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November 8, 2013

BYU Attempts a Comeback

-- On the horizon, a weekend of opportunity rarely seen round these parts

Thanks in part to three years of lackluster quarterback play, a John Doe offense and a dash of bad luck, BYU as a football program has been out of the national picture for a while now.  For a time we fans were used to it being the other way around.  A remarkable but under-appreciated four year span from 2006 to 2009 saw BYU ranked in the top-25 for 34 of their 52 contests.  While never able to break down the BCS door, BYU was nevertheless 'there'.  They were in the picture finishing #16 in 2006, #14 in 2007, #25 in 2008 and #12 in 2009.11. The Cougs even ranked as high as 7 at one point during this great year.  Then the Seminoles happened. It was a tremendously fun ride for me as a fan, even though the collective base may view those years as 'ho-hum', being that BYU contemporaries TCU and Utah were able to crash the BCS party while we weren't.

Still, it's all about perspective, right?  For after experiencing the last three years of BYU football product the fan base has gone high just hoping for a return to late 2000s level.  This week is the Cougars chance. Against a ranked Wisconsin team that is 6-1 versus opponents and 0-1 versus PAC-12 refs, BYU has a chance to return to the scene.

It's not just been a while since BYU's been in the national picutre, it's been a while since they've even played a game of importance this late in the season.  Do you know who BYU has lined up against in November the last two years? Here's the list:

Idaho, New Mexico State, Idaho again, San Jose State, New Mexico State again. The last time BYU beat a ranked opponent in November?  November 28, 2009 against Utah, only a mere half-decade ago.  Yikes.

How much would a victory do for BYU this Saturday?  Consider: a win propels BYU into the top-25;  it validates BYU's previous victory over Texas, which some have challenged as a fluke performance;  it gives BYU their first victory over a ranked road team since ... who knows when;  it puts BYU in position to run the table and finish the season at 11-2 with a potential top-15 ranking;  it gives BYU the chance to finish a season with victories over Texas, Boise State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame and when in the world will that ever happen again!?!22. Not to mention a potential W over USC/OSU/Washington in the bowl game.  Yes, I realize this is all very presumptuous.;  it gives the team a chance to show the goods on primetime television.

This last point is of particular interest me. According to Mr. Bronco Mendenhall, there are only 8 teams that have been seen more on national TV than BYU over the past two years.  Whether that is true or not doesn't really matter because BYU has not made much of that chance at exposure.  As the clever pundits like to point out, BYU has been at times more exposed than acquirers of exposure.  You probably remember the 54-10 debacle against Utah of two years prior?  Or the parade of muffed punts against TCU in 2011?  Or the 7-6 barnstormer against Boise State last fall?  Or the defensive disapearance against Oregon State during last year's blackout game?

The point is BYU has been given the opportunity to show the big conferences what they can do, showcase why it could ever be worth it for a 19-year-old male in the prime of his life to give up girls, booze and fun to come play for BYU.  It sucks because the Cougs haven't taken advantage of the viewer-palooza that's been given them.  This year has been better of course;  I mean much, much better. Still, for a team that lost to terrible Virginia and a somewhat-terrible Utah, tomorrow presents the biggest opportunity of the year.  Maybe the biggest opportunity of the past 3, 4 or 5 years.

For victory, I so hope.

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