event where I feel like my ability to describe what happened might not be up to the task. Such an event was the BYU at Utah women’s soccer match last Friday. The final five minutes was just incredible. Soccer can be frustrating at times because of the lack of scoring, but both BYU and Utah put on a fantastic display.

Other times in my career where I was — temporarily, at least — without the right words: Jonny Harline’s catch to beat Utah in 2006, covering the Ironman Utah event at Utah Lake in 2002 when horrible weather canceled the swim portion, a four-overtime state basketball semifinal between Lone Peak and Timpview (also in 2002) and writing anything about sports in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

You’re messing with my deadline

Weather delays — specifically, lightning storms — are winning early in the football season. Nebraska’s opening game was canceled, the NFL opener kicked off 45 minutes late on Thursday and there was an hour delay when I covered the Herriman at Lone Peak football game to open the season.

The odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime in 3,000 to one, which is greater than your chances in being injured by a toilet this year (10,000 to one) or the odds in getting killed by a shark (3.7 million to one).

That’s all for now. To answer your burning questions: Yes, Tucanos was awesome as the pregame meal in the BYU press box on Saturday and yes, the press box has the best cookies. Because a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand, right?

Have a great week.

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

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