Monday Meanderings...



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Winners on the field, losers in the polls--the BYU Cougars drop to 20th and 21st in the AP and Coaches' Polls Sunday. There are now three NAQs (non-automatic qualifiers) ahead of the Cougars in the polls: Boise State (5/5), TCU (11/10) and Houston (12/15).

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The first BCS Standings of the season come out three weeks from today--right after BYU's game at San Diego State and right before the Cougars' home game with TCU. It's reasonable to believe that TCU will be a Top Ten team when the Horned Frogs roll into Provo on October 24th. So, when's the last time BYU beat two top ten teams in the same season? Of course, the answer is never.

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As for Boise State, the Broncos knew that they had only one game on their schedule that would mean anything in terms of schedule strength, and BSU won that game, so kudos to them. At the time, we didn't know how impressive the win over Oregon would end up being, but it looks pretty good right now. I'm still not sold on the Ducks as a Pac-10 contender, but hand it to them--they've gotten better every week.

Utah's loss to Oregon also looks a lot more palatable today, thanks to the Ducks' resurgence. To the contrary, BYU's home loss to Florida State looks a lot worse after the Seminoles' no-show versus South Florida.

Time will tell, but unless FSU finds a way to right the ship and consistently win some games, the way BYU lost to the 'Noles will be held against the Cougars. A win over a ranked TCU team would be huge and put BYU back in the BCS conversation, but in the "apples to apples" computer world, you wonder just how much the 54-28 home setback will cost the Cougs in the end.

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Did you know?...

No FBS player has more passes defended the BYU's Brian Logan. With two interceptions and seven passes broken up, his nine PDs are tied for the national lead with UCLA's Rahim Moore.

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The Utah State Aggies rank 9th in total offense and 117th in total defense heading into Friday night's game in Provo.

Interesting: the Ags are tied for the national lead with 100% red zone efficiency, but USU has made but seven red zone appearance all seasons--only two teams have fewer red zone possessions than Utah State.

The red zone numbers owe to the fact the Ags are a big-play team: they have eight touchdowns on plays of 20 yards or longer.

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BYU is 4th nationally in third down conversion percentage (58%); Utah State is 115th (22%).

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I haven't done all the research, but Mitch Payne has to be among the least-utilized field goal kickers in college football. Through 30 games of his BYU career, Payne has attempted only 31 field goals (22/31, 71%). BYU as a team is 2/3 on field goals this season--only five teams have attempted fewer field goals.

Since Payne's rookie season:

2007

Payne FGA: 14

FBS average FGA (by team): 21.4

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2008

Payne FGA: 14

FBS average FGA (by team): 19.7

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2009

Payne FGA: 3

FBS average FGA ( by team): 6.2

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Speaking of the kicking game, BYU leads the nation in net punting (43.7 yards). Riley Stephenson is averaging 44.5 yards per punt (he would be ranked 11th individually, but does not have enough attempts), while BYU has allowed only four punts to be returned for a total of eight yards (only 13 teams have allowed fewer total punt return yards).

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BYU's next two conference opponents are UNLV and San Diego State. Both teams lost MWC road games Saturday; the Rebels falling 30-27 at Wyoming and the Aztecs losing at Air Force, 26-14.

From Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith:

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"At some point, someone in the press -- other than my very occasional heckles from the cheap seats -- needs to call for UNLV football Coach Mike Sanford to resign.

Since no one seems willing, I'll step up and make the request now. Not that I expect Sanford to start clearing out his office. After all, he has more games to lose this year.

Besides, the economy is tough, he needs the work, and his UNLV experience hasn't exactly been a resume builder.

It's nothing personal. He seems like a nice enough guy. But he's not up for the job, and it showed once again Saturday in Laramie, Wyo..."

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Then, from the San Diego Union-Tribune, quoting new Aztecs offensive coordinator Al Borges:

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"Pathetic. Pathetic...it was five steps backwards. We were terrible. I can't sugarcoat it. We did not play well and I blame myself for it. We have to get back and find something we can do well. Because right now we can't do anything well."

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