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Has the importance of Nov. 22nd changed?

17 November 2008 Deep Shades of Blue 39 Comments

After thinking about the Cougar’s and Ute’s situations I am left wondering if the build-up and anticipation of Saturday’s game is diminished because of BYU loss? The Utes lived up to their end of the bargain and enter the game with an unblemished record. BYU suffered a demoralizing loss to TCU, but has since rebounded and is once again playing good football.

 So does this game carry the same weight and implication as the previously anticipated, undefeated BYU vs Utah game?

 I believe this game has identical implication as an undefeated Holy War match-up. BYU’s loss to TCU -while frustrating- possible put BYU in an overall better situation coming into the Utah game. Of course the negatives are obvious, we no longer can be a definite BCS buster team, we can’t win an out-right MWC Championship, and we can only fulfill the spiritual side of the Quest for Perfection -BOOO…..JK. I hope I don’t get struck for that one.

 The good that came out of that TCU loss are also numerous, 1.) Our team was brought back to reality and redirected their energy towards getting better each week. 2.) Our coaching staff realized that they needed to find new ways to get their play makers the ball. 3.) BYU was rid of the pressure that accompanied the title of BCS prince. That pressure -while sought after and wanted- has shifted north and sits squarely on the Ute’s shoulders. 4.) BYU is still in a position to fulfill all their goals as a MWC Champion and if their living right beat the Utes -wink wink.

 This game still has all the same implication as the zero loss BYU team against a zero loss Utah team. The pressure and media attention has simply driven 40 minutes north. Do I care that we have lost our BCS darling billing…..kind of, but each week has become increasingly more meaningful since the loss to TCU. BYU has kept their hopes of a third championship in tact and while it would have been great to go somewhere other then Las Vegas, should it really matter?

I am asking, because I want someone else to tell me if it should….

 I think BYU fans are feeling somewhat disappointed in this season because of our team long history as a top program, yet Utah and Boise St. have been the only BCS busting teams. Should BYU base their programs success on an appearance in a BCS game? Should our main goal every year be busting into a system that is designed and run to keep us out? Is a 10-1 season disappointing?

 Does Utah’s current success say they’re a better program or team?

 My two MWC Championship rings say differently. It would have been amazing to enter into this game undefeated and that TCU game is hard to swallow because of how bad BYU played -and how good TCU played. Regardless I am proud to have been a part of BYU climb back to national prominence. I am proud to wear my blue shirt and shun the color red -to this day I don’t own a single red article of clothing. I am encouraged at how BYU is playing and I am hoping there is an ace up Bronco’s sleeve.

 Go Cougars.

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  • Freestone said:

    Do you think any other team in the MWC hopes BYU wins?

    I would say no, since they want a piece of the BCS Money Pie.

    Any other year, do you think any other team in MWC cares who wins this game?

  • Tony said:


    Nice take…now remember it’s the Yewtah Yewts…get it right;)

  • Felix said:

    I think if everyone remembers their pre-season expectations about BYU, we are right there. Next year was always thought as the BCS year.

    I think the dissapointment is what is our prize? Playing the number 5 team from the PAC 10. We have already showed that our conference dominated the PAC this year, so it’s a little bit of a letdown.
    I must say though, I was at the Oregon drubbing, and it was awesome.

    I think if our bowl opponents were better, it wouldn’t feel like such a desparity between BCS and Vegas. That’s a Tom Holmoe issue I believe.

    It just seems wrong to expect an undefeated non bcs team. Our loss to TCU signals to the world that we’re not good enough, whereas a loss by Florida or USC just means they had an off game.

  • Spaz said:

    TCU wants their share of the MWC Championship. I’m sure they’re rooting for a BYU win.

  • AncientCougarFan said:


    In order to beat BYU, TCU sacrificed valuable preparation time against other opponents to spend time preparing for BYU. Their emotion and preparation was always spent with this in mind. They have no natural rival, so they made BYU their rival.

    Having accomplished their primary objective (Beating BYU), TCU suffered a let down. Having done so, they lost sight for the Utah game. They suffered from the same symptoms that BYU did when they traveled to Ft Worth. Like BYU, TCU did so at the worst possible time. They did so while traveling to Utah. As a result; TCU Loses to Utah when they should have won.

    Now they are in the same position that we were in when TCU went to Salt Lake. We needed Utah to win and now they need us to beat Utah (They better watch out for Air Force).

    Having gone through the refiner’s fire of TCU, BYU knows what they need to do to reach their objectives.

    Beating Utah (38-27) will make this the best season since 1984. It will establish the Mountain West as the conference of the future. If all goes well the next few weeks, the BCS favorites (ACC, Big E, Big 10, and Pac 10) will be overshadowed by three one loss Mountain West teams that would have finished in the top five or six of their conferences.

    The Mountain West may yet have the irony of becoming known as the BCS busters. Why irony?

    Because the BCS exists to stop future BYU’s from repeating 1984.

  • kiyoshige said:

    Am I the only one on earth that believes we could still go to BCS if Boise St. loses?

  • Joe said:

    My 4 WAC Championship rings are singing your song. GO COUGS!!

  • Seasider said:

    I think the team should watch the 2004 game so everyone can remember how it felt back then to get laughed out of their stadium while the Utes and not us became the first BCS buster. It’s also a good reminder of how far we’ve come as a team since that dreadful night 4 years ago. Our chances are of course much better this time around and we’re not just playing spoiler. We still have an outside mathematical shot at making a BCS bowl ourselves and a share of the MWC crown. Everybody is predicting a Utah win in the media so we’ve got to go in there and silence those critics. Let’s go Cougs!

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    I’m sitting up here on my hunt at the top of the mountain looking down into Salt Lake. I’m already getting the chills.

    I think we can still make a BCS game but that is not what is most important to me. I would be just fine with going to Vegas again if it meant those guys I despise end up in San Diego. This is what it all comes down to this year. Right now, this week, this is our national championship game.

    I think we can do it! It will be another low scoring nail biter. I am predicting 20 – 19 BYU.

  • BYUX06 said:


    The whole Yewtah thing is really tired and dumb. Be that as it may, I think we will play spoiler, and it will be great to leave the Utes thinking what may have been for another year!

  • BYUX06 said:


    Do you really think it will be a low scoring event? I have been getting the feeling that it will end up with both teams in the 30’s. BYU 34- Utah 31

  • RobbC said:

    If we win, do we necessarily go to Vegas? Seems like they’ll have their pick of the three co-champs (assuming TCU bests AF). So we really don’t know what the bowl implications are and it is certainly true that we could still make the BCS if Boise should come unglued.

    The way I look at it, Utah isn’t near the team they were in 2004 and this time they’d probably get a tougher opponent. So do we want the conference to look bad with a big Utah BCS loss or do we want to at least get some national media sympathy for three 1-loss MWC teams being left out, each of which had a much tougher schedule than Boise?

    In my mind, the latter casts more doubt on the BCS and the more BCS doubt the better! It would be a strong argument for our conference joining the BCS (if we could stand the stench — I’d rather just see the BCS go away and get a playoff system).

    Anywho, here’s to absolutely wiping the frUtecakes off the map!!

  • Trey said:

    There will only be two 1 loss MWC teams. Yes TCU only has 1 loss in conference, but they already lost to Oklahoma. They’ve had their shot at a BCS bowl game as far as I’m concerned. They could’ve beat the then #2 team in the country. I don’t know if it is true that they focused all of their efforts on BYU, even if it felt that way after they dominated us. If that is true, they really blew it, because they had the sooners.

    As far as Vegas goes… It sucks that we only get a #5 PAC-1 team. You can bet it will be a difficult game for us, because since the Oregon whomping, PAC-1 teams realize that even though they don’t want to be in the Vegas bowl, they also don’t want to get embarrassed.

    I still think BYU will deserve a BCS shot, even if Boise St. goes. According to the rules, each BCS conference can only have up to two teams in the BCS bowls. Six BCS conference champions automatically get to go. There are 5 games, counting the National Championship. So lets figure this out:

    Alabama vs. Texas Tech (National Championship)
    Penn St. vs. USC (Rose Bowl)
    ???? vs. Florida (2nd SEC)
    ???? vs. Texas (2nd Big 12)
    ???? vs. Cincinnati (Big Least Champ)
    ???? vs. (3-loss ACC Champ)

    Then Boise St. will take one of those open slots. Arguably, Ohio St. will get to take another one. Who else is left? You can’t justify putting in another crappy PAC-1, Big Least, or ACC team in there ahead of both Ball St. and a 1 loss BYU team ranked in the top 16. I say BYU gets an at large berth any way you slice it.

    Of course the BS BCS will find a way to keep us out.

  • cory said:

    it is gonna be bitter sweet when we go to the Vegas bowl and yewtah goes to San Diegeo to play Boise st. in the Poinsetta bowl!

  • HotBox said:

    I think the Cougars need to play their best game of the year to win this one. Think UCLA but even better as I don’t see the Utes coughing up the ball every other possession.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this Cougar team would be a good BCS representative of non-BCS teams. While the offense does well for the most part, good, athletic defenses seem to be able to really slow the offensive machine down. If we played a Texas or Oklahoma etc, I think the strongest facet of the team becomes limited and the weaker areas of the team (defense, special teams) would be exposed even more by the speed at the skill positions. In other words, I think this BYU team would be the 2007 Hawaii of the BCS.

    I would be completely satisfied with a bowl game in the parking lot of an LDS stake center in exchange for a win on the hill on Saturday.

    War: Max Hall looking defenders off.
    War: Max Hall hitting #45, #3, #11, #88 when #9 and #32 have 3 red jerseys around them.
    War: Healing miracle for sprained MCL’s.
    War: Robert Anae game planning more than 6 plays.
    War: Bronco getting in the face of his uninspired players.
    War: Unga being big, slow and powerful, not just big and slow.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    Yes I see this being low scoring. Let’s put it this way. If don’t keep them under 20 I don’t think we win. Their D is better than AFAs

    Our offense has to be sharp. Aside from the two game winning drives in 2006 and 2007. They have all but dominated our offense as of late. We need to turn that table.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    PS: Anyone see any deer?

  • RobbC said:

    My initial feeling was low scoring, too. However Anae et. al. worked hard to overcome the problems we had twice last year against UCLA’s defense and we saw a real difference against the same defensive scheme this year.

    I think the offensive brain trust will have some new ideas versus Utah. While it may sound trite, I think 34-31 might be about right for the score and I’m looking for BYU to come out on top after another Austin Collie pep talk get’s them playing out of their minds.

  • Greg Gordon said:

    Is a 10-1 season disappointing? I certainly hope not! I think every season should start with enthusiasm and optimism but fans need to be realistic. More importantly, fans need to stay the course when their team doesn’t perform as anticipated. Living in Boise has been a real eye opener. Bronco fans think BSU should go to a BCS game every year since winning in the Fiesta Bowl in 2006, they complain about being in the WAC instead of the Pac-10 and have delusions of grandeur about beating Florida this year. I’m just happy to see how far BYU’s football program has come in such a short amount of time! We’re heading into the last game of the season ranked in the top 15 and only one loss. I remember the days during the Crowton era when BYU fans were hoping to finish at .500. It’s easy to get caught up in the BCS euphoria but it’s important to remember where this program has been and where they are now. I think going undefeated is a great goal but reality will tell you it doesn’t happen very often. I certainly hope BYU fans don’t consider this season a failure or even a major disappointment because BYU didn’t go to a BCS bowl. Few things would give me more pleasure than watching BYU crush the team up North and eliminating their chance of getting a BCS bid (which should be even more fun to watch in HD on the MTN!). I predict a high scoring game but the Cougars come out on top at the end. GO COUGS!!!

  • Brett said:

    “can’t win an outright MWC championship” ? oh contraire! BYU can still win an outright conference title if Air Force springs an upset on TCU in Fort Worth. Likely? No. But possible!

    I said 2 months ago that if one team was undefeated and the other was not, the undefeated team would be at a disadvantage. the only thing going for utah is home field advantage. BYU has been in battle mode for a few games, and Collie finally got this team out of robot mode and playing with some passion. Utah is carrying the BCS-busting mantle and the pressures of finishing undefeated, as well as dealing with the frustration of losing to BYU in heartbreaking fashion 2 years in a row (which could work in their advantage, but may not…). BYU will probably play in the poinsettia bowl win or lose (unless teams start losing that move BYU up the polls to increase their BCS average and they miraculously jump Boise…or Boise loses) … so the only thing in this for BYU is beating Utah and ruining their perfect season. Utah is playing for a lot more right now.

    With that in mind – BYU 25, Utah 21

  • Quinn Gooch (author) said:

    HD and the MTN, well see how that looks. I am hoping for the best.

  • Greg Gordon said:

    Hopefully the MTN does well when they broadcast their first game in HD this Saturday. If I can get a better picture and camera angles, I’ll mute my TV and stop complaining about the horrendous commentary.

  • RobbC said:

    Would love to see it in HD but I’m not ready to spring for the set. Does anybody know where there might be an HD broadcast for a large gathering of Cougar fans? Any chance they’ll hold something in the Marriott Center?

  • BYUX06 said:

    It’s weird, but we can’t win the outright championship. Even with a Utah loss to us, our records would be the same. Regardless of what happens, Utah has secured at least the share of the conference chamionship. The same with Penn St. and Ohio St. If both teams win, they share the conference crown, even though OSU lost to PSU. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

  • AncientCougarFan said:

    I forgot. One additional reason why BEATing the ewts is of the highest priorities…

    Next year begins NOW; both in recruiting and name recognition.

    How we end the season will be a determining factor of our early placement is next years polls. It will also affect who we sign.

    12-1 in the Top ten ending this year will elevate our esteem for next year. And next year our Offense, Defense, and recruiting will be significantly better.

  • HotBox said:

    AncientCougarFan, can you describe exactly how our defense will be significantly better next year? I know we have the entire DL returning but I am not sure if their is enough talent in the wings or even in a recruiting class that would hopefully include Te’o that would make this defense that much better.

  • HotBox said:

    Sorry about using “our” in the description of the defense in my post above and “their” when I should have used “there”.

  • Aaron said:

    I am not at all disappointed with this season, though there have been some disappointing moments along the way to be sure.

    How can any fan complain about a 10-1 season (11-1 after next week). In my opinion, even with a loss at Utah (of which after the second half of the AFA game I feel fully confident will not happen), I’d still be happy…as we all know, 10-2 is something to be very proud of.

    BYU 38
    Utah 35

  • AncientCougarFan said:


    Read Quinn’s column in the October archive labeled “Defensive Back X’s and O’s”.

    In it he states:

    “Here is something to think about: This is our third year running this defense. Teams now understand what we are doing and they know how to beat our schemes.

    The first year of the scheme change our defense was very good, but all the concepts and coverages were new to our opponents.

    The second year our defense had one whole year of experience under their belts and also had a few extra wrinkles in coverages and blitzes.

    This year, opponents are used to what we do on defense.

    Our young secondary doesn’t have the luxury of running coverages that teams haven’t seen.

    This puts the pressure on our DBs’ technique and assignment understanding and for young players those are the aspects of the game that take the longest to develop.”

    This information gives me “hope” for next year.

    This year, the Offense adjusted to what UCLA and Utah used last year in the off season.

    I have faith that next season the defense will do likewise. I believe it would be a contradiction to Bronco’s past program improvement to do otherwise.

  • Brett said:

    About going 10-2 … although disappointing to go 10-2 three years in a row without “improving,” you have to look at what has happened.

    After the first 10-2 and Beck to Harline, a sophomore named Max Hall took the reins with ZERO college starts to his credit. Think about that. 10-2 in his first season as a starter. He has gone 20-3 so far as a starter. That is incredible! People have come to expect greatness, but we are lucky! What happens when Max graduates? Do we give it to the Jake Heaps kid that hopefully commits as a frosh? What’s in the pipeline? We may be taking Max Hall for granted. He makes big time throws.

    And with that said, I would take a 10-2 losing to two top-15 opponents as opposed to losing to Tulsa and UCLA. BYU will have at that point proven itself as a worthy top 25 team, probably finish at #20-23. A win makes BYU 11-1 and finishing probably #11 before the bowl … they have a chance to finish in the top 15 three years in a row! How long has it been? probably 83-85!

  • CoachC said:

    Well said.

  • Gunny said:

    Quinn, This season is not a let down and the Cougs being 10-1 is not a bad thing. The TCU game hurt bad but it did refocus this team and coaches.

    It brought the Cougs back to earth and they will not want to lose another big game. I saw great things in the AFA game last week that make me feel we are ready for the Ute’s. They played with real emotion in the 3rd Qtr.

    The Ute’s on the other hand have All the pressure on them to win and we WILL beat them. The media and the Ute fans already have this game won. They are already thinking BCS and who they are going to play.

    They really think we will have another TCU moment on there field. Max and the boys will surprise the Utes. Many say this game will be close, I think the Cougs win by 14 points.

    BYU 38
    Utah 24

    Bronco and company will find a way to win this game. I truly think the Cougs are in a better postion to win!

  • kiyoshige said:

    This season has been the best of the past 3 years so far. It’s unsettling that we have to beat Utah to rise above the last two, but we do.

    Even with a loss, however, it still is a great season. People, we have Biletnikoff, Davey O’Brien, AND Mackey Award candidates coming back next year. I check our media charts daily just to confirm that they are still JUNIORS. Our defense, with a year of experience under their belt, will be able to add additonal coverages as mentioned earlier, and can ONLY IMPROVE.

    Don’t be like Boise, where every year is BCS or bust. A while back we wanted a winning season and a bowl appearance. Let’s be hungry for more, but let’s also acknowledge a good team and a good season when its happening.

    Nov 22 is of utmost importance. For this year, for next year, for NOW.

  • Peter said:

    Can someone further clarify this for me?
    If, no, when BYU beats Utah on Saturday, the Cougs will jump even further up in the polls (we are already in the top 16, the required level to bust the BCS). Assuming we don’t move up enough to jump Boise State, but stay well ahead of Ball State and increase the gap between us and TCU, what would it take in terms of other teams losing to get both BYU and Boise State in a BCS bowl?
    In short, my question is what it would take to get two non-BCS affiliated teams into a BCS bowl this year? ‘Cause if that happens and BYU wins, it’ll be BYU and Boise.

  • Josh said:

    If we hadn’t lost to TCU it would have been someone else like UNLV (yuk) or Colo St.

    Someone had to beat us to get us back to where we needed to be mentally. The place it shows up most clearly is in Pass efficiency. Max was over 170 the first three games, then in the 150s, then 97 at TCU. since then he’s been up in the 160s, 170s, 180s, and yes, twice over 200. That’s the difference the TCU loss made.

  • Jimbo said:


    You said: “Does Utah’s current success say they’re a better program or team?”

    My two MWC Championship rings say differently.”

    While I don’t think Utah necessarily has a better “program” I would argue that both teams have leveled the playing field and could be dead even in terms of who has the better program. Each team has it’s advantages and disadvantages in style of play, recruiting, facilities, etc.

    (BTW Bringing your MWC championship rings into the better program argument is silly (see years 2003/2004) because it doesn’t necessarily speak to the strength of the program, only the past 2 years)

    Where do you see both teams going in the next 5 years? Urban resurrected Utah’s program and Bronco has worked wonders for BYU. Will Bronco and Kyle stay and can both continue to have the success both teams are seeing this season?

  • Quinn Gooch (author) said:

    Jimbo slice, I am afraid there are a lot more rings in BYU closet. My two rings are just the tip of the BYU championship ring ice berg. For instance my older brother has 3 rings in his closet.

    It carries weight and BYU’s program is better. History, tradition, Heismans, Doak Walker awards, you name it and BYU has it. I am not an expert on Utah football history, but something tells me those credentials are a bit one sided. But like always I could be wrong.

    Jimbo it’s an opinion take it for what it’s worth. Utah has had their share of success and I respect them for what they did. But as always your best beat is blue. As far as where the programs will be in 5 years, I’ll address that topic during the off season. I am attempting to stick to the topics at hand.

  • Quinn Gooch (author) said:

    Don’t focus all your thoughts around one general statement. Crack a smile and enjoy it.

  • Kiyoshige said:

    Peter, see Trey’s post above for clarification on BCS implications, except he has 6 BCS games and there are only 5. So there are 10 teams, and he has 8 of them listed. Most likely, the 2 remaining teams would be chosen from Utah, Boise St., Ohio St. and Oregon St. If Oregon St. wins out they are PAC-10 champs and BCS would definitely want USC as a 2nd team. So we have to hope for Oregon St. to lose at Oregon. We also have to hope for Boise St. to lose and Ohio St. to lose at Michigan. If Oregon St. and Ohio St. both lose, then we have an outside shot to have 2 non-BCS teams go.

    Imagine if Utah wins, how disappointed Boise St. would be… As it is, and though they hate to admit it, Boise St. fans are LOVING the Cougars this weekend.

    All this hoping aside, I am a Cougar fan who sees football as a one-game season. Even the bowl game pales in importance to this weekend. I wish I could change this, but I can’t. We beat Utah and I am happy for 364 days. We lose and I need to see my psychiatrist. My voice will be hoarse just from listening to Greg, Mark and Nate.

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