Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cougaracity Predictions: Boise State

Scott Gower (@smg1981)

Even after three weeks into the season, we still don't know what we have in BYU, but, additionally, we don't what we have in Boise State. Boise State played a very close game against Michigan State, considered a top-10 or top-15 team by many. However, both teams were breaking in a new QB and neither offense looked good. In fact, both offenses look very sloppy. Both defenses, on the other hand, filled the stat sheet, but because the offenses were so bad, it is hard to tell if it was because the defenses were actually good.

Since them, Michigan State beat up on Central Michigan, and then got beat up by Notre Dame (and we don't know how good ND really is either). Boise State had a week off and played Miami (OH) last weekend. The Broncos struggled early, but ended up winning by a sizable margin after Southwick and Harper got going.

BYU's defense is much better than Miami's, especially on the run defense. I don't believe there's any chance Harper runs for half as much as he did against Miami, so Boise St. will have to rely on Southwick, and I'm not sure that will work out very well for the orange and blue. Since the offenses of Michigan State and Miami (OH) are nothing to write home about, we'll see how good Boise St.'s defense really is, but I'm guessing it's not as good as Utah's, so I think we'll be able to move the ball somewhat better than Saturday night showed.

BYU 27, Boise St. 20

Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue)

Since the ball bounced the other way so many times last game, let's hope that odds are in our favor today. Joe Southwick didn't inspire in the opener but performed as expected against Miami of Ohio. If Riley can stay healthy and the defense can contain D.J. Harper then we have a good shot at stealing this ball game. If both of those things can happen is unknown. It's hard to gauge the morale of team after Saturday's game. I feel like they have some fuel in the tank. Also, just for the record, I'd much rather have Riley's corpse play QB over just about anybody.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cougaracity Predictions: UTAH!

Rivalry Week!!!

The game is tomorrow, and here's what our self-proclaimed experts have to say about the outcome:

Daniel Anderson (@d_anderson11)
Well well well, we meet again, Ute fans. It's been awhile (about 10 months actually, which was the last time our schools played in any sport with significane, a near 20 point drubbing of your runnin' basketball squad). These get togethers are becoming less frequent ever since you jumped ship for the PAC-12, anxious to breathe deep in the historic aroma of your new surroundings. Ah, but you quickly learned that a more prestigious conference does not a better sports team make, unfortunately.

And no, I haven't forgot the score to last year's contest, but seeing as how you just got through losing to Utah State, a team we beat by narrowest margin possible, I think it's safe to say that we're a little closer in skill level than last year might have left you to believe. Also, it's probably not likely we turn the ball over another twenty times this year.

What is likely is a close contest, with Kyle Van Noy slaking his thirst for vengeance on the bones of your offensive skill players. True, BYU suffered a bit of set back when Jordan Wynn was injured last week and decided to call it a career, but I expect Jon Hays or Travis Wilson to still be sufficiently rattled by KVN's presence. I'm somewhat rattled by his presence. At home. In my living room. In Houston.

I know that according to the Ben Wagner Theory of BYU Sports Pessimism that if I predict a BYU victory it automatically means a BYU defeat, but I'm going out on a limb here, Ute fans. I don't think a Riley "I AM an Army of One" Nelson led Cougar team lets this one get away. It'll be close, like it normally is, i.e. not like last year. But I'm thinking 35-27, Cougars. See you this winter.

Scott Gower (@smg1981)
I'm not sure if I've ever looked forward to a game more than I do for this one. Maybe it's because I've never seen BYU take a beating like the one they got last year. While I don't think BYU was actually 44 points worse than Utah last year, we certainly looked it. Seven turnovers, including four with a very significant impact on the game (1 returned for a TD, 2 at our own 6 yard line or closer, and another just 3 yards away from a TD for us. A 28-point swing!) are hard to overcome, but Utah deserves credit for creating those turnovers. That said, it won't happen again.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone - if they are being honest with themselves - who'd say Riley is an excellent passer. Nevertheless, I think he is very mentally tough and possesses the kind of leadership that precludes a breakdown like 2011 from happening again. In Riley's worst game (vs. TCU), in spite of all of the special teams mishaps, Riley still led BYU from a 35-10 deficit late in the 3rd quarter to finish the game down only 38-28. Yes, we still lost, but the team didn't quit, which what it seemed like it did late in the 3rd quarter vs. Utah last year.

I think Riley and the offense can be successful against the Utah defense. We all felt the offense was impotent last year at this point, and it still racked up 354 yards. And forgive me if I don't think Utah's defense for this game is as good as last year's. Graduation, injury, transfer, and suspension have impacted this defense for the worse. I think a Riley-led offense can move the ball and put some points on the board. Conventional wisdom would tell you Doman only used what he needed to against the WSUs. I expect he'll unleash some unused things against Utah and Boise State. (More Taysom Hill? Pretty please?)

This BYU team will never quit with Riley in charge, and the defense is not only good enough to completely shut down Utah's offense (read: John White IV), but it is more than angry enough to do so. Last year left an indelible mark on them, and they demand satisfaction. If this rumor I am creating right now is correct, then Kyle Van Noy has been locked in a padded room with a bunch of John White IV quotes on the wall. He'll be ready.

BYU 24, Utah 13

Jake Welch (@jraywelch)
Both teams come into this game with an axe to grind. Utah is looking to bounce back after losing to USU, and BYU should still have the 54-10 beatdown fresh in their memory. BYU should come out and lay down the lay but that just doesn't happen, at least under Bronco Mendenhall. Oh well. I'm predicting an ugly game for both teams. Lots of punting in the first half and turnovers in the second. This might seem rather strange but I'm going to call this game based on the uniforms that BYU wears. If the go all white, they will lose. While the all whites looks nice, they result in ugly offensive performances. If they wear anything besides all white, they will win. It sounds ridiculous, but trust me. I have another theory that if a player gets married, the next season he will be worthless (McKay Jacobsen, Jake Heaps). Anyhow, here are the scores.

ALL WHITE: Utah 23, BYU 17


Steve Pierce (@steve_pierce)In our preseason predictions, I foresaw a close loss to the Utes in Salt Lake City. Of course, that was before our neighbors to the north looked utterly uninspiring in a blase win over Northern Colorado and a pathetic loss to Utah State. After seeing all that, have I changed my mind? Maybe. I want to believe what my eyes have seen -- that, through two games, BYU has looked like the superior team on both sides of the ball. However, the memory of last year's 54-10 drubbing remains fresh in my mind, so I'm hesitant to get too optimistic.

Like all good rivalries, BYU-Utah match-ups are almost always competitive (with a few notable exceptions) -- and, despite Utah's injury problems, I expect this one to be no different. After being embarrassed in Logan last weekend, the Utes will undoubtedly come out ready to (in the words of the five greatest rappers of all-time) "spit hot fire" at their hated rivals. They will be jacked up and ready to play in front of a ravenous home crowd. If BYU can somehow match that intensity, they should be in good shape. If not, they will likely lose to a team that, on paper, they should beat. Either way, I expect this to be a relatively low-scoring defensive showcase, with a few big plays making the difference. Let's just hope Riley Nelson can outduel Jon Hayes when it matters. 

BYU 23, Utah 17

Preston Johnson (@prestonvjohnson)

This game falls in an interesting situational spot for both teams. The Utes are coming off their big loss at Utah St. last week and early retirement announcement from Jordan Wynn. Jon Hays actually started 9 games last season and Utah looked better after Wynn went down, so this is no reason for BYU to be excited. The Cougars look to tackle the Holy War on the road after losing an absolute bloodbath last year in Provo when they fell to Utah 54-10. To put more at stake, we aren't even sure when the next Holy War will be in the future so this game will hold a lot of bragging power. On top of everything else, BYU has Boise St. on the road just 5 days later on a Thursday night.

I personally would have felt more comfortable going into Saturday if the Utes didn't just get it handed to them by the Aggies. I expect Utah to be playing at a different level than we saw last Friday night in Logan. Both of these defenses are very, very good. I think BYU has the more dynamic offense, but both teams have the players on defense to limit any big offensive explosions. Fortunately for the Cougars, they have just one or two more of those playmakers on offense, and it will be hard for the Utes to limit Cody Hoffman and company for 60 minutes.

I think BYU will squeak out a win in Salt Lake City 20-17. Look for Kyle Van Noy to be the difference maker late in a close game and set up the offense with a chance to win the game late.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rivalry Predictions: Burgess vs. Abouo

As many of you have noticed, it is Rivalry Week. BYU will travel north to play Utah this Saturday. We thought it would be appropriate to get some alumni predictions. Fortunately, Charles Abouo, the winningest basketball player in BYU history, and former Ute baller Chris Burgess were willing give their forecast for Saturday night's game. 

Last year, when Chris submitted his prediction, he predicted a blowout in Utah's favor (31-10). I thought he was nuts and almost asked him to try again (not really). Then the actual game happened, and it turned out his prediction was a bit on the conservative side. So, uh, he certainly showed me. 

Anyway, enjoy these rivalry game predictions from Charles Abouo and Chris Burgess.

Charles Abouo (2008-2012)
I am not a college football expert by any means, but I've had a chance to watch BYU football quite a bit in my 4 years there. I think this is a BYU team that has really improved over the last year. It's been fun to see how great our defense is, and Coach Mendenhall has done a great job as DC. We had a great finish to the season last year, and that momentum has carried into this year.  Our returning guys seem to be picking up right where they left off, and the newcomers or (returners with bigger roles) are making huge contributions. I was able to watch the first game of the season and was really impressed with how we played on both sides of the ball. It seems this team plays together and is full of competitors. I think the coaching staff has done a great job with the preparation, heading into this year. We have a competitive group of guys, and I think they have been waiting for this game for quite a while. I don't know much about Utah, They need to bounce back from a tough game in Logan, but I give the cougars the edge in this one. In my opinion, it will be a great game because these teams will not be playing for a while, so I'm eager to watch this one from online from Spain. I think BYU will win this one. I don't know about the score. If I had to choose, I would say 24-14 (BYU).

Chris Burgess (1999-2002)
First, I want to say how sad I am for Jordan Wynn and the way that his playing career has ended. No player deserves to go out that way.  On a personal level, although I was able to continue with basketball after college, I feel Jordan's pain to the extent of his collegiate career being cut short. In my 2 seasons at the U, I missed a total of 31 games due to injuries.  23 of those games coming my senior season after I tore my plantar fascia on ABC vs top ranked University of Texas in the Huntsman Center.  This injury came early on in the season and ultimately ended my college career. I feel for Jordan and not only want to thank him for what he's done at the U but wish him luck in the next chapter of his life.  

Now, I'm feeling a lot of pressure about this year's pick, especially after being the only one to call for the blow-out and Utah holding BYU to 10 points. Having just made the trip up to Cache Valley to see the Utes lose to a tough Utah State team, it's hard to be as confident about a win as I was last year. That said, Utah has to shore up their issues on the O-line, be able to hold onto the ball, and get to Riley Nelson. Being at home is our biggest advantage, and I'm looking for Utah to bounce back and hit BYU in the mouth. 24-17... A Utah Man am I!

PS: I'm not thrilled about Hays and Wilson named listed as co-starters. Pick one. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

BYU - Weber St. Predictions

Jake Welch (@jraywelch) (1-0)

As much as I would love for BYU to beat by an ungodly margin, Bronco Mendenhall made it pretty clear this week that won't happen on his watch. When asked about OkState''s shellacking of Savannah State, Bronco said that should never happen. That being said this will be a moderate drubbing of the Wildcats. Expect to see a very vanilla offense with a lot of running between the tackles. Here's to hoping that Taysom Hill and James Lark will be getting a good number of reps in garbage time, which should start sometime in the 3rd quarter. I'm really high on the defense after last weeks stellar performance but for some reason I foresee a trick play going the distance for Weber State. But they won't be getting much else as BYU rolls.

BYU 42, WSU 10

Scott Gower (@smg1981) (1-0)

This one won't be close. In fact, it is possible BYU might find a way to score even before the game officially starts. (Don't ask me how.) I don't want starters playing very much at all. If BYU is up by 35+ points, the backups need to come in. The next game is very important, and there is no sense in risking injuries players we need on the field to have a chance at beating Utah. I expect a lot of James Lark and Taysom Hill in the second half. The defense is great, but I don't know how much the starters will actually be playing, so I can't predict a shutout. In fact, I think Weber St. scores a touchdown, accomplishing something the Mike Leach-coached Washington State Cougars could not. 
Bronco didn't like the 84-0 OK St. win last weekend, but make no mistake about it, BYU will destroy Weber St. It just won't come close to 84-0.

BYU 56, Weber St. 7

Daniel Anderson (@d_anderson11) (1-0)

BYU 56, Weber State 17

Prediction? Pain.

Preston Johnson (@prestonvjohnson) (1-0)
YU 52, Weber St. 10I think BYU's defense will shut down Weber St. much like they did last week versus Washington St. I expect some second and third stringers to get a shot in the fourth quarter and see a Weber St. score late. As much as I would like to analyze this game further I think we all are just anxious for next week...

Zach Bloxham (@zbloxham)Weber State AlumWeber State improved measurably from the first half to the second half in its opening week game against Fresno State. It would be a boon to the FCS program to play one of its own in Week 2. Not so easy. Weber has the nigh impossible task of trying to beat BYU in order secure its first win against an FBS school since 1993. Not going to happen. BYU's offensive line was MEH in Week 1 against Washington State. Look for the BYU to run the ball and run the ball some more against the Weber State defensive front. Will the success be fool's gold? We will find out next week when BYU travels to Salt Lake City.

The BYU defense was absolutely tremendous against Washington State. With Weber's inability to run the ball against Fresno, and BYU's talented front seven, the Wildcats will have to wait until next week to find any semblance of an running game. Weber QB Mike Hoke is talented and may be able to make some plays between the 20's, but I just don't see tWSU finding an offensive groove on Saturday. Hoke will be under pressure all afternoon long. Weber State nearly (and should have) beaten both Wyoming and Colorado State over the past five years. Unfortunately for Weber fans, this Wildcat team is not as talented; and this BYU team is destined for a big year. Don't fret, Weber grads/fans, the check is already in the mail.

BYU 48, Weber St. 6

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Box Score Prediction: Weber St.

BYU 56, Weber St. 7

Riley Nelson: 14-20, 205 yards, 3 TDs
James Lark: 5-9, 84 yards, 1 TD
Taysom Hill, 1-2, 8 yards

Michael Alisa: 13 carries, 106 yards, 1 TD
David Foote: 5 carries, 49 yards
Jamaal Williams: 8 carries, 48 yards
Iona Pritchard: 2 carries, 10 yards, 1 TD
Taysom Hill: 8 carries, 80 yards, 1 TD

Cody Hoffman: 4 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD
Ross Apo: 4 catches, 53 yards, 1 TD
Kaneakua Friel: 3 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD
JD Falslev: 3 catches, 34 yards
Skyler Ridley: 2 catches, 40 yards, 1 TD
Dylan Collie: 1 catch, 6 yards
Devin Mahina: 1 catch, 11 yards
Jamaal Williams: 1 catch, 11 yards
Michael Alisa: 1 catch 8 yards

3 INTs, 1 FR, 4 sacks, 1 TD

What do I know about Weber St.? Nothing, really. I do know one thing, and that's this: BYU will win by at least 45 points. Oh, I also know that a lot of our players will get some playing time. So if the idea of seeing Taysom Hill play an entire quarter excites you, you'll looooooove the 4th quarter.

However, if only the idea of seeing Taysom Hill throw more than two official game passes excites, you're probably going to be disappointed.

The defense is going to do what the defense does. I'm not sure how motivated it will be in the 4th quarter of a blowout, but it'll make some noise.

Overall, opponents won't be able to take much from this game. Doman won't be revealing much about his offense in this game, since 1) BYU won't need to use much of his offense in this game and 2) he'll need to save it for the two following games: Utah and Boise St.

This isn't intended to be rude. It's just how things go.