There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the BYU football program, but how much of it is being heard by the Cougars?
It’s obvious players and coaches alike stay up to date with a certain level of local and national media coverage. In this day of social media, stories can be shared instantly into their inboxes.
After all, for a second consecutive season, BYU has opened 5-0 and broken into the Top 10 in the AP Poll. Last season, The Cougars sat as high as No. 8 in the national rankings. This week, they’re at No. 10 as they head into a weekend in which they will host Boise State on Saturday.
“Honestly, I feel like for the most part, all of our boys are dialed in,” defensive lineman Atunaisa Mahe said. “We don’t really pay attention to it. It’s really awesome, and it’s something we’ve been hoping for and we’ve been working hard for, but we’re just really looking forward to [taking it] week by week, taking it a game at a time. We’re grateful, but at the same time, there’s a lot of work to do.”
This time around, the Boise State game is going to be a little different.
Unlike the last couple of times the teams played, the Broncos are not ranked. Throughout BYU’s newest rivalry with Boise State, the Broncos have historically gotten the best of the Cougars.
Before 2019, BYU had lost 7 of 9 matchups with Boise State. Now, the Cougars are looking to win for a third consecutive year.
Although a win over an unranked opponent may not help boost the Cougars in the rankings (although that could come based on how teams that are ranked higher perform this week), it would serve as a way to keep the momentum going.
Plus, the Cougars can’t get comfortable.
“It’s one of those things where we need to stay hungry and keep working,” coach Kalani Sitake said. “If everybody thought that we would be this, we would have been ranked No. 10 preseason. So, there’s still a lot more opportunities for us to shock people and there’s still more for us to do. I think we’ve got to keep that edge. We’ll talk about it as a team, we always talk about it. The guys are ultra-focused.”
Boise State is currently 2-3 on the year, but all three losses were by less than two scores — two were actually by less than a score.
Add in a rivalry setting, and Saturday’s game should still be yet another physical, demanding game for the Cougars.
But they are more than up for the challenge.
“I love that these guys are willing to work and trying to get better,” Sitake said. “They’re looking forward to today’s practice. It’s going to be a lot of fun for us to get out there and try to find ways to get better and get some guys healthy and we’ll see what happens when we get to Saturday.”