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Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

Patrick Kinahan: BYU can make a point with style points

By Patrick Kinahan, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:13 a.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — There you go, Kalani Sitake, permission is granted from one of college football's greatest and most dynamic coaches ever.

Whatever you want to call it — running up the score, piling on, style points — by any and all means, please proceed. BYU has no other choice at this point in the season, said three-time national champion Urban Meyer.

Speaking on the most recent Fox pregame show, Meyer and his cohorts discussed the possibility of Cincinnati or BYU making the four-team football playoff. Both Top 10 teams are unbeaten, although neither belongs in a Power Five conference.

As such, Meyer said, they need to blow out the remaining competition practically by as much as possible. Sitake, in his fifth year at BYU, probably has left points on the field late in blowouts against several teams this season in the name of good sportsmanship.

But Meyer, who won national titles at Florida and Ohio State after going 22-2 at Utah, makes a good point. Sitake may want to consider having quarterback Zach Wilson and his high-powered offense go crazy against North Alabama and San Diego State.

As it stands, Cincinnati — which is in the American Athletic Conference — and independent BYU are at a disadvantage perception-wise compared to Power Five teams. In theory, P5 conferences are littered with powerhouses that would humble these two teams over the course of a given season.

"Those are really, good teams. Here's reality, not being disrespectful, but reality: Can they survive an SEC schedule, I'd say no. Can they survive maybe a Big Ten (schedule) – the Big Ten is way down this year, could they survive that, I don't know. But you know what, that's not your job. You're not in that conference," Meyer said.

"Put the pedal to the metal, man, every chance you can. You better outscore everybody by 50 points or you have no chance, because the eye test matters."

Even if it goes against Sitake's nature to pile on, and no coach would ever discuss running up the score before any game, Meyer's opinion has merit. The Cougars are in this lofty position deep into the season primarily for putting 50-plus points each in national television games against Navy and Boise State, both of which were played on the road.

Let Wilson add to his impressive resume, which has put him in legitimate contention for the Heisman Trophy. Maybe the future NFL quarterback can go deep more than he would usually do until late in the game.

The system already is grossly stacked against the likes of Cincinnati and BYU, which both face long odds to crack the playoff even with no losses. The door will only open if either team explodes through it.

Former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who joins Meyer and USC legends Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on the pregame show, doesn't give the two non-P5 teams much hope at playing for a national championship. He reasoned that in this COVID year, neither team played against P5 competition and, therefore, have not proven themselves enough.

"In a normal year, you have nonconference games where you get to see a little bit how they stack up versus some Power Five conferences," Quinn said. "We don't have that this year, so unfortunately this is not the year to even have that discussion. It's almost going to be impossible for that reason."

From the BYU perspective, the problem is the program rarely gets full credit for beating P5 competition. It seems like any win over a power conference team is immediately justified by contending the losing team had a down season.

Quinn took his argument a step further, saying the difference between the levels of competition is noticeable in the trenches. No matter that BYU has NFL prospects on both interior sides of the football this season.

"It's the big boys up front," he said. "The D-line the O-line, that's (where) they don't have the same type of talent caliber of players as you see in the Power Five."

He may be right, but the scoreboard never lies. Might as well light it up.

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About the Author: Patrick Kinahan

Patrick is a radio host for 97.5/1280 The Zone and the Zone Sports Network. He, along with David James, are on the air Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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