It's been 10 years since the Cougars and Rams opened the Mountain West Conference--hard to believe it's been that long. That was the year BYU sported their infamous "bibs", continued their slide into irrelevancy and CSU, BYU and Utah tied for the conference championship. Great memories...
Flash forward to today. BYU's back in the national spotlight, enjoying incredible success in league play, and CSU is trying to reemerge from the final dreadful years under Sonny Lubick, and doing a pretty decent job of it so far this year. So here's what to expect tomorrow, foe vs. foe. Don't take this as doctrine--I picked BYU to beat Florida St. by three touchdowns.
BYU offense vs. CSU defense:
I was asked earlier this week by one of our friends at the mwconnection if BYU's offense is scared of CSU's defense...I'm sorry, I just had to laugh a little bit. By the way, the answer is "no". There are just a couple of teams in the nation that might scare BYU's offense, and CSU isn't one of them. Sure, CSU has done well in causing turnovers this year, and have helped the Rams get to 3-0, but BYU's not Weber State or Colorado.The Cougars just have too many weapons for a team like CSU...
The key for BYU's offense is to keep moving the ball as they have been and avoid those costly turnovers (i.e. Max Hall's interceptions and Chambers' fumbles). I don't see the CSU front seven or secondary stopping or even slowing down the offense. It's time for BYU to break out of their first quarter slump and put a team away for the get-go, and I think they can do it Saturday.
BYU defense vs. CSU offense
During the first two weeks of the season everyone in Cougar Town, including myself, was ready to crown this year's defense as the best ever to step on the field for BYU. They had shut down the high-octane Sooners and the lowly Green Wave. They were fast, physical and extremely smart. Then, FSU showed up and made us look silly. Missed assignments doomed BYU against a very good football team.
This week, BYU's facing a CSU team that's getting back to
the roots of what made them so successful in the 90s, namely a powerful running game and a love for the deep ball. QB Grant Stucker is coming into his own and getting comfortable with the system, last week throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions, and running for another. He's no Chris Ponder, but he's somewhat mobile. That spells trouble for BYU's defense. If he's able to stay in the pocket he'll be looking to score big with Dion Morton, a big-play receiver averaging 40 yards per catch. The BYU secondary will finally be tested deep, and we'll keep our fingers crossed. If it's any consolation, Bronco did say this week that Brian Logan is the most talented field corner he's coached at BYU.
The key for BYU's defense is to stay at home on trick plays and not get burned deep. If they can keep everything in front of them we should be okay.
I expect BYU to come out hungry after last week's embarrassment. Though they can't heal the wounds from last week with one game, they can get back on track. Every year BYU's ultimate goal is to win conference, and they know that starts tomorrow. They've won 12 straight conference opening games, and that should extend to 13.
Prediction: BYU wins handily--40-24