October 2008. BYU flying high. Six straight wins. 59-0 over UCLA. 44-0 over Wyoming. A less-than-impressive win over New Mexico, but that wasn't anything to worry about.
Here's what I blogged before the TCU game:
But on to what's important: big-time game tonight. Win at TCU, and it's another step towards the Cougars getting a BCS berth at the end of the year. Lose, and BYU will find themselves playing a mid-level PAC-10 team in the Vegas Bowl again. Ugh.
I think the Horned Frogs are going to stack the box and force Max Hall to beat them. I'm not sold on Hall's arm (especially his long ball), but he can make good decisions. If he takes what the defense gives him and doesn't force anything, BYU has a great shot to win.
I went to a friend's house to watch the TCU game. Unfortunately it was one of those games where it was over almost as soon as it began. Not even close. It's one thing to lose a close game to a good team, but BYU was outclassed on every front that night. Max Hall fell completely apart, accounting for two interceptions and three fumbles. He was also sacked six times and threw zero touchdown passes. BYU lost 32-7. It was BYU's lowest point total since September 2005.
It was ugly, and I've never felt confident about BYU in big games since.
And you know what? Not much has changed. I still think the key to this game is Max Hall. Our defense isn't good enough to hold TCU to under 20 points. That means the offense needs to move the ball and get into the endzone consistently, and the responsibility for that depends on Max most of all. BYU's receivers and tight ends can catch. If Hall can find them early, that will take pressure off the running game, and Harvey won't be facing a stacked box all night like he was last year, when he averaged three yards per carry.
I'll be there, and I'll be cheering my guts out. But I don't see the Cougars getting a win at this point.
Of course the last time I was convinced BYU would lose, they beat Oklahoma. So take my prediction for what it's worth.
BYU 24, TCU 31.