By SCOTT BELL
Jump ship, or stay on board? That was the question facing Cougar faithful in the wake of Saturday’s Washington debacle.
For the most part, BYU students were sticking with the Cougs in the aftermath of the season-opening 42-20 blowout at the hands of the Washington Huskies.
“They’re going to have to climb out of this hole,” senior Mike Nielson said. “I think they still have a good possibility of winning the rest of their games.”
The loss knocked BYU out of the Top 25 in both major polls, and raised questions about BYU’s ability to compete on the national level this year.
“The Cougars have their work cut out for them,” junior Ryan Brooks said. “I don’t know why, but BYU always draws a tough team to start the year, and if they don’t win, it’s really hard to get any national respect.
“It’s really easy for the people in the national polls to say we lost our only game against a quality opponent, and just write us off.”
Senior Chris Berg added, “It makes me nervous about the rest of the season because our offense couldn’t generate any points. It makes me wonder how we stack up against the rest of the nation. We’ll be fine in the WAC, but I’m concerned about how we stack up nationally.”
Regardless of any loss of respect on the national scene, most Cougar fans interviewed were still upbeat about the remainder of the season.
“Even though we lost,” senior Jon Hoagland said, “we can still win the WAC championship. I want to go to Vegas in December, so we’d better win.”
Most fans attributed the loss to the quality of Washington’s team, not necessarily to a lack of quality on the Cougar team.
Coach LaVell Edwards shared that viewpoint. When asked after the game where he would vote the Huskies in the upcoming coaches poll, Edwards quipped: “Probably the same place I voted them last week: first.”
Sophomore Jamie Littlefield said: “I don’t think the season’s shot. We can still go on and win every other game we play. Washington is a pretty tough team.”
Senior Dallin Anderson said,”Everybody knew this was going to be a rebuilding year with a new quarterback and Jenkins out. As good as Washington is, it would have been a real upset to win. We can still have a great year.”
Littlefield felt that wins or losses weren’t even that important when it came to football games.
“Football games are fun whether they win or lose,” Littlefield said. “I’d prefer to win, but even if they had a losing record, it would still be fun.”
And then there was junior Clinton Hutchings, who had his own unique view of the loss.
“In a way, I’m glad they lost,” Hutchings said, “because it gets the real fans back. I hate people who jump on the bandwagon and don’t know what they’re talking about, who get caught up in the euphoria. With the loss, only the true fans will continue to support the team.”
So for the most part, no Y fans were ready to call the season a failure or go to any drastic measures. The Cougar faithful were still devoted, and prepared to support the football team through the rest of the season.