This preview is coming a day early, so that I do not have to worry about writing tomorrow, even though I may get the urge. This week is rivalry week with the biggest game being the Holy War between Utah and BYU and then there is the Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming.
Friday 11/23 Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium 12PM MT TV:
This is another rival within the conference that can get nasty, but this year could be the last for at least one coach (Sunny Lubbick) and perhaps Joe Glenn. This years game is huge for Wyoming who has been in a tail spin since their 4-1 start, and are now firmly on the bowl bubble at 5-6 and need a win to become bowl eligible, and this year with a lack of conferences getting enough teams eligible could net the Pokes a bowl bid. This has been said multiple times about Colorado State that they have offense and no defense and play teams tough and that is the same for this game. For Colorado State to win they must attack the Wyoming rush defense with Gatrell Johnson III and Kyle Bell to get over and have Caleb Hanie limit the turnovers which he has done better of late. As for Wyoming they must have a QB who can produce and beat the wobbly secondary that the Rams have. Plus Wyoming can not keep turning the ball over as many times and expect to win. This game will come down to the end because there is a good amount of emotion in this game, and not because it is a rivalry game. Wyoming has a chance to be bowl eligible and this is almost certainly Sunny Lubbick's last game as the Rams head coach in saying that Wyoming pull this out by 10 points.
LaVell Edwards Stadium 2PM MT TV:
This game is available everywhere! I just hope that the crew that calls the game is CSTV or Versus because The Mtn. announcing crews are hard to deal with. Now onto to the Holy War itself. This game will be close because both teams have good defenses and their offenses are good, but they are better in different areas. Here are some numbers I pulled up from Cougar Legion
BYU Defense vs. Utah Offense:
BYU Scoring D: #19 - 18.8 ppg
BYU Total D: #14 - 308.6 ypg
BYU Passing D: #45 - 216.4 ypg
BYU Rushing D: #10 - 92.2 ypg
Utah Scoring O: #64 - 26.9 ppg
Utah Total O: #72 - 373.6 ypg
Utah Passing O: #77 - 205.5 ypg
Utah Rushing O: #42 - 168.1 ypg
BYU Offense vs. Utah Defense:
BYU Scoring O: #40 - 30.9 ppg
BYU Total O: #19 - 452.9 ypg
BYU Passing O: #8 - 315.2 ypg
BYU Rushing O: #78 - 137.7 ypg
Utah Scoring D: #5 - 15.5 ppg
Utah Total D: #16 - 309.9 ypg
Utah Passing D: #11 - 180.7 ypg
Utah Rushing D: #40 - 129.2 ypg
So something has to give here for both teams, with Utah allowing only 15.5 per game and then BYU Scores nearly 31 per game and both teams that have won 7 straight. The real difference between these teams is special teams where Utah has a better punt average which could lead into better field position if the game comes down that. Another category that could determine the outcome is turnovers. For the year Utah is a+10 in the turnover margin compared to -6 which could determine the outcome in the game, and put in the fact that Utah is not afraid when they go down to LaVell Edwards Stadium (vice versa when BYU goes to Rice Eccles) because of the proximity and that each team brings a lot fans to the road stadium. Here is a quote from ESPN about the game
BYU-Utah (30). At stake: Moral supremacy and the Cougars' unbeaten league record. Upper hand: BYU won last year, 33-31. Feeling heat: Cougars QB Max Hall, playing in his first Holy War. Dash pick: Utah 28, BYU 21. (Each team has won seven straight, so somebody has to remember what it feels like to lose.)
For Utah to defeat the Cougars they must do a few things:
First off the Utes must attack the secondary of BYU which is their weakest part of their team, and that is because of injuries.
The Utes also need to limit the under neath and tight end passing that BYU thrives on.
Also on the receiving end is for the Utes to bump and double WR Austin Collie because he is their only legit down field threat.
Then pressure Max Hall and create turnovers into points
Here are the ways that BYU can beat Utah
Stop the Utes running game and make them one dimensional, because even though Brian Johnson is a good QB he was yet to prove he can beat a team with his own passing game.
The Cougars HAVE to limit their own turnovers and not give Utah a chance to put those into easy points.
Special teams! The Cougars are not good on punting or special teams coverage and must not give up the big play.
Max Hall needs to get the ball to his tight ends and use that to his advantage to keep moving the chains when needed.
For my prediction this game will be close but Utah will win in a close game and they will win by only a few points, but by no means is this a very confident pick this game is truly a toss up.
University Stadium 3:30 PM MT TV:
The Lobos are playing for a better bowl game and some respect across the nation. New Mexico should defeat the Rebels because they are the better team and are at home, however New Mexico laid an egg against the Utes last weekend. The Rebels do have some players like WR Ryan Wolfe and QB Omar Clayton who have play making abilities, but it really comes down to the Rebels running attack and Frank Summers and if he can do well then look for the Rebels to hang tough. New Mexico has the best player on the field in Rodney Ferguson and for New Mexico they just need to feed him the ball and have Donovan Porterie hit his talented receivers. New Mexico by 14 points and that is being kind.
Qualcomm Stadium 5PM PT TV: NONE
This game is HUGE for TCU if they want to go bowling this year. They are all ready at 6 wins but 7 would be nice, because if they get to 7 wins they look more attractive to bowl games. Assuming New Mexico wins and does TCU the Horned Frogs would be 5th in line in total wins in the conference behind Utah, BYU, Air Force (all who they lost to) and New Mexico who they beat easily. The bowl bids all 99% guaranteed to BYU, Utah and Air Force which means if there are no at large spots then it comes down to New Mexico and TCU. There is still a twist that both of those teams host bowl games. OK back to the game, for as well that the Aztecs have played this season TCU is playing much better on defense and the times SDSU has played a good defense they have been shut down. San Diego State has a shot at a .500 record and becoming bowl eligible for the first time in a while, so they will come out with motivation but with TCU and BYU in the next two weeks and that will be tough. Look for TCU to slow the running game down, but the Horned Frogs could go down if QB Kevin O'Connell attacks the TCU secondary. Look for TCU to dominate on defense and win by at least 14 points.