The "Staff Guaranteed Pick" is a new type of post at Vanquish the Foe. The point is for any writer that feels confident about the outcome of a certain game to call it, write about it, and then own it (whatever the consequences may be). Those that guess the right team to win get a thumbs up (as that's a one in two chance right?). Those that guess the score correctly get extreme bragging rights. Those that correctly predict who will score BYU's last point of each game wins a special prize.
Our first Staff Guaranteed Pick is from our writer Josh Cann. Josh is a blue-blood, meaning he was born and raised on BYU and will die by them. He is a a communications-journalism graduate who has written for Utah Valley University sports and for Salt Lake Community College. This is his guaranteed pick of the season.
Hook em' Horns Edition
BYU fans' heartstrings have been stretched. From the 2+ hour lightning delay, to the blocked punt, and of course the interception on the out pattern to Jamaal Williams, this game was as ugly, as hard fought, and nasty as football gets.
What Went Wrong:
'Go Fast Go Hard' looked more like 3 and out, punt, 3 and out, punt, 3 and out, punt, all in under 2 minutes or less. I joked around in the off-season that the fast-paced offense means BYU will have the fastest 3 and outs in school history. I thought it was a joke. We laughed at the time.
The main reason BYU's offense struggled mightily, and why Taysom did so poorly has little to do with Taysom's accuracy or decision making nor Anae's play calling. The Offensive Line was as bad as can get. Virginia dominated the line of scrimmage, the Offensive Line had no push, gave Taysom Hill no protection or time, and rarely made holes for Jamaal and co. to run through. If there were a position group you could single-handedly blame the loss on, it would be the O-line.
People easily love to put the blame on Hill or Anae, but those who truly know how a successful run game is established and how an effective pass game works, they know it starts with the O-line. The play calls were fine, if the line allowed the players they were guarding to execute them. Hill would've looked a whole lot better had he had sufficient time to find open receivers. Instead, he ran for his life, was forced to make quick decisions, and got sacked three times.
Heaps, Nelson, and Hill are all sufficient quarterbacks. But if none of them are given any protection or time, the pass game will suffer. Doesn't matter who you put at QB, the pass game will suffer if the QB is in duress all game long.
The run game cannot and will not thrive if the O-line doesn't make holes for them to run through. Jamaal did a heck of a job, considering the circumstances the O-line put him in, and 33 carries is a huge workload, but he handled it like a champ. Look for more of the same from him.
What We Hope Changes:
With glaring weaknesses in the trenches, we hope Anae will implement a roll-out scheme for Taysom Hill so he can get out of the pocket the O-line doesn't give him, and he can burn the defense with his feet, or throw on the run which is his strength.
BYU also had success with the Diamond formation, where there's 2 backs to the left and right of Taysom, and one back behind him. This disguises whether its a run or pass, and if it's a pass, it gives extra protection in the backfield to buy Taysom more time if there's a blitz or the O-line doesn't do their job.
BYU didn't take many shots down the field. One to Apo in the first half, which he almost hauled in with one hand, the other was a pass interference call which led to our final touchdown, and one to Apo at the end of the game, which should hardly count considering it was desperation and the defense expected it. We should hope BYU tests the Longhorns' corners and safeties to stretch the defense out. Having Hoffman back will help us tremendously, he's the best player on offense and maybe on the team with Kyle Van Noy.
Who Will Win and Why:
BYU and Texas couldn't have had more opposite of Week 1's. BYU's offense was worse than it has been in a long time, while Texas broke a school record gaining 715 total yards in a blowout against New Mexico St. BYU definitely played more superior competition than Texas, and because of that I look for this game to be closer than people might think. On paper, Texas should blow us out of the water. But BYU's defense is stout and doesn't allow a lot to happen on their watch.
Virginia only scored on short fields, after the blocked punt, and the interception return, which are outliers in the game of football. Those things rarely happen in a game, but when they do, they prove costly. The Cavaliers never drove the length of the field on BYU to score.
Texas does have an up-tempo offense, similar to BYU. They also have a strong O-line and is the nation's leader in returning starters: 19; 10 of which are on offense. On top of that, Texas has all the talent in the world with their recruiting. BYU is definitely the underdog.
I look for this game to be close, but I have Texas pulling it out late. BYU will keep it within striking range but ultimately talent and experience will prevail.
An 0-2 start heading into the Utah game is BYU's new reality. But a win against rival Utah could boost BYU to great heights and momentum as the season wears on.
Unfortunately Texas will prove to be too much for BYU's young and struggling offense. BYU will lose to Texas, I guarantee it. Unfortunately.
Prediction- Texas 28 BYU 20.
What are your thoughts? Predictions? Leave them in the comments below.