CFB: BYU at Washington (3:00E, FSN)

CFB: BYU at Washington (3:00E, FSN)

If there is an "it" team away from the BCS conferences that could crash the party of the five major bowls, BYU is positioned to make the most legitimate case.


2008-09-05

If there is an "it" team away from the BCS conferences that could crash the party of the five major bowls, BYU is positioned to make the most legitimate case. The Cougars returned nine offensive starters, led by a gi-normous offensive line, averaging 6'6, 320 pounds. These guys are so big, they could fill the last row of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir themselves, if they could carry a tune. This group is not a bunch of plodders either, as a pretty good FCS Northern Iowa team found out is 41-17 pasting. Junior Matt Hall runs offense that is explosive and should reach full potential with veteran cast back. Though the defense lost eight starters from 2007 squad, more than enough back-ups saw playing time for coach Bronco Mendenhall, where he believes this group should be at least as good as last year's bunch that allowed 18 points per game. Playing on the road doesn't set up well the Cougs who are 5-16 and 4-16-1 ATS as non-conference road team.

Though not facing the same scrutiny as Notre Dame, head coach Tyrone Willingham needs Washington to produce in 2008, as the Huskies backers are howlin' with his 11-26 record. After losing at Oregon 44-10, the heat won't let up, especially with four-ranked Oklahoma coming to Seattle this week. That makes this a priority contest, beating a recognized opponent with big aspirations, softens the blow from potential 0-3 start with 14 days between games. What Washington needs to do establish their own offensive line, which has very good size also, though only starts one senior. Quarterback Jake Locker is probably the best all-around signal caller in the Pac-10; nevertheless, needed weapons have not emerged yet. The defense is now under the direction of former hot NFL assistant Ed Donatell.

Washington is 8-23 ATS off a road loss against a Pac-10 rival and is 1-4 ATS in home openers the last five years. BYU is 7-4 ATS as away favorite and is 8-4-1 against the number on artificial turf. The home team has won five of six meetings in brief series.

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