Pick 6



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Although there are a couple of games left to play before the Cougars travel to TCU, it's safe to assume BYU will be 6-0 as the Cougars embark on the second half of their campaign.

And again, assuming wins over Utah State and New Mexico, we will probably be looking back at the first half of the season and seeing how relatively easy that 6-game stretch really was, and how a handful of "breaks" went BYU's way.

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Game 1- v. Northern Iowa: FCS team--say no more.

Game 2- @ Washington: BYU faced an injury-plagued team in turmoil, with a coach on the hot seat, and coming off a blowout loss in the opener. No skill position experience around Jake Locker. Locker caused BYU problems, but helped the Cougars by losing his head. BYU should have won by more, and likely would have, had Harvey Unga not fumbled at the UW goal line. BYU failed to put the hammer down early, but the Cougars were clearly the better team. UW is one of only two BCS-conference teams without a win (Rutgers).

Game 3- v. UCLA: BYU drew a Bruins team playing its 3rd string QB, with its top running back and tight end missing due to injury. Second game for UCLA's new head coach and offensive coordinator. BYU was simply way too good on this day, but the Bruins were terrible, and did not look any better against Arizona.

Game 4- v. Wyoming: BYU faced one of the least productive offenses in college football, with another coach fighting for his job. The Cowboys played three quarterbacks, none of whom gave the impression he knew what he was doing.

Game 5- @ Utah State: BYU meets a program whose last winning record came in 1996. The Aggies are 5-30 in their last 35 games. They have already changed starting quarterbacks this season. Only 4 teams have allowed more points this season. I could go on, but why?

Game 6- v. New Mexico: BYU welcomes a New Mexico team that has lost QB Donovan Porterie for the season--and the passing game was ranked 106th nationally with him in the lineup. The new QB is a redshirt freshman who's completing 39% of his passes, with 1 td and 4 ints. Only 16 teams have allowed more points this season. Since 1972, BYU is 15-2 v. New Mexico in Provo.

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So, there's the first half of the season. Anything less than 6-0 would be... well, I won't even address it. BYU will be 6-0 heading to Fort Worth. Which brings us to the second half of the season, and this is where BYU will earn its way into the BCS, if it's going to happen. Four of BYU's last 6 games will be on the road; two of them against potentially ranked teams.

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Game 7- @ TCU: The Horned Frogs defensive numbers are staggeringly good right now, and while the schedule played to this point has been soft, that will change this Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. We will know a lot more about TCU after the OU game, but win or lose, they look as fast and physical as they have ever been on defense. QB Andy Dalton is gaining confidence on offense. In BYU's favor, the Cougars have averaged 38 ppg in 3 meetings since Bronco became head coach.

Game 8- v. UNLV: This game looked like a gimme after the Rebels performance in Salt Lake City, but with ensuing wins over Arizona State and Iowa State, we are forced to take UNLV seriously. QB Omar Clayton is playing very well, and with the addition of freshman WR Phillip Payne, Clayton and the Rebels have as good a wide receiving corps as there is in the MWC.

Game 9- @ Colorado State: This should be a comfortable win for the Cougars, but the Rams are showing signs of life under new head coach Steve Fairchild. BYU has scored more than 30 points in Fort Collins just once since 1991--for some reason, the Cougars struggle on offense at CSU.

Game 10- v. San Diego State: lost to Cal Poly. Lost to San Jose State. next...

Game 11- @ Air Force: BYU has won the last four meetings with the Falcons by an average of 20.5 ppg, and the Cougars always keep the Falcons ground game in check. Still, playing this game in mid-November at the Academy could make things a little dicier than normal. Air Force was 3-0 before losing to Utah, but historically, the Falcons fade to the finish.

Game 12- @ Utah: If the Cougars make it unscathed to this point, there shouldn't be much riding on this one--only millions of dollars. Utah will already have played TCU (two weeks earlier, at home). If Utah is undefeated, 11-0 BYU v. 11-0 Utah would simply be the biggest game in the history of the state of Utah. Since 1996, BYU's wins over Utah have been by 2 points, 7 points, 3 points, 2 points, and 7 points. With the exception of 2004's blowout win, Utah's victories have been by 6 points, 3 points, 7 points, 3 points, and 7 points (since 1995). So, I think we all know what to expect on November 22nd.

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Well, there you have it: a run through BYU's 12-game schedule, only 4 games into the year. The Cougars are paddling in smooth waters right now, but the rapids are approaching, and it's going to be a wild ride to the finish.

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