Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BYU 2012: Season Predictions

Daniel Anderson (@d_anderson11)
2012 Prediction: 9-3

Offensive Player of the Year NOT Named Riley Nelson
Cody Hoffman will continue to flourish as Riley Nelson's deep threat. Athletic enough and strong enough to pull in those lofty floaters that Nelson loves throwing.

Defensive Player of the Year NOT Named Kyle Van Noy
Brandon Ogletree, because he plays with a the fire of 1,000 suns.

Thoughts on 2012
This predicting the season business always seems so funny to me—what, exactly, are we basing our predictions on? Plus: did any of us see Jake Heaps’ meltdown coming from even two miles away last season? The kid looked, top to bottom, to be the best quarterback in the stable during the offseason when (and this is really important) he wasn’t getting hit all the time by large human beings. Full contact in the season seemed to change him for the worse. And Riley Nelson, who almost seems to enjoy the hits, the bigger the better, flourished under center.

So, apart from a (sort of meaningless) win-loss prediction (which, since you asked: 9-3 with losses to Boise State, Georgia Tech, and either Notre Dame or Utah, but I think we win one of those last two), I’d like to focus on some other types of pending developments this year:

1. Cody Hoffman will blossom into BYU’s next Austin Collie. It's clear he's Nelson's favorite target, and I'm guessing he leads recievers in TDs this year also.

2. In addition to routinely drinking hot marrow from the bones of various offenses this year, Kyle Van Noy will (again) single-handedly win BYU one or two games.

3. Sometime, possibly early in the season, Riley Nelson will become concussed. This will undoubtedly happen on like some 1st and 5 or 2nd and 4 where a play breaks and instead of sliding he launches head first into a linebacker trying to move the chains.  He’ll get up, remove his helmet, do some head banging, incite the crowd, and then pass out. James Lark, get ready. Also for Riley, I predict a departure from the long, golden locks and a return to the Iceman from Top Gun look he sported while backing up Heaps after his shoulder surgery in 2010. You heard it here first.

4. After BYU begins the season 4-0 by upsetting #24 Boise State, their highly passionate, yet knowledgeably inadequate fans (you know who you are), will begin calling for BCS consideration. Irate with the lack of respect afforded BYU, these same fans will be overcome with disbelief when the Cougars lose the following week in Hawaii. And then they’ll make a new instructional video about how to cheer at BYU football games.

Jake Welch (@jraywelch)
2012 Prediction: 9-3

Offensive Player of the Year NOT Named Riley Nelson
Iona Pritchard. I've always had a love for the fullback position because they are glorified lineman but trust me when I say that Iona is deserving of this title. It might not be highly visible to the untrained eye but he will be crucial in run blocking and providing a reliable outlet for Riley in the passing game.

Defensive Player of the Year NOT Named Kyle Van Noy

Daniel Sorensen. Homeboy can law down the law but he struggled mightily when it came to pass defense on play action and double moves (see last year's TCU game). With one season of mistakes and miscues behind him, Daniel is ready to take it to the next level and not only be the enforcer in the secondary but also be the leader.

Thoughts on 2012
This team might be one of the most balanced that Bronco has fielded in his tenure. The offense might not be as explosive and the defense not as stout up front but on both sides of the ball their are guys that can consistently make plays. Some fans would prefer to have a high-octane offense that will move the ball at will or a defense that's tough as nails but as a BYU fan I will take balance and consistency.

A key indicator of how well BYU will do this season is the level of intelligence of one Riley Nelson. If Riley is smart (throws with his feet set, doesn't hold the ball like a loaf of bread, take a sack instead of floating a pick-6) then this team is 10+ win material. If he in any part stupid (takes on 250 lbs linebackers head on, tries to throw more the 40 yards down field) then seven wins might be more realistic. People love to talk about the maturity of Riley and his grit. Let's hope that his grit matches his IQ.

At the end of the season, this might look like one of BYU's sexiest defenses. The key for the defense this year will be the play of the defensive line. If they do their job and take up space and multiple blockers then the linebacking core that everyone is gushing over will have space to make plays. Let's hope that the big fellas up front can stay healthy and make it happen.

In all, this will be a good team across the board. If they can play beyond their abilities then they might surprise us but when all is said and done we will get the same result that we've had in seasons past.

Preston Johnson (@prestonvjohnson)
2012 Prediction: 9-3

Offensive Player of the Year NOT Named Riley Nelson
Michael Alisa. He will be the first 1,000 yard rusher BYU has had since Harvey Unga.

Defensive Player of the Year NOT Named Kyle Van Noy
I was looking forward to putting O'Neil Chambers in this spot, but unfortunately for all of us BYU fans he was released and did not make the team this year. I will have to slide to my next pick who is Brandon Ogletree. He led the team in tackles last season I only expect him to do more of the same. It is going to be very hard for opposing teams to run against this BYU defense this season.

Thoughts on 2012
I am actually fairly optimistic about this season for the BYU Cougars. I think the offense will be much more consistent with a true QB1 and an entire off-season to work together, and I think the run game will be much improved with Michael Alisa now heading the show with some experience under his belt. The defense this season could be one of BYU's best we have seen in the last decade with a strong front 7 and a secondary that even Bronco himself called the most talented and athletic he has ever had.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, they play their toughest 4 games all on the road and in two sequences of back-to-back games beginning with at Utah week 3 and at Boise St. just 5 days later in a Thursday night game. Later in the season they play at Notre Dame just to follow it up with a game at Georgia Tech. I think BYU will take care of business at home this year and win the easy games on the road, but I think they would be lucky to take splits in each of these two back-to-back road nightmares.

While I would like to say the Cougars finish 10-2 this season going into the bowl game, I just don't think that BYU will be able to win these marquee games on the road.

Steve Pierce (@steve_pierce)
Post-Jimmer (@postjimmer)

2012 Prediction: 10-2, optimistically. Losses to Utah and Notre Dame on the road, close wins over Boise State and Georgia Tech. However, this could easily slide to 8-4 with a few bad injuries.

Offensive Player of the Year NOT Named Riley Nelson
Cody Hoffman, because he is an unstoppable, touchdown-catching machine that destroys opposing defenses like the Terminator.

Defensive Player of the Year NOT Named Kyle Van Noy
Daniel Sorenson, because if this defense is really going to take the next step to elite status, the secondary will be the key -- and Sorenson will be leading that unit with Andrew Rich-esque intensity and intelligence.

Thoughts on 2012
I'm not one of those BYU football nuts. Don't get me wrong: I like BYU football a lot. I never miss a game. But I'm not one of those people who pays $20 a month to subscribe to recruiting websites or wants to talk about the depth chart in mid-May. I'm a basketball guy, and football is simply an enjoyable diversion until they open up the Marriott Center in October. In fact, if you would have asked me a week ago, I would have told you I wasn't really that excited about the beginning of football season, that it was just another day to me, just something else to watch on TV. But now it's here. It's tomorrow. And I won't lie to you -- I'm actually pretty excited. Now that we're talking about concrete games and weekly matchups rather than abstract concepts and breathless speculation about the life choices of 16-year-old kids, I am all in on this team.

I feel like this could be a special year and a special team, at least relative to recent BYU standards. Will they win a national championship, or even go to a BCS game? No. Will they win 10 games again? Maybe. But those context-free benchmarks do not a special season make. To be sure, they can definitely help -- a lot -- but I won't necessarily be disappointed if the Cougars finish only 9-3 or 8-4. It will all depend on the context. What matters most to me is how they rise to the challenge of replacing several key players and how they respond to an increased quality of competition this season. If they notch some impressive wins over tough opponents, I'll forgive a few losses in tight games to respectable foes. If they show they can compete at a consistently high level on a weekly basis, putting a product on the field that I can be proud of, then I'll probably gloss over the weeks where they didn't quite measure up. Obviously I'd prefer they win them all -- but if that's our standard for satisfaction (as I fear it frequently is in Cougar Nation), we're going to be perpetually disappointed for years to come. Perfection may prove elusive, but context can set us free.

I am hopeful when it comes to this team. I am excited to see what Riley Nelson can do with a full summer under his belt as the unquestioned starter, and intrigued to see how much brilliance he can continue squeeze out of his admittedly limited set of physical tools. I love everything about this year's receiving corps and, if Riley can stay healthy and the line can give him time in the pocket, we could be looking at some big time production through the air -- which, as any good BYU fan knows, is exactly how we like it. On the other side of the ball, though there are some holes to fill, I feel like this may be the most athletically gifted Cougar defense in a long time, maybe ever. Kyle Van Noy will obviously be electrifying to watch on every single play, and his linebacker brethren will likely remain the rock-solid foundation of Bronco's schemes, but I am most intrigued by the secondary. Every year we seem to hear that this is the year that BYU will have a great secondary, only to be underwhelmed when the chips are down. We heard similar pronouncements out of fall camp this year -- only this time, I may actually be starting to believe them.

All in all, I'm ready to go, and I'm optimistic that -- given proper expectations and context -- this could wind up as a very satisfying football season. And I wouldn't have told you that a week ago.

Scott Gower (@smg1981)

2012 Prediction: 10-2

Offensive Player of the Year NOT Named Riley Nelson
Cody Hoffman. Other players will have good years, but I'm not being honest with myself if I pick anyone else.

Defensive Player of the Year NOT Named Kyle Van Noy
Eathyn Manumaleuna, and it's not just because I wanted to type out his name. Besides, I copy and pasted it. Ever since the blocked field goal in the Las Vegas Bowl, I've been so impressed with him. I think the defensive line is one of the questions for this team, but Manumaleuna will answer it.

Thoughts on 2012
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I am the most optimistic member of this panel. Every year I do this to myself. I listen to the offseason hype and get excited. "New training program! Most talented team ever! Everything's clicking! The team doesn't even NEED any more practices!" I fall for it every year, so 10-2 is me trying to contain myself, trying to be more "realistic."

The fact is there isn't a game on this schedule that BYU absolutely can't win - not that will win, but they can. There are 8 games I think BYU will definitely win. It just comes down to Utah, Boise St., Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech. Because of its huge losses, I like our chances against Boise State, and I think BYU can win ONE of the remaining three. However, I don't know which one.

I'm excited to see what kind of QB Riley Nelson can be when he's given the vast majority of reps in practice. I think if he can stay healthy and avoid making the throws that make it look like he's playing 500, Nelson will have a very memorable senior season, and everyone around him will benefit. The defense is the defense, and it will give us a chance to win every game.


  1. Great comments. Put the information about the schedule on the site and I will make it a favorite!!