It's a familiar story: BYU pounds a lightly regarded opponent into submission and is rewarded with . . .
. . . a share of the No. 4 spot in the UPI coaches' poll with Texas.Last week, BYU had the No. 4 ranking all to itself, with Texas sixth.
So here stand the powerful Cougars, 10-1 and good enough that people around here are even daring to suggest that they just might be better than the 1984 national championship team, and still they can't get what they seem to crave most: national respect.
After Saturday's game, several BYU players said they didn't think the relative sloppiness of their offense in the 45-10 victory over Utah State would make any difference in poll voters' minds.
"Those guys back East aren't looking at interceptions and stuff like that," said defensive tackle Rich Kaufusi, hopefully. "All they see is that we beat someone by a lot."
(Maybe, Rich, but apparently voters at places like the East Kneecap, N.C., Ledger-Trumpet aren't impressed when the somebody you beat by a lot is the Aggies.)
It's a similar story for Ty Detmer, who has every right to wonder what he has to do to impress Heisman Trophy voters. He has broken or tied all sorts of NCAA passing and total-offense records, including the single-season passing record set by Heisman winner Andre Ware last year, and still certain media types continue to sing the praises of Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail, who is clear up to 9th in the nation in all-purpose running.
And then there's sportswriter Christine Brennan of the Washington Post, who said Sunday night on Channel 2's Dave Fox's Sports Den that she'll vote for Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore, because: "I love the kind of person he is, I love the fact he is a wonderful representative for college football."
Brennan went on to speculate that there is a bias against BYU because it has had so many "wonderful quarterbacks."
Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, on the other hand, endorsed Detmer on TV Sunday, saying Ismail doesn't deserve the award because he missed one game and parts of several others.
Anyway, it should be interesting to see how Detmer performs Saturday, without the pressure of the Heisman race hanging over him. The trophy winner will be announced that day, about six hours before BYU's game time, so Detmer will know one way or the other when he takes the field against Hawaii.
For BYU, the contest with the Rainbow Warriors will effectively be its third "bowl" game in a row. Two Saturdays ago the Cougars played Utah in a matchup that Ute players described as their "Super Bowl." And this past Saturday the Aggies portrayed their game with BYU as the "Cougar Bowl." Now comes Hawaii, and over there the supreme achievement of any season is beating those accursed mainlanders, the Cougars.
BYU should be ready to face the Warriors, at least health-wise. Detmer said he felt no pain from his injured shoulder Saturday, and the Cougars handled the Aggies without suffering the rash of injuries that the Utes inflicted on them.
Cougar halfback Matt Bellini said he will play in the Hawaii game, which can only help the BYU offense, although the trio of Stacey Corley, Scott Charlton and Eric Drage filled in admirably for him against USU. Corley had 31 yards on five carries and one reception for 32 yards; Charlton had 24 yards on six carries and two catches for 18 yards and a touchdown; and Drage caught two passes for 41 yards and one TD.
On the defensive side, BYU continues to improve. Such fairly unsung players as linebackers Scott Giles and Shad Hansen stepped up to have big days against the Aggies; Hansen led the team with nine tackles and Giles received the Geneva Steelman of the Week award. The Cougs registered four sacks to bring their total for the season to 43, and their five interceptions - by five different players - raised that total to 21.