2012 Brigham Young Cougars Football Preview
2011 Record: 10-3
Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall, eighth season (66-24 all at Brigham Young)
Projected Returning Starters: 17
Spring Game: March 24th (Scrimmage)
Notes: When Brigham Young made the move from the Mountain West to Independent, many wondered the logic behind the move. It seemed most of the other sports were de-emphasized, as the Cougars became members of the West Coast Conference. But BYU secured a lucrative television deal with ESPN and already had national exposure based on success in basketball and football. Guys like Steve Young built the Cougars, who arguably have been a more successful program than Notre Dame, since the days of Lou Holtz and Lavell Edwards. Mendenhall led BYU to a double-digit win total last year against a fairly weak schedule – the Cougars were also destroyed at home by Utah in the Holy War. BYU faced only four teams, in the regular season, with a winning record; BYU was 1-3 in those games.
BVTSB Take: In his seven seasons in Provo, Mendenhall has won at least six games each season, appearing in a bowl game each year, and posting a 5-2 record in those bowl games. In five of the seven seasons, BYU has won double-digit games. The Cougars lost a lot of talent in the off-season, but the lines on both sides of the ball remain largely intact. BYU loses quarterback Jake Heaps who started the season going 2-2 before he was replaced as starter midway through the Utah State game. Heaps is transferring to Kansas and will be eligible to play in the 2013 season. Riley Nelson, the quarterback who finished out the season with a 8-1 record, returns under center. Nelson threw for over 1700 yards and had a 2.7:1 touchdown-to-interception ration. Possibly the biggest loss is running back JJ Di Luigi, who has graduated. Backup Michael Alisa returns – he rushed for 5.4 yards per carry and three touchdowns in 2011. All three leading receivers for BYU return – Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo, and JD Falslev – as they combined for over 1600 receiving yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. The schedule is much tougher this year. BYU faces Utah and Boise on the road in back-to-back weeks, only five days apart. They also face Utah State, who has given BYU trouble in recent years, and roadies against Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Playing three more WAC teams to close out the year (Idaho, San Jose State, and New Mexico State), as well as earlier season games against Weber State, a pair of PAC-12 teams (Washington State and Oregon State) should help BYU; the Cougars also play host to Hawaii. BYU has a great shot at double-digit wins following post-season play.
2012 Early Projection: 9-3
To see the 2012 Independent schedules, click here.
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