The BYU Cougars take on the Ol' Miss Rebels tomorrow at 2:45 pm Idaho Time. The game will be on ESPN and easy to find on any of America's sixty billion TV sets. As you know, we are a dedicated Cougs Fan. GO COUGS!
Since we won't have time tomorrow to write a pre-game report here we are Friday night at 10:30 pm putting together how we think this gane will shake out.
First off, it's going to be as high as 95 degrees with a humidty of probably 90 percent. Let's face it--coming from the high and dry climes of the Salt Lake Basin those conditions are basically borderline unbearable. A lot of this game will turn on whether the Cougs can handle the typical Mississippi heat and humidity. The other factor is the hostile environment. Ol' Miss has one of the most hostile stadiums in college football. Not only that but fans there are considered to be some of the toughest, baddest fans anywhere. They commonly greet opposing teams at the airport to heckle them as they get off the airplane.
But get this--Sports Illustrated says Ol' Miss has the Number One tailgating culture in AMERICA! See this Wikipedia report on The Grove. The motto of the Oxford, Mississippi fans is simple: "We might lose a game but we've never lost a party." No kidding, that is their motto. Booze flows like water in rivers. The tailgating takes place in a legendary area called The Grove. The Grove is TEN ACRES of old growth oak trees, some probably as old as Gone With The Wind. Thousands of wildly juiced fans gather there before each home game and do what such fans do--get more juiced. Sports Illustrated says The Grove has no peer in America. After the tailgating ends, all of these juiced-up file into one of the most hostile stadiums in America. The noise level in that 62,000 seat stadium is said to rival any other stadium in college football. Soooo.....THIS is what the Cougs are facing tomorrow.
Forget about Who's Who on the roster. Forget about anything but 95 degree heat in 90+ percent humidity. Just focus on 62,000 Rebel fans screaming at the top of their juiced lungs. Frankly, no matter how the Cougs stack up against the Rebels, this is all that matters. Whether the Cougs can walk away winners has everything to do with their ability to handle total adversity. It's more about the environment than it is about football. The Cougs might be an awesome team but it might not show tomorrow. Nope, local circumstances might take the Cougs right out of their game.
Let's put it this way--if the Cougs can win this one they are going to be in good shape this fall. If they lose, well, all bets are off. We pray they will do well but the odds are impossibly stacked against them. They simply couldn't open the season in a more adverse environment than Ol' Miss.
All we can say is GO COUGS!