National Pundits will always turn to Bo Diddley Angle with BYU Football


30 years ago, BYU shocked the college football world winning the school’s first and only National Championship in 1984.

Towards the end of that season, the debate was heating up around the country if BYU was worthy of being considered as the number one team in America. Today show host, Bryant Gumble, said the now infamous quote among Cougar Nation, “how can you rank BYU number one? Who’d they play –- Bo Diddley Tech? “

Bo Diddley Tech comments have always plagued BYU when they’ve had success. From 1984, 1996, 2001, and now 2014, whenever BYU is pushing the envelope nationally, the national pundits do not welcome BYU with open arms. The Cougars will always have to prove their worth, win the games that are in front of them and hope the chips fall in their favor. It’s too bad a storied program like BYU can’t go into a season with the peace of mind that if they win every game in front of them, it’ll be rewarded with the desired end result.

Right now, BYU is one of only seven teams in the country that can say they are 4-0. If you ask some folks nationally however, you would think BYU got to this 4-0 mark by playing a bunch of Junior College teams. The reactions by some over BYU’s legitimacy or if they deserve consideration for the College Football Playoff have been interesting to say the least.

ESPN’s Jason Sehorn (former USC & NFL CB) was on ESPNU’s College Football Daily yesterday discussing who the best non-power team in College Football is right now. Sehorn said, “clearly East Carolina; BYU’s schedule is so soft.” Then a graphic pulled up with BYU’s remaining strength of schedule and where they rank on ESPN’s power index. Both were in favor of the Cougars, to which Sehorn responded with, “yeah, well…”

Like in 1984, the so-called powers have the chance to put pesky BYU to sleep by actually playing them, but they won’t.

To ECU’s credit the Pirates have had the tougher S.O.S. to this point of the season according to Sagarin at #24, while BYU’s SOS is at #48. Wait! 48? You sure that isn’t 148? No it has been the 48th toughest schedule in America and has been the 11th toughest schedule amongst the top 25 in the Sagarin rankings to this point of the season.

Alabama, another 4-0 team, has played the 74th toughest schedule to this point of the season. No one’s barking about the Tide being legit. Yes, the Tide are in the toughest division/conference in the history of mankind, but why is it winning is not good enough for BYU? I thought this was a new era with a so-called Playoff?

The Playoff is just a new name for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Folks are supporting it more because it sounds a little bit more like the tourney in March that everyone loves to fill out brackets for in their offices, and the computers are out of it. So everyone’s on board. Problem is, the story lines are still the same with programs outside of the Power Autonomous five conferences, and they supposedly don’t play a tough enough schedule. Ignore the fact that we are only heading into week five of the season; BYU’s schedule already has them eliminated from the College Football Playoff according to the pundits.

Like in 1984, the so-called powers have the chance to put pesky BYU to sleep by actually playing them, but they won’t. Washington, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Florida all had the opportunity to derail BYU’s National Championship aspirations in ’84, but instead went to their comfort zones and chose the higher paydays in other bowl games. It’s very similar to what BYU is seeing right now with scheduling as an independent. Bronco and BYU have made it clear they will play anyone and they will do it anywhere. These programs want to dismiss BYU’s merits, yet won’t play the Cougars when Tom Holmoe and ESPN make the calls, and you know they are reaching out to everyone.

Although not the traditional schedule with powerhouse programs this year like we’ve seen in previous seasons of independence, BYU’s remaining schedule is tricky with quality match ups.

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Last year’s BYU schedule gets pointed at as a schedule that the Cougars should always shoot for as an independent with programs like Wisconsin and Notre Dame on the slate. Yet since 1998 (beginning of BCS), UCF and Boise State (two opponents on 2014 schedule) have combined for more BCS wins (3) than the Irish and Badgers (2). Also the Knights and Broncos have won those three games within the past seven years, while the Badgers’ two BCS wins came over 14 years ago. But hey, because UCF doesn’t have the autonomous five labels next to them, they instantly are excluded as a quality opponent. While the Badgers will slug through so-called “Power 5” teams Northwestern, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Purdue, Iowa, & Minnesota. Yeah, that’s Wisconsin schedule. I didn’t include Nebraska amongst that B1G litter because the Huskers are a good football team this year, McNeese State be damned. But honestly, think about this, Gary Andersen can start prepping for the Ameer Abdullah and the Huskers right now, and that game isn’t until November 15th.

Nothing is stopping the Sconnies from a Big Ten Championship Game appearance. It’s a one game season for the Badgers from here till Indianapolis.   Talk about Bo Diddley Tech, I give you Wisconsin and the entire Big Ten.

If BYU was to go undefeated this year, they deserve consideration for the College Football Playoff. Let’s face it folks, there is no clear-cut powerhouse team in College Football right now. Oklahoma looks great, Florida State is just meh, and Oregon will eventually choke again. Then the SEC will beat up on each other until someone is left standing at the bitter end. Why not BYU? They have the history, they aren’t a flash in the pan, and they have one of College Football’s most exciting players in Taysom Hill this season.

If there ever were a year for BYU to crack the hierarchy of the college football system, this would be the year. There is no precedent to how this Playoff will work. Maybe the human element will strengthen BYU’s chances. It worked for BYU in 1984 after all.

All I’m saying is that this assumed Bo Diddley Tech argument is tiring and old. Is BYU’s schedule a murderers row of college football royalty, in the words of Robert Anae, hell no! But it’s also not awful either.

Last year, Florida State hoisted the crystal ball with the nation’s 62nd toughest schedule according to Sagarin. When this season comes to an end, I would expect BYU to be in the 60’s with their SOS. The Cougars strength of schedule could be a lot higher right now had Texas and Virginia both defeated UCLA, and had Cal not gave up a hail mary against Arizona on the road. If a SOS in the 60’s is good enough for Florida State, why not BYU who has a crystal ball of their own?

Every system that College Football has had, BYU has always put together a season that brings controversy. The polls, the bowl alliance, the BCS, and possibly the College Football Playoff; for being a Bo diddley, the Cougars have been a national player for a very long time in this sport that continues to want to push them out.