I am a little late in writing this, with the Holy War being over for two years... or more. Unfortunate, really. Its a heated and passionate game, where it seems to be close almost every year - makes for some great memories. I was there for the beating the Utes put on BYU two years ago (that is a good story) and I was there last year when we stormed the field twice. I have argued and debated largely my entire family about the Utes and BYU. I come from Cougar roots. I grew up rooting for them. And yes, I did apply to BYU and didn't get in, but I am glad.
I am not going to debate about the educational merits of either school - they are both reputable and offer a great education. I am not going to argue about the overall culture of either school. I am not going to show you which school is better. I am going to tell you why an athlete should not go to BYU.
The scope of the athlete I am referring to is the one who got offers to go to just as competitive educational schools or equal to or better than athletic programs - those who have options. I am not talking about the kid from Spanish Fork who got an offer from Utah State and SUU. I am not talking about the kid from abroad who has never played a sport and this was his chance. I am talking about guys like Kyle Van Noy or Cody Hoffman - a guy who wants to go to the next level.
1. You are not going to be coached by the best.
The game has changed since LaVell was around. College sports is a full time job and none more competitive than football. Coaching is the most important part of a football program. Bar none. Bad coach = bad program.
Bronco likes the idea of being a football coach and not having to be a real football coach. He likes to do cute things. I.E. 'Line up on the sideline, before each series, lean over and touch the ground, and run on to the field when coach sends you off.' OR wear "Tradition"; "Spirit"; "Honor" on the back of your jersey. Gimmicks.
You will play for a coach who will go for it on fourth down in the first half in his own 30. Won't kick the field goal. Recruit a quarterback that cannot throw.
He won't be there forever though?
No, but he's been the coach for how long now? About 8 years? Yeah, I think they like him. I don't care that he has gone 70-30. He has said so himself that football is fifth on the priority list. Great to know publicly your full time job is fifth on the list.
2. You are not in a conference.
Go ahead and argue the merits of being an independent. Exposure..... and I'm racking my brain on what else you get. Its a great format if you are school that people from ALL over the country want to play for and are dying to play for. I.E. Notre Dame.
BYU will never, ever be there, mainly bc they can't win over really good teams.
3. Accept that you are the Air Force/Army/Navy of football.
All of those schools are building something bigger than football players: future military and civic leaders. The game to them is more about following orders, teamwork, execution, and leadership. They are practicing what they learn in the classroom and what they are going to do in the real world. So, as fans, players & coaches get it into your head that you are not going to win a national championship. Ever. And you are building something bigger than a winning program. AND THAT IS OKAY! Just be real about it. Quit being delusional. You'll be better than SDSU or NMU, but you'll never be better than the Vegas Bowl - just be happy about it.
4. Honor code > Talent
I love the honor code. I think it is really cool that students sign up to live a higher standard (which 90% of them have already promised to do and should be doing). It is unique. You are united in faith on campus. Praying as a class isn't weird, its inspiring. But another reality check, the best athletes in the world do not want to go to a cold stone sober campus. They want to party. They don't want someone to rat them out and then get suspended for five games or miss out on playing in the sweet sixteen. And guess what, some of your best athletes are going to have a hard time living up to that standard. I am not saying that players should get exemption, because they shouldn't (even though they do in a lot of ways), but I am saying the code is bigger than talent. Again, that is fine, but its a reality.
This is more for the old Cougar fan inside of me. Don't get me wrong, I hope the Utes destroy BYU each time they play; the Utes are my team. But I think the reason I want Utah to beat BYU so badly is because in a way I still hold onto my old delusional mind frame. That 15 year old inside of me, the one who would go to BYU and then the NFL, still believes that the Cougars can be prominent again. A pipe dream. I don't know if Utah will ever be there, but they don't have quite as many barriers to overcome.
Do not go to BYU my friend. Use your options.