Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ESPN College Football Challenge

Until now, we've been advertising this solely on Twitter. This is the last week to sign up to play in the official (as opposed to the counterfeit ones you see on the web) Cougaracity ESPN College Football Challenge. Sign up by clicking on the following link:

It is basically fantasy college football, except there are no drafts. You simply pick what you consider to be the best lineup (based on weekly match-ups) in all of college football each week. For example, if Alabama is playing an FCS team one week, you might want Trent Richardson on your team. I'm just saying...

Please join and compete with other fans of BYU football. Since games start on Thursday, that's when we'll close up shop.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Big Blue Bash Report

SALT LAKE CITY--The Salt Lake Chapter of the BYU Cougar Club hosted its sixth annual Big Blue Bash. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall did not take part in the event but wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon and senior running back Brian Kariya spoke to the Cougar faithful.

Of the topics discussed, preparation and attitude were among the most popular. Cahoon discussed the work the coaches put into improving the players' skills. Calling the film room the "war room," he said that each coach takes individual notes on their assigned positions while watching the film and they are able to email those notes directly to the media room where the receivers that have time to watch practice can see the coach's notes while watching their own film.

Cahoon did not specify what those notes consist of but it has become apparent that the wide receiver position at BYU has improved since last year when dropped passes were not uncommon.

KSL.com's "Voice of the Cougars" Greg Wrubell mention during the Big Blue Bash that, recently, BYU went three straight practices without a dropped pass. With the talent BYU has at the wide receiver position - Ross Apo and Cody Hoffman both starting - and the proper preparation going into teaching these athletes, quarterback Jake Heaps could have a stellar season.

According to running back Brian Kariya, BYU will dress for week one in a relatively different attire than past years. Kariya said that BYU will wear black cleats and socks to "represent an attitude and a new emphasis of just going out and playing with a chip on our shoulders." One of the major emphasis this year is special teams according to the senior running back.

Kariya, who is a captain of the special teams kick return unit, said, "We wanted to relate it in a way to our team that the black also represents our special teams and that's going to be the new foundation of our offense and defense and entire team." BYU returns their kick returners, Cody Hoffman and JD Falslev and it appears Falslev will return punts again this year. Junior punter Riley Stephenson returns for the Cougars and Sophomore placekicker Justin Sorensen is back from his mission and will likely be BYU's kickoff specialist as well.

Excitement is growing in Cougar Nation and the players are fueling the fire. "We're meshing as an offense and moving forward to make this one of the best seasons we've ever had," said Kariya, adding, "With the schedule we have and with the teams that we're playing, we have in mind to go out and beat them all." With week one and Ole Miss just around the corner, Cougar fans can not help but hope he is right.

--Jake Edmonds, Cougaracity Contributor
Twitter: @cougazul

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts on Big 12, BYU Fan Behavior

For BYU, 2011’s session of conference realignment is a lot different than it was in 2010 – and in a good way.

Last year, BYU going to an automatic-qualifying conference was closer to a pipe dream than a sure thing. Most fans would have given up their family’s pew at church to get into an AQ conference.

This year? Not so much. "Desperate" describes the other side this time around.

When the Big 12 rumors first surfaced, I was somewhere in between “for” and “against.” Obviously going to the Big 12 has the obvious benefits of more money and a guaranteed BCS access.

However, I was afraid of us having to sacrifice things to get there. I loved BYU’s contract with ESPN, and I didn’t want to be stuck with games on FSN or FX. I also didn’t want to disrespect the WCC or all of the BYU staff that have worked so hard on the transition to independence.

But the more I think of it, the less I think BYU will sacrifice much - if anything at all.

The ESPN contract will likely be staying with us, and BYUtv is still going to be allowed to let its freak-flag fly. With Texas and K-State starting their own networks, BYUtv fits in quite nicely.

Why would we have to give any of those things up? When it comes down to it, The Big 12 is more desperate now than BYU is, which will help BYU in this potential transition.

I don't know if this move would actually make it easier to get to a BCS bowl (we still have to beat all of those teams), but an increase in revenue is certain.

I think the best part of this move would be for the non-football sports, especially basketball. Getting teams like Kansas in the Marriott Center would be phenomenal. Had "Jimmermania" happened in the Big 12, his exposure would have been insane (keeping in mind it was over the top as it was).


As I mentioned on Twitter today, I don’t like the new trend among some BYU fans.

A month ago, if Utah fans called our new schedule crap, a lot of us were willing to fight them on that. Now I’m reading BYU fans trashing our schedule. What gives?

Ute fans would joke about our “WAC schedule,” and we’d get enraged. Now I’m reading BYU fans denigrate our current schedule by mentioning our WAC opponents. What gives?

Yes, being in the Big 12 is going to improve our overall schedule, but we’re still going to play occasional crap teams. Texas is playing Rice this year. Oklahoma is playing Tulsa and Ball State.

And it was those very same WAC teams gave us the opportunity to go independent. It allowed BYU to fill out their 2011 and 2012 schedules. It wasn’t ever going to be a long-term solution to scheduling.

Challenge: Don’t become what you hated four weeks ago. Don’t pee all over independence in order to promote the idea of membership in the Big 12. It has enough merits on its own without having to trash things we all cherished a month ago.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

5 Questions With BYU's Devin Mahina

Devin Mahina finished the 2010 season as the top receiving tight end for BYU (11 receptions, 118 yards). BYU fans are looking for one or two tight ends to separate themselves from the pack, giving BYU the tight end presence it had in years past (Pitta, Harline, George, etc.).

In the quick interview below, Mahina talks about BYU, 2010, and the upcoming season.

Why did you choose to come to Provo, and what do you like most about BYU?

I chose to come to BYU because, while football is a huge part of my decision, it's not the only factor. BYU fit all my needs perfectly. It holds its students to a higher standard, and that's something I love. I also chose it because I like how BYU uses its tight ends. I love what Bronco has done with the program.

Q2. What was 2010 like for you and the team, and how will going through what you guys did help for 2011?

I look at last season as a learning experience. We didn't do as well as we all hoped, but it helped us understand what we needed to work on and fix. Not many freshmen get as much playing time as I did, and that gives me a huge advantage for this next season and the seasons to come.

Q3. What do you think all of the coaching changes (Doman, Dupaix, Cahoon, etc.) add to the team?

Of course Bronco is only going to make changes that will benefit the team. I am really excited to work with my new position coach, Coach (Lance) Reynolds, as well as our offensive coordinator, Coach (Brandon) Doman.

How does the tight end position battle look heading into fall camp, and what do you expect from yourself this season?

There are a lot of talented guys at the tight end position, it
should be really competitive. I expect a lot from myself. I expect to make an impact on the field. I expect to be someone who is looked to in clutch situations.

Q5: Who is/are the funniest guy(s) on the team, and why?

Since I spend most of my time with the tight ends, I would say a combination of Richard Wilson and Marcus Mathews. They are always cracking jokes, we have a good time together.