Predictions for the second half of the season
BYU is coming off a bye week, and I'm coming up on another Saturday in Edwards Stadium. The Cougs are about to begin the second half of their season. After six games, I know a bit about this team and the teams they'll be playing than I did in August, so it's time to revisit my picks.
I predicted that BYU would go 5-1 during the second half, with wins against UNLV, Air Force, Colorado State, Wyoming and Utah. I thought they would lose to New Mexico. Here's what I'm thinking today.UNLV:
The Rebels are having an awful year so far. They've won one game and may not win any more. They won't beat the Cougars this weekend. BYU will be 5-2.Air Force:
I've got to admit that I didn't give the Falcons any credit at the beginning of the year. They were coming off back-to-back losing seasons and had a hard time moving the ball on opposing teams. This year, with a senior quarterback and a re-focused running attack, they're 3-0 in the conference and almost beat Tennessee at Rocky Top. BYU's offense will probably score in the low 30s in this game, which is tough for any Air Force team to match. But I think now that the Falcons lost to Navy, Fisher DeBerry wants this game more than any other on his schedule. I picking the Falcons in another close one. BYU's record is 5-3 and they'll be hoping the Falcons falter later in the conference.Colorado State:
Even with the HUGE loss of their best running back, Kyle Bell, the Rams are winning games. But they don't have enough firepower to stay with the Cougars. BYU runs its record to 6-3.Wyoming:
This one's another tough game to pick. The Pokes are the biggest surprise in the conference, even with their losing record. They lost in overtime against a Big East team and an ACC team. They took Air Force to the final minutes of the game, and they beat Utah. But I don't think the Cougars lose a game in Edwards Stadium this year. Another BYU win, and they're at 7-3.New Mexico:
The last home game of the season against one of the conference's worst teams. BYU has already beaten a 3-3-5 defense handily this year when they played Tulsa. John Beck and Cameron Jensen will leave everything on the field in this game, and the Cougars will win easily. BYU's record is 8-3.Utah:
At the beginning of the season, most rational Cougar fans would have accepted an 8 win season--as long as they beat Utah. In mid-October, I think most rational Cougar fans (and Ute fans) will say that BYU should win this game. "Should" is the operable word here, because anything can happen in rivalry games--see BYU's loss last year against a Utah team with a QB making his first D1 start.
Utah still has a lot going for them, mostly on defense. Eric Weddle is superb. The Ute linebackers are tough. Their line is solid. If they can slow down the Cougar offense, they have a chance...
... But the Utes will lose to the Cougars. Oh, the Utes will play inspired ball. But John Beck is playing the best ball of his career, not because he's any more skilled now, but because his confidence is high. Beck will go in to Salt Lake City calm, businesslike and dangerous, and the Cougars will come out victorious. BYU ends the season at 9-3, and will be invited to either the Las Vegas Bowl or the Poinsetta Bowl.
And Cougar fans get set for a tough year in 2007 with an inexperienced quarterback.