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BYU Football POWER RANKINGS WEEK 7: Just Win, Baby

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Here’s your weekly top 10 along with classy BYU fans and... a new Idaho state flag?

Mississippi State v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

REAL QUICK. To anyone wondering what my thoughts are regarding the Big 12 Conference, their decision to back out of expansion and what this means for BYU, let me ask you four questions.

  1. Are we going to play on national television this week?
  2. Are we going to play a ranked opponent this week?
  3. Do we have one of the toughest schedules despite not having P5 conference membership?
  4. Will BYU Football be fine?

The response for each of these questions is the same. If you need help answering these, feel free to send me an email (jraywelch@ymail.com).

WEEK 7 POWER RANKINGS

HONORABLE MENTION: Colby Pearson

We should first recognize Colby’s contributions on the field which consisted of four catches for 36 yards and two patented PEARSON POTATO SPIN MOVES. Even an SEC defense knows that you can’t stop Colby’s spin move, you can only hope to contain it.

Friday night was a big night for Colby as he proposed to his girlfriend after the game (shout out to Bowin for catching it all on camera). Once again, I have to reiterate that pretty much every female that I have ever had a conversation with (less than seven in total) have told me that a public proposal at a sporting event is taboo. Despite my “expert” knowledge of what females think / want, Colby got a yes. Then again, how could a girl say no to a guy who can move and spin like him?

10) Taysom Hill

Once again we got our dosage of Good Taysom and Bad Taysom. For the majority of the game we got Bad Taysom (errant throws to wide-open receivers), sprinkled in with some Good Taysom (a laser touchdown pass to Moroni). I felt like leaving him off the list because leading the team to a meager 14 points in regulation isn’t satisfactory (regardless of the SEC team you may be playing). We saw a similar performance against UCLA where the opposing defense would put 8-9 guys in the box and dare BYU to throw the football. The Mississippi State defense could put their sole focus on Jamaal Williams on first and second down because they knew BYU wouldn’t be able to move the ball as effectively through the air. Taysom is great at completing slants and quick comeback routes but I hold my breath anytime he throws it over the middle or further than 15 yards. If BYU want’s to beat Boise State this week, things will need to improve drastically.

All of that said, Taysom had some brief moments of greatness that land him at #10. His three touchdown passes were on target and his touchdown run on the goal line was pure strength. Something else that was pure strength? This glorious stiff arm. Even when I want to be upset with Taysom, I can’t because of plays like this.

9) Kai Nacua

Leading the nation in interceptions is a good thing, right?

8) Micah Hannemann

Over the last few weeks (and for a good portion of last year) I heard a lot of people throw some serious shade on Micah Hannemann. What most people fail to recognize is that before the 2015 season Micah was a wide receiver until Bronco had him make the switch to cornerback. He definitely took his lumps but for someone who was still learning to play defense, he performed admirably. Then this season not only did he have to make the adjustment from the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense, he had to make another change from cornerback to safety. It’s not a small feat to manage that kind of turnover. He’s still learning the position but I’ve seen him make great strides, particularly this week when he made a nice play to step in front of a Mississippi State receiver to pick off a pass. He’ll still probably experience a few growing pains but I expect to see good things from him in the future.

7) Butch Pau’u

Forgive me if I get a little emotional talking about my guy Butch. Coming into this game he had been sidelined by a knee injury that kept him out of two consecutive games. Based on what I was hearing during the pre-game show it wasn’t likely that he was going to see the field but sure enough, we saw him show up under the Friday night lights ready to give his all. And he did just that. In limited playing time, Butch was able to collect nine tackles (five solo), including a HUGE tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a 3rd-and-short situation late in the fourth quarter. With two minutes left he hobbled off the field after what looked like another tweak to his already injured knee.

6) Nick Kurtz

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it 1,000 times. Wide receivers who can block are my favorite wide receivers. For the second week in a row Nick lands himself on the list with a key block on the final BYU touchdown. It’s hard enough to block someone right at the line of scrimmage but it’s even harder to seek a defender out in the open field and get good positioning. It wasn’t a pretty block by any means but it sure was effective.

5) Francis Bernard

The last couple of weeks haven’t been as kind to our dear friend Francis. Starting with West Virginia, it started to look as if the transition from offense to defense was increasingly difficult for the running-back-turned-linebacker. He was often a step or two out of position and wasn’t doing a good job of bringing ball carriers down to the ground. This week, he looked like a new player as he corrected his mistakes from the last few games and wrapped guys up with authority. If you would like some statistical evidence to support this statement, please refer to the 16 tackles that Sir Francis collected, 13 (THIRTEEN!!) of which were solo tackles.

4) Moroni Laulu-Pututau

(This is me being speechless while watching this here video of Moroni catching the ball like a man who was possessed by Odell Beckham Jr. I’ll stop typing so you can watch this 5,000,000 times like I just did.)

3) BYU Fans

I think I’ve been reading too many of the cynical tweets of our in-state rivals that complain about how obnoxious BYU fans are because I had a feeling we were starting to get a bad rep. That all changed once I saw a bunch of tweets from the Mississippi State fans who came to Provo and seemed to really enjoy their experience.

And last but not least...

2) Tanner Balderree / Hunter Marshall

If you love tight ends, then this was the game for you because two of the most important touchdowns were scored by the big fellas. First we had the play on 4th-and-one on the goal line where Taysom lofted the ball over the defense into the hands of Hunter Marshall. Then in the second overtime Tanner Balderree caught a play action pass then rumbled, stumbled and bumbled down into the end zone for what would be the game winning touchdown. The very best part of the last TD reception? It was Hunter Marshall who was one of the guys who sprung a nice block to clear the path for Tanner. We probably still have a long way to go before we see the tight ends used in the way Ty Detmer would like but this is a great start.

1) Jamaal Williams

Jamaal is now THE RUNNING BACK at BYU. He has the all-time rushing record to go along with his single-game rushing record. I could write 20,000 words about what Jamaal and his smile, his swag and his strength mean to BYU but I’ll spare you and show you the one single clip that gives Jamaal the top spot this week.

In the overtime period when Taysom fumbled the ball, it was a blitzing linebacker that Jamaal was blocking that knocked the ball loose. Jamaal did a decent job taking out the linebacker’s legs but AJ Jefferson bounced up quickly and make a great move to pressure Taysom. Instead of giving up on the play, Jamaal popped to his feet to run over to the fumbled football. Once he saw that Tanner Balderree had scooped it up, Jamaal points downfield and then leads the way to block for his ball carrier. He then throws a perfect block that almost takes out two defenders, allowing Tanner to get a few more yards. Here’s a perfect clip of what Jamaal does on this play.

Every single BYU fan should love Jamaal, not just because he has an endearing personality or because he is a gifted runner of the football. We should love Jamaal because he is one of the most selfless football players on this team.

WELL THAT WAS WEIRD

The fans rushed the field and a bunch of people rode atop their high horses and looked down their noses towards the BYU student section for rushing the field after beating a low-level SEC team. I’ll have to admit there was a point in my life that I was one of those “GET OFF MY LAWN” sports purists who thought that rushing the field should only be allowed when you beat a top 5 ranked team or you beat your rival. I felt this way until I realized how ridiculous it is that we’re policing a bunch of kids and telling them how to enjoy a football game. Over the years there have been so many people that complain about “how come the student section isn’t full” or “why aren’t they cheering loud enough” and now they show up to the game and participate, they want to tell them to stay in the stands. While I don’t agree that you should rush the field after every game (CLEMSON) if your team wins in an exciting fashion and you want to go make some memories, have at it. It would be nice if every fan was educated on the exact record of each team BYU plays but you and I both know that a good portion of the students don’t how many wins Toledo had last year or who beat Mississippi State the first week of the season. So the next time a team rushes the field, don’t stop and think about the ranking of each team. Just let the students enjoy doing things that college students do.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

This week’s “Tweet of the Week” is cancelled all thanks to AT&T, my phone carrier that didn’t load a single tweet while I was watching the game at LaVell Edwards Stadium. So to all of you who only come to this special part of the internet to read this segment, I’ll give you your money back in the form of tacos**.

**Participants must be within Los Angeles County in order to redeem said tacos. Don’t get mad at me if they’re spicy. I don’t know your pain threshold. Bring a glass of milk just in case. Thanks.**

JAKE VS JAKE

There is a football player on the team by the name of Jake Oldroyd (aka the Baby-faced Assassin aka TEX aka The Dragon from Southlake) and my first name also happens to be Jake. Each week we’re going to rate the performance of each Jake and decide who had the better week.

Jake Oldroyd is still basking in the glow of his victory from last week and his recent mission call to Chile. Even though he wasn’t on the field last Friday night, Jake still got a shout out from the ESPN announcers when Andre Mikkelsen took the field to attempt the PAT in the first overtime. According to the broadcast team Jake aged about eight years from the week previous. I don’t know how this is physically possible but if there is anyone who can do it, it’s Jake Oldroyd.

Jake Welch was actually in attendance for the game against Mississippi State and had the delight of seeing the Cougars win in overtime. What soured the evening was the fact that someone about six rows above him decided to pour out what must have been an eight gallon drum of Caffeine Free Coke onto the concourse because everything underneath Jake’s seat was completely drenched in soda by the third quarter. Once the soda had dried, Jake almost hurt himself when he jumped up to politely yell at the officials only to realize that his feet were completely stuck to the ground. He tried to rebound the following day on the golf course but his rental putter betrayed him.

It ended up being a great weekend for Jake Welch but Jake Oldroyd somehow traveled in time and aged eight years. That’s unbeatable. ADVANTAGE: JAKE OLDROYD

UP NEXT: Boise State

The last time that Taysom Hill played in Boise, it was his Freshman year and he came into the game to replace a beleaguered Riley Nelson. If you recall, BYU was down 7-0 when Taysom took the offense down the field for a score late in the 4th quarter. Bronco decided to go for two, the conversion failed and Boise State won.

Taysom is a completely different player now and you better believe that he wants this win, not just for him but for everyone in the Gem State who is ashamed that sports fans associate them with tacky blue AstroTurf. People should love Idaho for the majestic Tetons, hearty potatoes and Tanner Mangum’s winning smile.

Now that I think about it, you know what would make for a great Idaho state flag? If you have any connections to the governor of Idaho Butch Otter please provide me with information in the comments section.