BYU is 5-5. They were 5-2 at one point, but now they're 5-5. It's more likely than it isn't that BYU ends up 5-7 and misses a bowl game. It's sad. It's disappointing. And it's going to make for some brutal discord amongst BYU fans everywhere.
Today's newsletter is meant to serve as a guide so that you can know what to expect in the coming months. Because, ladies and gentlemen, there are some things and narratives that are inevitably headed our way. I'm not here to tell you whether you should subscribe to the narratives that come or simply ignore them, but I am here to tell you that they are coming.
A lack of confidence
This is generally the first thing that pops up when the struggle bus makes its way into town. Losses pile up and confidence flies away like a baby bird leaving the nest. This doesn't necessarily impact fans and there won't be a narrative that has to be addressed with fans, but a lack of confidence from players and/or coaches is the catalyst that triggers the rest of this cycle.
We might hear coaches talk about players needing to find confidence in their abilities. It might also be masked as players needing to believe in the system or trusting in the coaches process. We've seen some of this already. If (when) BYU gets blown out by Oklahoma, we'll hear more of it.
The confidence baby bird is about to jump from its next in Provo.
Defensiveness from coaches
Prepare yourselves, because it's coming. This isn't to say whether it's right or wrong, but football coaches have egos and when their abilities are doubted, they get defensive. We'll hear references to past successes. We'll hear about past players. We'll hear how schemes are solid and the hours are being invested into turning this ship around. All of these things are coming.
And all of these are probably true.
Coaches have had success. Players have had success with these coaches. The coaches are working hard to try and fix what is clearly broken. They won't be making things up when they say these things, but these things will be pointed out in more public fashions than they were when the team was 5-2. The coaches will go out of their way to point out the work they are doing.
Sources from player's parents and other people who may or may not be connected to the locker room
Get ready for 'a friend of mine who would have access said" season, because that's our next stop on this train. Everyone knows Someone, and every someone is going to have an opinion of what's wrong. And when BYU is the team you're asking about, there is a two-hour block of time every Sunday for those Someones to tell their tale.
We're going to hear stories from the locker room and they're probably going to be pretty harrowing tales. We'll hear about a lack of trust. If a coach has ever left a practice early to attend to any personal matter of any kind, we'll hear about their lack of work ethic. If a player has ever disagreed with a personnel decision that a coach has made, we'll start hearing how players don't trust the coaches and there will be accusations of favoritism for whatever reason.
We'll hear about disorganization... and we'll hear about it a lot. The Someones telling the tales will talk about how convoluted the messaging is or how chaotic it feels in the locker room. There will be stories and accusations made that if 'Such and Such isn't changed or So and So isn't fired then Kalani is going to lose this whole team.'
What we won't see are specifics. And we definitely won't see any names attached to any of these reports from Someone. But the stories are coming.
Are the reports true? I have no idea.
Are the reports false? I have no idea.
I have my personal opinions on these Someone tales, but I'm not hear to tell you whether to believe them or not today. But I am here to tell you that they are coming. Why am I so sure? Because this process is the process and the Someones come every time.
Transfers and players with eligibility leaving the program
There will be players who announce they are transferring from BYU. If BYU goes 0-2 against the Oklahoma schools, we'll probably see those players make public decisions in the first several days of December. It's going to happen and there will be a narrative that it's players leaving the bad environment or broken culture at BYU.
There will players who could come back to BYU but won't. We've already seen this confirmation happen with tight end Isaac Rex. He could come back for one more year but already told Greg Wrubell that he's moving on. As this happens and 'Thank You, BYU' edits are posted all over social media, there will be more talk about how people are jumping ship.
Again, I'm not going to tell you whether to believe that players are jumping ship or not. But I would like to remind you that Logan Fano left a year ago. Jacob Conover left. Keenan Pili left. Tate Romney left. Clark and Campbell Barrington left. Talin Togiai left. A bunch of people left - and they left long before the bad culture came to be.
In all likelihood, college football will see another record number of players hitting the transfer portal this winter - that's what the sport has become, for better or worse. It's going to impact every team in America.
Could players be leaving because of BYU's culture? Maybe.
Could players be leaving for any other number of reasons? Absolutely.
But the narrative is coming, there is no running away from that.
Horror stories from the recruiting trail
One of the last things about this cycle will be the the horror stories of everything BYU did wrong on the recruiting trail. BYU has missed on several very talented players this year - particularly players from the state of Utah. Even though those decisions have been made, the next time a player chooses someone else over BYU, we'll start to hear more horror stories from the recruiting trail.
It's just how this process goes.
We'll hear of all the things that BYU did wrong. We'll hear about all of the reasons why a recruit didn't choose BYU because of what the Cougars failed to do on recruiting trail.
We won't hear much about the success stories - the Ryner Swanson and Devoux Tuataga types. We won't hear who never wanted BYU and which priorities mattered for players and which didn't. And if we do hear glimpses of those stories, they will likely be dismissed as an excuse.
I'm not here to tell you what to believe but I want to make sure you know it's coming.
Believe whatever you'd like but don't be surprised
Tough time are tough. It really sucks to lose. It really, really sucks to collapse like BYU has collapse this year. We all get through it the way we get through it - it's brutal.
As these things come up, we'll all get to choose what we want to believe. I don't want to tell you what is or isn't true. (Mostly because I don't know either.)
But I will tell you not to be surprised by what's coming - because barring an upset win over Oklahoma, these things are coming.