It has been a loooong off-season for college football. Like most of you, I have been anxiously awaiting the season to start. In the malaise of summer, I resorted to watching some of the games I recorded last year, and the year before that to fill the void.
Remember two years ago when Tanner Mangum took over for Taysom Hill against Nebraska? How about the very next game against Boise St.? Yeah, I watched those games a few times this year too.
I also remember last year, wondering if Taysom Hill could regain his former athleticism and bring glory to BYU as in years gone by.
The answer for me was no. But that was then, and this is now. Taysom is playing, at least for the time being, for the Green Bay Packers, and the Cougars’ team now belongs to Tanner Mangum.
So what can we expect from the Cougars this year? It’s difficult to say. The front end of the year is brutal, and I mean brutal! With the exception of Portland St., BYU has its hands full to say the least.
So let’s have some fun and gaze into the crystal ball…
Portland St.— This should be a warm-up game for the Coogs. I won’t waste anyone’s time by delving into this one, so I’ll just make a prediction that BYU will easily win this one 51-10
#12 LSU—Now this is where things get dicey. The Tigers come in as the #12 team in the Coaches Poll. Danny Etling, the LSU QB is coming off a sub-par year in 2016 averaging only 138 passing yards per game. How much of that anemic passing game was due to Leonard Fournette and the running game is hard to tell. Now some of you might think Fournette’s departure helps the BYU’s cause, and you could be correct; however, LSU has reloaded at running back with Derrius Guice. Who is Derrius Guice you might ask? Well, for one, he’s a Heisman Trophy candidate, and two, he averaged 9.0 yards per carry last year. The question that surrounds LSU is their defensive front seven. LSU lost a handful of defensive players to the NFL. But knowing the SEC, they probably have plenty of talent to fill the void. LSU’s secondary should be their strength, so BYU needs to be able to match up well in the passing game, or have a back-up plan to run the ball.
Prediction: LSU 31-21
Utah— Is this the year BYU finally pulls out a win against their arch rival? Utah won in a squeaker last year, 20-19. This year’s game is at home, so that should help. With Joe and Jamaal Williams both gone to the NFL, who is going to step up in the running game on both sides? I don’t see either team racking up great numbers running the ball, so passing and play selection are key to success in this game.
It was just announced that sophomore QB Tyler Huntley was named the starter for Utah. This was surprising because everyone automatically assumed that last year’s starter, Troy Williams was a lock. So there is a big question mark about Utah’s passing game right out of the gate. Before that announcement I had envisioned a Utah victory; but now I have to give the edge to BYU.
Prediction: BYU 24-20
#9 Wisconsin— This Wisconsin team is sort of an enigma this year. They are projected as the Big10 favorite. Both of Wisconsin’s running backs from last year are gone, but when one factors in the huge offensive lineman averaging around 330 pounds, it probably doesn’t matter so much who runs the ball. The QB position is questionable this year, so expect a heavy dose of the run from the Badgers. Their top 10 defense is sure to cause problems for Tanner and the gang.
Prediction: Wisconsin 27-17
Utah St.– This is always an interesting match-up because of the rivalry factor. With most rivalry games, anything can happen, but I believe the Cougars will be battle-tested coming in to this game at Logan.
Prediction: BYU 38-14
Boise St— If there’s one game I dread this year, it’s this one. BSU always comes in ready to play, and they always bring with them a ton of talent. QB Brett Rypien is a formidable opponent for any defense out there. BYU will have their hands full trying to keep him under control. BYU has had success against BSU at home in recent years, but BSU will be ready this time around.
Prediction: BSU 35-31
Mississippi St— Even with the Davy O’Brien watch-list quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald, I see the Bulldogs beatable at home this year if BYU brings its ‘A’ game. It is quite possible that MSU with all of its SEC size could wear down the Cougars if they aren’t healthy.
Prediction: BYU 27-24
The rest of the schedule is downhill from there. I would be cautious if I were BYU because an East Carolina or San Jose could surprise us. If the Cougars can maintain focus and remain healthy, they should finish the season strong going 6-0.
Season Prediction 10-3
A 10-3 record with a tough schedule might get BYU into a bigger bowl game this year if the cards fall into place. Ah, the possibilities!
If BYU somehow can’t get it together the first half of the season, which is still possible, even finishing the season with a winning record and a trip to a mid-tier bowl game, it will be a disappointment.
I hope next year I’ll be watching some new recordings on the DVR of wins at LSU, against Wisconsin, and Boise St. I doubt it, but then again, it’s just part of being a BYU fan I suppose, and I can dream, can’t I?