Now the good stuff. Most of us remember one warm afternoon in the first weeks of September 20 years ago. If you don't remember it personally, I'd bet you've seen it somewhere. The game. BYU vs. Miami. 1990. The defending national champions haughtily came into Provo, and thanks to a scrawny QB, left with their tails between their legs. It was a great day for Cougar fans--historic in many ways. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to relish in a victory like that since. Sure, there have been great wins after the Hurricane beatdown, the likes of TCU, Arizona St, Kansas St., Utah, etc., but nothing to match it. It's been 20 years since BYU has last beat a top-10 team--20 years! That stings. And it makes all of us wonder "what's the deal?"
Here's to hoping the 20th anniversary of that game, and the 25th anniversary season of the 1984 NC team, will shed some magic on this year's version of the Cougars. It won't do much good to do a position-by-position breakdown of this game--Oklahoma is that good and it takes a lot of work to write that. But, that doesn't mean BYU will or should get demoralized and obliterated. BYU has athletes and gamers just like Oklahoma does. BYU is now accustomed to winning games again like the legendary teams of the 80s and 90s, and this bunch has won tough games. Yet, like those legendary teams, nobody's giving us a chance. Nobody gave Bosco and Co., a chance to beat #3-ranked Pitt, and nobody thought the older, bigger and humbler Cougars could beat Miami. They did.
Do they have a chance to beat the mighty Sooners? Of course. It's why they play the game. One of the great things about college football is most any team can literally beat any team on any Saturday. We've seen it before. BYU isn't some Southern Charleston going up against Florida. BYU is a legitimate contender for a BCS game. They're well-coached, excited and hungry. Through recruting and experience they've added athletes that have proven they can play.
If there's one stat that needs attention going into this game it's turnover margin. Over the last two seasons, BYU is 20-2 when winning the turnover margin. If the offensive line can keep Max protected, and give him some time, there's no reason BYU can't move the ball and get into the end zone. I expect Jorgensen and Co., to play solidly against an unproven OU offensive line, and I even have confidence in our secondary (relative confidence).
Call me crazy, but I think BYU does have a chance. When BYU beats teams of this caliber it comes early in the season when teams are most vulnerable. They attack, they fight and sometimes, just sometimes, they pull off a huge upset. Of course they have a chance, if they didn't have a chance they wouldn't suit up and fly to Texas. This team believes they can win, and they just might.