I realize that there is no preseason in college football and that, more than any other sport, every single game counts, but I really enjoy the conference season more.
Maybe it is the familiar opponents or the rivalries.
I really think it comes from the deep desire of every team to beat their conference foes and win a conference title.
It is much easier to shrug off a loss to a non-conference opponent because you probably won’t play them for a long time, and in a lot of cases it may have even been expected that you would lose. On the off chance that you do win, it will be written off as a fluke.
On the other hand, your conference members will see you again next year and be looking for revenge. There are also the inevitable relationships that get formed and broken as coaches move between schools or coach at their alma mater’s rival. There are no moral victories during the conference schedule.
If there was any doubt that New Mexico might consider a close game with such a high-ranked team a moral victory, consider the words of head coach Rocky Long:
“I read a quote from [a Utah newspaper] that I guess Utah State scored when they were down by 27 or 30 and they were hooting and hollering. Our team won’t do that. Our team is not going to hoot or holler unless it’s the score that wins the game. We’re not out there for moral victories, we’re not out there for statistics, we’re out there to win the game.”
That pretty much sums it up for me. The next few weeks will either be some of the most fun in my BYU fandom, or some of the most disappointing.
I love the conference season!