The BYU Cougars, traditionally, are one of the most hated schools in the western United States. Whatever the reason, people love to root against them. Fans outside of Provo long for Cougar failure.
Unfortunately, it’s a tough time to be a BYU hater. The Cougars are ripping and tearing the competition to shreds. The national media, pollsters and casual fans have all fallen in love.
For rival fans, it’s downright sickening.
One man is to blame: James “Jimmer” Fredette.
Fredette fatigue is an epidemic spreading through parts of Southern California, Nevada’s Clark County, Arizona, Salt Lake City and other anti-Cougar-centric populations.
The most common symptoms are nausea, dizziness and mood swings at the mention of the name Jimmer. Side effects include headaches, insomnia and general frustration in reaction to ubiquitous stupid phrases like, “The Jimmer Show,” “You got Jimmered,” “Jimmermania,” etc.
I’m guilty of contributing. The guy is having an incredible year. I can’t deny that.
However, for those of you who are sick of Jimmer, I’m here to offer some help: a guide to coping with Fredette fatigue, Jimmer overload or whatever you want to call it.
Fredette’s not perfect, and neither are the Cougars. When countering a Jimmer love fest, cling to the imperfections.
The ideal starting point: BYU’s December loss to UCLA. Fredette was good, but not great, and the Cougars lost to the third or fourth best team in the Pac-10.
By the way, the Pac-10 sucks. It’s better than last year but is still a lousy league overall.
Ask yourself, “Where was Big Game Jimmer against the Bruins?” and then snicker.
It’s not much, but it should help a little.
Ignore what’s happening right now. If you hate Fredette, it will drive you crazy. He’s been too good.
Instead, dwell on the failures of prior years. Jimmer missed several games last year with mononucleosis, lost his mojo and took weeks to get it back. His immune system is clearly vulnerable.
The Cougars have thrice failed to win the MWC Tournament with Fredette despite being the top seed in two of those three tourneys. There’s hope, at least a glimmer, that the pressure could get to them again.
Keep your fingers crossed.
At this point, we’re grasping at straws a little, but there’s not much to work with.
Sure, Fredette scores a ton of points, but he also misses a ton of shots and forces the issue at times.
He’s on a hot streak now, but eventually he’ll have an off night. When that happens, how will he respond?
The anti-Jimmer crowd is praying he tries to shoot himself out of it, fails to do so and provides some ammunition for the "Jimmer is a ball hog" argument.
Fredette has missed 10 or more shots in a game 12 times this year and 13 or more shots six times. Maybe, just maybe, Ball Hog Jimmer has a 5-of-26 night in him at some point down the road.
Players at all levels with a superstar reputation tend to get a few extra calls, and Fredette is certainly no exception.
Further aiding the Jimmer haters is his irritating chattiness on the court. Fredette is constantly buttering up the officials with light conversation, a smile, a chuckle, a pat on the rear.
It feeds the notion that you can’t stand too close to Jimmer, you can’t breathe on Jimmer and you certainly can’t touch him lest you be saddled with foul trouble for much of the night.
Jimmer undeniably gets some calls, but go ahead and exaggerate the effect his "old pal" routine has on the referees.
It’s always okay to shift blame to them.
With all the buzz Fredette has generated, his stock as a draft prospect is booming. Thought of as a likely second-round pick not long ago, Fredette is now considered a potential lottery selection.
We know Jimmer can play in college, but we don’t yet know whether or not he can produce at the next level.
Capitalize on the skepticism. Picture Jimmer sitting in the draft room in New York in July, waiting and waiting as teams pass on him again and again for guys who are "raw and athletic" but have more "upside."
After that scenario sinks in, imagine Jimmer burying threes for a pro team in Russia in 2013 and then throwing on his parka after the game and trudging out into a blizzard.
The NBA will remain a naysayer’s trump card until Jimmer proves otherwise.
If all else fails, and it probably will, resort to personal attacks that have nothing to do with basketball.
Obviously, it starts with the name. Jimmer? JIMMER?!? What kind of a name is that? Who goes by Jimmer?
His birth name is James, and I don’t care how many Jameses there already are in the family—you can’t go with Jimmer. You just can’t. Jimmer?!? They might as well have called him Jambo or Jim-Jim or J-Mammy.
There’s also the hair. It looks like a rug, and by rug I don’t mean toupee. I mean the kind you put on your bathroom floor so you don’t slip when you get out of the bathtub. Assuming, of course, you have terrible taste in bathroom decor and like rugs that look thick and wavy and brown and crunchy.
It's also fun to rip on TJ, J-Mammy’s white rapper brother from Glens Falls. He's pretty much asking for it.
This may be the only legitimate way to soothe the Fredette-induced wounds to the hearts of Cougar haters:
Remember, it will all be over soon.
Fredette is a senior. He will play at most 19 more games for BYU, probably fewer. Then he’ll leave. Jackson Emery, his sidekick and fellow senior, will be moving on as well.
The Cougars will be left with a gaping hole in the backcourt and no obvious means to fill it. The future for BYU is clouded with the gloom of uncertainty.
Best-case scenario for BYU in 2012: a pretty good team that challenges Gonzaga and St. Mary’s for the West Coast Conference crown.
Worst-case scenario: Use your imagination. This thing could go south in a hurry. Middle of the pack in the WCC isn’t that big of a stretch.
The Cougars aren’t going away this year. Fredette has earned his place in the spotlight, and BYU and its many supporters are relishing the attention.
You just have to deal with it.
If you really can’t stand it, avoid the college basketball world all together for a few months. Jimmermania shows no sign of fading until someone mercifully eliminates the Cougars in March, maybe even April.
For now, if you hate BYU, try the NBA. You won’t find any Cougars there. At least not this year.