26 September 2013

Middle Tennessee State University at BYU

(Mike Kittrell/mkittrell@al.com)

I hate to say it, but I feel like this game is meaningless for BYU.

Game Outcome 1: Taysom comes out and continues to miss wide open receivers. The defense clamps down on the Blue Raiders because they don't have a quarterback who can throw, but the offense struggles mightily and BYU wins by a score of something like 20-13. We learn nothing. Taysom still can't throw, and the defense is able to shut down at Conference-USA team. Good for them.

Game Outcome 2: Taysom throws lights out. He's hitting guys at a 70% clip, BYU wins by seven touchdowns, etc. etc. We learn nothing, because it's a Conference-USA team. Good for Taysom.

So here we are. I'll watch the game, but I don't expect to feel any differently about this team afterwards than I do now.

Amazing what losing four in a row to your rival does to your fanbase.

Go Cougars!

23 September 2013


Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson throws a touchdown pass (Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) 

I feel like we've been here before. BYU's quarterback can't hit the broad side of a barn, but is able to scramble a bit to get a few first downs. BYU's defense is good enough to hold Utah to fewer than three touchdowns. But in the end, that quarterback's inability to hit wide-open receivers leads to a pathetic offensive showing and a loss for the Cougars.

Yes, Taysom has a stronger arm than Riley. Yes, Taysom is faster than Riley. But he is effectively Riley 2.0. BYU receivers didn't play lights out on Saturday, but there were enough times they had their man beat by two or three steps and Taysom either overthrew them by 10 yards or threw behind them. And those throws were the difference in the game.

Hill completed over 60% of admittedly limited passes last season. After the first three games of 2013, he's completed 35% of his passes, which is the lowest in all of Division 1 college football, and his quarterback rating is the second lowest. It's bad.

So here BYU fans are once again. Stuck with a starting quarterback who cannot pass. Four points to consider:

1. BYU hasn't had a quarterback improve significantly as a player since John Beck. Max Hall was largely the same guy as a sophomore as he was as a senior. Heaps regressed from his freshman to sophomore year, and Nelson was a worse quarterback for BYU than he was at Utah State. Now Taysom fits the pattern. It's disturbing.

2. I was on board the "Taysom can figure it out, given time" train for a long time. But if you can find me a quarterback who threw for under 40%, three consecutive games, and ended up being an elite passer, I'd love to hear about it. I think he's done. John Beck's worst season at BYU, when he was a freshman, he still completed 50% of his passes, and 56% as a sophomore. I recognize that Taysom is young and may improve, but I just don't believe he will ever get to where a starting QB for BYU needs to be.

3. I'd like to see what Ammon Olsen can do. Let him play against Middle Tennessee State. We know Taysom can beat this team, having him out there accomplishes nothing. If Ammon can complete throws against an FBS school, in real game time, give him a shot to earn the starting spot. If he can't, bury him forever.

4. I feel terrible for the BYU offense, and especially KVN. He wanted this game, and holding Utah to 20 points is highly acceptable considering the squad's weakness at defensive back. The offense let them down.

Finally, it's time to announce the winner of the prediction contest. While Stuart's guess was way off in its margin of victory, he was the only one to predict a Utah victory, so he wins the $20. As he requested, I have donated it to Child's Play, a charity set up to get video games to sick kids in hospitals around the world.

18 September 2013

Holy War, Last One Before 2016 Edition

For this year's rivalry game vs. Utah, I am taking the approach that no one can really know what will happen on Saturday. Unless Utah is head and shoulders better than BYU (2004, 2008), this is a dogfight, and until this pattern is disproved two or three years running, a dogfight it will remain. Utah lost to a bad Oregon State team at home. BYU lost to a bad Virginia team on the road. Utah beat a good Utah State team at home. BYU beat a mediocre Texas team at home. BYU runs the ball well and passes poorly. Utah passes the ball well and runs poorly. BYU's defense is fairly great, Utah's defense is fairly bad. All that adds up to a close game that will have me standing and screaming myself hoarse most of the night.

Things I, as a BYU fan, want to see in this game:

1. Kyle Van Noy do this to Travis Wilson.

2. Taysom to break a long TD run.

3. Jamaal Williams goes for 150 yards.

4. Paul Lasike knocks a Ute defender on his back.

5. Utah run for less than 75 yards.

That's about it. I expect Wilson to throw well, as long as he gets time in the pocket (not a given). I expect Taysom to airmail some of his passes and throw grounders with others.

And finally, I expect Utah to play out of their minds, especially on defense. Somehow these guys play the best game of their season against BYU every year. The Cougars will come out too tentative or too amped, and will settle down as the game goes on. And the final score will be within 7 points either way.

As is tradition, I'm holding a Guess the Score contest. Leave a comment with your prediction of the final score, along with Taysom Hil''s rushing yards for the game. The winner gets $20.

Go Cougars!

10 September 2013

Doing the electric car right

Well, I know what my next car is going to be.

09 September 2013

Didn't see that coming

And from the Texas message boards:
I have never seen a bigger improvement in one week in any position group ever in all the football I've ever watched. That the offensive line imposed its will on Texas all night is crazy and I have no idea what happened. If we can see that kind of performance against Utah, it's going to be an interesting game. Full preview next week.