SALT LAKE CITY — Weber State’s gas tank is about empty after giving up 70 points two weeks in a row to in-state FBS teams.
The Wildcats are beat up, tired and left questioning their own abilities after losing to the University of Utah, 70-7, and Utah State University, 70-6.
Sadly, the season-opening victory over Stephen F. Austin feels like it was eons ago, and the confidence from the victory went with it.
So, the question is: are the financial benefits Weber State got from playing two FBS teams worth the harm they caused?
In short, they are worth it only under the direst of financial circumstances.
I know that FCS programs need revenue from big-money football matchups, and that the money generated from football helps all the other sports, but there comes a time when it is just too hard on the athletes to match up two weeks in a row.
Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee has stated multiple times the Wildcats are getting out of the mindset of playing two, and it is a wise choice.
Playing one game is bad enough, as Weber’s game against Utah cost the Wildcats their starting quarterback, Jordan Adamczyk, for the Utah State game because he was too beat up to play.
But, playing two in one year? And in back-to-back weeks?
To be fair, Weber does have a bevy of freshmen at several positions on the field and they are the fourth choice for football recruits on the Wasatch Front.
And I guess games like the Utah and Utah State matchups do teach players how to deal with adversity.
“When you’re playing up like this, they’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re faster,” Weber State coach Jody Sears said. “They have two freshmen on their two-deep, we have 14. A year ago, these guys were playing high school football, now you’re throwing them into the fire.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow, but you’ve got to swallow it and move on and stay together.”
How tough must it be to stay together when you’ve had the football equivalent of facing Mike Tyson in his prime, two weeks in a row?
I mean, playing up is beneficial because kids are conditioning to a level of competition that is higher than they will face the rest of the season but to a point, you have to wonder about the law of diminishing returns.
Where is the difference between playing up to raise your level of play and playing up so far above your level that you endanger your team’s welfare?
I think that level was reached on Saturday night in Logan.
The Wildcats now travel to McNeese State in Louisiana before they head home to begin conference play against Sacramento State. Will they have a team that is healthy and ready to perform at that level?
Weber survived the Utah and Utah State matchups without any season-ending injuries, and it appears the team has largely stayed together despite being bludgeoned around two weeks in a row.
However, losing is something that emotionally scars even the best of teams for sometimes weeks and months at a time.
Weber State is much better this year than it was in 2012, and it will win more than the two games it won last season.
The only question is: how long will it take to forget the last two weeks?
The best answer is, we’ll see.