By Heiko Yang
Interesting matchup today.
Michigan’s head coach coached in a Super Bowl; BYU’s head coach sounds like he was named at a Super Bowl. Michigan’s quarterback can’t throw farther than 10 yards downfield; BYU’s quarterback throws Hail Marys like he’s excited about the Pope visiting. BYU likes to hit people in the balls; Michigan … Michigan understands that ball security is important.
Balls aside, the Wolverines really need to win, especially from a philosophical standpoint. The trajectory of each team over the last few games makes for a very Aesopian scenario: one team that’s been diligently chipping away at a giant rock is pitted against a team that’s just flinging dynamite in every direction. (Just to clarify, the rock in this case represents winning, not Penn State. (More specifically, turning the rock into something impressive like the Statue of David represents winning, because why would you want to chip away at winning? (You want to chip away the obstacles to winning, so maybe the rock itself in its raw form represents a conglomeration of obstacles (maybe the rock is Penn State after all.))))
The moral of the story should be something along the lines of “slow, steady, and safe wins the race and is also better than sorry.”
Except I’m kind of worried by this whole dynamite analogy now. It only works in Michigan’s favor if we’re talking about the long term. If the goal here is to turn Penn State into the Statue of David (just go with it), it really is much safer to use a chisel since David has some delicate features (balls) that could get destroyed by dynamite. Plus you might injure yourself and whoever else happens to be in the vicinity. In BYU’s case that already happened to Nebraska and Boise – UCLA almost fell victim – and now Michigan is the next victim at risk, even though this entire time it has been busy chiseling and minding its own business and protecting its balls.
Michigan will hopefully end the season with a winning record more closely resembling David than the pile of rubble and limbs BYU will end up with, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll survive its encounter with BYU without harm.
Anyway, the moral of the story here is “don’t play with explosives.” Also don’t get carried away with analogies.
BYU 19, Michigan 17.
by Nick RoUMel
My dad always referred to the BYU football team as the “clean livers.” The school has been long famous for their LDS (Mormon) church-centered honor code that requires “chaste and virtuous life,” clean language, and abstention from all manner of substances includes drugs, alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. Coca-Cola is supposedly permitted, but not sold on campus. Easy to see why they are the #1 “stone cold sober” campus 14 years running by the Princeton Review.
Perhaps the ban on premarital sex has led to a marriage rate five times the national average (more than half of students are married by graduation). Or maybe that has something to do with promotion of a family culture, as well as the greater maturity of students. Nearly all male undergraduates undertake a two-year mission trip before graduation. Then they marry somebody like Marie Osmond.
When you Google “Marie Osmond cheesecake images”…
You actually get images of her cheesecake recipe. Now that’s wholesome.
One of these man-child undergraduates is BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, a 22 year “freshman” who is fresh off a missionary trip to Chile. He graduated from high school in Idaho in 2012, and was ranked the third best pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals. I suspect he tossed a few footballs around with the natives during his mission, because he’s flung the rock pretty well in wins against Nebraska and Boise State, and during the narrow loss at UCLA. This is a school that’s produced quarterbacks like Steve Young, Ty Detmer and Jim McMahon, and Mangum is in the same mold - an excellent passer who’s also dangerously mobile – who can do it all without caffeine.
It surprises me that Michigan is favored. Mangum will be the best quarterback they’ve faced all year, and can only be contained, not stopped. It will be no surprise that Coach Harbaugh will try to keep the ball out of his hands with a conservative, run-oriented offense, and hope that Mr. Rudock and company reduce turnovers.
Fans may remember 1984, when BYU finished the regular season as the only undefeated D-1 team, but as a WAC team back then, were contractually obligated to play in the Holiday Bowl. While teams detracted their soft schedule and right to the title, nobody wanted to play them except for a mediocre 6-5 Michigan team. The Wolverines led in the fourth quarter but the Cougars’ defense stiffened, allowing injured QB Robbie Bosco to lead the offense to two scores for a 24-17 victory.
Pollsters reluctantly voted BYU #1 in the nation, but critics still denounced them. The next year they beat Boston College (#4 in 1984) and trounced a Washington team that many thought should have been atop the polls the previous year instead of BYU, by a score of 31-3.
The Cougars have maintained their excellence. They have more victories in the last 40 years than Michigan. The first four games of their schedule this year are as challenging as anyone’s. The oddsmakers’ logic to favor Michigan is puzzling, and must give great weight to the home field advantage.
Heiko has picked a narrow BYU victory. I cannot bring myself to disagree. My hope for Michigan this year under our new coach was that we would be competitive in every game, improve over the season, and position ourselves to return to the top level of college football within a few years. I don’t think we are quite there yet.
The “clean livers” prevail, but you won’t see images like this back in Provo:
Sorry, but when you Google “Mormon couch burning images,” you actually get this.
BYU 28, MICHIGAN 21