The BYU Cougars and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers certainly made headlines last week when, as ranked teams, they agreed just more than 48 hours in advance to play last Saturday afternoon.
Although the game ended in heartbreak for the Cougars and their fans as Dax Milne was stopped one yard short of a touchdown that would have given BYU the win as time expired, national media loved that the impromptu contest had such great drama.
ESPN’s David M. Hale wrote that the matchup was “the game of the year,” and proposed that even after the pandemic is over, a weekend be set aside for last-minute games to be organized.
“Schedule it two weeks out, a lifetime compared to what Coastal and BYU got to prepare — and give the rest of the country a real look at the teams it has probably overlooked all year,” he wrote.
CBS’ Ben Kercheval had a similar thought, writing, “The 2020 college football season has been one that’s showed us, in action, what long-term changes the sport needs to make. It starts with turning scheduling upside down.”
Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, Athlon Sports’ Bryan Fischer and The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel wrote how the game was refreshing because it made fans pay attention to some teams other than those that are truly vying for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
“Neither is going to the playoff,” Forde wrote of the Cougars and Chanticleers. “Neither is winning a national championship. But they had this moment — when the college football nation watched two teams from outside the Establishment get together on a whim and stage a classic.”
Added Fischer: “College football will always have a postseason bent and especially so in the closing stretch before Selection Sunday. But as a Saturday stand at the one-yard line reminded us, it’s also so much more than just those final four.”
Wrote Mandel: “It’s as if the heavens opened up and dropped Coastal Carolina-BYU from the sky right when we needed it most.”