By SCOTT BELL
Realizing my audience, I’ll try to tone things down to allow for understanding. So we’ll keep things simple. It is OK to be second best. No matter what your consciences tell you, don’t worry. Living a life doomed to be mediocre probably isn’t that bad.
Take for example when you all got your rejection letters from BYU. You grew up in Utah your whole lives and always dreamed of attending the state’s top school. You tried really hard in high school, but trying just wasn’t enough. It probably hurt when that form letter of rejection first arrived. But you got over it and enrolled at Salt Lake Community College’s North Campus, otherwise known as the University of Utah.
From there you did one of two things. You either moved onto campus, immediately transforming into a pot-smoking alcoholic, or you stayed at home with mommy and daddy and commuted to school. If you stayed home, your social life since high school has probably consisted of a few Internet dates and some Institute dances. If you moved onto campus, your brain is so jacked up you can’t even remember high school.
Still unable to accept your determined fate of amounting to nothing, you may have looked to Utah football to rescue you. Instead, you found a sorry program that only confirmed your growing fears. You found a coach, Ron McBride, who is employed solely on the basis of winning four games. Never mind that besides one lucky year, your football team resembles East High more than a Division I program. And never mind that you lost to the mighty Boise State Broncos, the inventors of “Smurf Turf.” Never mind that your coach is better at one-liners than play calling.
He’s managed to beat the Great Measuring Stick, BYU, in four down years, so he still has a job. It’s a shame for all of you actually. A couple wins and a few funny jokes masking a team that still rarely competes for a bowl trip. But that’s all right. It’s kind of funny to see you all worshiping a guy who roams the sidelines ranting and raving like a frat brother on a Friday night, all the while with a “MAFU” hat on his head.
Don’t worry, the veneer of success McBride’s been hiding behind will begin to be smashed this year. When BYU takes you out behind the woodshed and administers a proper beating this year, you should all be thankful. It will hurt, because all your false hopes and dreams will be simultaneously destroyed. But in the long run, it will be for the best. It will keep you grounded in reality. But more on that later.
You may have found reason for hope when you heard Rice Stadium was being expanded. Now you would be big time. Just like those Cougars you hate so bad because you couldn’t be one. Then your administration had to go and name the stadium “Rice-Eccles,” something that sounds more like a popsicle brand than a fear-inspiring place to play.
Name notwithstanding, maybe it would help if you filled all those new seats you built. I know, I know, I wouldn’t come to a game either if my mascot was something named Swoop that resembles an overweight chicken more than anything else. Still, no one’s impressed with all those shiny red, empty seats you have to show off. Your stadium was getting old, and it did need some work, but maybe you should have down-sized it. That way at least you could brag about sellouts every week.
Still in the face of these disappointments, you turn your hope to Saturday’s game. It’s pretty sad that you count on four hours to act as your aphrodisiac for the year. And this year, you won’t even have those four hours. Why not? Let me count the ways.
First of all, your quarterback is Jonathan Crosswhite. His initials tell you where he should be playing. Crosswhite somehow lost his job to Darnell Arceneaux, a guy whose passing accuracy extends about 10 yards in each direction. Luckily for Arceneaux, he’s hurt for the 23rd time this year, carrying on Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala’s legacy, and won’t be around for the BYU defense to tee off on him.
Instead, it will be Crosswhite, who by the end of the game will definitely be crossed although his pants probably won’t still be white. You like to talk about your defense, but it hasn’t even sniffed the nation’s top 10, while BYU has taken out permanent residency there. By the end of the game, any mention of Rob Morris, Byron Frisch or Brad Martin will cause Crosswhite to immediately curl up in the fetal position and whine like a pregnant goat.
As for your running game, bring it on. If Arizona State’s J.R. Redmond couldn’t run on BYU, what makes you think Mike Anderson and Omar Bacon can? Anderson wasn’t even good enough to play major college ball right away, and Bacon waited three years behind Juan Johnson only to have Anderson come and steal his job.
When the Cougars have the ball, get ready to hear a lot about Ronney Jenkins and Kevin Feterik. Jenkins is the best runner in the WAC, and Feterik leads the conference in passing efficiency. Probably the funniest thing I ever heard came after the last time BYU came to Rice Stadium in 1996. After having the ball run down their throats all afternoon, some myopic Ute fan muttered, “If only we could have forced them to pass.”
That’s like saying, “If only we could have forced Michael Jordan to drive.” LaVell Edwards practically invented the forward pass. BYU running on you is like Popeye whooping up on Brutus before he has the spinach. Jenkins will run, Feterik will throw and Ute defenders will wish they were back in junior college.
Final score: BYU 31, Utah 10.
Remember it’s all for the best. And tell Chronicle Sports Editor Brandon Winn since he’s such a nice guy, maybe I can arrange a special transfer for him to BYU. It would be my missionary act for the year — rescuing one soul.