“BYU wouldn’t win this game if Joe Montana was its quarterback.”
Yeah, I said that before the Cougars went out and beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday in the biggest win of Kalani Sitake’s coaching career, and … I was wrong. I own it. Not only do I own it, I’m buying it — dinner for two co-workers and their wives at any restaurant of their choosing. Why? Because I also proclaimed that if BYU won this game, which I was sure it wouldn’t, dinner, a very pricey one, was on me.
It stirred a memory of LaVell Edwards, when he was recruiting former Cougar player (and later, coach) Lance Reynolds out of Cottonwood High School some 45 years ago, getting a phone call from Reynolds’ dad, informing him that then-Cal coach Mike White had visited and that Lance was impressed by him. White had driven up in a Porsche, carrying a swagger and wearing gold chains, and taken Reynolds out to the nicest restaurant in Salt Lake City.
“If you want my son to play for you, you better get up here in a hurry,” Reynolds’ father told LaVell.
Edwards arrived shortly thereafter, at Reynolds’ home, pulling up in a beat-up Volkswagen bug. The BYU coach took the prized prep offensive lineman to the McDonalds across from the old Cottonwood mall, and when they walked in, he looked up at the menu board and, beaming, said: “Go ahead, Lance, order anything you want.”
My colleagues are going to order anything they want, all right, but it’s more likely to be the most expensive cut of steak and the most tender and tasty tail of lobster to be found at any chi chi establishment in the state of Utah.
One of them, a devout Mormon, already has informed me that he’s ordering a couple bottles of champagne, and he doesn’t drink.
That’s sometimes the cost of being so sure about any result in college football.
And that’s the beauty of the game — that sometimes the more you know, the less you know, or rather, that nobody knows nothing, at least on certain occasions.
And the Cougars shocked everybody — including my co-workers, who, by the way, also picked Wisconsin to win, but didn’t have the stones — or the stupidity — to back their predictions with any kind of penalty.
Now, they’re ordering up Wagyu Kobe filets and Armand de Brignac Brut Gold.
Point is, BYU earned that win over the No. 6 team in the country, a team that beat it in Provo last season, 40-6, taking the game this time by playing a tough brand of power football, mixed with some offensive imagination.
And as Sitake was dancing in the locker room afterward, surrounded by his cheering players, many of whom had suffered through losses to East Carolina and UMass last season, and the loss to Cal just last week, it was easy to sense the satisfaction felt by the ever-likable Sitake and his jubilant players.
Favoring one team over another, any kind of rooting interest, has nothing to do with it. You might not care one iota about the overall success or failure of a program. But every once in a while, it’s a gas to watch a team do something totally unexpected.
That’s what BYU pulled off on Saturday. It may be the truth, it may not, it may signal a new trend for Cougar football, it may be an exception. Either way, it was exceptional.
And for some of us, one of us, it’s going to cost a good deal of money.
Turns out, BYU didn’t need Joe Montana to beat the Badgers. What they needed was Tanner Mangum. At least I got that part of it right. The quarterback, who did just enough to help his team win, should never have been considered for benching. But then, who really knows anything anymore?
I am pretty sure BYU will beat McNeese State at LES on Saturday. Anybody wanna bet on it?
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.