BYU has a good football team, that is a fact, but the Cougars are trying to make you think that they’re something they’re not and with their latest charade people are starting to catch on to their tricks.
BYU, just like every other team in college football, has faced major scheduling challenges this season. The Cougs were originally scheduled to play six Power Five opponents this season but the virus completely wrecked those plans. Instead of playing Stanford, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona State, Utah, and Michigan State, they had to piece together a schedule that a good FCS team would be salivating over.
Now the 13th ranked Cougars are 9-0 on the year, but not one of their wins has come against a Power Five team. Their best wins of the year have come on the road at Houston and Boise State, but those aren’t necessarily going to move the needle when it comes to boosting their College Football Playoff ranking.
The virus obliterating its schedule isn’t BYU’s fault by any means, but the stunts it’s pulled over the last few weeks certainly are.
In late November the PAC-12 announced that it would be allowing non-conference scheduling so as a team with a cakewalk of a schedule with hopes for a New Year’s Six bowl game, BYU jumped on the opportunity. Or so it seemed.
News started to come out that BYU and Washington were in talks to play in late-November. It made sense for both sides with Washington – Washington State being canceled and the Cougars looking for a game against a Power Five program. Plus, BYU appeared to want all the smoke by saying it would take on any team at any time at any place.
Any team, any time, any place. pic.twitter.com/Rs9ihEGfA8
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) November 21, 2020
Well, it turned out that motto was a lie. Instead, the motto should have read maybe your team, on our watch, and definitely only at our stadium.
The Cougars ducked the Washington game saying it wanted to see the latest CFP rankings before putting the game on the schedule. Instead of just scheduling the game on their own and flipping the narrative that it was the Huskies actually ducking the matchup, the Cougars acted like nothing really happened and COVID protocols and future scheduling were the main factors in the game not taking place. BYU knew it had those get out of jail free cards in its back pocket and it used them.
In 2020, it’s not as easy as saying ‘ok, let’s play each other on Saturday,’ I get that, everyone gets that. But this game seemed like it was 100% going to happen, but then it didn’t and the Cougars got some sympathy points for ‘trying’ when all BYU (and the PAC-12, ever so slightly) did was swing and miss.
During all of this, news dropped that BYU was facing a $20 million budget shortfall for 2020-21. Most would think that traveling to Washington to take on the Huskies for a big payday while also possibly showing the country you’re for real would be a no brainer, but apparently not. It’s worth noting that BYU has played Washington each of the last two seasons, a 45-19 loss for the Cougars in Provo last year and a 35-7 loss in Seattle the year prior.
BYU wanted you to think that it was doing everything in its power to go play Washington, but it wasn’t. The program wanted to create noise, which it succeeded in doing so, but not the good kind of noise.
Now the Cougars appear to have pulled yet another trick it wants you to fall for.
Earlier this week it was announced that BYU would be traveling to take on No. 18 Coastal Carolina. I applaud the move by both teams. Putting together a game between two ranked teams located across the country from one another in short order is a good look, but Coastal isn’t a Power Five team. Congrats to BYU for actually filling an open date, but it could win by 90 on Saturday and it’s not going to improve its resume.
Here’s where the trickery comes into play.
According to Deseret News, Coastal Carolina wasn’t BYU’s first choice for an opponent this weekend. Apparently, the Cougars and No. 7 Cincinnati were ‘tentatively scheduled’ to play each other on Saturday, but it was scrapped due to COVID-19 issues within the Cincy program. This news just so happened to come out after the Coastal Carolina game had been announced yet again serving as an example of ‘look at us, we’re trying to play good teams’ for the Cougars.
I understand that BYU doesn’t just have its pick of opponents with teams around the country already set to play this weekend, but at the same time the Cougars are clearly trying to present false optics around the program.
They tried to play Washington, they so desperately needed to play Washington, but a number of reasons not to put the game on the calendar magically appeared last second. BYU then filled an open date with Coastal Carolina, a ranked team it’s favored over by 10 on the road, but now wants everyone to know it wanted to play Cincinnati, a team everyone knew was struggling with COVID issues after its game was canceled a week ago.
Congrats, BYU, you have people talking about you while you’ve played one of the worst schedules in FBS history, but the narrative is starting to flip toward the program being fraudulent instead of legitimate.
BYU is playing these games only for the public eye, not to play football games it already knew had an extremely low chance of actually happening.
But remember, the Cougars will take on any team, any time, at any place.