BYU football: As schedule lightens, Cougars will learn how bad they are

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 6: Jonah Trinnaman
PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 6: Jonah Trinnaman /

After falling to Boise State 24-7, BYU football is in a slump of the like they haven’t endured since the 1970’s. But as the schedule begins to lighten up, we’ll soon learn just how bad the Cougars are.

BYU football’s Grant Jones intercepted Boise State on their first drive of the game.

The offense, led by a slightly gimpy Tanner Mangum playing his first game in four weeks, smoothly worked down the short field, capping off the drive with an Ula Tolutau plunge into the endzone. It was as good of a start as the Cougars could as for.

…aaand that was about it.

The rest of the game was typified by turnovers and dink-and-dunk slogging. There was a point at the end of the game where the play of both teams degenerated into taking turns driving between the 20’s and turning the ball over on downs.

Boise State didn’t really shine (24 yards was their largest gain from scrimmage) but they didn’t have to. All it took for the Broncos to go home with a win was one or two good drives, and a short field or two.

All this was capped off by a head-scratching, redshirt-burning cameo by freshman QB Joe Critchlow with two minutes left in game. And guess what? That drive proved just as ineffective as the rest of the offence.

Out with the lions, in with the lambs

Next for the Cougars is a trip Starkville to take on slightly-up-and-down Mississippi State. A win—heck, a close game with Bulldogs might shock BYU football fans out of their foxholes. But most are hunkering down, expecting more shelling before the week is out.

After that, the schedule lightens up considerably. Considerably. And so you ask: how bad could the rest of BYU’s opponents be?

Yeah, they’re bad.

UMass and SJSU are vying for the bottom of college football, with East Caroline a short tumble behind. UNLV still holds a place in Cougar fan’s hearts as a traditional punching bag. That Fresno State is headlining this group tells you an awful lot.

If the opening was a murderer’s row, the last stretch is a lineup of underdogs, whipping boys, and lovable losers. In a normal year, that kind of group would be a pleasure cruise for the consistent Cougars.

Not this year.

The kiddy pool might seem like rough waters for a BYU football team that specializes in capsizing its offense. The Cougars could conceivably lose to some of those teams.

And by the year’s end, they will be the measuring stick to show us exactly how bad the Cougars are.