I should love BYU.
They've played two games. They've won two games on miraculous Hail Mary heaves.
They're led by freshman QB Tanner Mangum, who has proven to be an anthropomorphic Mormon trebuchet, capable of launching the ball accurately 50 yards downfield, whether stationary or sprinting. They recovered from a brutal, season-ending injury to a thrilling star QB with sunshine and rainbows.
They're the rare team that chose on its own accord to test itself with a tough schedule when it doesn't need to. The clips of them smiling and celebrating and hugging refs have made me want to smile and celebrate and hug.
I want to love this team. I should love this team. But then they keep doing the dirtiest stuff.
Saturday night, against Boise State, BYU's Ului Lapuaho was fighting for a ball ... and he decided to smash a Bronco in the groin.
No ifs, ands, or buts there. He balled up his fist and punched his opponent in the balls.
The week before, BYU defensive back Jordan Preator appeared to lunge into the back of a Nebraska receiver's legs well after he had any reason to attempt making a play.
BYU fans tried to argue he merely tripped, but it looks like he gathers right into the vulnerable back of the Nebraska player's legs.
And BYU's last game of last year, the Miami Beach Bowl, ended in a brawl with this:
Of course, Memphis was fully involved in that brawl, and BYU suspended or otherwise punished players afterward, but still.
BYU has long been one of the most penalized teams in college football. I'm fine with that. If you need to play at the edge of the rules, as Bronco Mendenhall asserts you should, that's fine. That's just football.
But in three straight games, BYU players have done things that not only fall outside of what's legally allowed according to the rules of football, but also outside the bounds of common decency. In three straight games, BYU players have more or less tried to injure opponents. The ball punch is funny, albeit painful-looking. Rolling up on a leg or sucker punching the back of a guy's head could have ramifications long past a moment of anger.
Please, BYU, stop doing these things. I want to love you. But as long as I fear that you'd smash my body parts in an instant if it slightly benefited your team, I can't.