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Any team, any time, any place… right?

Maybe not.

 BYU’s star quarterback Zach Wilson had this statement adorned on his headband during the Cougars’ 66-14 thumping of Northern Alabama.  Wilson is leading Brigham Young to one of their best seasons in recent memory, having currently won 9 games and lost none.  Assuming a continuation of this undefeated pace, BYU would finish with their first undefeated season since 1984 and be well-positioned to make a New Years’ 6 Bowl Game.

 The Cougars were a consensus top 10 team in the country before the unveiling of last Tuesday’s first official Playoff Rankings. The committee deemed their schedule inadequate and despite their undefeated record, they came in at 14, behind THREE different teams with multiple losses.  The disrespect is clear, but it’s also clear that they haven’t done enough as of yet to warrant significant playoff consideration. 

Their best win as of now was over a beat-up Boise State team, which is impressive, but not impressive enough for them to break through and make the Playoff.  You’d think a team in this position would be itching for chances to prove themselves, especially with the way they’ve had to schedule this season. 

Major conferences are sticking to conference only schedules, leaving BYU, an independent, in the dust.  They’ve had to scramble to even fill a schedule and get to this point. 

Now, the stage is set.  BYU-Washington. 

I’m sure you all have heard that BYU is ‘scared of’ or ‘ducking’ Washington, but I can assure you this idea is ill-founded.  Sure, the fact BYU tweeted the picture of their Heisman hopeful wearing a headband with a message that is practically opposite to this story seems a little suspicious. 

Considering we are in the age of a one-hour news cycle and big headlines, obviously this would lead to criticism of BYU.  The entire story hasn’t been widely reported and that’s why they are receiving such abundant criticism when it isn’t deserved.  Here are the facts:

Sure, it makes sense why people would say BYU is scared of Washington.  They lost to them 45-19 just one year ago and have been outscored 80-26 in their last two meetings.  Regardless of that, this BYU team is different.  They are a very dangerous team and especially with how good Wilson has been playing, would be favorites in this now-hypothetical matchup.

 There was also no reason for BYU to schedule the game at the time.  I’m sure they thought they’d be ahead of #14 in the rankings, meaning they didn’t think they’d need to prove themselves as much as they do.  BYU would need to deal with the Pac-12’s strict COVID guidelines, and due to a bizarre rule would maybe have to cancel the game by the Thursday before the game.  If Washington could get a different Pac-12 game by that Thursday, they would need to play it, even if that meant canceling already scheduled non-conference games. 

Also, BYU would be getting no shared TV money, another incentive for them not to schedule.  There’s no reason at all for them to have scheduled this game, and anyone saying otherwise simply doesn’t know what they are talking about.

The game didn’t occur, and Washington instead got a big resume-boosting win over Utah.  Now looking like the Pac-12’s best team after Oregon’s loss in the Civil War, BYU missed out on a very good opponent.  However, BYU acted intelligently by canceling at the time, and the Pac-12 conference as a whole is incredibly stupid.

Photo: Fox 13