The scheduling gods did no favors for BYU. Frankly, no god whatsoever did any favor to BYU by putting together this schedule. What in the Heck were they thinking?
Riley Nelson should be slapping the person responsible for this Murderer’s Row of opponents. Is this God’s way of getting back at Nelson for the sin he caused by leaving a rival school (Utah State) to head south toward the Holy Land, Provo?
Oh, fear not Cougar lovers, Idaho and New Mexico State are still on the docket, but so are Notre Dame and Georgia Tech and a team most like to call Boise State. (Others just call them the Mother of God Almighty of the West).
All theological discussion aside, BYU is in the throes of Hell this season, from beginning to end. Here’s the easy part of their schedule, starting with an old friend.
Warning: Satire. (Mostly.)
Speaking of personalities, Mike Leach would probably be the first to say, “Let’s forget about the tearful reunion,” in Sgt. Hulka voice and uniform. His newest unit, the Washington State Cougars, will invade the house LaVell built during Week 1. What’s interesting about it is that Leach, a BYU alum, actually helped build the stadium in a matter of speaking — Mike was an Edwards assistant though he probably did not lay down brick and mortar. Leach will have a few offensive tricks to pull from; Jeff Tuel is a veteran quarterback and Marquess (pronounced Mar-QUEESE) Wilson not only has the best first name since Keyshawn (pronounced KEY-SHAWN) he’s in the same galaxy as the former USC star. But that’s about as far as Wazzu’s talent goes. So in what will be a long day for Wazzu boosters — Provo is quite dry, thanks — they will be sobered up by Leach’s debut as well. BYU 37, Wazzu 21
Ron McBride’s former team — but always No. 1 in his heart — comes to Provo for the first time in years. Weber State is a veteran bunch and BYU best not sleep on the Wildcats, else they’ll be losers. This is Ronnie’s core group, kids he helped recruit from Hawaii and the mainland — but mostly Hawaii if you know McBride at all — and Hawaiian Mike Hoke is back for his umpteenth season as Weber quarterback. Running back is stocked — a Mac trademark — and his fingerprints are all over this team. Considering Weber went toe-to-toe with several D-I teams the past two seasons don’t count the Cats out. In a shocker, Weber State 28, BYU 21 (OT)
After losing to Weber, BYU will come in as a team reborn, like a missionary called to serve in a higher capacity . Riley Nelson, prodigal son of Utah Valley and forever a traitor to his Mother Cacheland will get one final chance to stick it to Utah, who is BYU’s hated rival whether anyone cares to admit it or not. Despite every trick play in the book — with Nelson running for his life on every other play — the Cougars simply will not be able to withstand Utah’s sheer dominance at every position. It’s hard to beat a team of destiny, right Cougar fans? In other news, Brandon Doman wishes he was still in uniform and attempts to cut a deal with the Devil, or Urban Meyer. No go; Doman ran out of wishes a long time ago. Utah 63, BYU 0
How does one rebound from such a painful loss? Not by playing Boise State, that’s for sure. The Broncos have had more BCS conference overtures than BYU — and still Bronco Nation remains steadfast in its quest to be a BCS-buster, for yet another year. The Big East is the Big Least to Boise; all they care about is winning games and adding more seats to their stadium. About the only good thing going for the Cougars in this game is that they actually have a remote chance of winning. Kellen Moore and Co. are in the NFL, hopefully not replaced (in the eyes of BYU) by players of similar stature. In all Boise lost 19 key players but does return two wide receivers and its tight end. Secondary also looks to be in good shape but other than that, your guess is as good as mine. Naturally the game will be played on the Smurf Turf so give this one, in a squeaker, to the home team. Nelson will likely be bandaged, bloodied and bruised after playing in this hybrid Spread offense that Doman has created — but he’ll play until his leg falls off. Advantage, Broncos. Boise State 34, BYU 30
This just in: Nelson’s leg is intact! Turns out it was just a “deep muscle tissue bruise” and a joke by some dumb reporter according to the Cougar FO — and thanks to lots of rest and prayer Riley will be able to play Fri. Sept 28. Oh, rejoice! And rejoice, all ye Cougar fans that ye get to play Hawaii. Norm Chow, whom Utahns know all too well, is the team’s new head coach. Cameron Higgins’ little brother Jeremy, who transferred from Utah State but probably won’t play QB because he runs too fast for Chow’s pro-style offense, are here to rescue the Warriors! Yay!! Billy Ray Stutzmann enjoys the second best first name in college football (next to Marquess of Wazzu) and the receiver is the Warriors’ top returning offensive weapon. Sadly for Hawaii, there are few returning on defense. Held together by bobby pins and Elmer’s Glue, Nelson’s leg carries him to over 200 yards rushing. Cougars win! All is right in the world! BYU 42, Hawaii 3
Just when you think the Cougs are about to go on a little winning tear…surprise! Utah State is next, and Riley — despite having a little tissue tear of his own will play this game come Heck or High Water. If you think something like a broken bone, I mean, tissue tear, is gonna hold ‘ol Riley out, you are dead wrong, mister. In this one, he has singlehandedly led his Cougs up and down the field — to a deadlocked 27-27 score. The problem is, it’s only the third quarter. So he runs to the sideline, splashes on a little Holy Water and goes back in. Turns out, Ronnie Mac, toting a BYU voodoo doll on the USU sideline, has poisoned the Holy Water. Riley’s leg falls off! Mac and Andersen have a good chuckle as Mac chows down on Sonny Bryant BBQ. (Riley’s brother, a future USU player, doesn’t look amused. Mac isn’t sharing his baby backs. Uh-oh…ANOTHER in state-transfer in the offing?) In a defensive second half in which Nelson’s spirit enters the body of Romney Fuga, Utah State 29, BYU 27
Still in the body of Fuga, Nelson performs a seance and re-enters his body! Amazing!! So too is his performance against Oregon State, a team long under the spell of Oregon and head coach Chip Kelly. Thanks to a little thing called “blood platelet rich therapy with testosterone AAS replacement components,” as one BYU official referred to it, Riley’s body is as good as new, running like a gazelle who just found his mother for the first time in decades. Amazing, really, what science can do for a person, even if it hasn’t been tested on animals or Lance Armstrong. BYU 54, Oregon State 17
Injury talk gets old, so it’s nice to be able to talk about the game itself, the purest athletic form known to mankind. What better occasion to welcome back a healthy Nelson, than to do it against Notre Dame, the grand mother of football before the Golden Dome. Brian Kelly, Mother Teresa and Gandhi, all in that order. Tough to beat tradition, especially when you’re thrust into some Spread offense type thing. But that’s what you have to do when your offensive coordinator puts you in a formation you aren’t accustomed to. Just ask Jordan Wynn. But Nelson, perhaps inspired by the Christ-like statues, perhaps by his own saintly presence, plays football worthy of Touchdown Jesus himself. Upset City! Kelly is fired only after he is banished to the Third Dimension — or Cleveland. BYU 35, Notre Dame 30
Because of a family emergency (son’s 12th birthday) Nelson is unable to perform against Georgia Tech. Instead of supplying media with an explanation, the athletics department has offered up a verse from the Book of Mormon. This is nothing new for media covering the Cougars; we get testimonials all the time. Sadly for BYU, the hex that Doman bought from McBride for $1.99 has no effect on the Ramblin’ Wreck, because it was already used up at the last Sun Bowl. Tevin Washington, GT QB runs for 400 yards, and it would have been a shutout had Washington not been running so much that he ran into his own end zone on accident. In other news, Nelson’s house has been firebombed, with both he and his kid in it. Oh wait..nope…sorry, wrong story; he was up in Logan at the time of the incident. Jake Heaps was arrested at the scene with a voodoo doll and two Molotov cocktails. Georgia Tech 34, BYU 31
Idaho. Enough said. Home date, Division I game, blah, blah, blah. They have an offense with a pretty good QB. Aww, do I have to write the other news? So-ooo borrinnnnng. In other news, all charges against Heaps were dropped in exchange for 1,000,000 hours of ecclesiastical service to be performed between now and Eternity. When asked how long his sentence would be, Heaps simply pointed to the sky, smiled and started giggling like a 10-year-old school girl. In other other news, BYU is just ONE game away from being bowl eligible! Sarah Palin was in the stands, cheering on her beloved alma mater!! Can you believe it? And she even kicked the field goal!! BYU 69, Idaho 3
OK, OK, San Jose State and New Mexico State. Wins! Party in Provo’s streets!! (But only until 10 p.m. please) Gnash your teeth! Break out the good Martinelli’s, not that cheap Welch’s crap! Bowl eligibility, here we come!
All joking aside, BYU is primed for another bowl appearance under Bronco Mendenhall. While the Cougars 2012 schedule is nothing short of ridiculous — and this writer pointed that out in great detail — provided that Nelson can stay healthy the Cougars should be okay. Should Riley go down to injury — which is probable given the Cougars’ move to the new Spread offense — alternatives are few and far between. The same goes for running back, where Michael Alisa will feature; thereafter the cupboard is bare. BYU has reloaded at wide receiver but the offensive line is even more bare than the running back position which means Riley will be running for his life from the pocket.
On defense, the Cougars are stocked and ready to sock opponents. Were it not for a brutal schedule featuring many difficult road trips you could probably put this Cougar front seven with the greats. Linebacker alone with Kyle Van Noy and Uona Kaveinga are a formidable bunch to run or pass into or through, and the Cougars also welcome back two defensive line starters from their LDS missions. The defensive backfield is as physical and punishing as any in the country. And that’s why a 7-5 season — which is what the Cougars are destined to have barring a surprise win on any of the four road trips to Boise, Salt Lake, Atlanta, or South Bend — is in the cards and is at the same time, a disappointing way for Riley and his boys to finish.
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