06 August 2009

Countdown to college football

It's now less than a month until BYU kicks off its 2009 season with a game against the mighty Oklahoma Sooners.

BYU fans are understandably pessimistic about the Cougars' chances against Heisman winner Sam Bradford and company; the Sooners are ranked fifth in both preseason polls and came off a very impressive 12-2 season in 2008, with losses only to Texas and Florida. Not much shame in that, especially when your offense averaged over 50 points per game.

And while preseason polls are far from iron-clad in accuracy, in this case I think Oklahoma's is fully justified. Nine returning starters plus Bradford's arm should be more than enough to beat the Cougars fairly easily. Defensively, especially, the team should give Hall and company a challenge.

After Texas lit up OU’s defense in a 45-35 classic, the Sooners played strong defense save for one game, OSU. The Cowboys scored at 50 percent efficiency (touchdowns plus half the field goals, divided by possessions) in their 61-41 Bedlam loss, a game that said much more about the State offense than it did the OU defense.

The Sooners otherwise shut down some really good offenses. Missouri’s efficiency was 30 percent; Tech’s was 23 percent. In the Big Bowl, Florida’s was 39 percent.

In today’s football, anything in the 30s is solid. Thirty percent and below is dominant defense, 40 percent and above usually will get you beat.

OU’s defense allowed above 30 percent only thrice all season.

Sounds promising. And then we have the fact that BYU's defense is nothing to write home about, and really hasn't been since 2004.

But have no fear! The last time BYU played Oklahoma was in the 1994 Copper Bowl. The Cougars won the game handily, thrashing the Sooners 31-6 behind the quarterback John Walsh.

Here are the highlights.

And here's another, more extensive highlight reel.

So in short, there's nothing to fear about the guys driving the wagon. They'll bleed like everyone else.

I'll get into what I expect from BYU on Friday.

Until then, enjoy this Sports Illustrated article on the 1984 National Championship team.

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