BYU is currently favored by 2.5 points, but many national pundits think that Virginia will come out on top in Bronco Mendenhall’s return to Provo. We roundup their takes below.
The Bronco Mendenhall Bowl. UVA’s defense is really suspect, but QB Brennan Armstrong has been spectacular and I don’t think the Cougars will be able to slow him down.
Virginia 40, BYU 27
Pick: Virginia +2.5
What a fascinating dynamic, with UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall and much of his staff returning to the university where they once played and/or coached. That will be the storyline up until kickoff. By night’s end, it could be the Cavaliers’ star QB Brennan Armstrong who has the most enjoyable trip to Provo.
Virginia 34, BYU 28
Pick: Virginia +2.5
This has the chance to be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. Both teams have stubbed their toes a couple times this season but they are quality teams who will be factors down the stretch. This is also Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s return to Provo where he made a name for himself as the head coach of the Cougars. His Cavaliers have won four straight after losing two in a row. They have one of the best offenses in college football. They throw for more than 400 yards per game and still run for over 130 yards. They average 37.6 points per game. That will be a tough task for BYU to handle.
The Cougars have adopted a physical identity under current head coach Kalani Sitake. They play hard and they don’t quit. They run the ball well, which will be something that the Cavaliers will need to address but if there have been any teams that have given BYU problems, it is teams that are dynamic through the air. Virginia’s porous defense ensures that BYU will have opportunities. The question is will they be able to capitalize. Virginia definitely has more at stake in this game. The ACC is still up for grabs and bowl game selection is also a factor. Look for Virginia to make a few more plays on both sides of the ball.
Pick: Virginia wins a shootout 43-37
Virginia is used to playing in close battles – it’s been in fun fights in three of its last four games, winning them all – but it’s not going to generate the takeaways needed to win the Bronco Bowl.
Both teams will bomb away. Expect more than 700 passing yards between the two, but BYU will run a wee bit better.
The home field will matter here. It’s the first time back in Provo for the Cougars since the loss to Boise State, and just the second home game since late September.
BYU 38, Virginia 34
4 of the 5 writers picked Virginia. John Garcia was the lone one to pick BYU.
It’s the Bronco Mendenhall Bowl. The Cavaliers are making the long trip to Provo, and they have won wild shootouts at Miami and Louisville this season. Virginia is on a four-game winning streak, and the Cougars are 1-2 ATS as a single-digit favorite this season. There is value in Virginia here.
Pick: Virginia wins 31-28 in an UPSET.