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Eye on the Y: BYU’s 2020 football season was the gift that kept on giving

After almost not having a season, can you believe what the Cougars pulled off?

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU takes the field for football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the UTSA Roadrunners, at Lavell Edwards stadium, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.

Can y’all believe that the football season is over?

Honestly, it feels a little surreal for me. Because I moved and started this job when the 2019 season was already underway, and was really excited to cover this season from start to finish. And by start, I mean from spring camp.

But we all know what happened there.

A couple of weeks into spring football, practices were canceled and players (along with the entire student body) were sent home as the pandemic was announced. Suddenly, instead of attending practices and conducting interviews in person, we were forced to learn how to “raise our hand” and unmute ourselves on Zoom.

As the fall semester neared, students and student-athletes alike started making their way back to Provo. But then the schedule took hit after hit. Many wondered if football would even manage to play.

Well, not only did the Cougars play, but they were the one of the first teams in the country to play and the only one in the west.

I’ll be honest — I wanted the season to be canceled. I believed, and still do, that taking COVID-19 precautions are much more important than playing. Yet, I also understand the financial hardships not having a season causes and how badly athletes wanted to play. So, it’s not my call to make.

I will say, after months of self isolating and quarantining in my room (I actually avoided going out as much as possible and didn’t really hang out with any friends), it felt nice to get back to the press box and hang out with the other local media guys that cover the Cougars — even if we were more spaced out and wore masks.

But what was even more nice, and definitely least expected, was the season BYU ended up having. It will go down in history as one of the best.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just the fact that the Cougars had a good season, it’s the fact that they had a great season in spite of all the uncontrollable situations surrounding them.

Now, the only thing we need to wait on is to see what kind of recognition the team and players receive once the season ends for everybody. How many All-Americans will the Cougars have? Will Kalani Sitake be named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year? How early will Zach Wilson be picked up in the NFL draft?

I guess the season isn’t really over just yet, huh? At least not until we see all the fruits of their labor. But either way, this was a magical season. I’m glad I was able to document it and see it unfold first-hand.

Now to start getting ready for the 2021 season.

More thoughts

• I’ve been home in south Texas for a few days now and I’m back to facing the reality that there are no good tacos in Utah. Well, at least in the Provo-Orem area. I hadn’t been home since before I moved to Utah, so I had started to forget about all the amazing food one can find here. For context, I grew up in McAllen, Texas — a border town in the southernmost tip of Texas. The Mexican food here is among the most legit you can get outside of Mexico (that’s not even counting my mother’s home cooking) and it spoiled me my whole life.

• Speaking of food, BYU men’s basketball coach Mark Pope said he’d come to my mom’s house for Christmas if there weren’t a pandemic. I’m sure he’s just fooling around, but where he’s not messing around is on the court. His Cougars looked even better this week, extending their win streak to four after beating Texas Southern and Weber State. The true test will be how they handle conference play, but, with the way they played through the tough nonconference portion of the schedule, BYU should be fine and could possibly even get back to where it left off last season.

Other voices

• Zach Wilson drafted by the San Francisco 49ers? Here’s how that could happen.

• A look at social media’s reaction to Wilson’s Boca Raton Bowl performance.

• Trevor Lawrence may be the only quarterback drafted to the NFL ahead of Wilson, per Yahoo! Sports.

Normita’s Spanish Lesson of the Week

Nochebuena

Christmas Eve (Us Hispanics do our big dinner/celebration on Dec. 24 and then spend Christmas day eating leftovers in our pajamas, for the most part.)

Mi familia y yo vamos a comer pozole y tamales para nochebuena.

My family and I will eat pozole and tamales for Christmas Eve.

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