Archive for January, 2009

My New Year’s Football Resolutions

I guess, after back-to-back 11-2 seasons, with the program getting better, and with more depth and greater precision, I was spoiled.

I guess I got thinking that any half-decent coach could put BYU out on the field and win 10 games.  And a GOOD coach would only take a couple years to take a program that hadn’t been to a bowl game in three years and make them a BCS contender.

I guess I thought it would be a straight line up; take players someone else recruited, mate them to the toughest recruiting job in the country, mix and match the missionaries and the transfers, dodge Honor Code violations, use some slogan or other and PRESTO!  Undefeated teams just come rolling out like oranges.

I guess I was stupid.  No, I WAS stupid.

Getting a team to win 10 games three years in a row is so hard that almost no one can do it.  Getting a team to go undefeated is almost impossible, requiring a shocking amount of hard work and bushels of luck.  All over the country, there are football programs whose greatest dream is a bowl game, and who are never sure from one year to the next if they’ll be going.  Most of these programs have major recruiting advantages over BYU, lower academic standards, no honor code, more cosmopolitan locations, no overtly religious affiliation.  And still.  They lose.  A lot.

We don’t.  We know we’re going to a bowl game every year (it’s only a couple years back when we DIDN’T know that).  We routinely discuss whether we think we can go undefeated.  We dust some of these “better” programs off like so much lint from the dryer.

DO WE NOT SEE HOW INCREDIBLE, AND HOW WONDERFUL, THIS IS?

If it were so simple to promote a defensive coordinator that had never coached in the head position EVER and have him take a mediocre team from an obscure state in an invisible tiny town and make them national champions in four seasons, don’t you think more teams would be able to do it?  Did we really think this was a Disney movie?

This year I resolve to appreciate the fact that San Diego State, with its infinitely superior athletes, far better climate and party reputation, can’t beat us to save their immortal souls.  I resolve to appreciate the fact that BYU has beaten Utah twice in the last three years, and TCU twice, and UCLA twice, and every other conference team at least 3 times.  I resolve to remember that BYU has not lost a game at home, football or basketball, since THE SATURDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING OF 2005.  I will appreciate the fact that even this year, when he was less than his best, Max Hall threw for more touchdowns than all but 7 quarterbacks in the country.  That Austin Collie was open against the vaunted Utah defense a lot more than the celebrated Julio Jones was.  That McKay Jacobsen is back.  And a thousand other things.

I resolve to appreciate even more how Bronco Mendenhall changes his approach every year, keeps recruiting better and better players, maintains an extraordinarily high level of performance from the team, represents the school and its religion with honor and discipline, and churns out winners as if it really wasn’t very difficult at all.  When it is.

And I resolve to appreciate ever more fully that I am a BYU fan.  This is my team, come what may, good times and bad.  And these are GOOD times.
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