We are halfway through the inaugural independent season of BYU football, there have been some high highs with wins in SEC territory and a three game winning streak and some very low lows low lighted by the loss at the hands of the team up north. The Cougs have challenged themselves and have to be fairly pleased with their 4-2 record. However, they could be 5-1 just as easily as they could be 1-5. They have hung their hat on the defense; they have only given up two games of over 20 points and one of those could be blamed just as easily for the offense’s turnovers. The offense has been less than spectacular; although there has been a recent turn of events and it seems to be due to the change of the signal caller.
Looking ahead at the rest of the season, the Cougars have a chance to make it into a very decent bowl game and a chance at a ten win season. The combined record of the six teams left on the schedule is 13-20 so a successful end to the season is in reach. They have three cupcakes at home that they should win easily. The three games that will determine if this is actually a successful season or not are all on the road. Looking at each game individually, a win would not surprise me in any of them, but winning the six as a whole will not be so easy.
This week they head into a tough environment in Corvallis to play the Oregon State Beavers who are having a rather tough year, but have been playing better as of late. Their 1-4 record is not a good reflection of how dangerous a team this can be. The toughest game for BYU will be at TCU. The Horned Frogs are not having their typical BCS busting season as they have already lost two games, but this is still a tough team. But with the Horned Frogs not at their usual peak, it is a perfect chance to go into their home stadium and steal a win. Their season finale is at Hawaii who always has an explosive aerial attack. Apart from TCU, the Warriors are the only team left on BYU’s schedule with a winning record at the moment; although their wins are not always against high quality opponents.
It is unlikely that BYU wins all of these last six games although it is in grasp and their best case scenario. Worst case scenario is that the team falls apart on the road and stumbles to a 3-3 finish leaving them in a mediocre bowl at best. I imagine a 5-1 finish leading to a nine win season which will look very impressive with the schedule they have played.
With that said, its time for some mid season report cards, with the help from one of the best musical artists around, Lupe Fiasco. With Lupe’s music always going on in my car, his lyrics are always getting mixed in with my sports related thoughts. So, without further ado, here is the mid season report card brought to you by Lupe Fiasco.
Lupe’s song title and lyrics will be in italics. Words that I change from his songs so that they apply a little better will be in parentheses.
Jake Heaps Superstar- If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then (it is time to back it up!). The crowd is here, the (ESPN) lights are on, and they want a show. We wanna believe the hype but its too untrue.
Ever since Mr. Heaps has come to Provo all I have heard about are the great things he can do on a football field and the championships that he will bring here; some of it has come from media and some of it has come from himself. The sophomore is still young and has time to improve, but with all the hype, the sad truth is that there isn’t time to make up for it in the future. The time is now and he has not been producing. With him on the field, the offense has been stagnant. In the middle of the Utah State game, the staff finally pulled him in favor of the older Riley Nelson and it has been paying dividends. If you want superstar hype and attention, Heaps, you have to produce like a superstar on the field.
Riley Nelson The Show Goes On- They treat you like a slave, put chains all on your (playing time… and even your hair with that honor code). Alright, already the show goes on.
Nelson’s show goes on! After being left on the bench in the middle of last year and staying there into the middle of this year, Nelson finally got his chance to remind Cougar nation what they have been missing. Nelson sparked the offense in the comeback against Utah State and had a solid game against San Jose State. He did have a few turnovers that cannot continue against the better opponents but we will accept that as long as it comes with some touchdowns which BYU was deprived of pre-Nelson. His mobile skills combined with his arm are catalysts in the BYU offense.
JJ Di Luigi Daydreamin’- Daydream, (he) fell asleep beneath the flowers, for a couple of hours, (on each Saturday). Nothin’ to write about.
I see him alive and running around on the field out there, but I am not sure if he is actually awake for the games. Luigi almost had 1000 yards on the ground last year but has been a big contributor to the offense’s woes in the first half of the season. He has always been a pass catching threat out of the backfield, but so far this season he has not been up to standards. If the offense is going to be more consistent, they are going to need more from Super Luigi.
Ross Apo, Cody Hoffman and McKay Jacobson Go Go Gadget Flow- I’m from a city in the west, best city in the whole wide world. I got my go go go gadget(hands, springs, jets).
This trio of receivers have been one of the few bright spots in the Cougar offense this season and are each making their case for their city producing the best receivers. Apo and Jacobson hail from different cities in Texas and Hoffman is from Southern California. Each one is trying to prove their greatness and each have been contributing in big ways. Apo, just a freshman, scored the first three offensive touchdowns this season(Go Go Gadget Springs). Hoffman changed the Central Florida game with his big kickoff return(Go Go Gadget Jets) and Jacobson is tied for the team lead in catches this season(Go Go Gadget Hands). They may each representing their hometowns, but all are contributing in big ways for the Cougars.
Uona Kaveinga Hip Hop Saved My Life- He said I (hit) what I see. (BYU) just saved my life!
Kaveinga is a transfer from USC. Frustrated by his lack of playing time in Los Angeles, the linebacker fled for colder but clearer fields. Kaveinga has been a welcome addition to a defense that struggled in the early parts of last year. His 27 tackles are among the leaders on a defense that has been very impressive this year. In fact, they get their own Lupe shout out.
BYU Defense Resurrection- Like a phoenix from its ashes, (they have risen). (They have been) shaken, but (they are) not broken. (They) have fallen. (They) keep movin’. Resurrection!
This is a squad that got beaten up last year. Now it has been the Cougars’ calling card this year. Without the stellar play of the defense, they could easily be 2-4 or 1-5. They have risen and resurrected to be the most valuable part of the team up to this point.
As the Cougars Kick, Push to the end of the year, we are all hoping for a Resurrection from more than one player. One thing is certain though, if they play to their potential, The Show Goes On, and on and on; hopefully even as we turn the calendar into the new year.