Finally, the first week of college football has arrived. We are only three days away from kicking off the 2010 BYU football season. This season comes on the heels of one of the most outrageous summers in college football, and especially BYU, history. But now, at least for four months, the madness will subside and we can get back to what we enjoy most of the fall, BYU football games!
BYU's first opponent is the Washington Huskies. The Huskies are coming off of a 5-7 season and a 7th place finish in the PAC 10. But don't let the 2009 statistics fool you, this team is on the rise and could open a lot of eyes across the country in 2010.
Returning for the Huskies on offense are Jake Locker - QB - #10, Jermaine Kearse - WR - #15 and Chris Polk - RB - #1. These three accounted for 2/3 of the Huskie's TDs last year. Jake Locker is, in many people's eyes, capable of winning the Heisman Trophy this year. Chris Polk rushed for over 1,100 yards last year as a sophomore. I would expect this offense to test our Cougar defense.
Speaking of the Cougar defense, these guys come into the season with a lot of question marks in terms of proof, but if they translate what they have been doing on the practice field to the game field, then BYU fans need not worry. Up front we have increased our size and speed in our front 3. The linebackers will most likely be by committee other than Jordan Pendleton's SOLB spot. The secondary is veteran, smart and very athletic.
I would expect Washington to come out and try to establish the run game right away. If they can start to get the secondary to commit to run support then the play action game will be huge for the Huskies.
I give a slight edge to Washington's offense. They are very talented and experienced and boast three top ranked players.
The long awaited announcement that never was. The Cougars will deploy their two headed monster much to the chagrin of Cougar Nation and it's anybody's guess how it will all pan out. Beyond that, we have a powerful offensive line, very talented and experienced receiving corps and back field by committee. What are we missing? Tight Ends! These rookies have a lot to prove on game day. BYU is going to do what they always do...pass? No, they are going to run the ball. When BYU is successful it is because they can run the ball early and often and wear teams down with there big boys up front. Sure Coach Anae is no stranger to the pass, but we need to pound the ball early and often for two reason: 1) Keep Jake Locker off the field 2) open up the pass game by getting Washington to commit more defenders to stopping the run. BYU feeds off of play action and quick hitting pass plays. Those aren't effective when teams just sit back and wait for the pass.
The bad news is Washington returns 9 defensive starters on Defense. The good news? The Huskies’ defense allowed over 38 points per game and 380 yards per game on defense last year. Washington went out and got Former USC Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt to add some more bite to the the Defense, but in my experience defenses take more than an off-season to turn around.
Cougars. With unknown surprises coming and lack of attitude for the Huskies, BYU wins out.
This game can really go two ways. If it is a low scoring game I give the edge to the Cougars. If it becomes a scoring frenzy then Washington has the advantage. How will it play out? Cougars win, 27-24.