Did you know...
BYU has now been ranked in the Top 25 polls for 22 consecutive weeks? That leads the Mountain West Conference, followed by Utah (18 consecutive) and TCU (12 straight), making it also 12 consecutive polls in which the "Big Three" have all been ranked.
For all of the recent difficulty BYU has had with ranked teams (2-18 in the last 20 until the win over Oklahoma), Tulane trumps the Cougars when it comes to high-profile struggles.
The Green Wave have dropped 37 consecutive games against ranked opponents, last beating a Top 25 team in 1982, when Tulane topped 12th-ranked LSU, 31-28. The last time the Wave rolled over a ranked team at the Superdome was in the season opener of 1979--a 33-10 win over #13 Stanford.
We all know that there was an element of smoke and mirrors to BYU's 6-0 start last season; the wins over Washington and UCLA were downgraded after their subpar seasons, and the Cougars were subsequently exposed by TCU, Utah and Arizona in finishing the season on a 4-3 swoon.
Flash forward to 2009, and the avalanche of national goodwill headed BYU's way after the Cougars' impressive win over Oklahoma begs this question: will that win stand up at the end of the season? I certainly hope so, but at the moment all is not well in Sooner country.
Having lost QB Sam Bradford for up to a month with a case of Clawsonitis, OU will now be without TE Jermaine Gresham for the entire season after knee surgery.
BYU needs Oklahoma to play well and win a lot of games, but the Sooners are now without two of their top three offensive weapons. While OU has more than enough talent to handle Idaho State, the game with Tulsa suddenly looks dangerous, and it's conceivable the Sooners could be underdogs at Miami.
Certainly, all of that OU depth I talked about in the days leading up to the BYU-Oklahoma game will be tested, and it's true that OU should have enough talent to be a ten-win team. But, the two positions at which there was a wide separation between starter and backups were QB and TE, and both of those guys are down. If Bob Stoops is as good a coach as his record states he is, he will find a way to tailor the offense to OU's remaining strengths. If Oklahoma fails to rally, the Cougars will suffer along with the Sooners.
When it comes to BYU's strength of schedule, BYU is counting on the six teams getting Top 25 votes to have good seasons: Oklahoma, TCU, Utah, Florida State, Air Force and Colorado State.
I don't see any other MWC teams capable of making much national noise this season, but a UNLV win over #24 Oregon State on Saturday would be an eye-opener.
Air Force opens Minnesota's new stadium this weekend, and a Cadet victory would be an important BCS feather in the MWC cap. While CSU doesn't have any other BCS opponents on the schedule, the win at Colorado should hold up, and a win over Nevada on the 19th would strengthen the Rams resume.
Of the "Big Three," BYU of course has to keep winning; TCU has big games at Virginia and Clemson, and Utah plays at Oregon and hosts Louisville.
The UVa game has to be a win for the Frogs, since William & Mary already beat the Cavs; a victory at Death Valley would be a worthy win.
After the Ducks' meltdown in Boise, I like Utah to win at Autzen, and the Cardinals should get rolled at Rice-Eccles.
Did you know...
Eight of the nine coaches in the MWC are in their first college head coaching job? SDSU's Brady Hoke (Ball State) is the only coach with previous head coaching experience.
Tonight's Bronco Mendenhall Show is live at Ken Garff Porsche Audi Volkswagen on University Parkway in Orem, at 7:00pm. Iceberg Drive-Inn will be on hand with free burgers for all--get there early, seats (and burgers) go quickly! Last week, they served 750 burgers before and during the show.
BYU hoopster Jonathan Tavernari has had a busy summer, spending the better part of the last two and a half months playing for his Brazilian national team. JT was part of the group that won the just-completed Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico; as champions, Tavernari and Brazil will play in next summer's World Championship in Turkey.
Today, Tavernari gets married to Kiri Redford, then it's time to get back to the books and life as a college player. BYU players are already in preseason workouts, with the official start to practice still five weeks away.