BYU Football will be on the National Stage this Weekend – Ready or Not
I wrote in my season preview post that I thought the Missouri game would end up being the biggest game of the year for BYU football. I figured they’d have two or three losses already, be out of New Year’s 6 Bowl contention and have nothing left to play for except improving their national brand against the two-time defending SEC East champs – Missouri. I think this still holds true for the most part. BYU only has two losses but they really don’t have a shot at a big bowl game. Missouri is still the two time defending SEC East champs but they’ve turned out to be a very mediocre football team this year. What’s obviously going to make this game so important and watched is the recent racial unrest at Missouri and the interest in the protests that resulted in the resignation of Missouri’s President and Chancellor.
The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 6:30 Central time. The game is being played at the home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs – Arrowhead Stadium. So it’s basically a home game for Mizzou. It’s really not a big game but folks are sure gonna tune in because the Missouri situation has been a huge story. I would imagine the Missouri players will be quite motivated and will want to use the game as a rallying cry to embolden their efforts in fighting racism on campus at the University of Missouri.
BYU on the other hand just needs to win a ball game, and look good doing it. BYU really has nothing to do with the national media spotlight that will be on the game. They simply need to capitalize on all the attention and show well. It was not too long ago the SEC deemed a game against BYU was not worthy of a true “non conference” game. They have since reverted. Any time BYU has a chance to play an SEC team they need to show well. And showing well against an average at best, 4-5 (1-5 in SEC) Missouri team means they need to win.
BYU’s entire motivation these days is to increase exposure and national respect – and ultimately play their way into a Power 5 conference invitation. They were already embarrassed on national TV by Michigan earlier this year. A bad loss or an uninspired performance against Missouri will really set them back. BYU’s two remaining games after Missouri are Fresno State and Utah State. Neither of those contests are going to garner any national attention.
What should have you concerned though if you’re a BYU fan is that the team looked horrible last Friday night against San Jose State. The offense looked good in the first quarter and then completely disappeared. BYU only scored three points in the second half and held on to win 17-16. Frankly, they were lucky to win. San Jose State had all the momentum as the game was nearing the end. They drove for what should have been the game-tying touchdown. Inexplicably, the San Jose State head coach chose to go for two and the win instead of kicking the extra point to tie. It was a ridiculous move that failed. It’s the kind of thing you do when your team does not have the momentum and you don’t think you can hang on in overtime. Again, the Cougars had mustered a measly three points the entire second half and were going nowhere. BYU was lucky to get the win.
BYU will need to come out with a lot more fire against Missouri tomorrow night and sustain it throughout the game. In a season that is basically over already, BYU has been handed a gift of getting to play a recognized SEC team, yet a very beatable one, and do so on a national stage. A win tomorrow night would mean a lot more than just pushing BYU’s record to 8-2.