Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
August 24, 2012How successful will the Cougars be this year? Look no farther than last year to prove how totally unpredictable a season can go for a certain team. A year ago a poster named jkccoug wrote that the offense was going to struggle mightily at the beginning of the season. He predicted that Heaps would struggle and that people would be calling for him to be benched, and he said that Doman would struggle as an OC until we reached the easy portion of the schedule. Almost everybody that read his post (including myself) thought that he was way off. That was a heck of a prediction. I can't say that I will be as on target as jkccoug, but here's how I see this season going.
I actually believe that BYU should be favored in every game they play this year but one. The AP preseason poll has BYU ranked just below the four most difficult opponents on the schedule this year, but it seems likely to me that BYU will finish the season ranked higher than any team they face. History tells us that BYU is going to win 10 games. This team is loaded with seniors and has a senior at the most important position. 16 returning starters, and finally a weight training and fitness program that is on par with the elite programs in the nation. There is continuity in the coaching staff and they all have a year under their belt. Although the Cougars should be the better team in 11 of their 12 games this year, I see them dropping one of those games and winning 10 games during the regular season. Cougar fans can also expect a win in their bowl game to put them at 11-2 to finish with a rather impressive record and final ranking.
Washington State will be a very interesting game as the athleticism of our secondary will be tested right out of the gate. WSU returns 13 starters, but has a brand new coaching staff. Jeff Tuel is back at quarterback, and he has an all american candidate at wide receiver in Marquess Wilson (JR) who is on pace to break every WSU receiving record by the time he graduates. Tuel is likely the best QB the Cougars will face this year and Wilson is undoubtedly the best WR on the schedule. If WSU's defense wasn't so bad then this would be a bad matchup for BYU because of how prolific the WSU passing game can be. Running teams usually have a hard time putting points on the board against BYU's stout run defense, so passing teams like WSU present a bigger challenge to the Cougars. It will be a very tall task for WSU to come out of Provo with a win, because Bronco is very good when he has more than a week to prepare for an opponent. If this game was any later in the season I would predict that it be higher scoring, but with it being the first game of the season, 31-24 BYU
If BYU is to play any FCS school, I like it to be a local school. So I like that aspect of the Weber State game. I would imagine that BYU will play one FCS team a year to get enough home games on the schedule annually. Hopefully when BYU does play an FCS team it is either Weber State or Southern Utah, I think it should be good for those programs.
54-10. How tired are BYU fans of hearing that score? BYU fans still hear about the 2008 game, so I'm sure that they will be reminded of 2011 for years to come. A victory in 2012 would help a lot in easing the pain of 2011. Wynn has looked better in fall camp, but he struggles with some of the same mental problems that seemed to affect Heaps. Once the green jersey comes off their game changes as the fear of getting hit/injured sets in. It appeared as though it affected Heaps in that he was rushed in getting his throw off, so he seemed to just go with his presnap read instead of going through his progressions. Wynn's affected by it in that he tends to throw off of his back foot in an effort to avoid contact. That was one of the reasons why he had no velocity on his ball and inconsistent accuracy. Wynn does usually make good decisions, so he's strong in that aspect mentally. On paper this should be a good matchup for BYU. Utah is a running team, with an offensive line that has struggled to protect the quarterback in scrimmage, a quarterback who is injury prone and afraid of getting hit, and a first year offensive coordinator. They should struggle to put points on the board. Unless of course John White IV runs for 174 yards and 3 TDs on 22 carries again. The Cougar defense should be chomping at the bit to show that they can stop him for an entire game. He only had 9 yards on 9 carries at the half, so I think it is likely that he will see limited success against a better conditioned and more motivated Cougar defense. Utah's defense will be elite, as will be the Cougar defense. So it should be a low scoring game, and with Brian Johnson being in his first year as an offensive coordinator, I see BYU's offense being a much better unit than the Utah offense. I can't pick BYU to go 12-1, so I have to pick two losses somewhere on the schedule. In 2010 it was obvious that BYU was the better team, and it took 6 fluke plays in the 4th quarter for Utah to pull out the victory. I could see a similar game here with BYU missing multiple field goals with their uncertainty in the kicking game, Utah forcing turnovers, and Riley giving up turnovers. 17-14 Utah
A short 5 days later BYU goes to Boise to face the Broncos. Boise State only has 5 returning starters on the team, and they lost the winningest quarterback in FBS history in Kellen Moore. All four of their starting defensive linemen from last year are in the NFL right now. In their scrimmage it took 6 drives for the offense to reach mid-field. If there is a year in the Cougar's series with Boise State that the Cougars should beat the Broncos, it's this year. Chris Petersen is one of the best coaches in the country, so they will be very well coached for how inexperienced they are. They have also been one of the top programs in the country for almost a decade too, so they do have great athletes waiting for their chance to take the field as starters. Boise State has two big games this year, MIchigan State in their opener, and BYU, and what Boise State does best is show up in big games. It is definitely to BYU's advantage to meet Boise State this early in the season with how inexperienced they are and how much experience this Cougar team has. But BYU will be coming off of a game in Rice Eccles while Boise State has a bye following their season opener at Michigan State, followed by a contest at home against the other Miami (OH) before their matchup against the Cougars. I would be shocked if Boise State didn't prepare for BYU the entire bye week following the Michigan State game. Expect another close one with experience (Riley) winning in a clutch situation 24-20 BYU.
I like the hiring of Norm Chow for Hawaii. Hopefully their program can make some good progress and get this game looking more like a rivalry. It wasn't close last year in Hawaii, and it will probably be a few years before Norm can recruit enough talent to make it a close game again. The potential is certainly there, especially when the game is played over there because of how big their home field advantage is. The disadvantage for Hawaii when they play on the mainland is just as big, so I don't see this being less than a 20 point victory for the Cougars.
Utah State comes to Provo again this year, but there shouldn't be any reason to storm the field after winning this game. Utah State lost two running backs and a middle linebacker to the NFL, and this BYU team will be a much better team than what Utah State has faced the last two years. I love what Coach Andersen is doing over there, and I hope that they are able to keep him around for a long time. That program is on the rise, and I think that they will be a contender in the WAC this year and when they join the MWC in 2013. I see their recruiting getting much better as time goes on, for a few reasons. The first obvious reason is the quality coaching, and the recent success on the field. The other reason is the upgrade from the WAC to the MWC, although this version of the MWC isn't much of an upgrade. Utah and BYU's improved recruiting is another reason why Utah State should experience more success in their recruiting. I forsee Utah State now being able to land a handful of in-state recruits every year that would have been talented enough to go to Utah or BYU in the past. The same caliber of recruit that dominated in the MWC for all of those years, but is now not quite athletic or talented enough to get an offer from either BYU or Utah as both of their recruiting pools expand. Utah State should continue to make a lot of progress, and become one of the top teams from a non-AQ conference. But the BYU team that took the field against Utah State in 2010 was the worst BYU team since Bronco took over the head coaching job, and the 2011 BYU team that Heaps led against Utah State didn't look much better. I think it will be a while until we see another close game against Utah State as BYU finally made it through that ugly rebuilding process from losing Max Hall, Dennis Pitta and Harvey Unga in 2009. 14+ point victory for BYU.
Oregon State has gone two years in a row of totally underacheiving after so many years of overacheiving, including a few straight years of being one game away from a Pac-10 title. They will get back to form, but it won't be this year. They'll be better this year since they were so young and inexperienced last year, but games are won and lost in the trenches and Oregon State is lacking there on both sides of the ball. Just like WSU, they pass the ball a lot, they don't even try to run the ball, and they don't play much defense. They aren't as talented as WSU is offensively however, so I don't see it being as close as the WSU game. 10 point victory for BYU
BYU travels to Notre Dame to play the Fighting Irish in the first game of a long series that will hopefully become an annual home and home between the Irish and Cougars some day. The more BYU beats the Irish over the next six games of the current 2 for 1 deal the better in showing that BYU is worthy of a home and home. At the same time, BYU could sweep Notre Dame in those 6 games and Notre Dame might still ask for a 2 for 1 and might still get it, because their fan base is that big and because they know they can still get the 2 for 1 from us. I think that Brian Kelly is a good coach, and he has a lot of talent to work with. Starting at QB will either be junior Tommy Rees who is suspended for the first game and "can attempt to climb the depth chart" after the first game, or one of two dual threat sophomore quarterbacks. I believe that playing against the best elevates your game, and before the matchup with the Cougars Notre Dame will have played Michigan State, Michigan, the real Miami, and Stanford. This should be another close game, but Notre Dame's solid defense, athleticism and home field advantage should give them a slight edge. 24- 21 Notre Dame
Georgia Tech has their senior quarterback returning whose average yards per attempt would have been tops in the nation last year if he had attempted enough passes to qualify. He also led Georgia Tech in rushing yards who finished the season with the second most rushing yards in the country. Georgia Tech's offense has more big play ability than Air Force ever did since they have a quarterback who throws the ball so well right now. BYU will be assignment sound, and Bronco knows how to prepare against a triple option team. Georgia Tech's defense is pretty average, so I see BYU scoring enough points to win. This will be the second time this season that BYU bounces back from a close loss to win against a quality opponent on the road. The Cougars senior leadership and experience should help them win this game in what will be a grinding and physical victory. 27-21 BYU
The last three games of the regular season should be a great time for Taysom Hill to get a lot of reps in preparation for 2013. The coaching staff might hesitate to give him many reps before then as Lark should be given every opportunity to log game experience before he's needed when Riley goes down with an injury. The question is how long Riley will be out when he gets hurt, Cougar fans should count on Riley missing some time at some point during the season. When Riley does go down, Lark will be ready. I don't expect much of a drop off in the offense with Lark at the helm, so I wouldn't change any game predictions based on Riley's health. One of the teams that BYU plays in the last three games is San Jose State, who actually played decent against BYU without their senior RB in the game. It was great to see San Jose State have such a good season last year, they are on the rise, and hopefully they can keep it up. But BYU will beat them by a pretty good margin, and BYU will beat Idaho and New Mexico State by an even bigger margin. Expect a lot of Williams, Hine and Taysom. This is the last of the miserable Independent Novembers, but Cougar fans should still attend/tune in to see the youth of the program get some reps.
Air Force will probably finish second in the MWC, but it might be too tempting for the Poinsettia Bowl not to pick the third place SDSU Aztecs to face the Cougars in their Bowl game. Either way it will be a good game with plenty of emotion. BYU's senior laden team will leave it all on the field, and the old rivalry will be renewed for one night. Whoever BYU faces, BYU should win by 10+ points and finish with an 11-2 record and a top 15 finish in the polls. BYU should go undefeated at home, avoid that one (or two) ugly blow out(s) that Cougar fans have had to witness every year since 2008, and have a very real shot of winning every individual game on the schedule.