They’re off an running and they’re not coming back.
In the wake of Saturday’s blowout win at Texas – they embarrassed the Longhorns’ 41-7 deep in the heart of that football-crazed state – the BYU football team now has a legitimate look at an unbeaten season.
We knew months ago Texas represented the Cougars’ toughest test of the regular season. A victory in Austin would open the door for a great year … an unbeaten year. But a few months ago the UT game looked scary, largely because the Longhorns would be hyper-motivated to avenge last year’s embarrassing loss in Provo. Now a few days removed from BYU’s runaway win, it seems silly to have ever doubted the outcome.
(I’m only half-kidding with that last statement. I’ll buy that you thought the Cougars would win but don’t tell me you saw such a one-sided affair.)
Now they’re 2-0 and they’re rolling. A look at the rest of their schedule shows few, if any, real question marks. Provided, of course, they stay healthy, there’s no reason to think the Cougars can’t run the table.
They should run the table.
Next up is Houston, in Provo, Thursday night.
Then it’s Virginia at home Sept. 20; Utah State, also at home, Oct. 3, and Central Florida, in Orlando, on Oct. 9.
Look, you don’t need me running down their schedule date by date. Trust me, they’re all winnable, especially if the Cougars can get through the end of this month and the beginning of next.
Certainly the Utah State game looks very intriguing (but it’s in Provo); ditto the UCF game on the road. But beyond that … meh.
For BYU, the Cougars and their fanbase, this is good news, naturally. The school’s football tradition speaks for itself, but the idea of an unbeaten season makes the popcorn pop just a little brighter on the ol’ apricot tree (if you catch my drift).
No, the schedule isn’t great. While it’s not exactly kitten-soft – and it’s worse at home than it is on the road – it’s certainly not a death march. But as much as is made of the schedule, what can the Cougars do but play each game as best they can?
I don’t care who you are or who’s on your schedule, if you win them all, it’s a big deal and it should be celebrated.
But perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself just a little. Let’s tap the brakes and look at how to get from one end of the season to the other. Besides good health, the key is getting a head of steam.
Remember a few years ago when the Cougars had that whole “Quest For Perfection” campaign and it blew up in their faces? Yes, of course you do. Well, from here on out they’d be wise to very quietly renew that quest, which is to say keep their mouths closed, their heads down and their momentum going forward.
And let’s suppose they do those things and actually do achieve perfection, then what?
In a perfect world, a perfect record would have the Cougars in the four-team playoff at the end of the season. But any schedule that includes Savannah State – without also including some Alabamas, Oregons and Florida States – isn’t good enough for college football’s Little Dance.
Instead, BYU’s players simply need to keep putting one size-14 Nike cleat in front of the other. If they continue doing that, something good will happen and when it does, it’ll go up on a wall or a banner or a billboard somewhere.
And it’ll stay there forever.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @StandardExJimbo