#35 BYU Cougars: College Football 77 in 77

whitney-wonnacott

Last year was the first season of independence for the BYU Cougars; who responded by going 10-3 and winning a bowl game. They also had the 13th ranked defense nationally, to complement their usual vaunted air attack. What can Bronco Mendenhall do for an encore? Well the schedule gets increasingly tougher this year, but maybe a full season of Riley Nelson under center will make a difference?

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#56 Washington State Cougars: College Football 77 in 77

mike-leach

After slogging along for awhile, there is excitement again for college football in Pullman, Washington. The splash hire of hard-nosed, hard core coach Mike Leach has the Washington State Cougars faithful fired up big time.

Under Leach, they will improve this year, and they will score. Something they just didn’t do very well last season. The question is how much, and will it enough to make that big a difference in the Pac-12 standings? They have sizzle, but will they have steak?

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#70 Houston Cougars: College Football 77 in 77

cougars

For the Houston Cougars, there is nowhere to go but down, sadly. 13-1, 8-0 in conference, a destruction of Penn State in their bowl game (destroying Pedophilia State mere weeks after the Jerry Sandusky scandal first came to light, no doubt gave UH some “America’s Team” type feel last winter), just a slip up versus Southern Miss in the C-USA title game kept them from BCS glory.

Quarterback Case Keenum set the NCAA passing record and left school as the most decorated signal caller (at least statistically) in college football history. But he’s gone now, as are all the main receivers and the entire coaching staff. Enter a rebuilding year.

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#34 BYU Cougars: College Football 77 in 77

byu basketball cheerleader

If I could paraphrase Destiny’s Child circa 2001, “all the programs who INDEPENDENT, throw your hands up at me. All the A.D.s making money throw your hands up at me.” Or perhaps you recall Bill Pullman’s very rousing “Today, is our independence day!” speech from the 1996 blockbuster film.

That’s the spirit in Provo, Utah right now. They got a sweetheart TV deal from ESPN, and centralized their broadcasting rights back to the LDS Church. And that’s exactly why they could leave the MWC to go independent in the first place- their worldwide Mormon audience is a built-in fan base. (Mendenhall has said so himself) Exactly like Notre Dame and the Catholics.

Their independent schedule is pretty tough in the early going, whoops I almost said “non-conference” there. But they finished strong last year and have lots to build on. [Read more…]