I feel sorry for BYU football — at least for its players and fans.
In the heart of their season, when excitement should be blowing up over the stretch run, they’ve got nothing left to enjoy. Nothing. For the second straight year, November is a competitive wasteland, and their mediocre bowl destination already is set.
After a bye week Saturday, the Cougars now face Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State to finish their regular season. Two of those opponents — the Vandals and Aggies — have won just two games between them and lost 16. Even if those records were flipped, would anybody around here be thrilled to see BYU play against those programs?
Not even the players want what they’re on the verge of experiencing: Low-grade opponents about whom their fans couldn’t care less.
Apathy-ball is setting in at BYU, just as conference races around the country are hitting full throttle for other teams in good leagues.
It’s the backhanded side to independence, which BYU hopes to improve consistently as the years go by: Nobody gives a rat’s rear-end about these last few games. San Jose State has shown to be better than expected, but ask yourself, ask your friends, ask your friendly Cougar Club members how switched on they are by the highlight of what’s left: playing the Spartans on the road the week before Thanksgiving.
Chills hardly are cascading down anybody’s spine.
You want chills? The single remaining home game for BYU comes against Idaho — at 8:15 Saturday night. Folks who schedule bad home games at LaVell Edwards Stadium at night in November not only have no consideration for season-ticket holders, for the fans upon whose backs the program was built, who regularly show up for home games, they also have no souls. It’s nothing short of cold and cruel — all for a game on ESPNU that few will watch.
Snobs who define the reaches of true football devotion by the stupid sacrifice required of fans, in this case, are idiots. Even players’ families shouldn’t be made to watch this nonsense.
The combined scores of games played by Idaho and New Mexico State, which is the regular-season finale for the Cougars at Las Cruces, is a numerical mess to behold. All told, those teams have lost their seasons by the total score of 688-316.
Idaho’s only win is over New Mexico State. New Mexico State’s only win is over Sacramento State, which happened in the Aggies’ first game in August. Since then, it’s been nothing but bagels.
That’s what BYU football has fallen into.
Short of some sort of apocalypse, the Cougars will win out, pumping their record to 8-4. And Bronco Mendenhall will talk about his team’s steady improvement over the course of the season, how everything in and around the team has gotten better.
Aside from a terrific defense that essentially has been wasted by unproductive offense and missed opportunity against better teams, there ultimately will be little real satisfaction this season for BYU football. Anyone who says anything different is selling a bill of bad goods.
Don’t buy it.
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 AM and 960 AM and 97.5 FM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.