If Arizona coach Mike Stoops has accomplished anything this year, he has made himself the most identifiable enemy of Mormons in college football.
Consider the actions and probable motivations of his Arizona Wildcats just this season:
- On a last second field goal Arizona defeats Brigham Young University in their opening game. This loss eliminates the Cougars from BCS contention in a year where they stand head and shoulders above any other team in their conference. As if to rub salt in the wound, Arizona follows up this win by losing to LSU 45-3, thus making BYU's loss seem even more pathetic. John Beck's Heisman campaign is scuttled early.
- Ben Olson, quarterback, anticipated savior of a floundering UCLA program (Southpaw Jesus to the Bruins Nation), returned Mormon Missionary, golden boy... injured by Arizona defender and forced to sit out most, if not all, of the remaining season.
- When the California Golden Bears rolled into Tuscon last week, they were led by an emerging college superstar by the name of Nate Longshore. Longshore has publicly wrestled with the conflict between his football career and his intended Mormon mission. Arizona intercepts Nate three times, returning one for the game-winning touchdown against a team many were predicting was good enough to land in the National Championship game.
- Spencer Larsen returns from his Mormon mission to find a new coach at Arizona: a blond man with a rage-red face and no volume knob. Although Larsen becomes a starting linebacker, Mike Stoops singles him out for three-a-days and assigns him to fold the coaching staff's laundry.
Are all of these pointed misfortunes which have befallen Latter Day Saints in the presence of Mike Stoops mere coincidence? We think not.
With an 11-21 record in 3 years, Stoops hasn't exactly distinguished himself as a football genius. Not everyone, or even much of anyone, falls victim to the cunning and prowess of Mike Stoops. And on those rare occasions when he does win, its improbability can only be explained through supernatural intervention.
Which raises the question: is Mike Stoops an anointed and ritually-sworn tool of bedevilment to Mormons?
The demon seed theory is easy enough to grasp. In a year where Mormon football players seem poised to monopolize the game from both within and without the lord's university, the Stoops effect has muted their potential influence on football culture and American culture. John Beck will not bear his testimony to the world at a Heisman ceremony.
But surely, the victims of the Stoops crusade are not wholly innocent. In this light Mike Stoops is neither demon oppressor nor secular spoiler, but rather a tool of god to remind the chosen people of Zion--that is, god's new and improved chosen people of Zion--that they must hold fast to the iron rod, lest they start thinking they're all that.
We can only speculate on what misdeeds might warrant divine retribution at the hands of a visor-wearing angel of justice:
- Living in Berkeley, Nate Longshore may be a lamb in Babylon, but Cal's starting quarterback has confessed his hunger for pop tart Jessica Simpson on national television. Indeed, the sweaty intonation of her name bespoke the tsunami of lust and guilt which is the hallmark of all Mormon youth. Is it wild speculation to suggest that the difference between a 20 of 24 performance against UCLA and a 17 of 36 (with 3 picks) disaster against Arizona could be a 19 year old Mormon boy left alone in his dorm room with a copy of Dukes of Hazard? Perhaps the lack of eligible Mormon girls in Berkeley is to blame, but clearly Nate is burdened by distractions in the pocket. As Nate's bishop will surely tell him: you can't make touchdown passes with a hand that has been violated.
- And Ben Olson. What kind of 23 year old returned missionary isn't married already. At least once. The sinning kind, that's who. Not to mention his broken commitment to BYU, where he would be safely backing up John Beck and impregnating his Mormon wife with their third child by now.
- And speaking of unmarried 23 year old Mormons... the marrying age amongst young Mormons is rising, even at BYU, where the average engagement lasts about three dates and rounding second base. Even though BYU's second year coach Bronco Mendenhall has reinforced the BYU honor code (no drinkie, no smoke doobie, no touchie--yourself or others, except in fellowship) which former coach Gary Crowton torched (with losing and legal consequences), the overall trend of young adult Mormons to prolong their non-breeding years cannot sit well in a theology which views familial obligation as welcome mental castration.
- Spencer Larsen's specific failings are not obvious, except that he's a good Mormon linebacker, and he's not playing at BYU. Vengeance is mine, thus sayeth Stoops.
So is Mike Stoops doing the lord's work or the devil's? Is he a punisher, or just cock-blocking the Mormon dominance of West Coast football out of spite?
Mike Stoops works in mysterious ways.