Archive for year 2011

The 3 Keys to the BYU – UCF Game

Overview

Both teams are coming off tough losses; BYU has faced tougher opponents and has two losses to show for it.  Both team’s defenses have carried the burden throughout the first three games of the season. That dependency won’t change for either team in this game.

The Knights are coming off a close, but unexpected loss, and they have a chip on their shoulder. They are eager to get back on the winning track they enjoyed throughout last season and the first two games this year.

From a purely psychological standpoint, the BYU’s confidence is shaken and they are desperate to prove to themselves and the public that they are not the same team that lost to Utah by 44 points last Saturday.  Although, you wouldn’t know the Cougars suffered a quake in confidence based on what defensive back Corby Eason said at a pre-game press conference earlier in the week:

“If we stop the quarterback, like, they have no offense. He’s a great player. He can run the ball and he can pass the ball. We just have to stop him. Once we stop him, I don’t believe nobody else can beat us.”

Okay, Corby, UCF thanks you for your quiet and respectful over-confidence – and the extra motivation you have provided them.

The 3 Keys to this Game

Arguably, these three keys could be used as a template for the remainder of BYU’s season. We know the defense is good enough to get the job done against any opponent, as long as the offense carries its own weight.

  1. Ball control – with points. BYU’s offense has shown a glimmer here and there in their first three games of being able to eat up clock and put points on the board in the same drive. But they have to get points on their possessions. It does little good to use up clock and have nothing to show for it. If they fail to keep the ball out of QB Jeff Godfrey’s hands, you will see the Cougar defense fatigue in the second half again – like they did against Texas and Utah – and the game will be put out of reach from the Cougar offense.
  2. Turnovers. Against Utah, the defense kept the team in the game during the first half, despite three turnovers and generally uninspired mistake-ridden football by the offense. The floodgate opened wide for BYU turnovers in the second half and the defense couldn’t keep up with the landslide. The offense couldn’t do anything right, so there was absolutely no “lift” from a momentum shift that the team could rally around. So, if you see the offense committing more than a couple turnovers against the Knights, don’t expect the outcome of this game to be pretty.
  3. The Long Ball. BYU has to stretch the field to open up their running game. If the receivers are getting open, which usually isn’t a problem, then Jake Heaps needs to deliver the ball. While he has had a few nice long passes this year, more often than not, he has overthrown or underthrown his receivers and stalled out potential drives. When opposing defenses see that the Cougars are toothless in the long passing game, they can load the box and play to stuff the run and short range passes.

Prediction

Brandon Doman refuses to leave the sideline, despite having called three awful games to start the season. Bronco Mendenhall claimed the defense was out of position last week in the second half when Utah’s ground game shredded his front seven., rather than admitting the defense was fatigued and had no gas or will left. Corby Eason’s unfortunate comment about the UCF offense earlier this week shows a lack of humility, as well as a lack of respect for Cougar opponents. There are some very disturbing disconnects taking place inside the BYU football program.  Call this one UCF 27 BYU 17.

 

Week 4 Game Picks

Interesting that we’re all picking BYU after they got blown out by their arch rival. Florida State at Clemson, Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, and USC at Arizona State are the toughest picks this week.

Week 4 

Match-ups

Correct picks in Red

Todd Erickson College Gridiron 365.com Gerry Ahern Yahoo College Sports Tom Dienhart Rivals.com Mike Huguenin Rivals.com
Season % (45-15) .750 (42-18) .700 (45-15) .750 (44-16) .733
UCF at BYU UCF BYU BYU BYU
Florida State at Clemson Clemson Florida State Clemson Florida State
No. Carolina at GA Tech GA Tech GA Tech GA Tech GA Tech
Kansas State at Miami Miami Miami Miami Miami
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame
Toledo at Syracuse Syracuse Toledo Syracuse Toledo
LSU at West Virginia LSU LSU LSU LSU
San Diego St. at Michigan Michigan Michigan Michigan San Diego St
UCLA at Oregon State Oregon St UCLA Oregon St Oregon St
California at Washington Washington Washington Washington Cal
W. Michigan at Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois
Arkansas at Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
So. Miss at Virginia Virginia So. Miss So. Miss So. Miss
Nebraska at Wyoming Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
Oklahoma St at Texas A&M TAMU Oklahoma St TAMU TAMU
Missouri at Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
Florida at Kentucky Florida Florida Florida Florida
Vanderbilt at So. Carolina South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina
Oregon at Arizona Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
USC at Arizona State ASU ASU USC ASU

 

Week 5 Game Picks

Note that there are now 26 match-ups in the Game Pick Grid.

Week 5

 

Match-ups

Todd Erickson College Gridiron 365.com Gerry Ahern Yahoo College Sports Tom Dienhart Rivals.com Mike Huguenin Rivals.com
Season % (60-20) .750 (59-21) .737 (61-19) .762 (57-23) .712
Last week 15-5 17-3 16-4 13-7
Ga Tech at

NC State

Ga Tech NC State Ga Tech Ga Tech
Rutgers at Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse Syracuse
Clemson at Virginia Tech Clemson Va Tech Va Tech Va Tech
Bowling Green at WV WV WV WV WV
Wash State at Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
Texas at

Iowa State

Texas Texas Texas Texas
Baylor at Kansas State Baylor Baylor Baylor Baylor
Ball State at Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
Northwestern at Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois
Minnesota at Michigan Michigan Michigan Michigan Michigan
Michigan St at Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
Notre Dame at Purdue Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame Notre Dame
Nebraska at Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin
Oregon St at Arizona St ASU ASU ASU ASU
Arizona at USC USC USC USC USC
UCLA at Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Alabama at Florida Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
Mississippi St at Georgia Mississippi St Georgia Georgia Georgia
Auburn at

So. Carolina

So. Carolina So. Carolina So. Carolina So. Carolina
TAMU at Arkansas TAMU TAMU TAMU TAMU
Kentucky at LSU LSU LSU LSU LSU
SMU at

TCU

TCU TCU TCU TCU
Mississippi at Fresno State Fresno State Ole Miss Fresno State Fresno State
Washington at Utah Utah Washington Utah Utah
No. Carolina at ECU No. Carolina No. Carolina No. Carolina No. Carolina
Air Force at Navy Navy Navy Navy Air Force
Nevada at Boise State BSU BSU BSU BSU