Friday, August 28, 2009

Can I get a reverse TIVO?

Next Saturday can't get here fast enough. What makes it even more exciting is that my awesome wife is also excited about the beginning of the season. I think it's about time for me to do a complete run down of the conference before my blue goggles become a permanent fixture on my head.

1. Brigham Young Cougars: No I don't have my goggles on yet, I just think and anyone who has watched college football for longer than 5 years knows that BYU is still the best of "the rest". I know the line is shaky at best but I think come conference season the Cougars will be the best prepared team in the conference. They will also become the 6th team in a row to win the conference with an undefeated conference record.

2. Texas Christian University: A Horned Frog? Really, I can't be the only one who thinks that this is by far the most pathetic mascot in the Mountain West. Mascots Aside, TCU has the best chance of ruining BYU's undefeated conference season. Speed kills and they've got a lot of it. The only problem for them this year is that they have to come into LES where the Cougars haven't lost in 3 years. The streak won't end this year either and so that's why I think TCU will go 6-2 in conference to come in second.

3. University of Utah: Last year wasn't a fluke as much as I hate to say it. Yes things went surprisingly well, but good recruiting and good coaching gives you a chance to do that every so often. They lose a lot of starters on offense so I expect them to battle it out with Air Force and at least one other team, along with road losses to BYU and TCU. I'm thinking they'll go 5-3 in conference with a chance to tie TCU at 6-2.

4. University of Wyoming: WHAT? I swear I didn't type that. Unless my bold prediction does happen then I did. Why do I think they will end up this high? New Coach Dave Christensen the former OC from Mizzou is taking over and can only improve on rather despicable offense. Downing the ball 3 times and then punting would be an improvement for this unit. Wyoming actually had one of the best D's in the conference last year and were in a lot of games. The spread offense in Laramie will help the Cowboys to a 4-4 record this year and with any luck they will finally get there revenge on Utah and could end up with a 5-3 record.

5. Air Force Falcons: Calhoun will improve this year but the record won't show it because of a tough conference. The Cowboys will break out and I doubt the Falcons will beat any of the big 3. I'm thinking it's a 4-4 season for the Falcons, losing the tie-breaker to the Cowboys.

6. Colorado St Rams: Their story will be similar to the Falcon's come years end. I think they continue to improve but lose some close games to go 3-5 in conference

7.University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels: That's a mouth full. I'll just stick to UNLV for now. It's too bad for the Rebels that it's not basketball season yet. Omar Clayton is a great talent but he really doesn't have much around him. UNLV will disappoint with a 2-6 in conference record.

8. New Mexico Lobos: They are only this high because SDSU is still in the conference. With the parting of Rocky Long the Lobos are in trouble. This could be the last year they stay out of the 9 spot. 1-8 For the Lobos.

9. San Diego State University Aztect: SDSU is getting better fast, and it's hard not to when you are recruiting to one of the most beautiful areas in the US. The addition of Rocky Long will definitely help this squad and maybe they'll win a game this year. I hope they go 1-8 but they could go without a win again.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Honeymoon is officially over

Sounds like a bad phrase doesn't it? Well only if your wife turns out to be a total bust then it is. Since I'm pretty sure my wife isn't a bust, I'm going to turn my attention to my other spouse...The football team. (Don't be mad honey, I told you I had another fiancee.) The season is must around the corner so it's time to find out who is a bust and who is the real deal. Here are my picks

Scott Johnson: Now before I get jumped on, let me explain. I like Johnson, he has a nose for the ball and he seams to make a lot of plays as I have said earlier. He also has a nose for the injury bug though. He's gonna end up spending significant time on the bench trying to heal and when he is in the game he will struggle to find a rhythm.

HARVEY UNGA. He will get more carries than last year and he will be healthier than last year too. I know he pulled a hammy and he got the H1N1 virus but I think overall he will not be as banged up as last year. He's also gonna break the career yardage mark set by Curtis Brown. The biggest reason I am picking him to step it up this year? We have some good change of pace backs. Having some speed will help Unga because it will open up the field and allow him to punish defenders 1 on 1 or even 1 on 2. When you have only 1 or 2 guys tackling Unga, he gets 6 or 7 yards every time. The one downside to Unga's situation this year is the health and inexperience of the O-line. If they can have a halfway decent season, Unga is going to wow a lot of people.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 8: Dennis Pitta

Dennis Pitta 6-5 247, Sr.:Pitta is officially on the Biletnikoff watch list for 2009 but you can forget about him winning it. He's good enough but it's just that if anyone from BYU was ever going to win that award, he graduated last year. Besides Pitta has a history of not even making the finals for awards that he should win. Whining aside, I'm going to say that Pitta is the best player on the offensive side of the ball this year. He has better hands than almost any other tight end that I have seen play at BYU. Simply put he makes plays. Last year I watched Pitta eat Washington alive on 3rd down conversions and he was a huge reason that we continued to be near the top of the nation in 3rd down conversion rate. That trend will continue again this year because Pitta is healthy again. Pitta said that during last years Utah and Arizona games that he was playing at about 60 percent. If he is anywhere near 100 percent we will see the Dennis Pitta that made 3rd down conversions almost automatic. If he keeps his knee healthy he will lead the MWC in receiving and will be a finalist for a few awards like the Biletnikoff, but he won't win them. Enjoy this year with Pitta cause Tight Ends like him don't come around every year. Or do they?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 7: Harvey Unga

I learned a few interesting things about blogging yesterday. First I "learned" that more people click on the ads when they happen to be busty blond girls. I also learned that placing words like "bump" in your blog might generate busty blond ads. When more people click on ads I get more money and so using simple logic I decided that placing the word "bump" in my ad indirectly led to (and will now lead to) an increase in revenue. So the success of my blog apparently does not have much to do with my writing skills, which is good news for me. So without further adieu, I present to you,
Harvey Unga, 6-0 239 Jr.: Unga is definitely a fan favorite in Provo so there is not much that I can say that everyone hasn't heard or contemplated a thousand times. I did catch an interesting article on rivals today that puts Unga as part of one of the top trios in the country, #5 in fact. Unga, Hall and Pitta just squeaked onto the list of trios as only 5 were recognized. So Unga is good, we all know that, but why should we expect more from him this year that we got last year? Well for one he is actually rested. Harvey had a lot of BUMPS and bruises last year and that severely hampered his touches. With a more experienced JJ Diluigi and Kariya to help lighten the load a bit, I expect Unga to return to his freshman form garner 1st team all conference honors this year. And lastly for the guy that sat behind me all last year: Unga was not in your mission and you don't know his mom anymore than you know what is going on down on the field.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 6: Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson, 5-11, 188, Sr.: Johnson is making the switch from CB to Free safety and is an easy lock to start against Oklahoma barring some sort of injury. Johnson isn't a 5 star athlete but he has a 5 star head on him (no I'm not talking about the actual size of his head though that is 5 star too). If anyone could rival departed free safety Kellen Fowler's academia, Johnson is the one. The good news is that Scott is a big step up in talent from Fowler. Johnson has always had the knock of being the typical slow white guy that you will always find in the BYU secondary, but he is always around the ball and he is not afraid to hit. He has moxy and he will lead the secondary to a solid season and they will be much improved from last year. In fact it would be hard for them not to do so unless I am suddenly recruited to play CB.
Johnson has been injured in 2 of the 3 season's that he has been on the roster. That means there is a high likely hood that he will miss at last some of this season but that doesn't worry me too much because I'm sure Cal Poly Tech has a few free safeties that they can loan us. OK joking aside, I am anxious to see if some of the back ups can perform at the Division 1 level. The guys below Johnson on the depth chart have more talent and athletic ability than he does so as long as they can keep up mentally I think the defense would not suffer from his loss. Now that I have kind of blasted Johnson I'm going to go out and say that he is going to turn some heads this year and if the secondary does have an exceptional year, you can accredit that to Johnson.

Day 5: Robbie Buckner

Well I got the Cougarboard bump last Saturday so I feel the pressure to live up to the standards with today's blog so here goes nothing:
Robbie Buckner, 5-10, 165 Fr: Let me start out by saying that this kid was the Arkansas 3A State Champion in the 400 Meter dash. Anyone who has ever ran a 400 know that this is the toughest race out there. It is an all out sprint, one time around the track. Buckner, who is fresh off a mission from Maputo, Mozambique, is the early leader to take the starting job at the field corner spot. Buckner's spot however, is hotly contested and if he is able to lock it down then it will be because he is a player and not because of a lack of competition at the position. Three J.C. transfers are pushing for the spot which should make Robbie and the transfers into better football players. The good news is that the defensive secondary isn't as thin as it was once thought to be and looks like it could even turn into one of the defenses strengths because of the new found depth. My guess is that Buckner will win the starting job but whoever takes over as the back-up will get plenty of playing time. The pessimistic side of me wants to say that Buckner is going to get injured within a couple of weeks and won't end up contributing significantly for a couple of months. (Quick someone knock on wood) However, I am going to go back to what I said at the beginning: Buckner is a State Champion 400 runner. It takes an incredible kind of athlete to run that race and someone who is able to get into incredible shape too. If reports are true about Buckner's work ethic then we won't need to worry about an injury unless it is one of those freak accidents that seem to plague many returned missionaries. Robbie definitely has the talent to become a 4 year starter and wow cougar fans for a long time. So who do I think will sing Buckner's praise in December? I think it will be Jan Jorgensen as he is accepts the Defensive Player of the year award.

Still to come today: Day 6, Scott Johnson

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 4: McKay Jacobsen

McKay Jacobsen, 5-11, 192, So: The tonic that will make us all forget about Austin Collie. We hope. OK so it may not be so easy to forget probably the greatest receiver in the history of the program, but if anyone could do it that guy would be McKay Jacobsen. Before leaving on his mission to Sapporo Japan, Jacobsen gave BYU fans a lot to be excited about during his freshman campaign with Senior John Beck at the helm. This year Jacobsen returns with another Senior quarterback running the show in Max Hall. This bodes well for the sophomore who will be looking to get back in the flow of the game after missing the last two seasons and then missing spring ball with a hamstring injury. Jacobsen won't need to be the receiver that Collie was because Hall will have plethora of receivers to throw to. This Wide receiver core will be more reminiscent of the 2006 team than any other I can remember. The difference between this unit and the one in 2006 is that this unit has more talent. I think that Mckay's main job at the beginning of the season will be to open up the short underneath routs with his speed. He will definitely be the deep threat that Collie was last year. He is also faster than Collie per his teammates, he just doesn't have Collie's route running ability. I believe that come December he will join Dennis Pitta with a 1000 yd receiving season and a 1st team All-MWC Selection. Lets just hope that come Sunday morning MJ won't be just like tonic and we suddenly wake up longing for Collie.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 3: R.J. Willing

R.J. Willing, 6-5 310 Sr.: Mr. R.J. Willing started his career at BYU in 2004 by starting 9 games at right tackle before leaving to serve a mission in Albuquerque, N.M. Willing won't be looking to start at right tackle though, he'll be looking to lock down the starting job at center. R.J. has never played center before this year so he will have to learn a new spot, but he still has a lot of game experience at just about every other position on the o-line. Willing is the lone Sr. on the offensive line and he will be looked to to provide leadership and experience. Earlier this week Coach Lance Reynolds commented on the radio that the offensive line was progressing well and that there are no real worries here. The rest of the offensive line will look to Willing to get a jump start and keep them pounding opponents all game long. Willing has taken his turn at BYU just waiting for his chance to start. I think he will be very aggressive this year and will take advantage of this. R.J. will provide the poise that this young offensive line needs and although he may start the year a bit sloppy because of over anxiousness, he'll end up carrying the unit along with Reynolds, when the pressure is on.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 2: Nick Alleto

The battle for the right tackle position will be a lot more contested than the other o-line positions, but the guy to beat is Nick Alletto. Braden Hansen is the guy right behind Alleto looking to garner some playing time and perhaps win a starting job. Both prospects are big dudes with a lot of upside and either one should be able to fill the spot more than adequately so I'll give a brief run down of each of them.
Nick Alletto, 6-6 310, Jr: Nick is a kid that has been just waiting his time to earn a spot on the offensive line. He is out of Ponderosa High in Parker Colorado. Alletto Redshirted in 2004 then served a mission in Argentina. He played in 2007 and 2008. Needless to say Nick is very mature and is poised to make an impact in 2009. I don't see a weak spot here and as I said with Reynolds, I don't think you will hear Alletto's name all that much in 2009. Do look for him to be a bit rusty coming out in the first game against Oklahoma and get a few holding calls. Once he gets back into the flow of the game he will settle down and be a solid performer for the Cougs this year.
Braden Hansen, 6-6 265 Red shirt FR: Hansen is just off the mission and looks to be pretty hungry for playing time. It will be very interesting to see if Alletto can hold him off for the starting Job. Hansen has a lot of potential and many look at him as one of the best O-line prospects BYU has, along with Matt Reynolds. Hansen has plenty of time to learn his position while watching Alletto from the side and getting some valuable back up minutes. He is only a freshman so I don't expect him to win the starting job this year but somewhere down the line he will be starting for the Cougars. He's a great prospect with a little mean streak that will definitely help out a young Cougar offensive line this year.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

22 days 22 Players

There are a few days this coming month when I won't actually have to await the college football season. So I did some math and I actually only have 22 days until BYU's opener vs. Oklahoma (For everyone else that still has 33 day, I'm sorry, not trying to rub it in or anything...) That means I have just enough time to do a profile and prediction on each of BYU's 22 Projected starters. So here goes nothing:
OT Matt Reynolds:
Reynolds, a SO, protected Halls blind side all last year and did a dang good job of it. Such a good job in fact that he was able to garner Freshman All-America honors. Matt will anchor an offensive line that returns only one starter from last year, himself. Reynolds was somehow left off the pre-season MWC first team, but that may be due more to BYU meda relation's inability to promote their players, or that the committee already had 3 Cougars on the 1st team offense and were a little wary of putting another on the team. Regardless, Reynolds is 1st team material and by years end I think he will prove that. Matt's most vocal fan should be Quarterback Max Hall. Reynolds will give Hall the time that he needs to pick apart offenses and not worry about losing his head. It's hard to project how well an offensive lineman will do but you won't hear Matt's name called very often this year, and when you're a lineman that's a good thing.