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Monson: BYU wins its own practice, wastes everybody else's time

Published September 10, 2012 2:11 pm

But BYU wastes everyone else's time by paying $400K for easy win over Weber State.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo

BYU got what it paid for Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium — an easy win.

Weber State got what it was willing to get crushed for — $400,000.

So, the schools got what they wanted and went home happy.

And everybody else was left dissatisfied — wondering why they paid good money to come to this game, wishing they'd made other plans for a sparkling, sunny September afternoon. What a waste of blue skies, light breezes and temperatures in the 70s. Only desperate men with no other options but cleaning a grimy garage could have appreciated watching this mismatch. It was Sominex in helmets and pads.

The sleepy final numbers on the board: BYU 45, Weber State 13.

In a furthering of a bad tradition in college football, where rich larger programs invite cash-strapped smaller ones into their buildings to kick their trash — and to have their trash kicked — from end zone to end zone and then add an easy W — or planned-for L — to their respective win-loss ledgers, both the Cougars and Wildcats were guilty as charged.

Asked beforehand what to expect from the game, a Weber State broadcaster said: "Has the check cleared?"

Let's drop the pretenses and say it all straight here: Even with a smattering of small-school upsets over lousy bigger schools around the country, there was no way BYU could have lost this thing. No freaking way. Harlem's Globetrotters have a better shot at defeat. The sudden selling of fully caffeinated Coke at the concession stands was a better bet. ... Oh, wait. We all could have used a double shot of that halfway through the third quarter.

It didn't matter if the Cougars played well or played poorly, if the starters played or the scrubs, the only matter in the air was the exact final margin of victory, never the victory itself.

So much for the concept of balanced competition.

Fans aren't the only ones who hate these games. Coaches and front-line players do, too. While coaches enjoy the automatics of an uncomplicated win, they worry about their team taking a pass and totally checking out before the opening kick, and front-line players know the entire exercise is beneath them, costing them focus and playing time. The only guys who like this stuff are players who otherwise wouldn't see the light of day.

Guys like James Lark, the senior Cougar quarterback who played most of the second half, and threw his first career touchdown pass, a 2-yarder to Kaneakua Friel, putting BYU up 28-zip midway through the third. And he ran for another score at the 13:10 mark of the fourth.

By then, you could have driven a road grader through sections of the stands at LES and not run over a soul. Apparently, a lot of folks did have better things to do in the September sunshine.

Before this game was ever played, Bronco Mendenhall said he went ahead and scheduled the Wildcats because he thought it was "the right thing to do." He must have taken pity on them, knowing Weber State badly needed the cake.

That's the way it is in college football, I guess, where the financial fortunes between the haves and the have-nots is as lopsided as a Brooklyn Decker cartwheel. BYU is far from the only bigger program that pays large sums for wins, and Weber isn't the only smaller one who takes the money and runs, all at the expense of its student-athletes. Utah and Northern Colorado did the same thing in their opener a week ago.

It's winning made dirty and simple.

And the stat sheet reflected that. BYU doubled up Weber in yards gained, 532 to 254, despite subbing players in and out like madmen. Mendenhall, who admitted to "dialing back a little bit," looked at a basic positive: "We had a chance to see a lot of players play, including three different quarterbacks, a lot of running backs and a bunch of different players on defense. A lot like what you would expect from a game like this."

Exactly.

Asked afterward about the outcome, BYU defensive back Preston Hadley told the truth when he said, "I don't think we should be satisfied. … That's not the best team we've played."

No disrespect intended to the Weebs. They're good for who they are. But they're not a mid- to top D-I team. A worthy opponent they are — for Big Sky teams.

What we saw on Saturday, then, wasn't real competition. It wasn't real football. It wasn't fun or fair.

It was a useful BYU practice. Otherwise, it was a waste of time.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 and 960 AM and 97.5 FM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.