It looks like its the New Mexico Bowl or bust for BYU. Several sources are picking BYU to go to the New Mexico Bowl because San Diego State will go to the Poinsetta, Air Force will go to the Independence, and Army will go to the Armed Forces Bowl. This assumes that these teams win the games they should for the rest of the season. While some people (including myself) might think that one of these bowls would prefer BYU, apparently bowls with conference tie-ins cannot take a six-loss team over a seven-loss team.
If BYU beats CSU and UNM but loses to Utah, SDSU and AFA have to be picked before BYU. This leaves the Armed Forces Bowl, which apparently has some tie into Army. Our one hope here is that Army does not get to 6 wins. They are 5-4 with games against Kent St., Notre Dame, and Navy. Both Notre Dame and Kent St. are 4-5, but Army plays both of them on the road. I guess we will have to see, but chances are, BYU will be playing at University Stadium at least one more time.
While reading about BYU's bowl possibilities, I saw that Phil Steele predicted that BYU could be playing Texas (yes, UT-Austin) in the New Mexcio bowl. Not only that, Stewart Mendal predicts that there will be 71 bowl eligible teams and that Texas will NOT be one of them. It seems unbelievable, but college football this year has shown us that almost anything is possible.
This brings me to the main point of this e-mail: after BYU lost four in a row, Cougar Nation was on the brink. The tone of discussion was not only that the season was lost, but that BYU football was lost. No one imagined that a good college football program could have the type of fall BYU had this year. Bronco was a horrible coach and our players were talentless losers. My Dad and I even agreed that UNM might be able to beat BYU! Luckily, BYU has righted the ship in some respects and there seems to be hope for the future (realize that Heaps, Quezada, Hoffman, Falslev, almost all our TEs are freshman/RM freshman. Imagine who will be playing with Heaps when he's a senior!).
Now look at Texas. We thought BYU's fall was meteoric? UT probably should have gone to the National Championship game two years ago and went last year. They won the NC game in 2006. This is an established program right? They started the season 3-0 against bad competition and then out of nowhere, they got destroyed at home by UCLA (now 4-5), then lost to OU, beat Nebraska (no one knows how), and lost to ISU, Baylor, and KSU. People are calling for Mack Brown's job and comparing Texas to Lindsay Lohan (see Chip Brown from orangebloods.com). I don't know how this happened, although I have heard that Texas has an extremely young team (sound familiar).
I think this provide us with a little prospective. Having a bad year does not mean your program is a failure. It does not mean that the world is over or that the sky is falling. It may just be a bad year. Sometimes, perferct storms happen (e.g. Baylor, KSU, and ISU seem to be much better this year than in recent history). We just need to hope that for BYU years like this are the exception, not the rule.
I think Bronco winning 10 games for four straight seasons should allows us to trust him during a year like this one. I believe he is experiencing a rough patch based on the changing nature of BYU football. Gone are the days of an above the honor code team. Gone are the days with borderline recruits (character-wise). Bronco is the first full "faith" BYU football coach. He has embraced the mission of the university, which means more missionaries and a harder time keeping a consistent team on the field. I
f you look at Bronco's recruiting, you will realize that most of his recruits are on or just home from missions. He had the luxury of picking up some great talent during the transition (Hall, Harline, Pitta, etc.) but not until these next few years will his recruits and recruiting methodology be fully implemented. I think that is the root cause of this season. BYU has, not just in a normal transition year like Texas, but a transition year different than any other experienced by any university.
Once Bronco's recruiting is fully implemented, I think BYU will continue to be one of the better programs in the country. Consequently, BYU might start coming into its own during the first few years of independence. I guess we will have to see but I'm not giving up yet (as long as we don't lose to CSU!).