Dearest friends and football lovers, welcome back to the POWER RANKINGS.
It was a long and dreadful off-season (there is no such thing as an enjoyable stretch without football) and I am so very happy that we all survived. We made it through those lowly winter months where college football was still fresh in our minds, followed by the banal spring and summer months where the play-action passes and coverage sacks were figments of our imagination. Thankfully we made it to this weekend where we were able to witness the majesty that is BYU Football.
I know what you’re thinking. “But Jake, surely there was nothing majestic about BYU’s performance this weekend. The defense was good but the offense was putrid. How dare you praise such play?” To that I respond, stop it.
While it is gospel truth that the Cougars did not play their best (or even remotely close to it), it sure was a heck of a lot better than watching anything that is not BYU Football. Every summer I see tweets, desert dry with thirst for anything football only to see more posts during the game complaining about who knows what. While I’m not immune to such criticisms (a gross understatement) I am ever grateful for this time and season when we get to watch the Cougars take the field.
Even with the slow start, it’s a good day to be a BYU Cougar. Let’s get to those rankings.
WEEK 1 POWER RANKINGS
HONORABLE MENTION: BYU Fans
I feel like a very special expression of gratitude is in order for the fans who attended the game on Saturday. There were multiple reports that the field level temperature was reaching north of 100 degrees and many people were being treated for heat stroke. As someone who really dislikes standing out in the sun (while watching a lackluster performance) I appreciate those who were there to rise and shout. I’m sure I will be saying the same thing about fans that will show up in November for a game where there is 24 inches of snow on the ground and it’s 7 degrees outside. In the interim you can find me in Los Angeles complaining about the unbearable 84 degree heat.
10) Mo Langi
Our beloved Motekiai will always be a national treasure regardless of what he does on the field. He further cemented his status as a folk hero when he lead the team out of the tunnel carrying the American flag. It made perfect sense because Mo has never played football and he is not from the United States, but it is thanks to football that he is here with us. If you’re ever having a hard day or feel sad about the state of humanity, just pull up this video of Mo carrying our nation’s colors and you will feel instant joy.
9) Corbin Kaufusi
This hit that Corbin laid on Portland State quarterback Jalani Eason brought a tear to my eye because if you look closely, the same amount of brute force was used by Bronson Kaufusi when he murdered Gonzaga center Kelly Onlynick on the hardwood.
Corbin Kaufusi you animal! pic.twitter.com/LEgIa8nx4b— Nate Cunningham (@NW_Cunningham) August 26, 2017
8) Neil Pau’u
I don’t know about you but I’m going to write a very long thank you letter to Tupou and Uepi Pau’u for producing and raising some fine football specimen. We already knew about the talents and abilities of one Butch Pau’u but on Saturday we got to see a flash of brilliance from true freshman Neil Pau’u. Coming into fall camp Neil wasn’t expected to get a lot of playing time but we all should have known better. This was his only catch of the day but I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see him in the end zone.
Here's another look at BYU's 1st touchdown of the season!#BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/TaB1xdrRe3— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) August 26, 2017
7) Talon Shumway
If your name is Talon and you play wide receiver, you better have great hands (talons?). It’s a good thing Brother Shumway lives up to his first name because when Tanner Mangum threw this pass down near the goal line he didn’t let that ball out of his grip. Might I suggest that every time Talon catches a pass, we all make frightening bird noises? If we can clap our hands in unison and do the gosh dang wave (a criminal offense in 47 state) then surely we can make bird sounds. Excuse me while I tweet this to Tom Holmoe.
Talon Shumway with some impressive hands to set up BYU for the touchdown #BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/IibXxXkwA5— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) August 26, 2017
6) Kavika Fonua
There were very few offensive highlights on the day but it was great to see Kavika Fonua pick up an efficient 59 yards on seven carries. I don’t think that we’ll really know the exact running back rotation until week four or five but Kavika is making a case that he should be getting some carries. On his long 34 yard run he shed a few defenders and stayed balanced when hitting the line of scrimmage. He might not be flashy but having good vision and balance can be just as valuable as speed.
Only takes 5️⃣ tries to bring down @Tawita_14...#BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/ZWABAs50Qq— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) August 26, 2017
5) Matt Bushman
RETURN OF THE TIGHT END THREAT LEVEL: GETTING WARMER
Every since Ty Detmer took over as offensive coordinator for the Cougars, BYU fans have been clamoring for the RETURN OF THE TIGHT END. We’re here to gauge just how close BYU is to having good tight ends again and this week was a good start. We’re not ready to witness the second coming of Itula Mili but Matt Bushman had a couple of nice catches. Hopefully he can continue to develop and be THE TIGHT END THAT RETURNED TIGHT ENDS TO BYU.
4) Zayne Anderson
The guy Zayne did his thing quite well on Saturday, tallying an interception, a nice play in pass defense and a clutch special teams tackle. I usually don’t trust people with Zs and Ys in their first name but I’m starting to come around.
BYU finally gets one. Zayne Anderson with the INT. pic.twitter.com/EvCM6mnUMQ— Nate Cunningham (@NW_Cunningham) August 26, 2017
3) Matt Hadley
Much love should be sent in the direction of one Matt Hadley because the dude has been bouncing around various positions as if he were in a pinball machine. Yet here he is, starting at weak-side linebacker after having spent spring ball at running back and most of camp at safety. And it’s not as if he just filled in for the absent Francis Bernard. Hadley played quite well, tallying six tackles with one of them being for a loss. Did I mention that he’s returning kicks? The only thing I want to know now is if he’s ready to long-snap or play quarterback in a pinch.
2) Squally Canada
Mr. Canada was his usual self on Saturday, grinding up 98 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He will continue to be the primary back and deservedly so. He won’t be breaking any records this season but he is a serviceable back that will get you yards. That’s about all that I could ever ask for.
1) Sione Takitaki
He’s back. That’s it. Opposing quarterbacks be warned. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
.@STakitaki pulled down 2 sacks in the 1st half #BYUFOOTBALL #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/jk6ybwr5Tp— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) August 26, 2017
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
Every year, universities roll out new TV commercials to air during college football games in the fall and EVERY YEAR schools roll out the same old bologna. You can fill up a bingo card with all the nonsense that they use in these commercials, including the following...
- The perception of a diverse student body
- Kids working in some kind of science lab
- Students having fun and smiling way too much
- Students pretending that astronomy is interesting
- Some kind of unique stat that makes your university special
Basically, each school wants to paint their school as the best at everything and the worst at nothing. BYU is no different. They aired a snooze-fest of a commercial this weekend and I’m sad our school can’t come up with anything better.
We’re doing big things at BYU, helping students be inspired and inspire. Here’s a sneak peek of our new TV spot airing on ESPN tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/OzS7VaUKXO— BYU (@BYU) August 25, 2017
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Am I including this tweet because it’s a hilariously accurate depiction of BYU’s offense yesterday? Yes. Am I also including this tweet because Matt Brown is technically my boss here at Vanquish the Foe? Also maybe a yes. It doesn’t make it isn’t any less deserving. Great tweet boss man sir.
I don't want to say BYU's first offensive drive was ugly. So I'll just call it a sweet spirit instead.— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) August 26, 2017
JAKE VS JACOBSON
Last year we had a delightful time comparing my weekly performance with that of placekicker Jake Oldroyd. Since Jake has departed on his mission to Chile, we’ll be tracking the exploits of another Southlake Dragon, Tanner Jacobson (the younger brother of former BYU receiver McKay Jacobson). Check back each week to see if Jacobson can top my taco escapades and attempts to exercise.
Our guy Tanner Jacobson had a nice BYU debut on Saturday, as the defensive back tallied three tackles. He was also used as the primary punt returner and he performed admirably by not fumbling any of the punts sent in his direction. His only hiccup? His return yards added up to -5, which isn’t exactly a great number.
Jake Welch spent the first game of the season in Mexico City on what he claims is a business trip, but should really be called a taco boondoggle. The amount of food consumed by Mr Welch cannot be listed here because Vanquish the Foe is a family blog and those figures are not safe for children or even most adults. Just know that his girlfriend probably won’t recognize him based on the weight he has gained.
WINNER: Jake Welch. Weight gain aside, taco boondoggles are unbeatable.
UP NEXT: LSU
As of right now the game against the boys from the Bayou is in the air due to the horrific conditions cause by Hurricane Harvey. If the game happens to be played, I’m with Mr. Takitaki. Let’s go into the belly of the beast and see what SEC Country is all about.
I hope we just head on over to Death Valley... I wanna see what the Yellow Sea looks like— Sione Takitaki (@STakitaki) August 27, 2017