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(Images courtesy Indianapolis Colts)
By now, you've all seen one of the best catches of the NFL weekend, that just happened to be turned in by former Cougar and current Indianapolis Colt Austin Collie. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz: "Manning's artful touchdown pass to Collie near the end of the first half should be framed and hung in the Louvre."
Collie's first career touchdown grab was the 342nd career TD toss for Peyton Manning, tying PM with Fran Tarkenton for third on the alltime NFL tally.
I forgot to note that the Harris Poll is now being released on a weekly basis, and while we pay an appropriate amount of attention to the AP (doesn't count toward the BCS Standings) and Coaches' (does count) polls, the Harris Poll is the "other" counter, and it actually has the Cougars ranked higher than both of the other two polls this week.
BYU fans are Tulsa fans this week, as the #5/#6 Boise State Broncos play at TU in one of few "red flag" games on Boise's schedule.
Cougar fans remember well the ambush Tulsa unleashed on BYU back in 2007, and the high-octane Golden Hurricane are one of the teams capable of going back-and-forth with the Broncos.
One loss would drop the Broncos behind an undefeated TCU in the polls, and possibly even behind one-loss BYU. Either way, any loss for BSU dooms the Broncos' BCS hopes, leaving TCU and BYU to battle it out for BCS-buster front-runner status. The Utes could still get in the mix, but it would be later than sooner, requiring mid- and late-November wins at TCU and BYU.
Some might say that discussion of BYU's BCS-busting chances is premature, considering the Florida State setback and the Cougars' recent drop in the polls. But, consider that BYU is in a stretch in which a four-game win streak is not only possible, but likely, meaning BYU would enter its meeting with TCU at 6-1, and potentially ranked at or around 15th or 16th in the rankings.
Assume that TCU is 6-0 on October 24th, meaning the Frogs would be in the neighborhood of 7th or 8th nationally. Should BYU beat TCU at home, the Cougars would have two Top 10 wins in the same season (for the first time in the school history), and find themselves knocking on the door of the Top 10 themselves once again, and ostensibly ahead of TCU.
At that point, all it would take is any Boise State loss at any point and BYU finishing 11-1 for the Cougars to play in a BCS bowl game--it would be all but mathematically guaranteed.
I'm just sayin'...
We'll find out a lot about UNLV and its head coach's career prospects Saturday night in Las Vegas, but the game will also be an important barometer for the Cougars.
It appeared that the Rebels all but quit on Mike Sanford last weekend in Reno--not a good sign for a coach already on the hot seat. If the Rebels have any shred of team togetherness remaining, it will show up against the Cougars; and if there's one way to test a team's resolve, it's by bringing the Cougars to town, since every MWC team gets up to play BYU.
By the same token, any team that can be so thoroughly taken apart by a winless Nevada team is clearly vulnerable, and I would be disappointed if BYU didn't go for the jugular early and often against UNLV (and yes, that means opting to receive if BYU wins the toss, for example).
Do I expect UNLV to play marginally better at home versus BYU than the Rebels did on the road at UNR? Of course. But I also think that if BYU is good enough to beat TCU and run the table into the BCS mix, it has to show on Saturday--BYU can leave no doubt about the identity of the better team this weekend.