If you’re in the Salt Lake area during Christmas you’ve heard about FM100’s “100 Hours of Christmas”. Non-stop Christmas tunes till Santa and his reindeer crew bring gifts for all the good girls and boys. So basically that means kids that are BYU fans.
One of my favorite songs that FM100 seems to always play is Thurl Bailey’s, “Grown Up Christmas List”. Yes the former North Carolina State and NBA star, Thurl Bailey. It’s Big T’s rendition of the Amy Grant classic. The 1983 NCAA Champion goes on to sing in his deep voice about things that are his life long wishes and for a world in need. In summary, stuff that isn’t important, but you know what is important? BYU sports. I know you agree because you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t a person deeply invested in Cougar sports.
So grab some egg nog and dive in to my grown up BYU Fan Christmas list. A list of things that I feel the world of BYU sports is in need of.
- The university making a commitment to getting state-of-the-art facilities
Yeah I’m asking for the big ticket item right away. This is college sports’ version of unwrapping that console you’ve been begging Santa for, brand new sparkling facilities with barber shops and randomly placed logos of your schools brand everywhere.
BYU is falling behind in the facilities game. Folks don’t want to admit it, but BYU is not where they should be when it comes to the venues that house these student athletes.
The Indoor Practice Facility is still great, one of the biggest in the country. The Student Athletic Building? Upgrade time. The Football program should not be sharing their facilities with anyone. Nor should men’s basketball. The Cougar Cagers need a basketball practice facility. Utah and the farmdawgs of Utah State have one. Don’t wait around. BYU is one of the most successful basketball programs in the country over the past seven seasons, time to start acting like it. Also, a new jumbotron in the Marriott Center would be nice. Yes, the baseline scoreboards are a nice upgrade, but it’s time for the big one now.
Also, LaVell Edwards Stadium needs upgrades. No I’m not talking about closing the open corners. That’s not needed. But it is time to upgrade the press box. The term “loge” is used lightly when entering the LES press box. The facility is still sparking clean but it’s an 80’s loge, and you see that right away. Time to pull a TCU and after a season finale, tear the box down and have the box built back up and ready to go for the home opener of the following season.
Another thing that many don’t think of but it would make BYU a primetime team on a nationally televised ESPN broadcast on a brisk evening at LES, a permanent sky cam. Why can’t the Cougs have one? Bring in a crane if need be. But dammit we need a sky cam!
You’re probably reading this and saying, this is a nice list Mitch but BYU needs to get donations for all of this. Yes, I understand that is BYU’s protocol, but it’s time for that to change. The gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in football is widening significantly. You must keep up with joneses. Program prestige, history, and on field success is a huge part of attracting young talent to your school, but 18 year-old kids don’t know much about the history. They want to walk in to a state-of-the-art weight room with iPads in their locker that lay out their schedule for the day. It’s the era we live in and BYU needs to catch up.
I want to hear a press conference where Tom Holmoe is saying, the church and university are making a $400 million commitment to upgrading all athletic venues and facilities. The time is now Cougar Nation.
- Winning a game against a ranked opponent on the road
These recent failures on the road against ranked teams, is nothing new in the annals of BYU sports history. It’s the way BYU Football and Basketball has lost recently that has caused the heartbreak amongst Cougar Nation. These aren’t programs that are in the business of having moral victories. These aren’t rebuilding jobs right now. I love seeing my teams being able to compete with anyone on any given day, but at some point one of these teams has to break through.
All I’m asking for is just one. One! Maybe Gonzaga? If I was a betting man, and on occasion I am if I spring for the fun bus to Wendover, but I’m not betting on the Cougars to get it done this year. We are a fan base that is beleaguered right now. We know in our hearts that BYU has the ability to be a player on the national scene in booth football and men’s basketball. But when you start hearing BYU and national praise, thats when the heartbreak ensues.
- No more cut-out faces in The ROC during basketball games
I’ve seen Scott Van Pelt and a screaming Pau Gasol enough. Let’s just dump these things. Speaking of The ROC, does anyone know about the whereabouts of “headband guy”?
- More Robertson Daniel’s at cornerback
Do folks remember when Rob Daniel signed with BYU last year? It was during the summer time. Imagine the 2013 cornerbacks without Daniel this year. It’s already been pretty rough this season, but Daniel has been one of the few bright spots at the position.
JUCOs and the cornerback position at BYU go hand in hand like peanut better and jelly. A guy who might not be LDS can handle a year and a half of BYU’s lifestyle and culture to have an opportunity to play big-time football at the D1 level. I’m always puzzled when BYU resorts to players at corner who are not D1 worthy. It’s not a hard sell to these JUCO’s. Get a bus load of them and build the depth.
In 2014 you have Jordan Johnson and Trenton Trammell returning from injury to add to Daniel. Sign a few more JUCO’s and Cornerback might be a position that doesn’t put all of Cougar Nation into a panic.
- BYUtv in HD on all satellite and cable providers.
BYUtv has some of the best HD programming you are going to find. One day it will be available in HD to all. For a nice alternative, buy a Roku box if you aren’t blessed to have BYUtv in high def.
- Royal Blue as the primary color in Football
I’m torn about this. I’ve really enjoyed the deepest shade of royal blue (DSORB) that BYU currently sports right now. It’s classy. You can wear it in your every day attire as a fan. But I feel it is blah. The oval Y is one of the most iconic logos in college sports. It’s a globally recognized brand that conjures up memories of good quarterbacks and crazy WAC games with a legendary head coach overseeing it all. Those memories came while the Cougars were donning the royal blue.
Look at the excitement that was in the program building up to the Utah game this year. Yes it was a home game against rival Utah so that always gets the blood boiling, but Cougar fans were in a frenzy to see the royal blues. As LaVell Edwards once said in 2009 after seeing the alternate royal blues worn against Utah that season, “it feels like they never left.”
One of the key factors in BYU switching to DSORB back in 1999 was to sell more merchandise. If you remember Cougar Stadium used to be known as a skittles bowl for all the random attire that was being worn on game days. A lot of the same reasoning prevented Mendenhall from making the switch back to royal blue in 2005. When hired as head coach, Bronco wanted to get back to the history of BYU Football by bringing back the oval Y and royal blue. Bronco might not have been able to get royal, but we should always thank him for ditching the tan. Praise you Bronco!
After nearly 15 years from making the switch to DSORB, cougar fans everywhere turn to royal blue merchandise more than ever for the nostalgia and memories I alluded to earlier. Royal blue has a special place in BYU fans hearts. Look at all the gear that was sold leading up to the Utah game. LES was a sea of royal blue that night. And look at those jerseys BYU wore against Utah. Imagine BYU wearing those on a weekly basis. Those unis are bold and make a statement. If BYU was to ever switch back to those as the weekly jersey, Cougar Nation would be happy and they would have to send out a press release containing the classic new Nike jersey photos with black background and an invisible man rocking them. Don’t give me #55 too for the BYU model again. I want to see a single digit jersey on display if you’re going to make a statement by announcing the new digs.
For basketball, keep the DSORB. The current jerseys are probably the best we’ve seen since the Danny Ainge unis. Although I must admit I was a sucker for those 2000-2001 jerseys that Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday wore en route to the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid in seven years. The squares on the side of the shorts were sweet and made up for the epic flaw of having tan.
- Win a National Championship
1984 happened and I love that BYU can always lay claim to a National Title in their history. But I want to see another. One day it will happen. Yes I said earlier I just hope BYU can get one win against a ranked team on the road, and in the same article I’m talking National Championship. Nick Saban would be angry that I’m not respecting the process and jumping to conclusions, but I will always believe. That’s why I’m ultimately watching the games. The journey is what makes it great, and one day it will culminate in a title. This is the ultimate wish on my grown up BYU Fan Christmas list. I just want the chance to fall to my knees in tears and do SEC-style confetti angels on the field while watching BYU hoist up a College Football Playoff Championship trophy (this will be last year of Crystal Ball), or cut down the nets with Luther Vandross singing “One Shining Moment”.
This is my grown up BYU fan Christmas list for all Cougar fans in need.
Merry Christmas from all the members of the Lawless Republic crew!