Friday, October 14, 2011

Roundtable Predictions - BYU @ Oregon State

BYU 24, OSU 13
BYU sticks with their "high risk, high reward" option at quarterback with Riley Nelson, and it works well for the Cougars in the end. The offense won't put up huge numbers, but they will control field position, helping out the defense. We will see more of Michael Alisa in the running game, but don't expect another 96-yard performance. OSU quarterback Sean Mannion will start strong but in the end will show his freshman colors.


BYU 28, OSU 24
I have now reached a new level of irrationality in my prediction. I now longer use any sort of analysis to make my predictions, just the warped belief that BYU has to play better than how they're playing (they just have to). I know a lot has been said about Oregon State's poor play so far this year, but if we're being honest, BYU hasn't been that much better. Nelson alternated between brilliant and "what the crap?" against San Jose State, leaving Cougar Nation a little bit schizophrenic with our positions in the Great QB Debate of 2011. And with the Beavers getting one more week to gameplan against Nelson than the Spartans had, things could get ugly. Fast.
Here's where I (perhaps mistakenly) tell myself our defense keeps us in this one and then drink still more kool-aid by saying surely this is the week our QBs get it together for good. Fingers crossed.

BYU 34, OSU 24
I'm not convinced Riley Nelson is the better option at QB right now. He essentially had one good half against SJSU, which is what Heaps did against far better competition. However, certain players do seem to play better with Nelson in at QB. Nelson is more mature, and I can see him eliminating some of the mistakes from last week (probably won't toss the ball up as though he was playing a game of "500"). I think the defense will be solid, but the offense may put them in a bad position a couple times. Our run game continues to improve - especially Juice Quezada. BYU leaves Corvallis with a win, but the Cougars, once again, fail to impress.

BYU 27, OSU 21
It scares me that BYU opened as 1.5 point favorites and now are 3 point underdogs going into this game at Oregon St. As inconsistent as the BYU offense has been so far this season, Riley Nelson has provided a spark, and right now, the team is better with him at quarterback. Oregon St., on the other hand, despite getting a win at home against Arizona, has not looked good at any point this season. They are a young team, starting 7 freshman, and I find it hard to believe that the Beavers have any advantage in this game other than home field. I expect Riley Nelson and the offense to be as effective as they were against San Jose St. and limit the turnovers this time around. Remember that last Saturday night was the first game Riley had started in over a year. The defense will be solid and make plays like they have all year and give BYU the chance to win the game.

Special Guest: Garth, Oregon State Alumnus
OSU 35, BYU 13
Two Facts:
Fact #1: You may have heard that Bronco Mendenhall used to play and coach at Oregon State. He didn't win very often in either capacity while in Corvallis posting a 13-53 record.
Fact #2: BYU  is 0-2 against teams from BCS conferences whose campus is located west of the Mississippi this year, losing by an average score of 35-13.
Expect both trends to continue: OSU 35, BYU 13.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dear Riley Nelson...

Dear Riley Nelson,

I wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to you. I have been drinking the Riley-flavored Hate-orade all season, and I can clearly see I was unfair to you. What you brought to the field against Utah State, as we were down by 11, was confidence and an ability to get the team to believe in you. The team worked harder and made plays they just weren't making with Jake Heaps as the quarterback. You put this team on your back and carried us to a 4th-quarter comeback. Utah State had no answer for your scrambling ability. After the game, when you could have said you should be the starter, you didn't. You took the high road. I don't know how the rest of the season will play out, but I am glad you had the opportunity to beat Utah State.

Scott Gower
Cougaracity Contributor

Friday, September 30, 2011

Roundtable Predictions: USU Edition

Here are the Roundtable Predictions from Cougaracity contributors. I apologize for the lack of content this week. These Friday-night games throw me off. We'll be better next week and in the future:

Preston - BYU 24, Utah St. 13
If we have learned anything in the first four games of this season it is that the BYU defense is for real.  They have risen to the occasion time after time and bailed out the inept offense to steal wins at Ole Miss and last Friday night at home to Central Florida.  I expect to see more of the same from the BYU defense, and maybe, just maybe... some life from Jake Heaps and the offense as they look for a little revenge from last seasons embarrassment against Utah St.

Daniel - BYU 38, Utah St. 17
Most of the sparkle of Utah State's surprising performance against Auburn in week 1 has faded, since Auburn's defense has been exposed as downright bad. BYU, I think, poses the best defense the aggies have/will see all season. Expect Chuckie "Wonder Boy" Keeton to look his age (if he didn't already against Colorado State). Also, don't be shocked if this is the week Jake Heaps FINALLY gets his head on straight--last year's game gainst USU was far and away the low point for the 2010 Cougars, and discussion in the offseason indicates they haven't forgotten. Factor in the revenge narrative, and I think the Cougars run away with this one.
Scott - BYU 34, Utah St. 13
From all of the talk Utah State seems to be getting from BYU fans, you probably wouldn't think the Aggies were 1-2 this year. People have been talking up USU since the Auburn game, but is everybody blind to the fact that Auburn actually plays awful defense? They give up about 530 yards a game. And did USU's defense make a statement? No, sir. The other games were against Weber St. (an FCS team) and Colorado St. (a team BYU destroyed last year). CSU was the best defense USU faced, and the Rams would be the worst BYU has faced. I'm not saying USU's offensive numbers should be ignored, but they ought to be taken with a salt shaker at least. USU has not faced a defense even close to the Cougars. BYU's defense will make Turbin look considerably worse and will contain Chuckie Keeton. As the eternal optimist, I think Jake Heaps will have a solid game against the worst defense he's played so far, and the running game builds on last week's progress.
Ben S. - BYU 33, Utah St. 17

Firstlys, I think Gary Andersen has been prepping this game for 2 weeks. 2 things worry him- Kyle Van Noy, and #3... both on defense for BYU. I expect trickeration out of USU.  They are desperate for the first back to back victory versus BYU in a LONG time, and the first win in LES since the 70's.  Normally, USU sports a 3 man rush, with Turbin leading the way, and their freshman QB running a spread read attack.  They also employ several screen type plays. When USU is on offense, I would expect a rush/screen attack until BYU's defensive backfield starts to cheat up, then some trickeration to take place out of the safeties being up field.  BYU will counter this by trying to leave Uale and Sorensen in a 2 deep.  Blitz packages from P Hadley, Sampson, Pendleton, and KVN spying the QB will be used to stop the Aggie offense (which was very offensive last week, by the way). The Cougar offense will dial the passing back to about 30 passes per game. BYU will try to overpower USU's defensive line with multiple Karyia runs up to middle, and some outside runs to DiLuigi. Of note, one this that Jake Heaps needs to do is stay in the pocket with the ball longer.  2 seconds isn't cutting it.  In watching other very successful QBs this year, they are averaging a second or more longer in the pocket than Heaps.  The O line needs to give him time, and he needs to get comfortable in a D-I game.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Couple of Mornings After: BYU vs UCF from Jake

Four games into this season and one thing is pretty clear about this football team: This is not BYU football as we have known it.

In the last ten years we haven’t had a defense this athletic, an offense this inconsistent and a special teams unit that, well, is somewhat special. We hope that the offense will catch up in the coming weeks but at least we know that our defense will show up when we need it to.

At this point I think every BYU fan has to eat their slice of humble pie and accept the fact that everyone was 100% wrong with their expectations of the offense. I won't go into detail about what people were saying, but most of us were wrong.

The funny part is this offseason BYU did everything that we the fans wanted them to do. We wanted Robert Anae gone and we got it. We wanted Brandon Doman as the offensive coordinator and we got that too. I’m not saying that those moves were bad ones, but they obviously didn’t make everything perfect.

Why are we struggling on offense? I could write a masters thesis on this subject, but I’ll just try and shed some light on what I think could be causing some problems.

"So I'm NOT as bad as fans said?"
Even though we all hated him, Robert Anae had a good offensive system. He learned his stuff under the tutelage of Mike Leach at Texas Tech. That being said, dear Robert couldn’t game plan or play call for his life. He got out-coached on a regular basis and that’s what ultimately what led to his demise. But like I said, the system that he brought over with him from Tech was a good one.

When you have an offensive coordinator that was formerly an offensive line coach, you have someone who knows how that unit works, inside and out. In all of the years that Anae was at the helm, the one thing we could count on year in and year out was that we would have a rock solid offensive line. Anae built his plays from the perspective of an O-line coach.

This year we have Brandon Doman who played three years in the NFL as a backup QB then made his transition to coach the same position in the college game. He knows the quarterback position and what needs to happen for them to succeed.

It’s possible that Doman focused a little too much on developing a high-flying downfield attack without putting a lot of his time into how things would work up front. Maybe that’s why we are seeing so many running plays blown up in the backfield and miss-communication on blitz protection.

I understand that the offensive line isn’t 100% and our running backs are sub par at best, but the offensive coaches knew what kind of talent they had coming into the season. It’s not their job to make sure we know how much we need a better running back. They need to utilize the talent that they have and go from there.

Like any new coach, Doman will have his struggles with the new offense, but I trust that he and Mark Weber, the offensive line coach, will figure things out.

I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time talking about Jake Heaps but I will say this. Every single time he goes back to pass, I get this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that something really bad is going to happen.

This same exact things would happen back in 2002-2003 when Matt Berry would throw the ball. The sad thing is Jake has the potential to be as good as, if not better than, Max Hall or John Beck. As of right now, he’s just a head case. I can’t figure out if he is overthinking everything or if he isn’t thinking at all.

The biggest problem with Jake is his inability to put touch on his passes. He needs to take some time and watch a couple of Boise State game tapes. Jake could learn a thing or two from Kellen Moore on how to throw a catchable ball.

This is by far, the most entertaining defense that BYU has produced in the last 20 years. Last week I made the trek out to Provo and despite the fact that we got embarrassed, I came away knowing that we have a crazy athletic defense.

Before every game I have a ritual where I go down to the east sideline and watch BYU warm up. I have been doing this for the last three years and what I saw last Saturday was a defense that is bigger and faster than any BYU defense I have ever witnessed.

This is manifest in their play on the field as well. There are certain years when BYU has touted amazing athletes but for some reason it never really showed up on game day. These guys are for real. Kyle Van Noy is a freak of nature. If you watch that sack that he had on the last series, you don’t even see him on the screen then he flies into the backfield to take down one of the fastest QBs in Division I football. And that’s just one play.

My favorite aspect of this defense is the way they smack people in the mouth. Every game we have seen at least three or four hits we have seen hits that are highlight worthy. Just think about the last four games and try to count how many players the BYU defense has knocked out of the game for at least one play. By my count there are at least 12.

The defense isn’t perfect by any means, but they play hard and they are fun to watch. Even if they give up a big play they are still laying people out and causing turnovers.

Play of day goes to Cody Hoffman, not for his 93-yard kickoff return that ended a 13-year drought for he Cougars. On J.J. DiLuigi’s 18 yard touchdown run, Hoffman has a textbook block that allowed J.J. to cut up the field and into the end zone. Most wide outs will get lazy with their blocking technique but Cody stuck with it. It’s the little things like making a key block or running a good rout that will make a difference for this offense.

Posted by Jake
Follow him on Twitter

Friday, September 23, 2011

Roundtable Predictions for UCF

Well, you may have noticed we haven't said much this week (then again, you may not have noticed). We took some time off to internalize the Game Which Shall Not Be Named. We were able to observe some of the reactions from Cougar Nation, and we will have more on that next week, so stay tuned.

Anyway, we are a little short on roundtable participants this week. Frankly, between the self-imposed silence and remembering recently that the game is tonight, not everyone was able to throw in their two cents. However, we are hoping Preston, Scott, and Daniel are able to take us home tonight. Boom!


BYU 31, UCF 10

As always, I remain optimistic. I really do feel like the offensive struggle are based on the fact the personnel is still learning the offense and the first three games were against the three best defenses BYU will face all year (Remember TCU has the 103rd best defense despite playing a schedule no better than in 2010). The lack of running game is a huge factor, but the Utah game is not indicative of who BYU is as a team. Anyone with a brain that watched that game knows the SEVEN turnovers were an aberration not a trend. Consider how many drives were terminated by turnovers. Consider how the offense had several good drives last week. Consider how they did that with no run support. That will change. Once that happens, the success of the offense will increase as well. Heaps will throw for another 300+ yards, and the running game will finally pass the century mark. It's a different BYU from here on out.


BYU 35, UCF 17

You heard it here first. BYU will have zero trouble getting motivated following the game that will not be mentioned directly. Their defense (don't let last week's score fool you) was not the problem. BYU's woes continue to be a national worst 1.9 yards per carry, and Heaps deserves more credit for moving the ball than he's currently getting from Cougar Nation. Throw in the fact that there's no way BYU turns the ball over 7 more times, and I think we're in for a laser show from Heaps & co. Call me crazy today. But call me psychic tomorrow.


BYU 20, UCF 13

After attending one of the worst games in the program's history this past Saturday in the beat down that was the Cougar 54-10 loss to the Utes, I think BYU has nowhere to go but up. Central Florida lost a game last Saturday to Florida International by a touchdown, but it was a game in which they were favored to win by 17 points. I do not think Central Florida is playing at the level they have in the past, and BYU playing at home and coming off a humiliating loss I believe gives them the edge in this match up. PREDICTION: BYU rushes for over 100 yards for the first time this season

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Premature Box Score: BYU-Utah

Great Scott! This week's "Premature Box Score" is brought to you by ... Scott and Daniel. Read below for a peak into the future.
BYU 27, Utah 13 


Heaps: 24-37 for 247 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT


Collage done by Salt Lake Tribune
DiLuigi: 12 rushes for 35 yards
Quezada: 7 rushes for 28 yards
Kariya: 7 rushes for 20 yards, TD

ReceivingApo: 6 catches for 77 yards, TD
Jacobson: 4 catches for 35 yards
Hoffman: 3 catches for 45 yards
Wilson: 2 catches for 31 yards, TD

Falslev: 1 catch for 12 yards
DiLuigi: 6 catches for 33 yards
Holt: 2 catches for 24 yards
Defense1 recovered fumble
87 rushing yards allowed
180 passing yards allowed


I think this might be a mini-breakout game for Jake Heaps. His stats listed above aren't exactly setting the world on fire or anything, but they're solid and better than either of the first two games.

I'm a firm believer that Texas' defense is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Utah's. Last year it was ranked #6 for total yards allowed, despite having five of the top 20 offenses on its schedule. Utah was #19 with a schedule that included some of the worst offenses in the game: Wyoming (#116 out of 120), UNLV (#118), and New Mexico (#120).

But that was last year. Obviously, I'm not saying that Utah's defense is not good - certainly, it is. However, it is unproven. What do you take from beating Montana St.? What do you take from allowing USC 17 points, when USC only managed 19 points the week before against Minnesota (Minnesota, by the way, allowed 28 points against New Mexico State)?

I'm not convinced Utah's defense is any better than it was last year, but I think BYU's offense has grown since last year (really, I do), so I felt the stats would be not great, but an improvement over last year's game.

On the defensive side of the ball, I think we dominate. Jordan Wynn does not look very good at all. He looks worse than in years past, and always struggles against BYU's defense (career QB rating vs. BYU is 93.8, which is worse than Jake Heaps' was against Texas), and he's never seen BYU's defense as good as it is now.

If a group of duck hunters found a colony of wounded ducks, I think it is fair to say duck hunting would become significantly easier for those hunters. What's my point? Well, I guess I am saying I expect BYU's defense to see a lot of wounded ducks in the air tonight.

Go BYU! #BeatUtah

Friday, September 16, 2011

PB&J Report: Rivalry Week Edition

Cougaracity contributors Preston JohnsonBen Wagner, and Jake Welch podcast-ed it up once again this week. In this week's episode, the gang talk about BYU's huge Texas disappointment and BYU-Utah RIVALRY WEEK. Listen to it here and check out their blog here.

Also, you can subscribe to the PB&J Report by clicking on the link below:

Enjoy the game!

Roundtable Predictions: Utah at BYU

It's that time of the week again. Time for the Cougaracity Roundtable Predictions for the rivalry game: Utah vs. BYU. This week our special guest predictors were former BYU and Utah hoopsters Sam Burgess and Chris Burgess. Check out their predictions at one of these links:

Anyway, enjoy the predictions from our staff below, and click on their names to follow them on Twitter.


BYU 31, Utah 24 - This one is hard to pick, simply because I can't stop thinking about last Saturday. There are no excuses for not winning in Texas, and I wonder if the team is as hung up about that pointless loss as I am. But ultimately, I think there's going to be no trouble for BYU getting their minds right for Rivalry Week, even if it is coming mid-September vs. late November. If there was ever going to be a week to bring our ground game to life, this would have to be it. Utah doesn't sport the defensive speed of a Texas (or even an Ole Miss), and the Cougs should be able to clear enough space to get some semblance of a rushing game going.  Even if Utah can replicate Texas' second half defense and give Jake Heaps problems, I'd still take a befuddled Heaps over whatever type of Jordan Wynn is showing up on gameday. I like the Cougars in this one, winning by seven.


BYU 20, Utah 17 - Going with the same score as last time in my prediction against Texas which ended up being pretty close. I expect the same type of game as neither the Cougar or Ute offense has looked very explosive this season. With BYU having the revenge factor going into this year's rivalry game, along with being home, I think the Cougars pull it out late.

Ben W.

Utah 15, BYU 13 - Both offenses are terrible each scoring just one TD. BYU again kicks two field goals but leading 13-10 late, Jake Heaps gives Utah a safety and they then drive the ball to get a game winning FG. 15-13, Utah over BYU.

Ben S.

BYU 23, Utah 13 - The Cougar offense opens up, as the defense continues as one of the top defenses in the country. Jake Heaps throws multiple touchdowns, but the Cougar defense confuses Jordan Wynn into some costly turnovers. The rivalry game does not come down to a last minute play, and the Cougar win 23-13.


BYU 17, Utah 13 - Jake Heaps finally realizes that he needs to prove himself to the world and starts to play like a man instead of a child. He takes a few more risks and this will get him into trouble at times. Utah's offense will come up with two big plays that will keep them in the game but in the end BYU will be able to win the field position battle and squeak out a victory.


BYU 27, Utah 13 - Yes, once again, I have the most optimistic prediction among the Cougaracity contributors. However, this time it is more about how little I think of Utah's team (particularly on the offensive side of the ball) than my pie-eyed, head-in-the-clouds predictions of previous weeks. (But I will have you know, the 1st half of the TX game aligned pretty well with my prediction) Anyway, Jordan Wynn looks awful. He's not getting away with his wounded-duck throws forever, and this is the week it really bites him in the rear. Utah's defense is nowhere near as good as Texas' is, and, to me, it has only proven it can stop Montana State and do a slightly better job against USC than Minnesota (a team that allowed 28 points by New Mexico State). Expect better from Jake Heaps and Co.  I believe them when they say they're on the verge.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rivalry Predictions: Sam + Chris Burgess

Sam Burgess, Guard, BYU Cougars (2004-2008)

I've been following this rivalry for a long time and it usually ends up in a hard fought close game no matter who has the better team coming in. In the end I think BYU's defense will determine the outcome.
BYU 20 UTAH 17

Chris Burgess, Forward/Center, Utah Utes (2000-2002)

This is a rivalry game that should never die, regardless of conference affiliation (or non-affiliation). Utah currently has the upper-hand being 6-4 in the past 10 games (thank you Crowton years), and overall series leader. But with all the drama that there has been between these two teams e.g., Gomes, 34-31, Kaneshiro, cheerleader vs. fan, TDS, 3-0, Harline's still open, two Utah BCS/undefeated seasons, Max Hall, and last year's finish à la Burton.  BYU/Utah has lived up to and deserves the final game of the season hype and stage. To be talking BYU/Utah in September is wrong. 

Regardless, this year I am looking for the following from The Game: Utah's D to make Heaps give us a 2008 Max Hall performance, for Norm Chow to turn up the heat, and that Coach Whit and the Utes can leave Provo with a W. 31-10 Utah!

PS: Can someone get Bronco a new shirt? The skin color t-shirt needs to go. Majerus' sweater had more style than that.

Ben W takes another look at the video

Here's Ben Wagner's second by second breakdown of this atrocity.

0:14 - Seriously, that guy?! What dirt does he have on Tom Holmoe? It has to be something really good, because he is the official MC of EVERY BYU athletic event; oh and by the way he's terrible. I still have regular nightmares of him screwing some poor guy out of a 3 year old iPod Nano during one of the BYU bookstore giveaways during timeouts of BYU basketball games.

0:20 - Dear Mr. Holmoe, consider this an official request to have the cute blonde who ran events at BYU basketball games be the new designated MC at BYU Athletic Events.

0:23 - I really wish the BYU Football T-shirts said "Check Down" as opposed to "Rise Up"

0:24 – “The coaches and players have committed to rising up, and by that I mean run draws on 3rd and 9!”

0:43 - What's up with the drummers? They have their gamefaces on like they're part of the line backing corp. I guess they forgot they're in the band.

1:00 - Our colors are blue and white, pretty sure no one is going to be booed for having a white shirt on. Red is another story.

1:11 - “Lets go down to the tailgate Brah, I heard its EPIC! I heard someone’s got some sick Rockstar energy drinks, it’ll get us totally pumped to skip the game and go scam chicks at The Loft.”. – every guy at Belmont on Saturday

1:12 - seriously though, a massive Mormon tailgate? Oxford Mississippi this is not.

1:20 - I would follow the band into the stadium, except BYU ticketing "rotated" me the WORST seats in the entire stadium for Saturday's game (Southeast corner), which are on the other side of the stadium from the band. So after following them in I would have to traverse the whole stadium to get to my seats, which is really just inconvenient for someone as lazy as me. Not that I’m bitter.

1:29 - "Don't stop believing..... Check down to that running ba aaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaackkkkk!"

1:30 seriously, if anyone around me mentions "Glee" during the game I will punch them – in their throat. I’m looking at you freshman girl from heritage halls who is a physiology major at the moment but will undoubtedly change to a Family Life major after you get married next month.

1:40 - He’s dancing. I will have nightmares about this.

2:00 -aw9cvnikwarararararararararararararsfa=0]]]]]]]]]]]]]gjaw]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]w]

2:42 – Sebastian Janikowski?

3:01 – “That’s another Cougar… CHECK DOWN!”

3:18 – Its probably more important that you explain what the band will play when we kick a Field Goal.

4:47 – see comments for 2:00

Conclusion – Who is in charge of putting these together? Every year I wonder this, because every year the football videos are really bad. As opposed to the basketball videos, which are normally pretty good. I propose that there be some kind of sports promo video oversight committee, and it should probably consist of the Cougaracity contributors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BYU Athletics Video

One of the worst things I have ever seen... my thoughts:

Rule #1 "Wear Blue" - I'm superstitious, I actually never wear BYU shirts/jerseys to the games. I also have never seen anybody that wasn't wearing blue get handed a shirt to put on over whatever else it was they were wearing, pretty sure they made that up.

Rule #2 "Tailgate 2.5 Hours Before Kickoff" - How about you tailgate when you can fit it into your schedule? I know that student seats are all assigned anyway so why would I need to be there over an hour early after I finish tailgating? I'd rather spend my time watching the other days' games.

Rule #3 "Follow The Band Into The Stadium" - Never seen this done in my life. If they were doing it in the past, I probably just thought they were in the band and forgot their instrument.

Rule #4 "Don't Stop Believin'" - I sure hope to hell that Journey doesn't have to hear this... or anyone else for that matter.

Rule #5 - "Kickoff" - I'm pretty sure we have all been to a football game before, thanks though for the run through Rise Up dude.

Rule #6 "Cougar 1st Downs" - Once again, pretty sure we all know how to say "That's another Cougar, 1st down", but maybe that's just me.

Rule #7 "Touchdowns" - Yes, we all sing the fight song when BYU scores a touchdown. Not positive, but I'm pretty sure every university in the nation does the same thing, I'll double check on that.

Rule #8 "As They Take The Field" - That was the most clever thing we could come up with?

Rule #9 "Third Down Make Noise" - I sure hope that cue random song isn't these guys in the video singing "Don't Stop Believin'"

Follow him on Twitter

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It does feel weird this game is happening already, doesn't it? It's been less than 10 months since the play which shall not be named. We'll be back later on in the week with predictions and also special celebrity predictions from both sides of the rivalry.

But for now, I'm going to go ahead and risk being accused of "living in the past." Here's a quick recap of the BYU-Utah Rivalry games from the last five years. BYU 3, Utah 2. Saturday is the day to clinch the "7-game series."





Monday, September 12, 2011

Reactions from the Texas game

Obviously, all of Cougar Nation was devastated by the loss against Texas on Saturday night. We all thought a 13-point lead was safe - especially with the way our defense was playing.

Anyway, here are a few of the things I took away from the game: 


I hesitate to do this, because it was only Brandon Doman's second game as an offensive coordinator. However, we were promised unpredictability in this offense, and in the second half of that game, we didn't see it. After halftime, we started to rely on a run game that didn't work in the first half and certainly didn't amount to anything in the second half either.

What I don't get is why we went away from what was working. Throws to Apo and the tight ends was working and working well against that Texas defense, but in the second half, it didn't look like we ever tried it again. We could have at least squeezed another field goal out of that offense, couldn't we?

Oh! I almost forgot how angry I was when we got the ball back before halftime with 1:40 left and we decided to run out the clock (until the penalty). 100 seconds! That's basically a two-minute drill scenario. Couldn't we have at least try to score some more points before the Texas coaching staff got a chance to make mid-game adjustments?


I'm not ready to jump off the defense's bandwagon. They straight-up dominated the entire first half (so did the offense  **sigh**). They were definitely prepared for Garrett Gilbert, but David Ash and Case McCoy? Not so much.

The second half saw Texas' running game walk all over us, but when it comes down to it, they only scored two touchdowns in that half. It looked a lot worse than it really was. BYU's defense still made some major stops in that second half.

Bottom line: The amount of points BYU has allowed its opponents still ranks as one of the 30 best in college football, and the rushing defense, while only in the top 50, has played the 11th hardest schedule so far (according Jeff Sagarin). Both Texas and Ole Miss were considered rushing teams. Top 50 ain't so bad.

Malcom Freaking Brown

Another reason to not get too worked up about the defense is Malcom Brown. BYU won't be the last team to have a hard time stopping him. One of the top RB recruits of 2011, Brown broke tackle after tackle on his way to 68 yards. While that doesn't sound that impressive, anyone watching that game knew the difference he made. When he becomes the starting RB for Texas, he'll be doing a lot more than that.

Jake Heaps

Jake Heaps has definitely been underwhelming in the first two games, but the good news is that Texas and Ole Miss might end up being the best two defenses he faces all year. I know a lot of people thought that Heaps would come out lighting secondaries up, but that's not realistic.

Brandon Doman has said that, right now, Jake is not as good as the picture fans have painted in their minds, and that's on us for creating these lofting expectation that he hasn't reached yet. However, it would be wrong to say he isn't progressing.

If you really think Jake Heaps was awful in that Texas game, I really, really, really want you to go back and watch that Utah State game from last year. Watch the TCU game. Watch his first 3-5 starts from last season. If you really don't think anything's changed, then we really can't have an intelligent debate.
Enough of that, let's start focusing our energy on Rivalry Week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Podcast: PB&J Report

Cougaracity contributors Preston Johnson, Ben Wagner, and Jake Welch podcast-ed it up once this week. In this week's episode, the gang talk about BYU's last game against Ole Miss, Mack Brown, Cody Hoffman, and more! In non-BYU news, they also make their Super Bowl picks for NFL season. Listen to it here and check out their blog here.

Also, you can subscribe to the PB&J Report by clicking on the link below:

Enjoy the game today!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cougaracity Roundtable Predictions: BYU @ Texas

It's time again for Cougaracity Roundtable Predictions. Last week, most of us (except for Ben) had BYU beating Ole Miss. This week, we also welcome former BYU basketball star Jeff Chatman, as he makes his prediction for this weekend.


Guest Predictor:

Jeff Chatman
Former BYU basketball player
7th all-time leading scorer
Twitter: jeffchat

BYU 28 - Texas 23

BYU's offense will get into gear and score 28 points on the road! The defense will give up a couple of big plays but hold the Longhorns to 2 touchdowns and 3 field goals.

Ben W

Texas 17, BYU 14

BYU limits their turnovers but again struggles in the redzone. BYU's offense looks much better scoring twice, and the defense limits Texas to 10 points, however they give up a big play on special teams and Texas wins in another slugfest.


BYU 27, Texas 24

BYU finally shakes the rust off and continues the trend it started in the second half against Ole Miss. Only this time, they stop sputtering near the finish line. Texas is probably better than they were last year, but this is the week BYU proves it's for real. BYU's first trip to Austin will also be it's official coming out party as an independent. Read more from Daniel


Texas 24, BYU 21

BYU will continue to focus on keeping the offense balanced but will not get any big plays down field. Texas won't move the ball consistently but will get big plays that will put points on the board. Once again, special teams will be the difference maker in this game.


BYU 20, Texas 17

My inside sources are telling me that the game plan for BYU this Saturday against the Longhorns is to take advantage of the size they have upfront and use the massive offensive line to manhandle the Texas defensive line. BYU will be running the ball. A lot. Expect double digit carries from both Brian Kariya and Joshua Quezada and for the Cougars to use the run game to go play action and keep the Longhorns guessing. If BYU can manage to score 2 rushing touchdowns and control the ball like they did against Ole Miss, they will win this game.


BYU 24, Texas 13

Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I don't think Heaps and Co. were THAT far from putting up major points on Ole Miss. The offense was much more comfortable in the 2nd half, and that continues in Week 2. Texas doesn't have the o-line Ole Miss does (by FAR), so look for BYU to pressure the QB and continue to stop the run.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Premature Box Score - Texas

BYU @ Texas, 7 pm ET/5 pm MT, ESPN2
Here is this week's peek into the future (prepare your mind for being blown). Daniel takes a look at what most certainly WILL happen Saturday, when the BYU Cougars meet the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas.

BYU 27, Texas 24

Heaps 24-40; 3 TDs; 1 INT; 231 yards

Quezada 8 carries for 39 yards, 1 TD
Di Luigi 10 carries for 42 yards
Kariya 3 carries 9 yards

Apo, 6 catches for 80 yards, 2 TD
Jacobson, 3 catches for 21 yards
Hoffman, 4 catches for 58 yards
Wilson, 2 catches for 18 yards
Falsley, 1 catch for 6 yards
Di Luigi, 8 catches for 48 yards, 1 TD

130 rush yards allowed
215 pass yards allowed
1/1 Fumbles Forced/Recovered

We don’t exactly have a huge sample size from which to draw, but after week one, this is without doubt the most accurate predictive box score on the internet.

Let’s take you through how we derived these numbers. First we made some assumptions:

Assumption 1: Texas looked a little sharper than Ole Miss did on opening weekend, with more offensive weapons and a quarterback, junior Garrett Gilbert, with a full season under his belt. Don’t expect quite the same dominant defensive performance from the Cougars.

Assumption 2: The BYU offense will be facing more defensive speed in Texas, but surely won’t be playing under the weight of so much rust. Di Luigi’s high reception numbers reflect Heaps’ perhaps too frequent reliance on checking all the way down to J.J. in downfield situations. But look for the Cougs to start spreading the field vertically and hitting deep targets Apo and Hoffman with more frequency.

(Receiving corps side note: During BYU's fourth quarter touchdown drive against Mississippi, they kept the drive going by hitting McKay Jacobson over the middle. With his speed, he outran linebackers and turned it up field to move the chains. Traditionally, Jacobson has almost exclusively been a deep threat—running fly routes and getting overthrown by a shaky freshman Jake Heaps until BYU basically abandoned the play altogether. My question: Why don’t they utilize him more midfield like they did this past Saturday? Jacobson can burn linebackers over the middle and Heaps and can place the ball with enough spice to help him avoid getting get laid out. Get to work on this, BYU--this first one is free.)

BYU’s offense looked thoroughly West Coast. This isn’t necessarily good or bad. Heaps is going to have to settle in to make the scheme work—a lot depends on hitting his men in stride and being opportunistic with downfield opportunities. Here’s hoping those opportunities come more frequently. Heaps has too much talent to basically play four to six yards down the field for 70 percent of the game.

The defense still plays a solid game, forcing two turnovers by the Longhorn offense. However, the secondary was aided by the Ole Miss WRs' inability to make big plays. Might not be the case against the Longhorns. A trick play here, maybe some blown coverage there, and Texas is in this until clock gets to 0:00.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ESPN College Football Challenge - Week One

Well, the first week of the Cougaracity's group of ESPN College Football Challenge went pretty well. I wanted to thank all of those who have joined. We're excited to have 25 participants!

The problem with doing something like this is I have no idea who everybody is. I think most people are from Twitter, so some of the participants were semi-easy to figure out, but for the rest of you, shout @Cougaracity on Twitter and let me know who you are.

This week, it was pretty easy to tell who the leader was, because it was Cougaracity's own Preston Johnson. He managed to score 160 points, almost all (not really) scored by Wisconsin's Montee Bell. He also figured out that Oklahoma's kicker was going to have a busy day.

You are able to change up your roster, so make sure you spend some time to put together your roster before the games start this weekend.

If you want to play and don't care about coming into the game a week late, feel free to click on the link below and sign in:

This one. Yep.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Trip to Oxford, Mississippi

*A thought: Ole Miss fans really haven't embraced the Rebel Bear mascot just yet.

Like many of the members of Cougar Nation, I decided to head down south to Oxford, Mississippi, for the opening game of the 2011 BYU football season. To say I wasn't disappointed would be like saying ice cream isn't horrible or trick-or-treating isn't boring or my two-year-old daughter isn't calm when she doesn't get her way.

The trip was a lot of fun for many reason, but what stood out early on was the tailgating scene on campus at The Grove.

These pictures really don't do it justice. Sure, it looks like a lot of people (and it is), but it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of people there. Acres of tent and people and BBQ made the gathering an eyesore in of itself. Lots of awesome, hospitable people with a handful of knucklehead's sprinkled in (like any fan base has).

Coming from someone who really hates walking around at fairs and the rest of that ilk, I couldn't get enough of walking through all of this and getting a good view of the culture surrounding The Grove.
Here's when the Ole Miss buses pulled up for the players to do the "Walk of Champions." Pretty cool sight.

BYU huddles up at the close of warm-ups. I kept waiting for them to do the Haka, but me and my posse ended up disappointed that all we saw were football exercises and such. Oh well.
BYU runs onto the field led by former Cougar and current Baltimore Raven Dennis Pitta. I hear Austin Collie was also at the game, but I didn't see him. Then again, I heard it after I got home, so I didn't really know to look for him.
Mike Hague and Jordan Johnson await the unleashing of the "unstoppable" SEC Speed. Were they wondering what they got themselves into?
Jake Heaps and the rest of the BYU offense take the field before the first offensive play of BYU's independence.
Scoreboard! Here is a picture of the rebuttal to any Ole Miss fan trash talk after the game (surprisingly, there was more after the game than before). I didn't really take too many pictures during the game, as I wanted to be able to enjoy myself.

Here are some more pictures after the game. Jake Heaps and Kyle Van Noy took their turns talking to BYUTV's Robbie Bullough.

Overall, a lot of fun was had by all. I remember being down 13-0 and thinking, "If we lose this game, I probably won't say a word to anyone in the car during the entire 10-hour car ride home. In a matter of 15 minutes or so, that attitude change. I'm so happy I was able to be there to witness BYU's first game as an independent.