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BYU Cougars Betting – 2011 BYU Cougars College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/26/2011 6:31:56 PM
byu cougars betting

When MLB baseball betting gurus talk about Independence Day, they talk about the nationally-televised tripleheader on July 4, a festival of games they try to cash in on. When college football-based sports betting prognosticators talk about “independence day,” they are referring to August 31, 2010, the day when a proud Mormon school decided to break away from a familiar home to explore something entirely different.

It is a new world for the Brigham Young University Cougars. Having left the Mountain West Conference to embark on a journey of football independence, Cougar fans – freed from the shackles of a conference affiliation - will be in for their most unique season in ages. The schedule, aided by BYU’s television contract with ESPN, has come together nicely for the first year of this decidedly new existence, in which the Mormon school is trying to capitalize on its national and global brand and become something of a Western United States equivalent to Notre Dame.

The Cougars travel to Mississippi and the University of Texas during the first two weeks of the season. BYU will also travel to Arlington, Texas, to take on (now) former Mountain West rival TCU at Cowboys Stadium, Jerry Jones’ gleaming pleasure palace and big-game venue. Other road trips to Oregon State and Hawaii will also test the Cougars’ mettle. The home slate isn’t as sexy, but has some potential. In week three the Cougars will host longtime rival and new Pac-12 member Utah. The following week BYU will play budding non-AQ power Central Florida in Provo. We will know all we need about the Cougars in 2011 after the first four contests. A criticism of head coach Bronco Mendenhall during his tenure at BYU is and has been an enduring skepticism of his chops in non-conference contests during the month of September. Mendenhall’s inability to get off to a good start is what irritates the Cougar Nation. In four of Mendenhall’s six seasons, the Cougars have started 1-2 or worse. That’s quite surprising for a coach who has went bowling in all six seasons and posted four straight years of double-digit victories.

Thankfully BYU’s maiden voyage into independence is coinciding with the most talent on campus in Provo in arguably 15 years. Quarterback Jake Heaps was terrific in the stretch run of the 2010 season, showing he can indeed live up to the hype surrounding his arrival in the shadows of the Wasatch Mountains. New offensive coordinator Brandon Doman will implement more of a West Coast-style offense this season and will rely on Heaps to stay efficient. The Cougars have a solid duo at wide receiver in Cody Hoffman and former Texas verbal Ross Apo. A stable of running backs and an experienced offensive line led by future first-round NFL prospect Matt Reynolds should help BYU to be relatively successful on offense, certainly more so than last season, in which the first half of the 12-game slate was a disaster. The Cougars return 10 starters from last season.

The defense is also improved, with USC transfers Uona Kaveinga and Hebron Fangupo expected to be difference makers. The Cougars will be tested athletically like no time before. In years past, BYU could struggle in non-conference matchups, knowing that it was a dominant force in the Mountain West. Those times are over. BYU is now under the spotlight as it sheds its conference identity. It will be interesting to see how this team reacts to the klieg-light glare of being a target for its opponents. The best sports bet to make with BYU, given the difficulty of its schedule, is to expect about seven or eight wins.

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