BYU's Great Expectations: A Story of Cougar Football and the Familiar Vegas Bowl

Tyler StimsonCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Head coach Bronco Mendenhall of the Brigham Young Cougars at Cowboys Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After BYU's loss to TCU this Saturday, an embarrassingly uncompetitive 38-7 debacle, I thought to myself, "Vegas, here we come again."

Every year since Bronco Mendenhall has been the coach, BYU has gone to the Las Vegas bowl. That's four years and counting. And it looks like their likeliest destination again.

BYU's loss to TCU is certainly heartbreaking. It shows that the Florida State game was no fluke. And it basically dashes their hopes of a conference title or a long shot BCS bowl bid.

In Hot Shots Part Deux, a comedy starring Charlie Sheen, a soldier (played by Ryan Stiles) is reading the classic book, "Great Expectations." And he is asked how he likes it. His response: "It's not all I hoped for."

This is how BYU fans all feel right now.

After the Oklahoma victory, BYU fans' expectations skyrocketed. I even wrote an article about BYU's chances of going undefeated, analyzing the rest of their schedule, and gave them a 22 percent chance of finishing 12-0. And over 60 percent of you thought that BYU had a much better chance than I did of going undefeated.

It is so tough as a fan; when your highest point is after the first game of the season. After Oklahoma, BYU fans were on top of the world, myself included. I can remember it like yesterday.

Me and my younger brother watched it with hundreds of other students in the varsity theater on campus. When BYU won, everyone went crazy. Random strangers hugged each other - it was one of those rare euphoric moments in sports. The possibilities seemed endless.

All those hopes came crashing down with a 54-28 loss to Florida State. And it was that same sinking feeling in Lavell Edwards Stadium when BYU got dominated by TCU.

Heading into the game there was a ton of excitement. It was the game of the week. College Gameday even came to Provo. It was set up as the game that would decide conference championship.

Again, for BYU there were great expectations, and again BYU fans did not get all they hoped for. Since the Oklahoma game, that has been the story of BYU's season.

H. L. Menken once said: "It is the responsibility of every journalist to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." So, since BYU fans have been afflicted, here is a little comfort.

All is not lost. TCU, now that they are past their toughest test, is likely headed to a BCS bowl, or possibly (with a lot of help) the national championship game. This is good for the conference and good for BYU.

And most importantly for BYU, their is still a chance to beat Utah, and play in the Las Vegas Bowl against a good team from the Pac-10.

BYU is 6-2 and has four regular season games remaining. They have a bye this week. Then they follow that up with road games at Wyoming and at New Mexico. After that they finish at home against two tough teams, Air Force, and Utah.

These are four winnable games. Utah will be tough, as it always is. But I like BYU's chances. And if they can win out, they will be 10-2, ranked in the top 20, and likely playing a good team from the Pac-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl. And despite having great expectations, this is something any BYU fan should be very proud of.

After three consecutive double-digit win seasons, BYU is on pace to do so yet again, and with a likely top 20 recruiting class coming in, including Jake Heaps, the consensus No. 1 overall QB recruit, the future of BYU football is as bright as it has ever been.