BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has become a lightning rod for controversy. Which is strange because the guy talked in clips and phrases not too long ago and you couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
But, this is a new Bronco. First, he said quarterback Taysom Hill shredded all of his ligaments–which Hill later said wasn’t true. Then, Bronco opened his newly formed big mouth to spread more juicy gossip on Wed. Nov. 19, stating that BYU will play any good team in order to have a sniff at the College Football Playoff format, the four-team postseason extravaganza that BYU doesn’t have a shot at reaching–without a healthy Hill in the first place.
Considering that Hill himself didn’t rule out a move to the NFL Draft Wednesday, it’s awfully nieve for Bronco to think he can get to the mountaintop without his Heisman Trophy candidate at the helm. If you thought this year’s schedule was tough, um, take a look at next year’s slate.
UCLA, Nebraska, Missouri, Michigan, East Carolina, Cincinnati and Utah State are all going to bowl games this year–well, hopefully Michigan will–and all seven will be BYU’s opponents in 2015. Beating any of these teams will be next to impossible without Hill in the lineup.
Nevertheless, Bronco is undeterred by such thoughts of mortality. That BYU may go 0-7 next year against the afore-mentioned teams is of no consequence to him. “I intend to play the very best teams we can play on the biggest stages,” Mendenhall said.
Good for him. Wait…wh-hat? And so, Bronco will go blindly into hostile environments–including his own–against superior teams with a sledgehammer, hoping his BYU Cougars don’t become the Savannah State team he’s playing this Saturday. But, it’s not just the Power 5 schools Cougar Nation should worry about.
Nevada, Utah State and Boise State all had something to say about BYU graciously including them on the schedule this season–and all left LaVell Edwards Stadium with wins, thanks. Those were just teams from the Mountain West Conference, you know, the one that BYU was a member of and then left.
Crazy how karma works. And now BYU, the independent, wants to play nothing but Power 5 Conference teams and teams from other conferences contracted to the playoff system? Well, one former employee–former QB and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman–had plenty to say about independent stepchild BYU’s attempt to stay relevant.
“I think they’re getting a little overzealous over there,” Doman said. “Maybe because they’ve lost a little bit of enthusiasm from some of the fans, they feel like they need to reinvigorate with a better schedule.”
A little bit of enthusiasm might be an understatement. BYU’s stadium was literally half-empty, probably more so last weekend in a boring win over UNLV, an also-ran from the Mountain West. With 0-11 Savannah State coming to town this weekend–thanks, Hawaii–you can count on even more empty seats at LaVell Edwards Stadium, because no fan wants to watch their team play two crappy teams in succession.
Problem is, BYU doesn’t have a choice in the matter when it comes to scheduling tougher opposition. No Power 5 conference wants the Cougars–not even the Big 12, which doesn’t have a conference champion. Also, the Cougars don’t want to go back to the Mountain West Conference to possibly gain entry as one of the CFP’s conference champions–not that the conference would necessarily have the Cougars back, anyhow.
In the meantime, Bronco will continue to smash down doors of the Power 5 with his sledgehammer–until someone answers. Grrrr, it might take three years–even five. And, grrrrr, it might even happen at a point after Bronco’s no longer coaching at the school and after he suffers through consecutive losing seasons. By that point, it’s possible BYU might finally break through and make it to a playoff.