Joel Klatt Dunks On Colin Cowherd In Debate Centered Around BYU Football

Dec 2, 2020, 3:14 PM
Joel Klatt - College Football...
College Football analyst Joel Klatt went to the defense of BYU football in a segment with Colin Cowherd. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )

PROVO, UtahΒ – Add FOX’s Joel Klatt as another well-respected college football voice going to BYU football’s defense.

BYU is currently ranked No. 13 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. For those people like Joel Klatt, that ranking is far too low for the undefeated Cougars. Others, such as national radio host Colin Cowherd, feel BYU has been ranked appropriately.

The two discussed BYU during Wednesday’s edition of “The Herd.”

“I am tired of one argument as I am fact-based and a science defender. That’s all I’m about. If I hear one more time, ‘how can you put a two-loss Georgia team above BYU?’ Because I have eyes, and they’re way better,” said Cowherd.

Klatt humbly disagreed with that statement from Cowherd. Cowherd pointed to recruiting rankings, and NFL Draft picks as evidence of why a team like Georgia, who has two blowout losses, is better than undefeated BYU.

“To your point about Georgia, the pushback I would give you is that it just can’t be a beauty contest, right,” asked Klatt. “In the Olympics, we don’t just say, well, you know, this person wins the gold medal because we just know they’re better.”

Cowherd replied, “Why can’t it be a beauty contest?” To which Klatt then said, “Well, because the game has to matter. Or else why do we have a scoreboard?”

Klatt, who is on FOX’s number one TV crew with Gus Johnson, passionately said that he feels the College Football Playoff rankings shouldn’t be based on recruiting rankings and should be based on what happens on the field for teams to get into the national conversation.

In 2020, BYU has been dominant on the field. That’s where the conversation between Klatt and Cowherd shifted back to the 9-0 Cougars.

“I think you’re pointing more of this towards BYU. I feel some animosity towards BYU,” Klatt said to Cowherd.

Joel Klatt defends BYU Football

“You have to keep in mind that this year is so much different,” said Klatt. “On BYU’s original schedule, you had Michigan State, Arizona State. You had Stanford, you had Utah, all sorts of Power 5 teams that then pulled themselves off of that schedule. So BYU scrambled to keep a schedule intact at all.”

BYU coach Kalani Sitake has been hitting this point home during his press conferences and media availability as of late. The Cougars were the only team out west that was still moving forward with playing football when everyone else was shutting down their seasons. When the Big Ten shut down, BYU still moved forward and picked up games against teams willing to play.

Klatt continued, “All I’m trying to tell you is the same type of people that are sitting in the committee room telling me that BYU is no good based on their schedule are the same type of people that are preventing BYU from having a good schedule in the first place, the athletic directors. So I don’t want to hold it against these kids who don’t make the schedule themselves.”

The arguments Cowherd made for determining rankings based on NFL Draft picks and recruiting, Klatt turned that into further evidence BYU should be higher in the rankings.

“Zach Wilson is in the Heisman conversation. I think he could be a first-round NFL Draft pick, by the way. You want to talk about draft picks and prospects, how about the best position on the field? Georgia would trade quarterbacks for Zach Wilson in a heartbeat. So this notion that BYU is just not anywhere close to as good as Georgia, I’m not sure if that’s the case this year. By the way, in the last two years, BYU has beaten Wisconsin, Tennessee…”

Cowherd responded, “Tennessee stinks.”

Klatt, “Fine. They’re one of your SEC darlings, though. They recruit better than BYU. They’ve recruited in the Top 15. But you just told me that recruiting is all I need to know.”

Cowherd, “No, I didn’t say it’s all I need to know. I am a strong proponent of looking at, who do you have? Now, if Georgia had five losses, I’d be like, get out of here.”

Klatt, “Oh, so that’s what it takes? Your standard is five losses? You have to have five losses. But no losses for BYU in a schedule that they had to make from the scrap heap is no good? Just get out of here?”

Klatt: What is BYU supposed to do?

Cowherd countered Klatt asking, “so you’re giving BYU credit for games they didn’t play?”

Klatt said he’s giving them credit for who they have played because of BYU’s dominance against the 101st ranked strength of schedule.

“What should a good team, or a great team do against bad competition, what should they do? BYU leads the country in point differential, 33.7. Better than any of the other schools in the country, they’re second in the country in yard margin per game. What’s Zach Wilson, Kalani Sitake supposed to do? You tell me. Just recruit better? Do they need to have the bag man come in?”

Klatt is just dunking on Cowherd at this point of the conversation. Because he makes a fair assessment. What can BYU do? The Cougars have publicly expressed they want more games. Tom Holmoe has told Kalani Sitake to prepare for a 12-game season. BYU wants to add two more games. No one else is taking up BYU on their feelers. So that should knock them down to No. 13?

Creating a better system for college football

Despite the slam dunks by Klatt, Cowherd wasn’t budging, and he still believed Georgia should be anywhere from seven to ten in the rankings and ahead of BYU. Klatt then went in on the current Playoff Committee system.

“You know if we actually had math that made sense. See folks, here’s the deal, if you just understand math, even, basically, you would understand that a 13 variable equation, which is what the committee is, has the highest statistical variance of each variable. So one bias here or there is going to wildly swing the outcome. Would you agree with that?

“In the BCS system, while it only included two teams at the end, you had hundreds if not thousands of inputs variables. The statistical variance of those variables was much lower than we have right now. So, I’m supposed to be told that the 13 people in that room know better, even though they’re the same type of people that are holding BYU down from a schedule standpoint when all the human polls and computer polls that would have been used in the BCS would have put BYU right around seventh or eighth.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter:Β @Mitch_HarperΒ and theΒ KSL Sports app.

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