29 August 2012

Washington State at BYU, August 30, 2011

So apparently I couldn't be bothered to blog anything all summer, despite the fact that there were Olympics and some interesting NBA trades happening from time to time.

In my defense, my current job requires me to work weird hours, so I wasn't often home for NBC's nightly Olympics coverage. And as far as the NBA goes, most of the aforementioned trades and signings made me hate the NBA a little bit, so there's that.

But college football! There's something I can't ignore, no matter how lazy I am.

To preface my thoughts on the game in Provo tomorrow, and the entire BYU season, let me say this season I have the lowest expectations for the team I've had since 2007. This is a combination of a few factors:

1. I don't trust Riley Nelson or his abs. Sure, he made some great plays against Tulsa and Hawaii to end the season, and caused some good things to happen against TCU, but there were a lot of wounded ducks and terrible decisions mixed into those games. I consider him a homeless man's Tebow (Florida version); a quarterback who can run sort of well and pass sort of well. His best asset is his determination and fire and belief that he and his hair are awesome. Every quarterback needs that, but I'd rather see it in someone who has the tools needed to be an elite player.

2. The running game is largely unproven. Quezada has transferred, Alisa has potential but only averaged 1.6 yards per carry against TCU last fall, the only real test he faced as a back. David Foote is supposed to be improved from last season, where he was great in garbage time against 3rd-string players, but I don't feel like I can trust any news from fall camp. Which is point number

3. I don't believe much of anything I hear from fall camp. The summer of 2011 has made me very cynical when it comes to news from camps in general. If you listened to the BYU coaches 12 months ago, the offense was going to average 50 points a game and the defense would shut out 10 of the 12 teams they played. Instead, the Cougars barely squeaked out a win against a bad Ole Miss team (2-10) and lost to Texas (7-5) before an epic beatdown at LaVell Edwards Stadium to the Utes. The defense gave up big passing and running plays from Utah, showcasing weakness in the secondary and in the middle of the line. That was that, the season was over. Beating up on Idaho and New Mexico State as nice and all, but it was clear that the 2011 BYU squad wasn't any better than the 2010 or 2009 teams.

And honestly, I don't expect anything to be different this season. I expect good showings against Weber State and San Jose State, but a lot of struggling versus Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Utah and Boise State.

I'll be attending three home games this fall, and taking time off work to watch the rest of them. I still believe BYU can become an elite team in college football, but this isn't the year it'll happen.

Quick thoughts on Washington State

In this Cougar vs. Cougar matchup, I see the blue and white winning. Washington's offense is supposed to be improved from last year, where they averaged 30 points and 322 yards passing per game. The defense, however, gave up 32 points per game, so the team ended with a 4-8 record in 2011.

Considering BYU's strength is its defense and the offense is fairly weak, I see a relatively even game tomorrow. BYU's defense will do a good job limiting, but not shutting down the Cougars, and the offense will score enough to win.

Prediction: BYU 28, Washington State 24.


Seth said...

I do like Jamaal Williams coming out of fall camp tho. Shifty and quick. Agreed overall. But never underestimate the power of one player's game on the whole team. A couple huge plays by VanNoy, Hoffman, Apo, or even Nelson, Jordan Johnson, or Moses Kamatule can make the team play magically incredible as a whole.

Matt Gibb said...

"I don't trust Riley Nelson or his abs." - brilliant

I don't pay much attention to the team as a whole but I did see Nelson play last year and I think it was summed up best last year by this sentiment: he throws like a right-handed guy using his left hand. (Apologies if it was you who said that to me, I don't remember who it was.)