So it turns out this BYU football team isn’t as good as fans hoped…

September 17, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:06 pm   Category: Sports

BYU was completely blown out tonight by Utah by the score of 54-10. After going up 10-7 the Cougars gave up 47 straight points (yes, 47). It’s hard to say what happened but turnover after turnover (seven total, three in the first quarter) might have led to the wheels falling off for BYU. Maybe it was the fact that BYU has no run game. Whatever it was, the wheels did indeed completely come off for BYU in this game.

The Utes were just better than BYU tonight. A lot better. At this point a 7+ wins seems like a solid goal for BYU football this year. Bummer.

I imagine there will be complete hysteria among BYU fans this week. I think I’ll try to avoid the BYU fan message boards for a while…


  1. Bye Bye Bronco?

    Comment by wally bob — September 17, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  2. Not a chance. It is only one L (as monumental as it feels now)

    Comment by Geoff J — September 17, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  3. Uhhh…. it’s only one W, and by one squeaky point.

    Comment by wally bob — September 17, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

  4. Let me clarify: This game is only one loss.

    You weren’t serious about BYU firing anyone over one loss were you?

    Comment by Geoff J — September 17, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

  5. Nahhh… Not for one loss. But for the 3 games we’ve played, how many Quarters has BYU won? 2nd, halves?
    Blake is right.
    Probably my upbringing. Down here in Texas, losing to THE rival is grounds for dismissal.
    Oh, well….. rebuilding year.

    Comment by wally bob — September 17, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

  6. Sorry: should have waited — so I am posting again:

    At some point you may post about the Utah game. BYU was not merely embarrassed, it was exposed. Here are the problems that were exposed:

    1. The coaches have no clue how to make adjustments either offensively or defensively.

    2. Doman has no clue how to put together a coherent game plan.

    3. Heaps lacks what it takes. He throws low, he floats passes and rarely finds a receiver on a route and misses open receivers consistently. Say what you will, BYU took the best quarterback in the country and turned him into a miserable failure.

    4. BYU special teams are sub-par and have been for at least 3 years.

    I’m blue through and through so it pains me to make the recommendations that follow. BYU looks like an inept high school football team. The biggest part of the problem is coaching. It is time for Mendehall to go and Doman should have gone yesterday. It is embarrassing to be a BYU football fan right now. I say clean house – start at the top and start with a new athletic director, a new coaching staff in its entirety. I wish I could say otherwise, but this football staff is not salvageable. Unfortunately, we’ll have to suffer through the rest of this season before the appropriate changes can made.

    Comment by Blake — September 17, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

  7. It was fun to watch for me but at some point it went past fun, into funny, then into embarassing and in the end I kinda felt sorry for the cougs.

    Not fun to lose that bad.

    I would caution against overreacting however. If it weren’t for the 7 turnovers, it would have been a completely different game. You fix that, and there may not be that much more to fix.

    Comment by MCQ — September 18, 2011 @ 1:10 am

  8. I don’t think Bronco should go – the defense was about the only bright spot this season. Of course with the offense the way it was it was hardly surprising that broke down eventually.

    People who say it’s just one game forget a big thing: 3 TD all season. Last night’s offense was typical of the offense all season: sloppy, undisciplined play. Bad tempo management. Bad time management.

    I like Doman but there was no way they should have picked someone to be OC who didn’t have experience as a OC. Doman needed to go coach at a small college for a few years before coming back to BYU.

    Now I’m open to some of this being a lack of talent. Especially in the running game – the lack of which was affecting the team all season. However some things such as our once vaunted O-line are a lot harder to explain. And when all your players are constantly out of position then that’s just poor preparation.

    This was the worst performance by a BYU team I can remember. It actually is worse than that home game with UNLV from six or seven years ago. The reality is that something needs to change on the coaching staff. There clearly is a general problem. I just don’t think it’s Bronco.

    I can handle a bad loss. I can’t handle complete sloppiness and a lack of intensity.

    Comment by Clark — September 18, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  9. MCQ – it wasn’t just the turnovers. It was players constantly being out of position. It was inexplicable play calling. It was tempo management. (Seriously – back when they were down by 20 they try to slow the game down?)

    While I think Blake’s overstating things the fact is that every time we’ve come back from halftime it’s like no adjustments were made.

    Comment by Clark — September 18, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  10. I am so glad I got distracted and missed the game.

    I logged on here to find out what happened. Guess this tells the entire story.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 18, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  11. Who should be the new OC?

    Comment by Steve Fleming — September 18, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  12. Clark, that’s probably true, but I still think that if those seven turnovers didn’t happen or even if it was down to one or two, you wouldn’t even be having this conversation

    Comment by MCQ — September 18, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  13. After giving it more thought I have to agree that in a debacle of this magnitude Bronco must bear most of the blame. It is his team. He is tasked to have the whole team prepared for every game. When the wheels fall off completely for the team the buck stops with Bronco. That’s why he makes the big bucks.

    What has me most concerned is that Bronco and his entire coaching staff seemed to be have been getting high on their own supply since the spring. Bronco hired a bunch of super energetic “positive energy” guys for his staff. It is starting to look like they all fed on each other and started believing this team was better and more prepared than it actually is. Seriously, the type of things the coaches were saying in fall camp led fans to believe that this team had a great chance of going undefeated. “So much talent; so much depth; so much experience; so much maturity”. Come on Bronco. You get paid the big bucks to see through the hype and accurately judge your team. Instead it appears Bronco had no idea how fragile and unprepared his team really was heading into this week.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 18, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  14. I’m guessing that the players all read the latest issue of The Atlantic and staged their own wildcat (cougar?) strike.

    It’s about time.

    If BYU wants a better team, they should pay their players more.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 18, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

  15. MCQ, disagree. I was saying this after last week and just hoping they’d step it up. But with an embarrassment this big there’s nothing to hide behind.

    Geoff, I think you’re partially right. I think it was a big mistake to have Doman take the OC job at this level with little experience. I like Doman a lot but I think he’d have been much better getting an OC job at a smaller school, getting experience for three or four years and then moving to BYU. Going from QB coach to offensive coordinator like this was a mistake.

    The danger at this stage is that the coaches lose the support of the players (who are very well aware how well coached they are). I had friends on the team under Crowton and I’d hate for that to happen again. Once you lose the team there’s no getting it back. Something has to change this week and I’d lay really good odds that Doman is leaving.

    Comment by Clark — September 18, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  16. Live by football, die by football.

    Comment by don — September 19, 2011 @ 6:09 am

  17. I don’t think the game was as close as the score suggests.

    With conference realignment ramping up faster than most people expected, a few more games like this could really affect which conference extends an invite to BYU.

    Comment by rbc — September 19, 2011 @ 9:35 am

  18. Yes. I think a lot of people thought the Big 10 would extend an offer to BYU and that the independence issue was temporary. Even if that were true BYU’s playing this season is going to affect that significantly.

    As others said it’s just one game but I have a hard time thinking things will change quickly. Last season the problem was primarily a stupid decision regarding playing two QBs. That was easy to fix. This season with this staff there won’t be any silver bullets like that.

    Comment by Clark — September 19, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  19. Well actually no one in their right mind expected the Big10 to invite BYU. There was some hope that the Pac10 would have invited BYU but the Mormonism thing was too much for some of the more liberal Pac10 schools to swallow so that is off the table too. The Big12 probably has already invited BYU but with that conference teetering on oblivion that is obviously in a holding pattern now.

    So while getting humiliated by their rival on national TV is a hit to the reputation of BYU football, I don’t think it has much to with with who invites BYU or not. Invitations have more to do with TV revenues than wins anyway.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  20. Where does BYU end up? Athletically they match up well with the ACC but I don’t see that happening, if only for the geographic problems for non-football sports like basketball (5 hour flight for a single basketball game!?!?) Also, I think alot of ACC schools don’t think BYU would be a good fit academically, but those same schools would have to explain how BYU would be any worse than NC State!

    If BYU is shut out of the PAC-12 and BigX, where will they go? The way things are going they have to be in a conference, at least to play with the big boys at the end of the season in the coming playoff structure. The dissolution of the Big 12 didn’t do any favors for BYU.

    Comment by rbc — September 19, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  21. If nothing else, BYU’s refusal to play on Sunday will be the death knell for the SEC or ACC. Both routinely schedule their season ending basketball tournament championship games on selection Sunday. Apart from those tournaments, Sundays are big sports days in both conferences.

    BYU is in a pickle.

    Also, “If it weren’t for the seven turnovers, it would have been a different game.” Reminds me of the old joke, “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

    Comment by rbc — September 19, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  22. Love the Lincoln joke. Very fitting.

    As for where BYU ends up; don’t be surprised if BYU ends up where they are now — as an independent in football with ESPN as a partner and with most other sports in the WCC. There are way too many unknowns about the future to go all Chicken Little about this shifting conference alignment landscape.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  23. It would of course look a lot better to quit while you’re ahead–you don’t want to people to think that you’re quitting because you can’t make it with the big boys.

    Still, getting out of the racket would be the best thing BYU could do, and they shouldn’t wait for a big win, or even a winning season, to make that decision.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 19, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  24. Geoff, the Big 10 rumor has been going for quite some time and was wrapped up with what Texas was planning. There are a lot of pretty compelling reasons to think it plausible. However unless we come back pretty strong the next few weeks (something I think would be quite difficult) I just can’t see the Big 10 happening. There’s still lots of shakeups going on though in all of college football. As you say, lots of unknowns. (The Big 10 idea sounds great but always struck me as unlikely too)

    Comment by Clark — September 19, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  25. I don’t think BYU would have taken the independent option if they had known the direction conferences were going. It really looks like if you aren’t involved in one of the three/four major football conferences (Pac-16, SEC, ACC, perhaps Big 10), you won’t have a shot at the playoff system that is a few years out. It’s a real possibility that these conferences, once they gather all the major schools, will secede from the NCAA football format and have their own postseason. Or at least the threat of secession will force the NCAA to make a playoffs that is very favorable of those specific conferences. I have no idea how BYU will fit in.

    It’s a shame, though; in every other sport, the current setup (the WCC) is the perfect situation for BYU.

    Comment by Ben Park — September 19, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  26. Regarding potential super conferences — I am much less worried about it than many other BYU fans. I think in practice it will be very much like the BCS. The schools on the inside might have easier access but there will be a way to play in for the Boise State’s of the world. Further, I see no reason why AQ schools would stop playing non-AQ schools for the same reasons they play them now.

    Regarding any BYU to Big10 rumors — I have yet to see any indication at all that the Big10 would be remotely interested in BYU. I think BYU has about as much chance of getting an invite to the AFC West as they do getting an invite to the Big10. I further suspect that any rumors that the Big10 is interested in BYU were started by wishful thinking BYU fans.

    Regarding BYU shutting down football — Sorry Mark B. I know that is a dream of yours but I don’t see any plausible situation where that would happen in the next few decades. Perhaps when the zombie apocalypse hits it will happen. But of course BYU won’t be the only school shutting down football when that happens.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  27. That’s a good point Ben. I think the writing has been on the wall for that for a while honestly. Which is why I think BYU wants to get into one.

    Let’s be honest though. The Pac-10 (err, well you know) will never take BYU. Too much animosity against the program. I think everything hinges on Texas. Regardless of whether the Big-10/Big-12 or whatever was even thinking about BYU it seems clear that Texas and BYU are making a fairly close relationship between the two schools. That doesn’t necessarily mean much in terms of conferences but I think it does mean there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

    Comment by Clark — September 19, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  28. I think the only reason there was rumors about the Big-12 courting BYU is because ESPN wanted to consolidate their financial investment, since they have deals with both the school and the conference. It never seemed like there was interest from the conference itself, and now that it is about to implode we won’t have much of an interest in them, either.

    It is just too difficult for other conferences to fit BYU into their schedules (mostly in sports other than football) due to our Sunday rules.

    BYU will make money as an independent and will still be able to schedule regular-season games, even if they don’t have a shot at any major championships. Perhaps they will be satisfied with that.

    Comment by Ben Park — September 19, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  29. BYU’s best chance to become an “insider” is for the Big12 to survive and remain a player in the CFB landscape. That doesn’t look likely right now but in order for the Pac12 to expand they need at least 9 expansion votes and I hear Utah, CO, Arizona, and ASU are all opposed to expanding to 16.

    The next best option is to remain an independent and try to get a Notre Dame like deal with the BCS or whatever the new system gets named.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  30. I’m with Mark B. Utah leaving the Mtn West was the perfect opportunity to chuck the whole intercollegiate athletic swamp. It would put some force behind the “style of our own” rhetoric.

    Comment by KLC — September 19, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  31. Meh. The folks who want BYU out of football (and other sports) are outnumbered probably by 20-1 among BYU alums is my guess. Not only are regular fans all for BYU keeping football the Board of Trustees appears to be as well. So for the next few decades the people who hate football will probably need to just ignore it.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  32. I don’t hate football, I hate football at BYU. We are already a global church, why don’t we strive for a more global university? American football is a niche product, drop it and concentrate on what we really value. If you want to attend a university that plays football and the other sports there are hundreds to choose from.

    Comment by KLC — September 19, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  33. That’s what I meant. The Board of Trustees clearly does not hate football at BYU. So for the next few decades (at least) the people who hate football at BYU will probably need to just ignore it.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  34. Quite a bit of overreaction by some here. This is a snowball that got rolling quickly down hill and it was hard to stop. I was utterly embarrassed and disappointed in what looked like an entire team giving up. But sometimes when you press, it only gets worse in a game like this. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Firing Bronco is not the answer and Doman may have issues, but give him a little time to develop as a coach. 3 games is hardly time to grow as an OC. Bronco has done some great things with this team. The type of young men that come into and are developed from this program are far more important and may be the legacy that he will leave eventually. He is a fantastic coach as has been shown over his first 6 years. This was a rough one to watch as a fan but lets be real about what should happen next.

    Comment by Paul — September 19, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  35. BYU’s poor play and turnovers turned a defeat into an embarrassing blow out. But even after discounting the blow out as a bad day at the office which will probably not happen again, I see the potential of Utah continuing to become the stronger team in the next several years as it attracts more talent as a Pac12 team while BYU continues to work out its coaching issues and youth issues, compounded by being a non-BCS team as the BCS conferences consolidate into super conferences. I am a BYU fan and want them to succeed but it appears that the move into super conferences (over which BYU has no control) will work to their disadvantage and leave them out (along with other good schools such as Boise State and probably TCU) as a participant in the new super conference alignment. Being an independent is still probably the best of BYU’s limited options, but it appears that fans will need to adjust their expectations that BYU football will probably not a major football power and instead will focus on being a good, winning program in the second tier, non-super conference teams.

    Comment by Bruce — September 19, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  36. That’s nonsense Bruce. Sure, there is no telling what the future will hold and BYU could possibly sink. But there is nothing about this super conference thing that predestines such a fate. I am baffled by how many otherwise rational BYU fans make such silly prophesies.

    Being on the inside of the BCS or super conference club is no guarantee of success in recruiting or on the field. (See Washington State among others). Likewise, being an outsider program is no guarantee of failure in recruiting or on the field (see BSU, TCU, and occasionally BYU).

    When it comes to great recruits BYU always had the inside track on active Mormon kids and still will. But with massive ESPN exposure BYU will probably have an easier time that ever recruiting in the future — both with Mormon kids and with non Mormon kids who aren’t put off by the honor code.

    This super conference thing potentially bad, but not necessarily bad. Let’s wait to see how things shake out before running around screaming about the sky falling.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 19, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  37. Bruce, I don’t think that necessarily follows. After all even in the earlier days it wasn’t as if BYU (and Utah) didn’t regularly beat Pac-10 teams. The Pac-10 is hardly the same top to bottom and one could argue that this year in particular isn’t terribly good in toto.

    I do agree recruiting is a bit of an issue. Clearly joining the Pac helps Utah recruiting-wise. Had BYU had a good season though I think the national exposure would help them. We’ll see what happens. If BYU is bad then obviously ESPN won’t give them the good coverage.

    I also think BYU is being clever with recruiting going to places (like the New Zealand area) where others just don’t bother. Both Utah and BYU have done pretty well with polynesians as well.

    Paul, I don’t think people are overreacting. It wasn’t just one game. Rather the team was playing horrible all season. Only the defense kept us in the previous two games. However the offense was so error prone on Saturday that I think the defense finally just gave up.

    Comment by Clark — September 20, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  38. I think the real elephant in the room is the “fan playbook”…

    Comment by Riley — September 20, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  39. That was a silly thing for BYU to do and they were rightfully teased about it. Even worse were the twitter limits they placed on reporters during the game.

    Comment by Clark — September 21, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  40. I haven’t been able to watch that whole fan playbook still. I just can’t bring myself to sit through it. So embarrassing. I forgot how truly dorky many BYU people are. What a shockingly bad idea that was.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 21, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  41. Well I don’t want anybody to be left out during the upcoming USU game so here is another one to prepare you:

    Apparently this year BYU is taking the “lead you, guide you, walk beside you” approach to being a fan…

    Comment by Riley — September 21, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  42. I’m a bit dubious about this account but I thought some might be interested.

    While BYU has been the popular thought as a replacement for Texas A&M, a key source close to the situation says BYU may no longer be interested in joining the Big 12 because of the recent instability.

    While BYU seemed very interested in the possibility of joining the Big 12 a month ago, a key source close to the situation said, that was before all the rancor erupted involving Oklahoma, the Big 12 and OU’s attempt to land in the Pac-12.

    BYU would stand to grow exponentially financially with a move to the Big 12 because the Cougars made less than $2 million in TV revenue last year and would stand to make $18 million in the Big 12 next year.

    But BYU can draw financially from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is not hung up on money, the source said.

    Obviously that last paragraph is false but the other points are interesting.

    Comment by Clark — September 22, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  43. re: 42. What’s false about the last para? The BYU athletic department already draws on general university (arguably tithing monies as well) in order to operate. According to the NCAA not a single university or college athletic department in Division 1 is financially self sustaining. Every single program from Texas to Alabama to BYU draw upon their respective general university funds to operate. Why can’t the Church just increase the money it already pays to the athletic department?

    Given the state of the art facilities for BYU athletics where do you get the idea BYU or the Church won’t pony up a lot of money to support their sports programs?

    Personally, I think they should be forced to pay their own way or not field a team, but unless BYU is lying to the NCAA, their athletic program already taps into Church funds.

    The NCAA study was before BYU went independent so perhaps the athletic program is now financially independent from the school. We’ll have to wait until the next NCAA report to find out. Hopefully the program makes a killing from ESPN and their venture into independence and they can ween themselves from Church/tithing funds.

    Comment by Rbc — September 22, 2011 @ 4:47 pm