Time for BYU to Pull Away from Mediocrity

<B>COMMENTARY</B><P> At the risk of sounding like a pessimist, let me begin this by stating I'm taking a wait and see approach with this year's football team. I'm looking for reasons to believe this team will be better than last year.

Do I think this team will be better? Yes. If nothing else, health, depth and experience alone should yield improvement. But I'm not ready to buy into the "hype" this team could potentially win 10 games.

The hype Bronco Mendenhall's new defensive scheme is getting is eerily similar to the hype last year's defense received after the defensive staff visited Virginia Tech and Oregon.

My bigger concern is that BYU football has fallen back to the pack and has become a very average Division 1 program.

The question that BYU fans have to ask themselves is which of the 2001 or 2002 seasons was an aberration. Let's assume 2001 was an aberration. If we throw out the 2001 season, BYU looks very average over the past few years. In fact, since Nov. 7, 1999, BYU has a disappointing record of 11-16 – not including the 2001 season.

If we include the 2001 season, the overall record looks better at 23-18. Should BYU fans remain satisfied with a team that is playing just over .500? Perhaps even more concerning is that in 2001, BYU required late fourth quarter comebacks against UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and MSU.

If BYU had not converted several fourth-down conversions and came from behind in the aforementioned games, BYU would have accumulated an average 7-7 record in 2001. So the question that surfaces again is which season was an aberration?

For BYU head coach Gary Crowton, this year's team must illustrate 2001 was NOT an aberration. Crowton finally has his coaches in place and he fields a team that returns excellent talent. Crowton has been the recipient of two above average recruiting classes, and this year's schedule benefits Crowton as his MWC foes CSU, AFA, and Utah all come to Provo.

From a resources standpoint, BYU can soon boast the program has access to some of the finest athletic facilities in the country. For Crowton, it is time to separate BYU from mediocrity. It is time to translate above average resources and talent into above average performances on the field.

Time will tell. And I will be cheering for Crowton and the Cougars all the way – from my less-than-optimistic viewpoint.

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