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Posts Tagged ‘Bronco Mendenhall’

No. 20: B.Y.U.

The suspicion was there in October and November, but it didn’t become official until Riley Nelson duped Tulsa, Dan Marino-style, late in the fourth quarter of December’s Armed Forces Bowl. Then it was official: Nelson’s become a legend. Not quite a Ty Detmer-level legend, mind you; Detmer was legendary, and there’s a difference. Nelson’s a legend in the Merriam-Webster definition of the word, third from the top: “a popular myth of recent origin.” Popular? Nelson’s popularity is off the charts in Provo, thanks to the way he put B.Y.U. on his shoulders and carried it to a 10-win season despite a horribly disappointing start. Nelson wasn’t due to see the field at all, not with Jake Heaps back for a full season as the starter, but a funny thing happened on the road to the Heisman: Heaps struggled. Nelson’s ascension to the starting role, so vital last fall, now gives B.Y.U. a leader, an identity and a shot at making some national noise in its second go-round as an Independent.

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    2012 All-Name Team Nominees (May 11)

    There’s a preview coming today, but not until later in the morning. For now, while I plug away – and since we’re more than 20 teams down – let’s update the current F.B.S. all-name team. If you hadn’t noticed, the all-name nominee is a new addition to the second-to-last section in this year’s previews. The rules are simple: only one nominee per team. I’ll continue adding players regardless of position through the first 62 teams, I guess, before beginning to search for players who match positions of need. I can already tell that it’s going to be harder to fill spots at quarterback, kicker and punter; looking back, it might have been a better idea to list quarterback Duke DeLancellotti with Texas State instead of safety Brixx Hawthorne.

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      Future Members of the Hall of Fame: Coaches

      So there are issues with the College Football Hall of Fame’s eligibility criteria for coaches, as discussed at length earlier today. Eliminating those whose career spanned less than 10 years is silly; excluding those with a career winning percentage less than 60 percent is ridiculous. But rules are rules: Howard Schnellenberger deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, but he’ll continue to be ineligible until the National Football Foundation alters its criteria. For now, active or recently active coaches who deserve Hall of Fame consideration must meet the Foundation’s existing — and puzzling — stipulations for inclusion.

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        The Year in Review: B.Y.U. (10-3, 0-0)

        The suspicion was there in October and November, but it didn’t become official until Riley Nelson duped Tulsa, Dan Marino-style, late in the fourth quarter of December’s Armed Forces Bowl. Then it was official: Nelson’s become a legend. Not quite a Ty Detmer-level legend, mind you; Detmer was legendary, and there’s a difference. Nelson’s a legend in the Merriam-Webster definition of the word, third from the top: “a popular myth of recent origin.” Popular? Nelson’s popularity is off the charts in Provo, thanks to the way he put B.Y.U. on his shoulders and carried it to a 10-win season despite a horribly disappointing start. Mythical? Nelson wasn’t due to see the field at all, so the idea that he’d be the point man behind the Cougars’ second-half climb .

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          Nelson Channels His Inner Dan Marino

          I remember it well: Nov. 27, 1994, and Dan Marino, along with Bernie Kosar, a forgotten collaborator, shocked the flummoxed New York Jets by pulling the most brazen and audacious of post-snap stunts. Down by a field goal, 24-21, at the Jets’ eight-yard line with 22 seconds left and no timeouts, Marino made the universal signal for spiking the football — yelling “Fire!” and miming the spike, for example — as his team rushed to the line of scrimmage. Up to the moment when the ball was supposed to leave his hands, stopping the clock, all went according to plan for Dolphins and Jets alike. Then it didn’t, and I can still remember the call from the Jets’ radio team: “He stood there like a house on the side of the road!”

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            Missing: A Much-Needed Marquee Win

            If we know anything, it’s that B.Y.U. is going to lose to Tulsa. Huh? Well, the Cougars have beat only one bowl team all season, Utah State, and the team’s remaining seven F.B.S. wins came against squads that combined for 30 victories on the season. Ergo, one can make the following conclusion: B.Y.U. is not good against good teams. And yes, Tulsa is a good team; a very good team, depending on which team shows up, and more than capable of blowing the Cougars’ doors off. B.Y.U. needs to batten down the hatches.

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              In September and After September

              B.Y.U.’s tough start has many questioning its placement so high on the Countdown, but remember that the list does not reflect where teams stand today but projects where each team will finish the 2011 season. Here’s a trip down memory lane to digest and consider: back from late March, looking at B.Y.U.’s schedule in two distinct portions — in September and after September.

              How big can B.Y.U. dream? Before considering that question, let’s address the schedule. The Cougars can look at 2011 in two distinct sections: four and eight, as in the year’s opening four games, the first third of the season, and the final eight. For all the talk of a tough start — and all of it justified — B.Y.U. can take some solace in the fact that a relatively easy stretch awaits over the last two months, a far easier stretch, one could say, than the Cougars would have faced in October and November had they remained part of the Mountain West instead of opting for Independent status.

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                No. 12: B.Y.U.

                Everyone used to do it, pretty much. Notre Dame did it best; Notre Dame still does it, as do Navy and Army. Penn State used to do it. So did Pittsburgh, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), West Virginia and Boston College, among others. Now B.Y.U. wants to get into the fun, ditching the past of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the Mountain States Athletic Conference, the WAC and the Mountain West for the opportunity stemming from one’s independence – or being an Independent, I guess. Like Texas, which may one day want to follow suit, B.Y.U. brings the following to this lack of conference affiliation: history, past success, recent success, lofty expectations, a television network, talent and a dedicated fan base that stems from coast to coast, let alone from country to country. Unlike Texas, the Cougars have a quarterback.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.