I hate bye weeks.
Especially after big wins.
In 2011, the Utes, fresh off a stunning 54-10 victory over BYU, rolled into their bye week with some serious momentum. After a week off, though, they came out of the gate in a pivotal Pac-12 match flat, uninspired and fragile, losing not only Jordan Wynn for the season, but also the game to Washington 31-14.
I'm not going to lie, part of me is having a bit of a flashback. The Utes, like in 2011, enter their bye week 0-1 in Pac-12 play - that loss coming in the waning moments of the game - and on the heels of a big win down in Provo. When the season does resume a week from today, they'll face a tough opponent for their chance to truly make some noise.
It all sounds so familiar.
I don't know. I think it's best to jump right back into action after a big win. BYU, who a few weeks ago upset 15th ranked Texas, expected that momentum to carry into their game against Utah. How would the game have played out had the Cougars not had an extra week to just sit around inflating their egos?
Then again, Utah didn't have a bye week last season after a potential season-defining victory over BYU and then, a week later, got rocked on the road against Arizona State. It was, by far, the ugliest game of that season and really derailed any idea the team would be very competitive the remainder of the way. So, maybe the bye week is irrelevant to a team's play - and since UCLA is also on a bye, you would think the break would be negated somewhat.
Or not. I don't know.
What I do know is that I'm enjoying this season and I want more football. It's been, by far really, the most exciting first four weeks since 2010, and yes, that also includes the devastatingly awful loss to Oregon State. As bad as that game hurt to watch, I'm not going to deny how amazing it was to watch. Couple that with victories over USU, who looks every bit as legitimate as maybe we anticipated this year, and BYU, who has a defense capable of winning 'em some games and this season is turning into showtime on the football field.
The fact we'll get a week off does nothing for me because I'm excited to see what Utah does next. I didn't really have that feeling last year because, deep down, I knew the ceiling for the team wasn't all that high. This season, even though I suspect things will still be tough, I'm not sure how good these Utes can be. I don't want to oversell the idea, especially when the defense is still shakier than a crack addict detoxing, but the ceiling for this year's Utes feels considerably higher than last year's team.
But of course, we're going to have to wait an extra week to really see what this team is capable of ... and that's no fun. What I know is that Thursday's game against UCLA might not be a must-win, but it's certainly a chance to shake things up in the Pac-12 South. Utah won't become an instant contender with a win, but they'll position themselves quite nicely and you can't ask for a better situation than that.
Sadly, we still have to wait a week.
Yes, I hate bye weeks.