BYU can perhaps take some solace in the fact it was not the only victim of a blowout during the bowl games:
- There was the No. 3-ranked proud Texas team being dismantled, 46-3, by Miami in the Cotton Bowl.- Big 10 power Illinois, the only team that defeated Colorado, was destroyed, 30-0, by Clemson in the Hall of Fame Bowl.
- Louisville hammered Alabama, 34-7, in the Sunkist-Martin Luther King Jr. Fiesta Bowl.
- Syracuse blanked Arizona, 28-0, in the Aloha Bowl.
Still, BYU's 65-14 loss to Texas A&M in the Sea World Holiday Bowl is more disturbing than any of the above.
BYU's bowl demise followed another disaster - that nightmare night in the Hawaiian Islands Dec. 2 when Hawaii destroyed the then No. 4-ranked Cougars, 59-28. The margin of that loss by itself is difficult to understand. The Cougars had a year to prepare for basically the same kind of offense and defense that Hawaii used last season while running over, through and around BYU, 56-14.
Yes, Hawaii was highly motivated to be playing the No. 4-ranked team and the squad that had the Heisman Trophy winner. What team wouldn't be?
And, yes, Texas A&M was highly motivated to be playing the Heisman Trophy winner and having the chance to redeem a disappointing season by making a strong showing against the Cougars in the Holiday Bowl. Nothing strange about that.
What is strange is that the Cougars weren't equally motivated nor, just as important, equally prepared.
When the wheels started coming off, they really came off. If there were adjustments made in either game, they weren't noticeable.
BYU has long campaigned for more national recognition - the Cougars got a lot of it this year with the upset of Miami and the Heisman Trophy. But with that recognition comes a price - a price that teams like Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Miami and Nebraska face every week. Their opponents are always up for them. The game against them is usually the highlight of the opposing team's season. The top teams have learned to deal with that.
DISNEYLAND OR NOT?: Six weeks ago, BYU was considered a lock to get one of the berths of the second Disneyland Pigskin Classic game at Anaheim Stadium in late August - Tennessee and Colorado played in the first one. The probable foe mentioned was Washington. While the Cougars are still under consideration their participation is no longer certain.
"They certainly didn't help themselves by the way they played the last two games," stated Tim Gleason, the assistant director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The preseason football games committee of NACDA determines the teams for both the Pigskin Classic and The Kickoff Classic. BYU played against Boston College in The Kickoff Classic in 1985. The committee is meeting next week during the NCAA convention in Nashville to make the selections for both games.
NO. 1 VS. NO. 1 SHOWDOWN?: Not that it will settle anything for this season, but Colorado, the No. 1-ranked team by sportswriters and sportscasters (Associated Press poll) may face Georiga Tech, the top-ranked team by the coaches (United Press International poll), next season in The Kickoff Classic. Of course the teams will be somewhat different, the most notable absentee being Colorado running back Eric Bienemy, who will have graduated to the National Football League.
ROSE BOWL SOLUTION?: This, courtesy of Bob Keisser of Knight Ridder:
"How about this as a solution to the Big Ten/Rose Bowl dilemma? Each year, the Big Ten sends out its best band and keeps the football team at home. That way we'll have good football and good music."