Perennial powerhouse Gonzaga is the favorite to win the West Coast Conference regular season championship in a preseason poll of the league's ten coaches, released on Wednesday at the WCC Tipoff event in Los Angeles.
The Zags captured eight of 10 first-place votes, with second-place BYU and third-place Saint Mary's each getting a single first-place tally. The third-through-sixth place teams were separated by a total of seven poll points.
BYU's Tyler Haws was the lone Cougar selected to the ten-player All-WCC team; Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and San Francisco each had two players selected.
PROVO — The new guys may have received most the off-season buzz, but it was the old vets who stole the show at BYU men's basketball's annual Cougar Tipoff Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
Junior guards Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws lit up the scoreboard for 28 and 31 points respectively, showing potential for a high-scoring offense this upcoming season.
"I'm really pleased with the effort of the guys, and we saw a lot of good things in the scrimmage," said head coach Dave Rose during post-scrimmage interviews. "I think there's a lot of things to improve on, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the guys tonight for their effort."
PROVO — Coming off one of the most wild, thrilling games in the Bronco Mendenhall era, the Cougars look to avenge last season's 7-6 heartbreaker to Boise State this Friday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coach Mendenhall is still "recovering" from the Cougars 47-46 victory over Houston Saturday at Reliant Stadium. The game featured multiple lead changes, three turnovers for each team, and a last-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown from Taysom Hill to Skyler Ridley.
"At this point, I remember two plays" said Mendenhall. "I remember the pass to Skyler Ridley for the touchdown and the interception by Alani Fua."
Even though the Cougars were outscored 38-34 in the first half, they were able to hold Houston to eight points in the second half and pull out a rare win in the Bronco-era when trailing after halftime and the third quarter. BYU is 6-20 when having trailed at halftime and after three quarters, but is 4-4 in the last eight such games.
PROVO — When the Cougars found themselves in a shootout at Houston, it would have been natural to drift to thoughts of a gallant return for one of BYU's top defensive backs, Craig Bills.
But the Timpview High School product wasn't phased. He trusted his teammates to get the job done, and he had faith in them.
Besides, it was his call to sit out Oct. 19 at Reliant Stadium.
Six days after beating Houston in a first-ever meeting with that school, BYU welcomes Boise State to Provo on Friday, with the Cougars seeking a first-ever win over the visitors from Idaho.
The Broncos have won the first three meetings in a series that has stretched over 10 years, with Boise State walking away with a 2003 blowout at LaVell Edwards Stadium, then capturing blue-turf nail-biters in 2004 and 2012.
Last year's game featured BYU blanking the Boise State offense, yet the Broncos earned a 7-6 win on the strength of an interception return for touchdown. Taysom Hill came off the bench in relief of an injured Riley Nelson and led the Cougars to their only touchdown late in the fourth quarter; a missed two-point conversion ended BYU's comeback hopes.
PROVO — There's no place like home, but for BYU, it's time to get back on the road again.
The Cougars stung the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium for a dominant 38-20 Homecoming victory. The win also concluded a five-game streak of games played within the state of Utah -- four at home (Texas, Utah, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia Tech) with a road victory over Utah State in the middle. BYU will return to the road to face the Houston Cougars this Saturday at Reliant Stadium, the home of the NFL's Houston Texans.
Even though Georgia Tech's triple-option attack contrasts from most offenses BYU will face this season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said at his weekly "BYU Football with Coach Mendenhall" radio show tonight that it was still a strong victory that will benefit the team this week and throughout the season.
PROVO — Kyle Van Noy came into the 2013 BYU football season with loads of hype, a preseason All-American status, and having passed on a nearly assured first-round NFL draft potential.
Halfway into the year, Van Noy has lived up to the hype with BYU's defense, with 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and one interception — a pick-six on the first play of the game at Utah State.
But what's most important to the senior from Reno, Nev., is that his fellow linebackers have risen to the same level, having scored defensive touchdowns in three straight games.
A little more than five weeks after a second surgery to remove cancerous tissue, BYU Basketball head coach Dave Rose says "I feel good...I feel better every day."
"Each week," said Rose after a late-afternoon practice at the Marriott Center on Wednesday, "I can tell that things are better."
"I'm kind of just concentrating on this team, and the team itself--you can really tell that they're young."
PROVO — Cody Hoffman is one catch away from becoming BYU's all-time leader in career receptions. Currently, Cody is tied with Dennis Pitta with 221 catches; and based on the fact that Hoffman has caught at least one pass in 36 consecutive games, the record should be his sometime Saturday afternoon.
"It would mean a lot," Hoffman said, when asked what the record would mean to him. "I know there's been a lot of good receivers here and a lot of great players overall; to break the record would be a great feeling."
Guy Holliday, BYU's receivers coach has been impressed with Hoffman since he joined the staff during the off-season. "I haven't had one (receiver) as skilled as him," Holliday said.
After preparing for and beating a Georgia Tech team intent on running the ball and draining the clock, the BYU Cougars are this week getting ready for the opposite approach as presented by the Houston Cougars: a pass-heavy, up-tempo attack that will be more of stylistic match for their namesakes from Provo.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Monday that he "hardly remembers" the Yellow Jackets and their game plan.
"We've spent all day now defending four receivers and (a team) throwing the ball around," said Mendenhall after an early-evening practice, "and it's college football, which is one of the cool things about it--you're not facing the same offense."
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