NCAA Football – Week 1
Some things never change considering the last time Washington State faced BYU on the road was way back in 1990, when it lost 38-21 as a 12-point underdog. The Pac-12 Cougars are coming off a 4-8 record last season where they lost seven of their last eight games straight-up but were 4-4 against the spread. The prospect for a turn around this season does not look good in light of the fact that Washington State has the second longest odds to win the Pac-12 at 60/1 and is not even on VietBet’s board to win the BCS Championship.
It is still unclear whether senior Jeff Tuel or redshirt sophomore Conner Halliday will be the Cougars’ starting quarterback against BYU as head coach Mike Leach as yet to make his decision public. Insiders guess that he is leaning towards Tuel, who took most of the snaps in summer camp with the first-team offense. Regardless of who gets the nod, you can expect to see a lot of balls in the air for an offense that was ranked ninth in the nation last season in passing yards per game.
BYU begins its second season as a Division 1A Independent after leaving the Mountain West after the 2010 season. These Cougars are coming off a 10-3 SU record that included a 24-21 victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. They went 5-1 SU down the stretch and were a perfect 6-0 ATS. The total went ‘over’ in five of their last seven games.
Riley Nelson will start the season at quarterback for BYU after splitting time with Jake Heaps last season. He spent the first half of 2011 on the sidelines, but after taking over for Heaps in Week 6, Nelson led the Cougars to seven wins in their last eight games. BYU also returns a number of starters on a defense that was ranked 22nd in the country in points allowed; giving-up an average of 20.4 points a game.
A near two touchdown spread against any team from the Pac-12 is a tough nut to cover in a season opener, but the BYU Cougars are far and away a much better team that the Washington State Cougars. Stick with BYU all the way on Thursday night as it wins and easily covers the 13.5 points. BYU 38 Washington State 20