For the Brigham Young University football team, the Las Vegas Bowl just isn't cutting it anymore.
It's time for a greater challenge.
Now, four games into the college football season, it looks like the Cougars just might be ready for that challenge. After throttling UCLA 59-0 on Sept. 13, BYU blew out yet another opponent Saturday. This time, it was the Wyoming Cowboys 44-0.
It marked the first time since 1985 that the Cougars successfully reeled off back-to-back shutouts. Ironically enough, the scores of those two games in 1985 were also 59-0 (over Wyoming) and 44-0 (over Utah State).
With each passing win, the Cougars rise higher and higher in the national rankings. Two weeks ago they were at No. 18 after narrowly defeating Washington thanks to a blocked extra point. But after decimating the Bruins, the Cougars rose to No. 14. With their win over Wyoming, they moved up to No. 11.
Also rising is BYU's chances of playing in a BCS game. According to the rules of the BCS, a mid-major like BYU can enter the BCS if it finishes No. 12 or better in the national rankings.
BYU players and coaches refuse to talk about the BCS though. "Just take everything one game at a time and let the BCS take care of itself," is exactly what they'll tell you.
It’s a good thing I don’t play for BYU, so I am allowed to make such speculations and look further than “one game at a time.”
When the season started, I didn’t give BYU much of a chance to go undefeated. I thought that road games at TCU and Utah would be certain losses, and I wasn’t thoroughly convinced the Cougars could even win at Washington.
TCU, Air Force and Utah loom as the toughest tests for BYU’s quest for perfection. But to be honest, none of those teams compare to BYU in terms of speed, power and overall athletic ability.
BYU quarterback Max Hall is having one of the best seasons as BYU quarterback has ever had. In just four games, he’s completed an astonishing 74.3 percent (103-for-144) of his passes for 1,284 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s thrown just two interceptions.
It helps a lot when you have guys like Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta though. Collie has recorded 30 receptions for 386 yards and five touchdowns while Pitta has recorded 29 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns.
Running back Harvey Unga has carried the ball 77 times for 366 yards (a 4.8 YPC average) while adding three touchdowns of his own to bolster the running game.
BYU’s offense throughout its first four games has averaged 480.8 yards-per-game. This offense is not just good, it’s amazing.
Looking at the rest of BYU’s opponents, I struggle to find one I think will be able to slow it down.
Not only is the offense good, but the defense has been playing stellar as well. After Wyoming was shut out by BYU Saturday, Cowboys running back Devin Moore said he believed the Cougars’ defense to be faster than he originally thought. This is a defense that has allowed on average just 302.8 yards of total offense.
But what really impresses me about this team is it’s third down conversion ratio. On third down, BYU has converted 67 percent of the time (38-of-56).
Going undefeated is tough.
Crashing the BCS is even tougher. But with a team performing like BYU currently is, it’s hard to argue that they won’t.
Just maybe when this year ends, the Las Vegas Bowl will have to find someone new.