BYU Football 2009 — make your predictions here

September 4, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:16 am   Category: Sports

Alright I admit it. I watched most of three college football games last night. It had been so long since last season and I was Jonesin’ alright?

Anyway, as most BYU Cougar fans know, the season opener for the #20 Cougs is tomorrow in Dallas at the brand-spankin’ new Dallas Cowboy stadium (aka JerryWorld). The opponent is the venerable Oklahoma Sooners in a quasi home game for the #3 ranked team in the country. Most everyone in the know thinks Oklahoma will run away with this game and that is not an unreasonable prediction. This Oklahoma team (who played in the the BCS championship game last year) is returning most of its defense, most of the skill players on offense, and its Heisman trophy winning QB as well. Sure the offensive line is mostly new (same with BYU) and the star tight end will be sitting this game out with a recent knee injury, but BYU winning this game would be a major upset.

But I am optimistic about this season. I think the Cougs with Max Hall as a senior leader will be at least as good as they were in 2006 with John Beck as the senior leader. I think an 11-1 regular season is completely feasible — especially if Hall, Unga, and Pitta can all stay healthy. Will that be good enough to get an invite to a BCS bowl? Maybe, maybe not. But we will know a lot about the team by tomorrow night.

Here again are some links to the best sources of info on BYU sports:

Cougarfan — this is a useful news aggregator
Greg Wrubell’s Blog — The current voice of the Cougars has better access to the team than anyone and his blog is solid. The best part is the links to audio interviews he always posts.
Jay Drew’s Blog – Jay is the man at the SLTrib this year and has done a really nice job overall
DesNews Blog — Written by a team of reporters over at DesNews yet as bloggers they somehow don’t add up to one Jay Drew or Greg Wrubell.
DeepShadesofBlue — Some former players who blog on the Cougs. Good insights and interviews but a bit sporadic in postings
CougarBoard – The real-time free for all of Cougar fans all chatting at once. Too much unfiltered info but always the fastest way to know what is going on.

So here is my prediction for the 2009 season: A close loss to the Sooners then running the table thereafter. No BCS game because Boise State won’t lose this year. 11-1 and a trip to the Poinsettia Bowl for another win. 12-1 overall.

Caveat 1 — If Harvey Unga or Max Hall go down to injury add two more losses.
Caveat 2 — If BYU takes down the Sooners and everyone stays healthy an undefeated season is highly feasible and that would lead to talk of going not only to a BCS bowl but to the BCS title game.

Sound off Cougar fans. What are you expecting this year?

46 Comments »

  1. the season opener for the #20 Cougs is tomorrow in Dallas at the brand-spankin’ new Dallas Cowboy stadium

    I predict they get spanked, which will extinguish their losing behavior and prompt them to dominate the rest of the season.

    Comment by Peter LLC — September 4, 2009 @ 10:35 am

  2. I’d love to be optimistic. I predict losses to Ok., Fla. St., and TCU and possibly Tulane. That is an Ohhh and 3 start.

    Comment by Blake — September 4, 2009 @ 10:39 am

  3. I predict a big loss to Oklahoma, but only a close loss to Florida State. And then they regain their mojo for the rest of the season.

    But if they go 12-1, Geoff J., don’t you think their strength of schedule would propel them over even an undefeated BSU?

    Comment by Hunter — September 4, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  4. I’m hoping the Cougs can keep it close against OU tomorrow. A two touchdown or less loss would be encouraging I think, if BYU plays well.

    Hall still has a lot to prove, and will have a chance to show he’s legit against a tough schedule this year. I think 11-1 sounds feasible, but 10-2 is probably more likely. That we have FSU, TCU, and the U all at home this year helps.

    Comment by Christopher — September 4, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  5. Yeah Hunter — that is entirely possible. It would be controversial though. Oregon looked horrendous last night so that win may not help BSU very much if Oregon goes 6-6 or something.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 4, 2009 @ 11:00 am

  6. Last night was a bummer. I don’t want to have to trail BSU all season just because we went up against Oklahoma. Here’s hoping that if we lose tomorrow, we play a great game and keep it close. If we then beat a good FSU team handily enough, who knows? Maybe we could jump Boise State. I don’t see it happening, but it could.

    Oregon was garbage last night. BSU was less garbage, but still garbage. And everyone was watching.

    Comment by Kyle M — September 4, 2009 @ 11:02 am

  7. I think we lose against Oklahoma (my hope is we’ll be within 20), and then lose against either FSU or TCU, finishing up with a 10-2 record.

    Comment by Ben — September 4, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  8. I think the TCU and UofU games will be significantly tougher than the FSU game. Not only because the Utes and Frogs are better teams than FSU in my opinion but also because the MWC teams have experience playing in Provo already.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 4, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  9. don’t you think their strength of schedule would propel them over even an undefeated BSU?

    It’s going to depend on how well Oregon plays the rest of the season and from the looks of it, they’re not very good. BSU also plays 2 MAC teams and a D-2 school so I would have to give the nod to BYU, if they don’t get blown out vs. OU.

    Losing Gresham (OU’s TE) cannot be understated. He’s probably their 2nd best offensive player behind Bradford and OU is replacing both starting WR’s. So that’s going to help. But OU’s running game is what scares me the most.

    I agree with Geoff that Utah and TCU scare me much more than FSU. FSU isn’t the FSU of old and East Coast teams can struggle with the travel and the altitude. Should be a good game.

    Comment by Tim J — September 4, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  10. I predict that they will lose to all ranked teams that they meet. So, 3 or 4 losses, right? Also, I fervently hope that they beat FSU, because it would be funny.

    Comment by John C. — September 4, 2009 @ 11:29 am

  11. If they can go undefeated, beating teams like Oklahoma, I think they will be in the national championship game. I understand this might be impossible, but here’s to hope.

    Comment by Joseph Smidt — September 4, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  12. I think they have an really weak O line I predict 3-4 losses starting with a 55-17 loss tomorrow. I hope I am wrong :)

    Hall seems unable to perform in big games. He reminds me of Tony Romo that way.

    Comment by bbell — September 4, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  13. That “Hall can’t perform well in big games” meme is a total crock no matter how many times it gets repeated.

    Last year the UCLA game was the biggest game of the year at the time. Hall through for something like seven touchdowns in the first half.

    Sure the defenses of TCU and Utah did a number on Max last year but both were top 10 teams and BYU was overconfident going into those games. That is not a Max Hall problem, it is a BYU problem.

    My prediction is BYU holds OU to less than 35 points tomorrow. I think the defense will come through for the Cougs to some degree and with OU sporting a new offensive line, new receivers, and a backup tight-end the they just won’t be putting 50+ up in this game. Now whether BYU can score more than 35 is another question.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 4, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  14. Here is a useful analysis of the game on YouTube. This guy has a lot of good points. The scariests thing for BYU is the two running backs OU is bringing back and the overall strength of the OU front seven on defense. It is interesting how similar the strengths and weaknesses between these two teams are going in. In the end, I suspect this game will be won or lost by the linemen. Which new O-Line will step up and be the best on the field? We shall see.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 4, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  15. I’m afraid my prediction mirrors Blake’s #2. The stat guys down the hall are more or less on the same page.

    Comment by WVS — September 4, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  16. Well the beauty of pessimistic predictions you are less likely to be disappointed. If we lose Hall to injury I am right there on the 8-4 predictions.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 4, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  17. If they can go undefeated, beating teams like Oklahoma, I think they will be in the national championship game. I understand this might be impossible, but here’s to hope.

    If Utah hasn’t been able to get into the championship game with some of their recent seasons, BYU isn’t going to get in. The BCS will successfully lock them out even if they win every game.

    Comment by gimper — September 5, 2009 @ 6:09 am

  18. Gimper, neither of the recently-undefeated Utah teams has played a team like OU during the regular season. Nor have they had 4 top-25 teams on their schedule, as does BYU this year.

    Comment by Christopher — September 5, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  19. Sure the defenses of TCU and Utah did a number on Max last year but both were top 10 teams and BYU was overconfident going into those games. That is not a Max Hall problem, it is a BYU problem.

    It is a Max Hall problem. He wasn’t the only problem but he was terrible. Super terrible against Utah. I lost confidence in Hall as early as the Utah St. game last year. I commented here that he didn’t look like the big time talent we thought we was. He made terrible decisions throwing into double and triple coverage even when he had all day to throw against an overmatched defense. As I recall, the O-line did a pretty decent job of giving him time in the pocket even against TCU and Utah.

    We’ll see tonight if your faith in Hall is justified. If he doesn’t deliver that will be three big games in a row. Surely then you’ll agree that he has trouble performing in big games.

    I’m holding out hope for him. He may have gotten his head together in the offseason. I think he’s proven that he has the physical tools to be really good.

    Since I’m not big on Hall right now, I have to predict something like 9-3 this season. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hall is mentally better this year and we go 11-1.

    Comment by Tom — September 5, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  20. 11-1 and a trip to the Poinsettia Bowl for another win.

    Geoff, the Las Vegas Bowl still has first pick from the MWC, right? No doubt they’d like to see some fresh blood in their game, but if BYU is 11-1 come bowl time, there’s no way they’re going to pass BYU up.

    Comment by Eric Russell — September 5, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  21. Tom — Maybe you just have really high standards. Max Hall was Terrible? Maybe compared to Peyton Manning… But Max was easily one of the 10 best college QBs in the country last year. Did you see any of those games Thursday? The only QB I saw even in the same league as Max was Moore from BSU.

    Anyhow, we shall see. I predict Max will be even better this year and will pass Beck to become the #2 career passer in BYU history.

    Eric R — I have read hints on the various sites that teh LV Bowl management is really ready for a change so I would expect either TCU or Utah to go there this year. Heading to San Diego would be a nice change for BYU too if they can’t get a BCS bid.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  22. Just heard a rumor that Harvey Unga isn’t really ready to go for today. If that is accurate then the chances for an upset just got even slimmer.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  23. We are pretty thin in a lot of positions this year. Injuries could easily do us in. And we’ve already had a ridiculous number of injuries this summer.

    Personally while I hope for the best, I’d be pretty happy losing only 3 games this season.

    The biggest problem will be our secondary in the defense, as has been the case for a long time now. Our O-Line is scary and probably worse than last year. Expect a lot of blitzing against Hall this year.

    Comment by Clark — September 5, 2009 @ 11:29 am

  24. Funny Tweet from Dick Harmon:

    Margin Hooks told BYU players: Love Jesus and pray all you want before but on the field get them before they get you; it’s a dirty game.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  25. No, Hall wasn’t terrible all season. I’m talking about big games. He was terrible against Utah. Epically terrible. And not good against TCU. Overall, yeah, he’s good. He might be great this year but only if he steps up when it counts most.

    Comment by Tom — September 5, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  26. So far so good. Right there at the half and Bradford may be out.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  27. We have a punter!

    Also, defense is doing great, except for penalties, which gifted OU the field goal at the end. I love that they were aggressive with blitzes at the end of the half.

    Hall is doing good. He’s reading the blitzes and handling them great. O-line is too.

    Three turnovers and only down by 3: can’t complain.

    Comment by Tom — September 5, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  28. I’ve been really impressed with Kariya (sp?). Unga’s shoes are mighty big to fill, but he is doing a respectable job.

    Comment by Ben — September 5, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  29. Just stop handing the ball to Tonga!

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  30. Well, looking better with 3 min. to go.

    Comment by WVS — September 5, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  31. No matter what happens on OK’s final drive, this is one helluva game; I did not expect to be sitting on the edge of my seat in the fourth quarter.

    Comment by Ben — September 5, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  32. Out of bounds kickoff?! Really?!

    Comment by Tom — September 5, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

  33. Hah!

    Comment by WVS — September 5, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  34. BOOM BABY!!!

    That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

    Now I feel bad for being a relative pessimist in my prediction and saying they would lose a close one. We won a close one instead. Sweet.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  35. How about Kariya?? I thought we were done without Harvey.

    And take that Tom! Hall was 9-10 on the game winning drive.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  36. Is it too late to predict BYU over OU 14-13?

    Comment by Ben Pratt — September 5, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  37. Hall was definitely impressive on that final drive. He made me a believer.

    Comment by Ben — September 5, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  38. I missed Bradford’s three sacks, but watched the entire second half. That was a great game.

    To be fair, Geoff, Hall was looking iffy there for a while, but that 4th quarter drive was terrific.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — September 5, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  39. sacks? sackings?

    My 4-year-old daughter, upon hearing me confirm that BYU won, happily said, “I *wanted* BYU to win!”

    Comment by Ben Pratt — September 5, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  40. Oh yeah, Kariya was great.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — September 5, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  41. Makes me glad I went for a walk at half-time and got back for the last quarter ;)

    The important statistics are:

    369 Total Net Yards 248
    70 Total Offensive Plays 53

    Comment by Stephen M (ethesis) — September 5, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  42. That was an amazing second half. The defensive stop with, what, six downs inside the 10 was impressive and the pass interference call looked bogus to me from the replay. The 4th down conversion was beautiful. Then we lucked out that they got that penalty to put them in such a difficult field goal position. The stars aligned for us tonight.

    Comment by Jacob J — September 5, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

  43. See, determinism is just plain….. wrong.

    Comment by WVS — September 5, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

  44. I’ve never been happier to be wrong! Go Cougs!!! The defense was simply awwwwsssome. Hall came up big when he absolutely had to. When he threw that last interception I was thinking shades of UofU. But he came through.

    Comment by Blake — September 5, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

  45. Post-game post up here

    Comment by Geoff J — September 5, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  46. Oh, and the pass interference call was bogus. It was a great defensive play. Man that is aggravating. But Hall did get away with an intentional grounding that wasn’t called in the 1st half.

    Comment by Blake — September 5, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

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