What If… Scott Mitchell Went To BYU Instead Of Utah?

Aug 17, 2021, 9:56 AM
Scott Mitchell - Utah Utes...
CIRCA 1987-1989: Scott Mitchell, #19 quarterback of the University of Utah Utes football team throws the ball upfield to an open receiver during a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by University of Utah/Collegiate Images via Getty Images)
(Photo by University of Utah/Collegiate Images via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – This past week, Marvel released its highly anticipated “What if…?” television series which explores alternate storylines to the classic stories with characters like Iron Man, Black Panther, and others taking different paths than what has been seen in the recent Marvel movies. KSL UnRivaled decided to have some fun with the butterfly effect of Utah sports.

The most interesting “What If” revolves around one of Unrivaled’s hosts Scott Mitchell who grew up in Utah County going to Springville High School and related legendary coach LaVell Edwards, but ended up playing his college football career at the University of Utah. Mitchell always felt he was going to play college football in Provo but that is not how things went.

“When I was being recruited in high school, I always thought I was going to BYU,” he said. “I was born and bred to go to BYU. There was no reason on earth I shouldn’t have gone to BYU.”

The decision to be a Ute came during a phone call with then-head coach Jim Fassell and Mitchell felt at ease during that call.

“In the middle of the conversation, I had this powerful feeling of warmth and peace come over me,” Mitchell said. “This was why I went to Utah. Nothing to do with anybody’s schemes, opportunities, things like that. It was that feeling at that moment.”

Mitchell went on to have a great career with Utah; setting many school records that still stand today including career passing yards and touchdowns, despite playing just three years. He then went on to have a solid 12-year NFL career. He also ended the Utes nine-game losing streak to BYU, threw for 384 yards to go along with two touchdowns, and had an epic postgame interview regarding a lucky penny.

So, his career with the Utes ended up going well with so many records, ending the losing streak to BYU, and getting drafted in the NFL.

What If Scott Mitchell Stayed Home?

Mitchell talked about how his football career would have been different had he decided to stay home and go to BYU, instead of going to Utah. The Cougar football program was superior compared to the Utes between 1987-89 when Mitchell was in college. BYU was 28-11, was ranked sporadically during those years, and went to three bowl games. The Cougars’ offense was slinging the ball as Edwards’ offense was taking the college football world by storm. Utah was not on the same level with just one winning season in 1988 with a 6-5 record and no bowl games.

Mitchell being bold said that if he chose BYU, he would have had a much different career and won awards. Also, it would have changed the path of Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer who may not have gone to BYU if Mitchell was under center.

“I talked to a lot of people about this, and I would have won the Heisman Trophy,” Mitchell said confidently. “Ty Detmer came in 1987 and I would have been a year ahead of him. The way they did it back then was a hierarchy, the oldest guy always played at BYU. I joke with Ty from time to time and say, ‘hey, that is my Heisman trophy can I have it on weekends.’ Detmer [told Mitchell] if you had gone to BYU, I would not have gone to BYU.”

Things would have been a lot different for BYU and Utah had Mitchell had gone onto be a Cougar over a Ute. Mitchell feels he would have been a first-round draft pick and change his NFL future as well by going to a different team and getting the chance to play sooner than later.

Who really knows how Mitchell’s career would have turned out had he gone to BYU over Utah but that is what is fun by pondering about what if he did.

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