Blue Blood: Cougars poised for a strong finish to 2016 season

COMMENTARY – Things are heading for a turnaround in Provo, can’t you just feel it?!

The Cougars are coming of their much-needed bye week and still have an opportunity to have a solid year full of change and exciting finishes. BYU will be considered a great up-and-coming program with tons of potential when all is said and done this season.

byulogoWith four painful losses coming off a combined 8 total points, it’s easy to see that BYU has been in striking distance every single game. With an entire facelift to the program and the solid 2016 schedule, I can promise you, they are heading the right direction.

Coach Kalani Sitake and his new staff have impressed so many this early into their careers at the Y. I love Sitake’s aggressive must-win attitude and the pure enjoyment he displays on the sidelines each week. That alone is such a revitalizing atmosphere for the future in Provo. You watch how that will really continue to bring in great recruits for the program over the next few years.

A 4-4 record right now doesn’t feel great, but one way us BYU fans can look at it is this: If the Cougars would have made one field goal or one two-point conversion, they could have been 5-3, 6-2 or even 7-1 against an incredibly competitive 2016 schedule. In fact, if BYU would have made that two-point conversion against Utah, the Cougars would have the same record currently as Utah and be considered the best team in the state.

Of course … would have, could have, should have, right?

But let’s just sit back and watch if its enough motivation for BYU’s program to take things to the next level and have all those close losses turn into wins in the future.

First-year head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates the game-winning field goal Saturday night, BYU vs. Arizona, Glendale, Ariz., Sept. 3, 2016 | Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey
First-year head coach Kalani Sitake has shown an infectious zest for coaching his alma mater. | Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

BYU can go one game above .500 this week and one game closer to bowl eligibility with a win at Cincinnati Saturday (1:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network). BYU is an eight-point favorite vs. the Bearcats this week in Ohio.

It will definitely be another tough road game for BYU, but with the Cougs’ remaining schedule, they have a great opportunity to win out and become bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. BYU closes the season with Southern Utah at home Nov. 12, UMass at home Nov. 19 and Utah State at home Nov. 26. 

And speaking of bowls, if BYU wins two more games, the Cougars would play in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl against a Mountain West Conference opponent. With teams atop the MWC like Wyoming, Boise State and San Diego State, it would be an excellent opportunity to renew some old rivalries. After watching Wyoming beat No. 12 Boise State, a game against the Cowboys would actually be a great matchup.

The bye week is key to BYU pulling off a four-game win streak to close the season. The Cougars hopefully refilled their tanks after playing some of the nation’s best programs. Players like Jamaal Williams (who didn’t play vs. Boise State) should be back to healthy.

BYU has played seven out of its eight games against teams that at one point were in the Top 25, while most of them still are. Although being independent has its negative aspects, BYU has used that status to schedule some great teams in the years to come.

Next year, the Cougars have games scheduled against LSU, Wisconsin, Mississippi State and East Carolina, just to name a few.

Who knows if a conference will come calling in the near future? But right now, it’s a great day to be an independent.

Blue Blood is a sports column written by former BYU lineman and captain Scott Young. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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