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Monday, September 24, 2012

Opponent Tracker: Week 4 results for BYU's 2012 opponents

The Brigham Young Cougars’ strength of schedule is more complex than anyone could have imagined going into the season. So far their wins aren’t as impressive as we would have hoped, their losses are more embarrassing than we would have thought, and the future looks either very easy or very hard, depending on the week, but not a lot of in between. Oregon State and Notre Dame are much better than advertised, while Washington State, Utah and Boise State seem merely mediocre.

Washington State (2-2): Lost 35-34 to Colorado. Washington State is the worst team in the Pac-12. Last week, I had Colorado at the bottom of the pile, with Washington State a close second, but WAZZU proved me wrong. Up by 14 to start the fourth quarter, the Cougars gave the game away, allowing three touchdowns in the final seven minutes. Mike Leach received a lot of attention during the off season, and he was expected to turn this program around. He probably wishes that attention would go away now.

Next game: Oregon, Sept. 29

Weber State (0-4): The Wildcats hosted a ranked FCS opponent for the second straight week, this time No. 9 Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington is no slouch of an FCS team, defeating Idaho and almost taking down Washington State this season. Weber State will look to finally get a win next week on the road.

Next game: UC Davis, Sept. 29

Utah (2-2): Was blown out by Arizona State, 37-7. Utah had hopes of competing for the Pac-12 south division title going into the season. Now they are just hoping to make it to a bowl game. Things don’t get easier for the Utes from here on out. After a bye week, No. 13 USC comes to town, then they hit the road to take on UCLA and the upstart Oregon State Beavers.

Next game: No. 13 USC, Oct. 4

No. 24 Boise State (2-1): I don’t think any Cougar fan wants to hear any more about Boise State’s recent victory. But I have to say, this is not the Boise State team of old. Kellen Moore is no longer at the helm and there aren’t any first or second round picks playing running back or wide receiver. The Broncos are lucky their defense came through for them, scoring their only points of the game against BYU.

Next game: New Mexico, Sept. 29

Hawaii (1-2): Lost 69-24 to Nevada. Nevada is not a good team this year, having already beat Cal and only having lost to USF by one. But getting beat by 45 is bad, no matter how good the opponent is. This could be good timing for BYU, to get a team that is a little down on itself. The Cougars need a pick me up game and it looks like Hawaii could be it.

Next game: BYU, Sept. 28

Utah State (3-1): Defeated Colorado State 31-19. The score makes the game look even closer than it was. Utah State led 24-6 going into the fourth quarter and shut it down. This is the best Utah State team Gary Anderson has put together. If it weren’t for a missed last-second field goal at Wisconsin, the Aggies would be undefeated and likely ranked in the top-25. The Cougars better be ready when Utah State comes to town in a few weeks as the Aggies want to stake their claim as the top team in the State.
Next game: UNLV, Sept. 29

No. 18 Oregon State (2-0): Beat No. 19 UCLA in the Rose Bowl, 27-20. This is not the same team that BYU demolished last season. Last year, BYU ran all over Oregon State, accumulating 499 yards of total offense in Corvallis. This year, the Beavers are holding star running backs to 50 yards or less and beating up on ranked teams. Both games the Beavers have played this year have been against top-20 contenders, putting Oregon State in the top 25 for the first time since October 2010. The homecoming game on Oct. 13 should be a good one.

Next game: Arizona, Sept. 29.

No. 10 Notre Dame (4-0): Defeated No. 18 Michigan, 13-6. While Notre Dame’s offense didn’t look great, it held its opponent without a touchdown for the second straight week. Also impressive was the fact that Denard Robinson has had Notre Dame’s number the last two seasons. Saturday, however, Robinson had five turnovers. The game in South Bend looks more daunting for the Cougars the closer it gets.

Next game: Miami, Sept. 29

Georgia Tech (2-2): Lost 42-36 to Miami in overtime. After being down 19-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets scored 36 straight to take a 17-point lead in the third quarter. Miami then scored the 17 necessary to put it into overtime, and then a touchdown in overtime to win it. I’m not sure if this is comforting or scary. Obviously, Georgia Tech can score, but they can also give up points in a hurry. Playing against a team like this though is never easy, as you have no idea what to expect.

Next game: Middle Tennessee, Sept. 29

Idaho (0-4): It looked like the Vandals would win their first game of the season, but Wyoming came back, put the game into overtime and stole Idaho’s victory. Idaho heads east again next week, this time to take on North Carolina.

Next game: North Carolina, Sept. 29

San Jose State (3-1): The Spartans scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to beat San Diego State 38-34. San Jose State’s only loss so far this season was in a close game to Stanford, and could challenge for the WAC championship with Utah State.

Next game: Navy, Sept. 29

New Mexico State (1-3): The Aggies couldn’t hang with their rival in the “Rio Grande Rivalry,” as New Mexico pulled away to win, 27-14. New Mexico State does have two good opportunities for wins coming up, as they prepare to face Texas - San Antonio and Idaho in its next two games.

Next: UTSA, Sept. 29.
Opponents' overall record: 22-22
The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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