On February 9th, ten BYU teams will be competing. For five of these teams, today may be the day that will be the turning point for the season.
Often times, when looking back at a season, a certain game is remembered as being the game that defined the season, or at least changed the course of the season, either in a good or bad way. For football, fans will remember the final drive against Utah State as being the turning moment. For women’s volleyball it was a two game stretch of beating No. 1 Stanford and No. 23 rival Utah. Although we can not know for sure when teams will have their “game of the year” here are five games that we may look back at later.
Women’s Basketball: Pacific vs BYU 4:00 ET BYUtv
This is the most clear and obvious season defining game. After going on a 11 game win streak and being ranked No. 25 in the AP poll, the Cougars have lost three straight games. The Cougars need to win today if they want any realistic chance on getting the number one seed in the WCC Tournament. If they lose today, this season will start to look like a nose dive right out of the NCAA Tournament and down to the third or fourth seed in the WCC Tournament.
Volleyball: BYU vs No. 4 UCLA 10:00PM ET Pac-12 Network
The last time BYU Men’s Volleyball lost nine sets in a row I was a newborn. For the past 25 years, the Cougars have not been swept in three straight matches, and if the Cougars don’t get things figured out tonight, it could go to twelve straight sets very quickly against No. 4 UCLA. As of right now, UCLA is the last ranked team on the Cougars schedule and so getting a win would be huge for the Cougars going forward. This may be the one sport though, that a win may not be required to help the team going forward. Losing 3-2 would be tough on the team, but it would at least remind the team that they can hang with the top teams in the nation.
Softball: BYU vs North Carolina 1:30 ET (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
Yes, it is very early in the season, but after starting the season 1-2 including a 3-13 loss to Liberty in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Cougars can not afford to leave Mexico 1-3. This tournament was tough with some elite teams, and nobody expected BYU to leave 4-0, but a 1-3 start could really affect the team and could be a season definer if they let it affect them. Win and the trip looks okay with a great win against Baylor, a bad loss against Liberty, an okay win against UNC, an acceptable loss against No. 9 South Carolina and a very nice weekend on the beach.
Men’s Basketball: Pacific vs BYU 9:00 ET BYUtv
It seems like lately every game has been a ‘must win game’ for BYU Men’s Basketball but that is the reality of the situation they are in. Currently, BYU is in sole second place in the WCC standings with a tie breaker over Saint Mary’s if they were to finish tied at the end of the season. With only two more really tough games left on the schedule (vs San Fransisco and at Gonzaga) the Cougars are in a really good position to finish out the regular season in second place. They can not lose to Pacific though. If they lose this would likely be seen as the difference in the WCC standings. But if they win, BYU just has to go 3-2 to likely get the No. 2 seed.
Gymnastics: Quad Meet at Air Force 9:00 ET MWCtv
Gymnastics is unique in that winning or losing a meet doesn’t really affect the real rankings. It is all about the scores that a team scores. Granted comparing competition to each other can affect the scores, but this meet for BYU is all about getting some good scores. For the past few weeks, the team has gradually scored lower dropping their ranking from No. 16 to now No. 21. There are still plenty of meets for the Cougars to move back up in the rankings, but if they score lower for the fifth straight meet, naturally that could be an area of concern.
Because of a tough week for most of these teams, this is their chance to turn things around. Unfortunately, most of these teams are in a “win or else…” situation, but that is how sports goes sometimes.