2017 Football Preview – Independent – Cougars
Looking for 2017 BYU Cougars predictions? The Cougars performed better than expected during Kalani Sitake’s first year wearing the headset. Brigham Young University is in, along with Notre Dame, a unique spot where it is a perennially achieving football program despite being an Independent. There was talk of BYU being absorbed by the Big 12 Conference, but it never materialized. The Cougs will look to continue punching above their weight in 2017.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – BYU Cougars
- Head Coach: Kalani Sitake
- 2016 Record: 9-4
- BYU Cougars Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +30000
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2017 BYU Cougars Predictions: Team Strengths
High Octane Passing Attack: Starting QB Tanner Mangum has 13 career starts under his belt, even though Taysom Hill led the offense essentially for the duration last year (Mangum played in the bowl game, a victory versus Wyoming in the Pointsettia Bowl).
Though Hill was a dual-purpose threat, Mangum has a more dangerous arm; add in the departure of career rushing leader Jamaal Williams, and there should be plenty of throws in offensive co-ordinator Ty Detmer’s scheming.
Mangum started a dozen games when he was a freshman, so clearly the talent and the moxie is there. The Cougars look to him to be a leader in 2017.
The junior pivot will get some help in the form of his offensive line, which returns 104 career starts, led by four-year starter Tejan Koroma at center.
They should provide Mangum some time to operate, delivering the ball to legitimate targets like senior WR Jonah Trinnaman and Moroni Laulu-Pututau, who switched from wideout to TE in the offseason.
Freshman TE Matt Bushman was a lethal weapon in the spring scrimmages, so BYU hopes that translates to Bushman becoming a factor between the lines.
Defensive Back Seven(th Heaven): The linebackers and secondary will be the emphasis with what should be a strong defense for the Cougs this season.
The entire LB corps returns from last year, featuring studs like Fred Warner, Butch Pau’u and Francis Bernard.
The defensive secondary, meanwhile, is led by veteran safety Micah Hannemann, although other weapons are there with some underclassmen like CBs Troy Warner and Dayan Ghanwoloku.
Sure, BYU loses safety Kai Nacua, who was a standout, but his spot should be filled capably by senior Matt Hadley.
2017 BYU Cougars Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Who Leads in the Backfield Now the Career Leader is Gone?: Williams presence will be sorely missed at running back. Brigham Young hopes the production can be mostly replaced using a committee of junior Squally Canada, Wisconsin transfer Ula Tolutau, K.J. Hall, Riley Burt and Trey Dye.
None of these players have the upside of Williams, however.
The Cougars hope that the savvy O-line and the threat of the pass attack will be enough of a balm for this situation in the backfield. Time will tell if Mangum’s shots downfield are ample and accurate enough to make this true.
BYU also might be white-knuckling it slightly with its defensive line, a unit that has the characteristic size we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Provo (three of the starters are 300 lbs+, including 6’3, 330-lb junior DT Tevita Mo’unga) but is comprised entirely of new starters.
If these new faces can be disruptive enough to make the rest of the ‘D’ that much more dangerous, the Cougars should be in good stead.
BYU Cougars Prediction: 8-5
With some unproven players at the offensive skill positions and the green defensive line, the 2017 version of Brigham Young has some questions to answer.
What will make the need for answers all the more urgent is BYU’s daunting 2017 schedule.
The Cougs travel to Houston, TX to take on the prestigious LSU Tigers, followed immediately with home dates versus big dogs like Utah, Wisconsin and Boise State. The Cougars also travel to Starkville, MS to face SEC foe Mississippi State.
Clearly, the road won’t be easy this time around for Coach Sitake’s young men, but BYU still has the requisite talent to be a tough customer on a weekly basis.
But hey, it could always be worse. The Cougars get to finish the season in Hawaii on Nov. 25. If that ain’t Christmas come a month early, I don’t know what is.
2017 BYU Cougars Football Schedule
- 8/26/17 TBD PORT. ST.
- 9/2/17 TBD LSU (in Houston, TX)
- 9/9/17 TBD UTAH
- 9/16/17 TBD WISC
- 9/29/17 TBD @UT. ST.
- 10/6/17 TBD BOISE ST.
- 10/14/17 TBD @MS. ST.
- 10/21/17 TBD @ECU
- 10/28/17 TBD SJ ST.
- 11/4/17 TBD @FRES. ST.
- 11/10/17 TBD @UNLV
- 11/18/17 TBD UMASS
- 11/25/17 TBD @HAW
What do you think about our 2017 BYU Cougars predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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