Here is BYU football, in all its raw, unfiltered glory.

I usually assume that fewer BYU fans read my writings and other media coverage when the Cougars get trounced like they did on Saturday at West Virginia.

Interestingly, I feel like I often produce my best work when the Cougars lose.

So, if you’re reading this, I’m unsure whether to thank you or feel sorry for you.

I guess I’ll just thank you.

You’re a real trooper.

Buck up, little camper
I received the following email from a West Virginia football fan: “I am a resident of Morgantown, WV, and a WVU fan. I would like to thank all the BYU fans who traveled to Morgantown to attend the BYU-WVU football game. I have nothing but good things to say about the fans I spoke with. BYU is a great addition to the Big XII conference and a class institution. Please publish this letter. I look forward to future games between our schools.

Best wishes,

Eric Barrett”

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Now it’s time for Perfectly Rational Overreactions (PROs)
PRO No. 1: The BYU players gave up on Saturday against West Virginia.

I hate hearing that. I read it all the time online after a poor Cougar performance. Even former players are questioning the current players’ commitment and effort, which is concerning. If they’re seeing it…

For the most part, I would say BYU players are trying hard. I see good effort from most players on the field. The problem is that the Cougars have been blown out in three of the past four weeks. The Texas game was only 21-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but I never felt like BYU was going to challenge. The same goes for the loss at TCU and Saturday at West Virginia. Right now, the offense is so inept that the only way the Cougars can be in the game is if the defense plays well, which it didn’t on Saturday.

PRO No. 2: The offensive and defensive line issues are unfixable.

I used to think BYU’s lack of athleticism mostly showed in skill positions compared to power conference teams. But after six games in the Big 12, I really think the greatest deficiencies are on the offensive and defensive lines. It shows in the lack of a running game and how much pressure opponents can generate. It shows when BYU can’t get close to sacking the opposing quarterback and gets manhandled in the run game.

So maybe that overreaction is correct. Maybe it’ll be a few years before the Cougars can upgrade the offensive and defensive lines to match their Big 12 counterparts. As for this season, with three games left, it looks like what you’ve seen is what you’re going to get.

PRO No. 3: BYU should never have joined the Big 12.

Funny that I still see this sentiment online.

For years, Cougar fans wanted a shot at playing with the big boys. Now that it’s here and the results are less than stellar, they’re having buyer’s remorse. It was safer to play an independent schedule and fade into the background of college football after a couple of losses. Now, BYU is playing on ESPN and FOX. There’s no hiding from the beatings the Cougars are taking right now, but it’s part of the process of becoming a good power conference program. It won’t happen overnight. It’s disappointing that BYU can’t be more competitive, and it’s up to this coaching staff to figure out a way to make that happen more often.

Finally, PRO No. 4: It’ll be all or nothing next week against Iowa State.

Of the three remaining games, Saturday’s home game against the Cyclones seems like the only chance for the Cougars to earn that bowl-eligible sixth win. Beating Oklahoma at home or Oklahoma State on the road seems like a pipe dream with the way BYU is stumbling around right now. It seems every game something else unravels. On our morning walk, my wife said, “BYU isn’t just failing, they’re flailing.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

So what are the odds that the Cougars can find a way to put it together for one night? That Slovis comes back and makes the offense click? That the defense recovers from a poor performance against West Virginia? That the coaching staff figures out a way to motivate a team losing confidence every time on the field?

Not great, Bob. Not great.

Who Carried the Boats and the Logs? (BYU version)
Jake Retzlaff was 24 of 42 for 210 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions on Saturday in his first start. He also had 10 carries for 46 yards (minus 22 in sack yardage). As it turns out (shocker), Kedon Slovis wasn’t the problem with this offense. The running game is still a dud, the pass protection wasn’t great, and West Virginia’s head-hunting secondary bullied BYU’s receivers. I saw a lot of moxie and ability from Retzlaff, which is a good sign for the future.

Losing a legend
Former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight passed away this week at the age of 83. Knight’s heyday was during my younger years when I was developing my love of sports. One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read was “A Season on the Brink,” written by Bob Feinstein while following Knight and the Hoosiers in 1986. Knight was always a mixture of hubris, cruelty, fierce devotion, and success that I alternately admired and criticized. Plus, he despised the media and often went over the top in his criticism. However you viewed the man, he was a larger-than-life character before social media, NIL, and big TV deals, and I miss those days.

I have more, lots more, but only room for this: I’ve never seen so many students come to a BYU men’s basketball exhibition game at the Marriott Center than I did last Wednesday. Good on the ROC for showing up. I guess they’re excited about the Big 12 or something.

Also, it’s nice of them to honor me by wearing BYU t-shirts with my No. 24 (which I wore for the Media Madness event a few weeks ago) on the back.

Remember to treat each other well and have a very, very good week.