With the NCAA Football season coming to an end as the SEC Championship being played tonight between LSU and Bama, I am sure that I’m not the only Cougar fan counting down the days ‘til kick off on September 1st (which is 236 days away. Yeah, it’s a leap year, so there is even one more day we have to wait).
But so far it’s all speculation, but then again, what is sports pregame analysis anyway right? We have some great recruits coming, some key seniors sticking around, and one less hot headed QB in the state.
So what can we speculate on? Well the first 8 games of the season which have already been scheduled in stone. Sure there are 3 more games roughly sketched in the calendar book, but until they are official I will leave it up in the air for Independent BYU to change things around like they did last season. We (Cougar fans, or others reading this post, and I know you Utes are here checking it out. And I respect that, whether it is to get something to trash talk about or look upon out of envy) have a couple big time games scheduled that I am very excited about.
How the first 8 games will go:
We start the season with what I will consider 2 easy wins, over Washington State and Weber Statecoming to LaVell Edwards Stadium. This will be a great way for the Cougars to feel out their team. Hopefully after these first 2 games it is a feeling of comfort and confidence and not a head scratching panic that we felt soon after the Texas and Ute games this last season.
Speaking of the Utes, they are next on the schedule and we are headed to their beloved Pac 12 flag flying stadium, where we seek revenge. And after losing to them so badly this last season, I can only hope for better results. And as a Cougar fan, and it being the Holy War, I cannot objectively predict this game.
Things don’t get any easier from there for the Cougars as they have to head up north to play Boise State of the Big East, who won’t be exactly who they have been for the last 4 years, but they will still be the Blue Fielded Broncos that don’t lose many games. Yet I think this will be a big time win for the Cougars, one that will get them a bit more recognition as well as ESPN highlights.
Back home to Lavell Edwards for the next 3 weeks, providing the Cougars with another 3 wins (which puts this prospective BYU team at 6-1 or 7-0). The opponents are Hawaii which I think will be better than this year’s edition of a team, but I don’t think Norm Chow can change that much for them in one season. The following week the Beavers show up to town so that Bronco Mendenhall can beat his alma mater for a 3rd straight time. And then the Cougars finish off their 3 home game streak with a lashing being dished out to the Aggies. Yes a lashing. I know the last 2 years haven’t been pretty (unless we are counting that miracle drive as pretty), but this trend will come to an end, even with Robert Turbin running with the ball.
And then comes what some, at least in Provo, may begin to call The Holy War II. No, not another Utah team, but another religious establishment. Notre Dame vs BYU, the battle of two religious and independent schools. Without a doubt BYU sees Notre Dame as a greatly recognized and respected independent program, that they too would like to be able to stand side by side with. But last year wasn't the year to be able to do that. Nor will this year be, even if we have a great record. It will take years of consistency to match Notre Dame’s respect and recognition, but all it will take for a W is a good game in South Bend. This is perhaps the game I am most excited about so far in this up and coming season, yet it will perhaps be our toughest to win. I wouldn't throw all my chips on Blue for this game.
So 8 games in, where do the Cougars stand? Best case Scenario, obviously 8-0. Worst case scenario, 4-4. The Realistic scenario after 8 weeks, the Cougars stand at 6-2 and are locked into the pre-determined, December played, Poinsettia Bowl in a half filled Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California.
Georgia Tech, New Mexico State, and San Jose State sit on the tentative schedule as all AWAY games right now. The Cougars ought to smash New Mexico and San Jose (my home town), but GT has a mean option that we will need our linebackers to play at top notch if the Cougars are going to stop them.
9/1 Washington State
9/8 Weber State
9/15 @ Utah
9/22 @ Boise State
10/5 Utah State
10/13 Oregon State
10/20 @ Notre Dame
TBA @ Georgia Tech
TBA @ New Mexico State
TBA @ San Jose State
Can the Cougars go to a BCS game? We all hope so, but let’s be realistic. Can the Cougars and Bronco Mendenhall pull off another "successful" 10+ win season for a 6th time in Bronco’s 8 seasons as head coach? Yes I think they can, but only time will tell. For now, let’s keep the speculation up, but not through the roof. Let’s have another great season and Vanquish the Foe.