"They Are Who We Thought They Were!"



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(first up...welcome back to the blog--or more accurately, welcome back to me. My bye week routine included more time with the family, running the St. George Marathon, and staying away from the keyboard, for the most part. But after a "week off" to recharge the batteries, we're back up and running on "Cougar Tracks.")

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The headline above refers to a few teams this week.

It refers to BYU, who approaching the midpoint of the college season, sits as the lone 2-0 team in Mountain West Conference play. The defending champs remain the team to beat, and appear to have set the table for an unbeaten October.

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It refers to Utah--easily the most schizophrenic team in the Mountain West, if not all of college football. Coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season, does anyone feel good about picking the Utes against San Diego State? Me, neither.

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It refers to UNLV, BYU's opponent this week. The Rebels might have actually believed they were about to turn a corner of sorts after a win over Utah, but we who have watched UNLV for years now knew better. The loss at Nevada was followed by yesterday's meltdown at Air Force, and now UNLV is back where it always seems to belong--sub .500 and headed for another losing season. Watch the Rebels' season go into its traditional tailspin once the Cougars win in front of their "home fans" at Sam Boyd this Saturday.

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It refers to Wyoming, a tough team that in my opinion will be BYU's biggest obstacle on the way to a conference crown. The Cowboys are the only one-loss team in the MWC (4-1 after beating TCU Saturday)--and when playing at home, will be favored against every team they face, with the possible exception of BYU. Lots of football remains to be played between now and November 17th, but it's shaping up as a potential title showdown. Should be fun.

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So, in the Mountain West, the above teams "are who we thought they were." As for the others...

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We knew Colorado State's early season schedule was tough, but not 0-5 tough. That's 12 straight losses and an 0-2 start in conference play for Sonny Lubick, who, at the age of 70, has also seen his team lose 9 consecutive conference games. I thought the Rams would beat San Diego State Saturday--and they almost did, until a last-minute Kevin O'Connell TD run sealed the deal for the Aztecs.

Which beings us to...

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SDSU. Their 2-3 record sounds about right, but the road win in Fort Collins was surprising. So, the Aztecs are one of only three teams undefeated in conference play, but that status should last all of one week--since they play at Utah this Saturday. Then again, it is Utah...

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New Mexico (3-2, 0-1) is going to be fine, but a good test of the Lobos' resolve and conference contendership comes this Saturday at Wyoming. A loss in Laramie all but takes UNM out of the title chase, while buttressing the Cowboys bona fides.

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Remind me why TCU (3-3 0-2) was everyone's pick to win this league--they weren't mine. Yes, the Frogs returned a stout defense, but last time I checked, it takes more than that to win football games. Novelty (and not a great deal of talent) at quarterback was enough of a question mark for me, and once Aaron Brown got hurt, all bets were off. Now, TCU gets Stanford on the road. At least that game's a bit of a breather. Wait... what's that? The Cardinal beat USC? At the Coliseum? Umm... good luck, Frogs.

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Nice rebound win for Air Force--coming off consecutive losses before the home win over UNLV. At 3-1 in league play, the Falcons are halfway home to a sucessful conference campaign for rookie head coach Troy Calhoun. The Cadets are one of 4 league teams yet to lose a game at home (BYU, Wyoming, TCU).

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The BYU Basketball team holds Media Day on Thursday, with practice getting underway on Friday.

16 players are on the fall roster, with 13 scholarhsip players joined by 3 walk-ons (Gavin MacGregor, Nick Martineau and Matt Pinegar). It will be interesting to see which 3 or 4 players end up redshirting.

Right now, only James Anderson is sure to sit this season, but you would expect at least one of the walk-on point guards (Pinegar would the most likely) and one swingman to redshirt as well. Since BYU has good depth inside (and since MacGregor was more than serviceable on the summer trip to Europe), recently-returned missionary Chris Miles might be someone Dave Rose considers redshirting. The next three weeks of practice will help shape the pending personnel decisions.

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