I watched a lot of football on Saturday (which is not uncommon, obviously) but there were two games in particular that I cared about most: The Cougars vs the Ducks and Arizona vs the Mighty Bison of NDSU.
But first, let us mourn this tweet:
Kansas stomped Houston (THREE AND ZERO UNDEFEATED KANSAS) 48-30 and Troy had a 2 point lead and this happened on the last play of the game:
I just watched fistfuls of cash wash away with every step. RIP.
Two Different Road Teams
Both BYU and NDSU did not have the athletes their opponent did. Both of them traveled on the road. It was a big game for both of them - BYU knocking on the top 10 coming off a huge win and NDSU getting their first FBS game since 2016 (becuase who in their right mind would schedule them?).
What I saw from each of the teams was very different than the other.
NDSU played mean and with exactness. They didn't give up cheap plays (though ultimately a few key scrambles from Jayden De Laura did them in) or didn't commit a bunch of penalties. Their offense - if you haven't watched it - is a beast of its own. They run 14 personnel often (1 running back and 4 TEs). Tons of unbalanced lines (moving so you have two tackles on one side and a guard and a TE on the other).
They know exactly who they are and what they are going to do. They did not have better athletes, but they understood the assignment.
BYU looked completely lost from the first play of the game. OL couldn't move a damn thing for the second week in a row (if we can't create holes against Wyoming then it will be time to hit the panic button on the OL). Defense looked completely lost. We didn't have the athletes to keep up with Oregon's team speed and half the time look flat footed scared of which way they would run and the other half running around like a chicken with its head cut off ignoring all pretenses of an actual assignment. Special teams was certainly...something.
It was just bad all around on both sides of the ball. Except Jaren. Kody Epps was also a bright spot.
But everybody else - be better.
As nice as it would have been to not have committed to following the Word of Wisdom Saturday with something to destress after that game, the weeds I am thinking of are the bane of every middle-class, suburban dad's nightmares: in my lawn. But also stadiums and such too.
Why is NDSU great? They have an identity. They recruit really well compared to other FCS schools by cleaning up on guys with MAC and other low level G5 offers that didn't get picked up by a Big 10 program and honestly the idea of winning an FCS title sure beats playing in front of 250 people on a Tuesday night for a conference game as an FBS player.
Now that they've established that, they are getting mroe and more guys from outside their footprint and tons of FBS bounce backs. If they were to move up to the FBS and change their environment, they would certainly suffer and lose that edge - they would have nothing of note to offer over the rest of the MAC. The Big Ten certainly won't take them and they would be low on the list of places to enjoy living for most players eyeing a top B1G offer. They've found who they are and where they succeed and do a really good job at it. They be where they want to be and need to be on and off the field (side note: maybe if the P12 raids the MW the MW could backfill with all 4 Dakota schools and Montana and Montana State. Or hopefully Weber because it would be funny to see them pass up USU as the 3rd best FBS program in the state in like 3 seconds).
BYU also has an identity - scrappy, hard nosed football. Known for a trick play every game or two. Even though we play tough, still try to push the ball downfield a couple times a game. We play great at night at home in front of a very hostile crowd, but we struggle mightily in day games on the road when we go outside of our routine environment and don't get that 8pm slot.
Weeds don't give a damn about your environment. They grow where they want to grow. You carefully water your plants on a strict schedule to get them to grow just the way you want to and then your dog sneezes and somehow that's enough to make some crabgrass grow 4 inches overnight.
The BYU defense needs more weed. And so does the offense.
Defense: You pop up where the offense doesn't want you to be. Choke out whatever they are trying to do by anticipating it and being there first. Don't give them space to grow.
Offense: Spread. When they try to move, the OL needs to be spreading like spurge across your lawn. Get downfield and block like we saw on Jaren's TD catch vs Baylor. You go where you want to go and you make it as annoying as trying to fight weeds to stop you.
Saturday was a complete cluster. An anomaly on both sides of the ball from a program that has gone 7-2 in our last 9 P5 games over the last couple seasons. We've never done that, ever. The wailing and gnashing of teeth about what went wrong Saturday is pointless because, well, everything went wrong. But this doesn't happen often. And life's too short to let that egg that got laid ruin your week.
Just look forward to Saturday. Wyoming sucks, be glad you don't have to live there or cheer for them.
And find something to be grateful about, like even though you hit a really fun parlay, you are one Wildcat win away from Arizona hitting over 2.5 wins on the season and that too will pay out nicely.