The mood at Tuesday's Big Five Huddle luncheon was considerably more somber than a week earlier.
BYU's Lavell Edwards was still shaking his head over his team's remarkable comeback after a poor first half against Washington State. Utah's Ron McBride acted confused about his team's state of mind after the Fresno State whipping. Utah State Coach Chuck Shelton was missing as usual.Only Weber State's Dave Arslanian was genuinely excited, after picking up a Big Sky win over Idaho State in double overtime.
This week, BYU continues its ride to national prominence with another nationally televised game. Utah kicks off the WAC season with a home game against Hawaii. Utah State has the first of two bye weeks as the Aggies hope to find an offense, before facing Oregon Oct. 6.
Weber State heads to Idaho for another league game, while Southern Utah goes on the road to meet an old rival in Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colo.
The BYU-San Diego State game will be at 1 p.m., not 1:15 as it says on the tickets and schedules. Apparently CBS is making this their main national game and it will be seen by 80 percent of the country.
San Diego State (1-1, 0-0) at BYU (3-0, 1-0), 1 p.m. - At least the Cougars won't have to make any defensive adjustments for the Aztecs. They'll see another one-back passing team with a fine passing quarterback in Dan McGwire, the younger brother of Oakland A's slugger Mark McGwire.
`This will be three weeks in a row we'll see identical offenses," said BYU's LaVell Edwards. "Hopefully we'll figure something out to slow it down and stop it. McGwire has a tendency to be streaky - he has the ability to get hot and complete everything."
Edwards figures after last week's scare with Washington State, his team won't be looking past the Aztecs. He said at the first of the month that this and the UTEP games were the most important of the month because they were WAC games. Now that the Cougars are a hot item nationally, every game is important.
While defense is a worry, stopping the McGwire & Co., Edwards is also concerned with his offense.
"Offensively we need to stop making turnovers. We're minus seven for the year in turnovers. We have got to stop our turnovers."
Hawaii (0-2, 0-1) at Utah (2-1, 0-0), 7 p.m. - Two mystery teams go at it in this one.
The Rainbows were picked to challenge for the WAC title this year, but have looked lousy in losses to Texas A&M and Air Force. In fact, Coach Bob Wagner said "We're not close to being the same team we were the last couple of years."
Injuries have played a big part in the Rainbows problems, but Wagner said the week off has healed most of them. Only defensive end Manly Williams is questionable. However, running back Jamaal Farmer is still suspended and will be at least until October.
The Utes, who won two road games to open the season, are trying to regroup after last week's thrashing by Fresno State.
"I'm not sure where they're at right now," said McBride of his team. "But I feel confident they'll battle back. I know (Hawaii) will be a real hungry football team."
Mike Richmond will be the Utes' starting quarterback this week.
Weber State (2-1, 1-1) at Idaho (1-2, 0-1), 2 p.m. MDT - Two old buddies get together for this one - Weber's Dave Arslanian and Idaho's John Smith were best friends when they played together at Weber State some 20 years ago.
The Vandals are coming off a 55-23 drubbing at Oregon last week. `It was ugly. We kind of got our tails kicked," said Smith.
The Vandals are trying to cope with life after John Freisz, the record-setting quarterback, who graduated last year. He's been replaced by freshman Doug Nussmeier.
At least Smith and Arslanian like each other's team.
"Weber is like night and day, they're much much better than last year," said Smith.
"Idaho looks to be every bit as good as last year," said Arslanian. "It should be an exciting game."
Southern Utah (1-2) at Mesa State (1-1), 7 p.m. - The Thunderbirds will move down a division to play the Mavericks of NAIA. But the Mavericks are one of NAIA's top teams, going 9-1 last year and are usually in the national rankings.
"This should be a very competitive game for us," said SU Coach Jack Bishop. "They're traditionally a power in the Rocky Mountain Conference. We expect a tough football game."
The T-Birds are coming off a 35-0 blanking of Central State, their first shutout in 10 years. Quarterback Brad Matthews played that game after sitting out with an injury, completing 11 of 17 passes for 228 yards.