December 23, 2008

Poinsettia Bowl: A Non-BCS Showdown Between Boise State and TCU

#9 Boise State (12-0) vs. #11 TCU (10-2)
Tonight, 6 P.M. (MT), ESPN
Announcers:  Reece Davis, Mark May, Lou Holtz, Todd Harris
San Diego, CA, Qualcomm Stadium

Last Five Bowl Games

Boise State:  2-3 (7th straight Bowl appearance)
TCU:  4-1 (Last loss in a Bowl game was to Boise State in the '03 Fort Worth Bowl)

Players To Watch

Boise State:  Kellen Moore, Quarterback

The Broncos redshirt Freshman Quarterback has been terrific in his first season at the helm of the high-octane Bronco offense.  Moore has thrown for 3,264 yards, 25 Touchdowns, and only nine interceptions.  Moore hasn't seen a defense like the Horned Frogs D this season.  This will be his toughest test yet, and if he plays well expect even more big things from Moore for years to come.

TCU:  Daryl Washington, Linebacker

With the Frogs vocal leader in Robert Henson ineligible in tonight's game due to academics, Washington's role on the defense will be more significant.  Washington had 57 tackles this season alongside Henson and MLB Jason Phillips, both potential NFL players.  Washington is a better player in coverage than Henson.  It will be interesting to see how he does.


TCU and Boise State are two of the best "Non-BCS" programs in the country, and with the Vegas Bowl taking BYU over the Horned Frogs it set up this very good matchup between the Frogs and Broncos.

TCU and Boise State met in a bowl game already before, back in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl where Boise State edged out the Frogs on their home field, Ammon G. Carter Stadium; led by Quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie who under his reign as QB put Boise Football on the map.

Five years later, these two programs are still playing at a high level.  TCU has the talented defense led by Defensive End Jerry Hughes who has had an NCAA leading 15.5 sacks this season.  Many "experts" consider Hughes to be a 1st Round NFL Draft pick.

Boise State has the high-octane offense that started out somewhat slow this year but has picked up late in the year, scoring over 40 points in the last five games.  Including a 61-point outing on WAC foe, Fresno State.

Its bound to be one of the better bowl matchups in this year's bowl season, and a showcase game for Non-BCS programs, which is always good to see for once.  Tired of seeing all the attention go towards the overrated SEC.

This is a tough game to call, so I'm going with a gut feeling on this one.  Boise State wins this, in a close one.  TCU's offense does not finish drives and they struggle in the Red Zone.  Prime Example, their game against Utah one month ago.

Yeah the old saying goes, Defense Wins Championships but in College Football now-a-days you need to be able to score as well.  TCU won't be able to score enough to down the Broncos.  The TCU D will keep them in it, but it won't be enough, as Boise gets their first win since the unforgettable 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.


Boise State 31 TCU 24

Excitement Level For This Game (1 to 5):  5

Gunaxin Bowl Coverage of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

December 21, 2008

Full Analysis Coming Tomorrow

I really can't comprehend the thought of discussing the two games from yesterday right now.  I'll probably watch the New Orleans Bowl and that's about it.  Need some time to get my thoughts gathered and just recooperate from what took place yesterday.

Hard day as a Cougar fan.  Full breakdowns will be here tomorrow.

New Orleans Bowl Preview: Troy and Southern Miss Come In Streaking Something's Gotta Give

Southern Miss (6-6) vs. Troy (8-4)
Today, 6:15 P.M. (MT), ESPN
Announcers:  Eric Collins, Shaun King
New Orleans, LA, Super Dome

Last Five Bowl Games
Southern Miss:  3-2 (Last Year:  Lost to #20 Cincinnati in the Bowl 21-31.  7th straight year in a Bowl)
Troy:  1-1 (First bowl appearance since '06 New Orleans Bowl in a win over Rice 41-17.)

Players to Watch

Southern Miss:  DeAndre Brown, Wide Receiver
For College Football junkies across the nation, DeAndre Brown has been a player people have known about for a few years.  Brown was a highly touted recruit out of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, he had offers from practically all of the SEC and many teams around the nation.  But decided to go to Southern Miss where he could play right away and have an immediate impact.

Brown did have an immediate impact as he caught 66 passes this season for 1,108 yards.  Tonight's game will put him as one of the household names in College Football.

Troy:  Levi Brown, Quarterback
Took over mid-season for Jamie Hampton at Quarterback and has brought much needed consistency to the Trojan offense.  Brown completed 62% of his passes and had a 14 TD-3 Int ratio, which was a big reason Troy finished the regular season with a 4-game winning streak.


Both Troy and Southern Miss come into this game with four-game winning streaks, Southern Miss had to win its last four games to get bowl eligible for first-year Head Coach Larry Fedora.  Troy had three of its four losses come against BCS Conference schools in Ohio State who the Trojans hung around with the entire game until late where the Buckeyes pulled away.  A blow-out loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which was revenge for the Cowboys.  Then a heart-breaking loss to LSU where Troy had a 28 point lead and let it vanish in the blink of an eye, as LSU rallied in the fourth to get the win.

Troy is a very talented, athletic team that could compete at a high level with many of the "Non-BCS" leagues, and they are looking to put their mark as the Sun Belt's elite program with a solid win over a Southern Miss program who has been a measure of consistency for the past decade.

The Golden Eagles this season had four losses by seven points or less, and even competed at home with undefeated, offensive juggernaut Boise State at home holding to the Broncos to just 24 points in the loss.

Both teams have many players returning in 2009, so this is your typical springboard type game for some Pre-Season buzz the following year.

I give the edge to Troy who has been tested by some talented ball clubs and held their own.  Southern Miss down the stretch in their four-game winning streak has played some mediocre teams with the only exception being C-USA Champion, East Carolina who the Golden Eagles beat 21-3.

Look for Troy's defensive front seven to bring a lot of pressure on Southern Miss' Austin Davis to lead the Trojans to a victory and a nine-win season, the first in school history.


Troy 21 Southern Miss 13

Excitement Level (1 to 5):  2

December 19, 2008

Exciting News on the Recruiting Front

Lee Aguirre the Cornerback out of Fullerton College committed to sign with BYU yesterday which was great news.  Many Cougar fans figured that was probably it on Junior College recruits, not so.

Salt Lake Tribune BYU Beatwriter, Jay Drew gave some great info as always in his BYU blog today about two recruits that BYU is currently going after.

Hebron Fangupo is a name BYU recruiting junkies are very familiar with.  Fangupo is a potential mid-year transfer.  Hebron was all but signed, and delivered to USC from how it appeared back in May.  I don't think any Cougar recruiting buffs even thought twice that BYU was in the running for this guy.  According to his Rivals page, BYU wasn't even one of the schools on there.

Fangupo was teammates with current Cougar D-Lineman Bernard Afutiti who was a highly-recruited player as well.  Afutiti redshirted this season, so maybe the possibility of playing with a former teammate for two years is appealing to Fangupo and its one of the reasons he is looking into BYU more.  Fangupo for the record is LDS.

The other JUCO recruit BYU is going after is Dominque Gaisie a Cornerback out of Mt. San Antonio College, same as Fangupo.

In a article on, Gaisie apparently doesn't have any D-1 offers yet.  The schools that are currently recruiting him are BYU, Temple, UNLV, Arizona and Washington.  Also said that he is visiting BYU on January 9th and has three years to play two.

I'm sure Gaisie will continue to keep a close eye on tomorrow's Las Vegas Bowl to see how BYU and Arizona do.

I continue to be amazed at the recruiting job, Bronco and staff are currently doing.  Bronco made it a point that the staff would be going after some JC recruits and that was in October.  Its amazing how late in the game they were but still being able to find the right guys to match the system and have a chance at landing some of these guys.  Exciting stuff.

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl Preview

Memphis (6-6) vs. South Florida (7-5)
2:30 P.M. (MT), ESPN 2
Announcers:  Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Rob Stone
St. Petersburg, FL, Tropicanna Field

Last Five Bowl Games

Memphis:  3-2 (6th Bowl appearance All-Time; Last Year:  New Orleans, Florida Atlantic 27-44, Loss)

South Florida:  1-2 (4th straight Bowl appearance. Last Year:  Sun, Oregon 21-56, Loss)

Players To Watch

Memphis:  Curtis Steele, Running Back

It's not every day you see a Junior College player dominate in his first season in FBS after transferring from the JUCO ranks.  Steele did just that rushing for 1,175 yards this season and 7 TDs.  Steele was the first 1,000 yard rusher since current Carolina Panther D'Angelo Williams was rushing for NCAA records at Memphis in 2005.  Steele had six games with over 100 yards rushing.  In those six games the Tigers went 6-0.  In the six losses, Steele rushed for under 100.  Steele needs to have a big-game to keep the Tigers in it.

South Florida:  Tyrone McKenzie, Linebacker

Defensive End George Selvie gets all the press clippings, but McKenzie is the glue to this Bulls defense that ranks in the Top 15 in Total Defense despite being put in many bad situations due to their turnover happy offense.  McKenzie racked up 105 tackles this season including 13 Tackles For Loss.  McKenzie was a 1st Team All-Big East selection.


Another new bowl game, this one being played in St. Petersburg, Florida at Tropicanna Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Tropicanna Field is less than 30 miles away from South Florida's campus so it is essentially a home game, and I wouldn't expect there to be many Memphis Tigers fans making the trip.

South Florida had a lot of pre-season buzz this season as the team in the Big East to de-throne West Virginia off the top and become the league champion.  The Bulls started the season 5-0 and were in the Top 10 for the second time in school history (the first being last season).  A loss to Pitt on a Thursday night, and the wheels started to fall off for the Bulls who ended up losing five of their last seven ball games.

USF Quarterback Matt Grothe who everyone on ESPN seemed to adore at the mid-way point of the season showed his true colors down the stretch.  Throwing seven of his 14 interceptions in the last five games of the season.  Grothe led the Bulls yet again in rushing yards totaling 508, but it wasn't as efficient and productive as in 2007.

The Bulls defense on the other hand has been solid this entire season, despite injuries to key players including Georgie Selvie who hasn't been the same explosive player off the edge we saw in '07.  USF will have to shut down the Memphis rushing attack and they should get the victory in this one.  Should be a low-scoring affair but with South Florida being practically at home, and their team is trying to salvage some momentum going into 2009 the Bulls come out on top in this one and get their second bowl victory in school history.


South Florida 13  Memphis 10

Excitement Level For This Game (1 - Rather watch re-runs of ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas to 5 - I will go streaking with this bowl game's logo tattooed on my ass cheeks): 

1.  Fire up The Year Without a Santa Claus, this game is gonna be boring.

Gunaxin Bowl Coverage of the St. Petersburg Bowl

New Mexico Bowl Preview: Two Teams in Different Directions Meet in the Land of Enchantment

Colorado State (6-6) vs. Fresno State (7-5)
12:30 p.m. (MT), ESPN
Announcers:  Joe Tessitore, Rod Gillmore
Albuquerque, NM, University Stadium

Last Five Bowl Games

Colorado State:  2-3 (First appearance in a bowl since 2005. Last Win: 2001 New Orleans, North Texas, 45-20)
Fresno State:  4-1 (Last Year:  Humanitarian, Georgia Tech, 40-28 Win)

Players To Watch

Colorado State:  Gartrell Johnson, Running Back

Known by his peers as, "The Predator" because of his dreadlocks.  Johnson is a beast for a running back, and wears defenses down as the game progresses.  Johnson ran for almost five yards per carry this season, en route to rushing for a total of 1,228 yards.  Fresno State has a talented defense, but this is probably the best running back Fresno has faced since playing against Wisconsin and their stud of a back, P.J. Hill.  The Bulldogs have faced some good backs this year, Ian Johnson from Boise State and Colin Kaepernick from Nevada.  "The Predator" is really good.  He could emerge as a better known name in the College Football world with a big bowl performance.  Similar to what East Carolina's Chris Johnson did last year, now he's tearing it up with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

Fresno State:  Return Specialists

Fresno State's two-headed monster in the return game has been one of the bright spots for the Bulldogs this season, in a year where BCS was running in the minds for the fans out in the Fresno Valley.  Rashad Evans and AJ Jefferson are the two guys you need to watch.  Evans leads the Bulldogs in punt returns at 14.2 yards a pop, which is seventh best in the nation.  AJ Jefferson has returned a kick for a TD this season and has totaled 908 yards this season on 31 returns, which is 17th best in the nation.


These two teams are in completely different directions heading into this bowl game.  Fresno State as mentioned had aspirations for a BCS game at season's end, but Pat Hill's questionable scheduling tactics did the 'Dogs in again and they struggled in WAC play losing games they shouldn't have.
Colorado State was a program in flux coming into the season.  The Rams practically ran off the coach who's name graces their stadium in Sonny Lubick, and replaced him with Steve Fairchild who came from the Buffalo Bills.  Fairchild brought a new sense of excitement to Fort Collins, as they were very competitive this season.  Losing to Mountain West powers TCU by only six and BYU by 3.  The Rams were also competitive in the Rocky Mountain Showdown against rival Colorado for about a half but wore in half number two.

This game should be interesting, and is a lot better matchup than people would suggest.  For Fresno State to win this game they need to get Quarterback Tom Brandstater's confidence up, with some quick completions early on and get the Bulldog offense going, which has been inconsistent this season.  For Colorado State, they need to get Johsnon "The Predator" going, if they establish the running game Colorado State should win this one and possible run away with it.

Excitement Level (1 to 5):  4


Colorado State 30  Fresno State 14

EagleBank Bowl Preview: Deacons Look to Show their Demon Side in a Re-Match Versus Navy

Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4)
9 a.m. (MT), ESPN
Announcers:  Terry Gannon, David Norrie, Quint Kessenich
Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium

Last Five Bowl Games

Wake Forest:  4-1 (Won last two.  Last loss:  2007 Orange Bowl, #5 Louisville, 13-24)
Navy:  2-3 (Lost last two.  Last Win:  2005 Poinsettia Bowl, Colorado St., 51-30)

Players To Watch

Wake Forest:  Aaron Curry, Linebacker

This year's winner of the Butkus Award over guys like James Laurinatis and Brian Cushing; racked up 101 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and an interception.  He leads the Demon Deacon defense that ranks in the Top 20 in Scoring Defense at 18.25 points per game.

Navy:  Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, Quarterback

Enhada came back from a hamstring injury against Army.  He was limited this season, from that hamstring injury he suffered in the second quarter against Wake Forest.  Enhada brings the potential Play Action threat that is so crucial to an option attack, catching a defense off guard and getting the big play down field.  Enhada has the capability to do that, especially with a Running Back like Shun White who has ran for over 1,000 yards this season.


Back on September 27th of this season, Navy stunned 16th ranked, and undefeated Wake Forest in Winston-Salem to give the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season, 24-17.  A costly six turnovers did the Demon Deacons in, and since that game have had an up-and-down season; finishing the season with a 7-5 record.  A major disappointment for a team that had aspirations of a second ACC title in three years.

Navy on the other hand, after beating Wake Forest, their first win over a ranked team since 1985 had a solid season under first-year Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo.  The Midshipmen went 8-4 capping the season off with their seventh straight victory over rival, Army.  This is Niumatalolo's second bowl game as Head Coach however.  Last season, Niumatalolo was HC in the Poinsettia Bowl against Utah in replace of Paul Johnson who left for Georgia Tech.

In this rematch tomorrow, Navy must force turnovers again to come out victorious.  Wake Forest is a team that's reeling, losing two of their last three to finish the year.  Navy needs to get out to a fast start and they should be in control for the rest of the game.  Wake Forest is a program this year that has been exposed as a fraud in my opinion.  Many "experts" were thinking the Demon Deacons were a program on the rise, but they have proven their another "one and done" program and the rest of their years wallow in mediocrity.  Navy on the other hand is excited to be in the Inaugural EagleBank Bowl, and they are thrilled to have a bowl game close to home for once.  Three of their last four bowl games have been out on the west coast.

Excitement Level For This Game (1 - Don't Care to 5 - I would hit a child to watch this game):  2


Navy 24  Wake Forest 17

For more info and analysis of the EagleBank Bowl go to the Gunaxin Blog Bowl.  LINK

Cougar Digest is a Proud Member of the Gunaxin Blog Bowl

Cougar Digest has teammed up with to provide content for the 34-game College Football bowl season, which starts tomorrow.

Make sure to check back for our picks and go to the other Blog Bowl sites, which can be found at the following link.

Also, each bowl matchup has its own page filled with content from the Blog Bowl writers.  Here is the link to the first week of bowl matchups.  LINK

When your there click on any of the bowl games and it will lead you to content from the other writers.

Here's what other bloggers are saying about the BYU-Arizona matchup.

Here's to a great bowl season!

December 17, 2008

Looks Like the Las Vegas Bowl is Over the $500 Limit on "Swag"

Found the list of "swag" that each student-athlete receives from the bowl they are at.  It's located here at SOX & Dawgs.

In that article it mentions the limit on gifts the players can receive is capped at $500.  The stuff that BYU and Arizona players are receiving adds up to more than $500.  Let's take a look.

Wii System bundle package

The Wii console with the Wii Sports bundle runs at a standard rate of $249.99.  Hopefully players aren't playing Bowling all night rather than prepare for the 'Cats.

Oakley Hijinx sunglasses

Hijinx shades from Oakley are runnin at $100 a pop.  When guys like Brody from The Hills (pictured) are wearing these things thats some serious "Swag."  I laugh at the thought of some of BYU's players wearing these things.  Picture David Oswald in these.  Your laughing aren't you?  I am.  These are a total Austin Collie set of shades, to the T.

Oakley Holeshot Three-Hand Watch

Went to Oakley's website and these are currently going for $395 a piece!  That's almost over the $500 "limit" right there.  Sweet lookin watch none the less.

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Hat

Probably around $10.  Nothing special.  Some guys on this year's team like Dallas Reynolds have four of these now.

So estimating from what the retail price of these gifts are, it comes to around $760 per player.  Not bad, for a bowl game that is supposedly a joke.  Way to go Vegas!

Atkinson Commits To Cougs

Linebacker Jordan Atkinson out of Diablo Community College committed to Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU Cougars today.  Atkinson will enroll at BYU next semester.  This is a good get for the Cougs.

What got me even more excited for this commitment is Dick Harmon's blog entry about Atkinson's commitment.

Harmon apparently talked with Atkinson's father, Dave, a former BYU Cougar himself who holds the record for most intereceptions in a Cougar career, about his son's commitment to BYU.

The elderly Atkinson also mentioned he has a son currently attending BYU who is on a academic scholarship, Josh, and apparently Josh is the best football player in their family.

Here's the exact quote:

"Josh is by far the best football player in our family and it will be interesting to see how he stacks up if he decides to go through with it," said Dave. Josh is 6-1, 230 and can play linebacker or runningback."
It will be interesting to keep an eye on that in the off-season.

The current tally on commitments now for the 2009 class goes up to 17.

Mid-Year Signing Day Thread

Signing Day is upon us!  Not the big one on the first Wednesday in February but the Mid-Year Transfers one is upon us.

There is some excitement for Cougar faithful this year as there are some offers on the table for three prospects we know about.  Two linebackers in Aaron Gress and Jordan Atkinson, then a Cornerback from Fullerton College in Lee Aguirre.

All of these players will be able to enroll come January and prepare for Spring Practices, at which ever school they do decide to sign with.

Mid-Year transfers have until January 15th to sign with a respective school, to be eligible to enroll in Winter semester.

With no official press release yet on anyone who has signed.  Here is some links to info I have gathered on the three recruits.

Lee Aguirre, CB

10:54 a.m.:  Aguirre has offers from BYU, Hawaii and New Mexico, but it looks like it will come down to the Cougars and Warriors.

Hawaii's commitment list on is showing the Warriors already have three commitments from JUCO Cornerbacks, one of which is a "Soft Verbal" from Kevin Williams of Los Medanos JC.  The Warriors also have a high school Cornerback commitment on that list as well.

From looking at that, I would think BYU's chances of landing Aguirre increased a lot, due to all the other Corners Hawaii already has committed.

Jordan Atkinson, LB

Found this link over at in regards to Atkinson having a commitment to BYU.  Just waiting for it to be official.

This is no surprise, I had a good feeling that he would probably commit to BYU after reading the recap of his visit to Provo over at Total Blue Sports.  But ya never know what could happen, we have to wait till it becomes official.

Aaron Gress, LB

Gress had his decision down to BYU, Marshall and Illinois, all of which had offered.  He visited BYU, but shortly after his trip to Cougar Town he just went to Champaigne to visit Ron Zook and Fighting Illini of Illinois.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

--- For The Record:  The recruiting "Dead Period" starts on Friday so there can't be any contact with recruits during the bowl season.

I will post updates as soon as there is more information revealed on these three and other recruits.

UPDATE (11:52 a.m. MT)Gress signs with Illinois

December 16, 2008

ESPN's Todd McShay Breaks Down Vegas Bowl

How Accurate Were the Pre-Season Magazines Picking the MWC?

Every Summer, in anticipation for the upcoming College Football season, local Barnes & Noble's and grocery stores get bombarded with College Football preview magazines.

There was a lot of pre-season buzz surrounding BYU this season, and that showed in the predictions for the Mountain West Conference picks.

Here is a review of how the four major publications fared in picking the Mountain West standings.  I just did a basic point system.  For example, if Team A finished the actual season in 7th place, and they were picked third in the Pre-Season, that would be 3 points (spots).  The lower the score the more accurate the predictions.  And in the case of a tie on scores, the magazine that picked the most accurate spots, gets the edge.  Now you can get an idea of what magazine is the best for future years, when it comes to accuracy in predicting the league.

Final 2008 MWC Standings

#1 Utah
#2 TCU
#3 BYU
#4 Air Force
#5 Colorado State
#7 New Mexico
#8 Wyoming
#9 San Diego State


Lindy's Predictions

1. BYU (2 spots off final spot)
2. Utah (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. New Mexico (3)
5. Wyoming (3)
6. Air Force (2)
7. San Diego State (2)
8. Colorado State (3)
9. UNLV (3)

Total: 20

Athlon Predictions

1. BYU (2)
2. Utah (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. New Mexico (3)
5. Wyoming (3)
6. Air Force (2)
7. Colorado State (2)
8. UNLV (2)
9. San Diego State (0)

Total: 16

The Sporting News Predictions

1. BYU (2)
2. TCU (0)
3. Utah (2)
4. Air Force (0)
5. New Mexico (2)
6. Wyoming (2)
7. Colorado State (2)
8. San Diego State (1)
9. UNLV (3)

Total:  14

Phil Steele's Predictions

1. Utah (0)
2. BYU (1)
3. TCU (1)
4. UNLV (2)
5. New Mexico (2)
6. Wyoming (2)
7. Air Force (3)
8. San Diego State (1)
9. Colorado State (4)

Total: 16

-- Note on Steele's predictions:  Steele usually picks two teams at a particular spot in his conference rankings.  In his magazine he has both New Mexico and Wyoming at #5.  He has Wyoming listed after so I put it the six spot to make it even with the other magazines.

So here's how the final magazine rankings go (if you can't figure it out on your own):

1. The Sporting News: 14 points
2. Phil Steele: 16 (Tie-breaker)
3. Athlon:  16
4. Lindy's:  20

There you go.  So next year wait around for The Sporting News that usually comes late in June to get your accurate Mountain West picks.  Out of the four mags, its definitely one of the better ones.  Phil Steele's is still the Taj Mahal for info though, with its two-page breakdowns.  Lindy's year-in and year-out is one of the more inaccurate magazines, but I buy it every year because its the first one to come out; usually the day after Memorial Day in late May.  Then Athlon is unique because they have magazines designed for certain conferences, which is really cool.  Gives a lot of teams a chance to pick up a Pre-Season magazine with a play from their favorite team on the cover.  This year BYU Quarterback Max Hall graced the cover of Athlon's Western cover.

December 14, 2008

Recruiting: Mid-Year Transfers Can Sign On Wednesday

One of the forgotten parts about College Football Recruiting is the Mid-Year Signing Period for transfers.  Usually from the Junior College ranks and occassionally high school student-athletes that receive their H.S. Diploma in the Winter.

This particular signing period starts this Wednesday, December 17th and runs through January 15th of 2009.  It gives these guys time to decide where they are going to sign, and they can immediately join a program for Spring Practices, which is always a plus for newcomers to get a early edge on the learning curve.

Last month, Greg Wrubell mentioned in his blog, "Cougar Tracks" that Bronco was going to hit JC's for some defensive help.  I can't find the link at this time, but its apparent Bronco is living up to his words as Junior College recruits have been visiting Cougar Town lately.  Here are the three mid-year players that BYU has offered.

- Lee Aguirre, CB, Fullerton College

At around 5-9 or 5-10, Aguirre is a guy that has plain and simple tore it up at Fullerton College.  The only reason more colleges aren't going after him is mainly due to his size.  Aguirre currently holds two offers from both Hawaii and BYU*.  (*=Subscription Required at --- Highly Recommended!)

Aguirre visited Hawaii the weekend the Warriors played BCS-bound Cincinnati.  I watched that game on my DVR, and I spotted Aguirre in the third quarter on the sidelines with around 9:20 left in the quarter.  Apparently he enjoyed his trip to Hawaii, mainly due to the weather I would assume.  I can't imagine he was impressed with the facilities.  Remember when former Hawaii QB Colt Brennan said his team didn't even bars of soap during Spring Practice?  Well that's still the same program, and with the nation being in a recession I can't imagine the facilities have been upgraded much since last year.  Then there's BYU where the facilities are probably the best in the West and some of the best in the nation, and that includes the NFL.  Also, another positive to BYU is he can be a part of a Top-15 program and have the opportunity to play right away if he works hard and learns the defense fast.  That's why Spring ball is critical for a Cornerback.  Juco's that come in the Fall tend to be late bloomers and don't flourish till late in their Senior seasons. (i.e. Andre Saulsberry, Chris Bolden, just to name a few.)

Hope to see him come to BYU, from what I've read he is a great specialist.  He blocked many kicks his Freshman season at Fullerton.

Here's a good article on him that was posted earlier this month at his school's website.  LINK

Then here's two highlight videos from his Freshman season at Fullerton.  Kind of hard to watch, but in the first one you clearly see his ability for blocking kicks.  In the second vid, I noticed he is a very good open field tackler which would be a welcomed trait to our Secondary, and has a flat-out knack for finding the ball and getting picks, another skill needed in our Secondary.

- Jordan Atkinson, LB, Diablo Valley Community College

Atkinson is the cousin to fomer Cougar Linebacker, Bryant Atkinson a.k.a. "The Silencer."  Jordan is projected to play the "Will" Linebacker spot at BYU.  Atkinson attended the Boise State game along with David Nixon and Aaron Gress who we will talk about later in the article.

Here's some video on Atkinson.  He appears to be very fast on the edge and wraps up instantly.  Has great size at 6-3 235.  He just looks like a prototypical big BYU Linebacker.  He had a visit this past week at Colorado State, and the Rams did in fact offer him.  So it comes down to CSU and BYU.  I would sure like to see Steve Fairchild cry again.

A side note about Atkinson he was a Pre-Season 2nd Team JC All-American Selection by, so he is no slouch by any means.  LINK

- Aaron Gress, LB, College of the Sequoias

Gress is a 6-1, 225 pound Linebacker who visited BYU along with Atkinson to get a better feel for what BYU had to offer.

Gress is a Non-LDS athlete and has been offered by three schools now.  BYU, Marshall and Nevada.  Gress though has no interest in Nevada, and has stated his decision to which college he will attend will come down to BYU, Marshall and Illinois.  Gress visited the Fightin' Illini on Friday according to  No reports wether or not Illinois has offered.

Gress racked up 135 tackles in his two years at the Sequoias and has three years to play two at whatever college he opts to sign with.

Here is some highlights on YouTube of Gress:

I'm glad to see Bronco is going after some JC's to maybe sure up some holes in the Defense, its needed.  Many coaches around the country are usually very stubborn when it comes to JC players and refuse to sign any.  Sometimes BYU needs to take some gambles with in recruiting and JC players are probably where its at, but if any of these guys were to commit to BYU I think they could make immediate contributions right away and make waves on the 2-deep depth chart.  Three very talented players.  Bronco and staff have an eye for talent regardless of what people in the media say.

Cougar Cagers Are 10-0 for the First Time Since 1988.

BYU Basketball is experiencing the most success right now in Non-Conference play since the 1987-'88 Cougar squad led by Michael Smith and Jeff Chatman, that started out the season 17-0 and was as high as #2 in the AP Top 25 Poll.  That team's streak ended at UAB with a 83-102 loss.  From that point on the team was up-and-down the rest of the way out and was eliminated on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Fast forward to the 2008-2009 BYU squad that is currently 10-0, and has their toughest test of the season to this point coming up this Saturday in Arizona State at the University of Phoenix Stadium; home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

This game for BYU basketball is probably the biggest game for the program since the 2003 Oklahoma State match-up in the Delta Center, where Rafael Araujo poured in a career-high 32 points to lead BYU to a 76-71 win over the Cowboys who eventually went to the Final Four that season.

The reason I point to that game, is that both Oklahoma State and Arizona State were ranked, both BYU teams were streaking and had very talented teams, neutral floor, and it was a chance for BYU to make a huge statement.  To show the nation that BYU is the real deal this season, and is a team that you should expect to see making some havoc in March.

This Saturday's game will be a good measuring stick of where this team and program are at.  There has been so many close calls against good teams since that Oklahoma State breakthrough, that its time for one of the big games to go in BYU's favor.

Arizona State is 8-1 right now and is currently ranked #18 in the Coaches Poll.  They had a close call today on a neutral floor against IUPUI, down by 16 at half, the Sun Devils found a way to eeek out a 59-58 win in overtime over the Jaguars of Ooooie Poooie.

The Sun Devils also had struggles against a team BYU has struggled with the past few years in San Diego State.  It was the second game of the season for ASU on CBS College Sports and the Aztecs controlled most of the game till the final five minutes where the Sun Devils hit three straight 3-pointers to pull away and get a hard earned 7-point win.  From that game, I realized that ASU was a beatable team.  They have a ton of talent in All-American candidate James Harden, Jeff Pendergraph at Center, and Rihards Kuksiks at Forward but they are not the most efficient offense you have ever seen.  And a team like BYU can score in bunches.  ASU hasn't faced an offense like BYU's yet, the Cougars can score at will and when they get on a roll they are almost unstoppable.

The keys for BYU to win this game in my opinion will be the following.

- Quick Start

In big games, BYU has been known for struggling out of the gates under Dave Rose teams.  Particularly the Texas A&M game in the tourney last season.  If BYU can hit a couple of three's early out of the gate, BYU will be in good shape to win the game.

- Shut down Pendergraph/Not allow second chances on boards

Jeff Pendergraph (pictured above) is probably the best Center in the Pac-10 this season and BYU's Centers will be put to the test.  They did a very good job against a mechanical Gary Wilkinson at Utah State, but Pendegraph has a lot more athleticsm.  Miles and MacGregor need to alter shots and make sure to lock up defensive rebounds.  Offensive boards kept Utah State in the game in the first half at the ESA.  ASU is a team that will be a lot more at ease than USU was against BYU, so you have to figure ASU will capitalize at a higher ratio than the Aggies did when given opportunities.

- Cummard needs to get back on track

Since the Utah State game, Cummard has been struggling to find his shot again.  Cummard needs to have a big game, and if its not on the offensive end, just doing the little things: boards, steals, blocks, like he is so accustomed to doing.  Hopefully he can get his rhythm back in this one in front of his home crowd, and find that rhythm he had against Long Beach State and Weber State.

Its an exciting time for Cougar Hoops, hope to see more and more people getting into it, and going to the Marriott Center for home games.  This team deserves your support, some of the crowds this season have been pretty to sad to say the least.  The game this Saturday is on at 2:30 P.M. on FSN Arizona.  So tune in for this big game!

What Makes A Good Offense?

What makes a good offense?


In 2001, BYU football fans experienced a dramatic change in the team that they had followed for the past 29 years. With the hiring of Gary Crowton, fans were treated to a high powered, aggressive, spread offense utilized by standout players such as Luke Staley, Brandon Doman, and Reno Mahe. If you look at the 2001 team, you will realize that they were stacked with a very talented depth chart on both offense and defense. Coach Crowton was an offensive genius, and walked into any coaches dream of running a successful spread offense. BYU led the nation in almost every offensive category and Luke Staley finished the season as the best runningback in College Football, winning the Doak Walker Award. Both Staley and Brandon Doman were Heisman Trophy candidates throughout the season.

What if…

What if you were to take away Luke Staley and Brandon Doman from that offense? Can we imagine that the Cougars would have produced similar results with Charlie Peterson and a healthy Brian McDonald? All we can say is … maybe. I mean, who knows?

Following the 2001 season, Doman graduated and went on to the NFL along with Luke Staley who declared himself for the draft a year early. What happened to BYU’s offense and Gary Crowton during the next 3 seasons? We all know what happened. Do we even want to talk about it?


What is the difference between the 2001 team and the teams that couldn’t go above .500 for 3 straight years after ’01? I see only one difference. The quarterback. To make a successful Gary Crowton offense, you need to have that special ingredient to allow it to taste just right. That ingredient is the person lining up behind the center.

Brandon Doman was able to get things done and win games through the air and on the ground. We saw several examples of this. When you have a dual threat “Tim Tebow” style quarterback, Crowton’s offense is much more productive and dangerous. Could you rely on Brandon Doman or Tim Tebow to effectively run a Texas Tech offense? Could you rely on John Beck or Colt Brennan to be the dangerous weapon to Coach Urban Meyer’s wild option run and gun offense? When it’s the 4th quarter, and the game is on the line, you want that perfect ingredient. During 2002-04, BYU and Gary Crowton lacked that perfect ingredient.

Stepping Down…

I have the upmost respect for Coach Crowton. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is an offensive mastermind and a genious to the game. But why did not succeed during the losing years of BYU football? What was the cause to the “Great Apostasy”? Obviously we understand that the reason Gary Crowton wasn’t successful is because of the lack of players he needed for his offense. Fans were getting frustrated, and while the short tenure of Coach Crowton was fun at first, the memories of LaVell Edwards were being greatly missed. It was time for a restoration. Coach Gary Crowton resigned following the 2004 season and BYU hired Bronco Mendenhall as head coach and Robert Anae as offensive coordinator.

New Offense…

In 1972 when LaVell Edwards was hired to be the head coach at BYU, what was the first thing he did? He went out and found a new offensive coordinator. When critics and fans look at the success of BYU’s passing game, they tend to give LaVell Edwards all the credit. Sure he guided and presided over BYU’s successful program, but the actual offensive masterminds were the ones wearing the headsets and holding the clipboards. The men running the show were names like Dewey Warren, Doug Scovill, and Norm Chow. They consistently pumped out conference championship teams and All-American quarterbacks and tight ends. Why? Because they were consistent. They weren’t trying to re-invent the wheel. They had the mechanics. They had the ingredients. Crowton didn’t. So what did Bronco Mendenhall due when he was handed the whistle and clipboard in December of 2004?

Texas Tech…

Why is Texas Tech so successful on offense? Simple. They are consistent. They don’t try and pull something new out. They see what works, and continue to do it. Every year they are at the top of the nation in passing and total offense. They have winning records and go to bowl games. They have top recruits and speed. They have all-conference quarterbacks and wide receivers. Does that sound familiar? Maybe Provo, Utah from about the 1970’s through the 1990’s? If you were a BYU fan, would you want to have that kind of success back? That kind of consistency? Bronco wanted it back. So he called up former BYU Football alumni Robert Anae and bought him a one way ticket to Provo, tossed him an empty notebook and said “Write me a playbook. Oh and by the way, you’re hired.”


When we look back at the 2005 season, we recognize it was the transition period from Crowton offense to the brand new Robert Anae offense. Crisp passing, accurate routes, more yards, more attempts, more touchdowns, more wins. The Cougars were starting to look like the ones we remember from the glory days. The next 3 years would be summed up in one word: Consistent. The Cougs reeled off 2 conference titles and 4 straight bowl games. Consecutive all conference quarterbacks and 3 straight double digit win seasons. Who can we credit it to? I guess what you are wondering is what the theme to this blog is.

Blame Game…

Over the past few weeks, I have heard lots of criticism in the direction of Coach Anae. If you look at all that he has done for this program, you would understand that he is a valuable piece to all the recent and “consistent” success BYU has had and will have in the future. Looking back at BYU’s history, you see a bunch of 2-3 loss seasons over the years, and only one undefeated. Sometimes I think as BYU fans we get a little too impatient. We want that undefeated season now. If we don’t get it, we want to immediately find someone to blame. Many BYU fans have pointed the blame towards Coach Anae. They look right past the consistent success that we have seen. No one looks at the defense, or lack of talent, or injuries, or opponents, etc… It’s time to start being humble. Let us be grateful for what we have.

A Successful Offense…

If you look back at the last 4 years of BYU football, ask yourself these questions: Have you seen consistent success in BYU’s offense? Has it improved? Do we see future improvement? Right now, I sleep happy knowing that Coach Robert Anae is holding the clipboard. And you should be too.

December 12, 2008

Austin Collie gets pissed at Cougar fans....and I don't blame him

Instead of being in Orlando to be a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, where Collie was screwed over. (An injured Jeremy Maclin? Please.) Collie was hard at work practicing with the rest of the team in the Indoor Practice Facility getting ready for the Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona.

In post-practice interviews with the media Collie showed no love for BYU fans reaction to the fourth straight Las Vegas Bowl. Here's what he had to say: (found in Deseret News Blog)

"The fans don't even play the game. Just go and watch football for the love. Man, we went 10-2 this year again and we're going to a bowl game. This will be the only time in history we can win three consecutive bowl games. If I'm a BYU fan, I'm looking at that as a positive outcome for the season and a positive for the team.

If you're complaining about what bowl game you have to go to, you're not a true fan. Put that in there."
Couldn't agree more Austin. I get tired of BYU fans being down about playing in this game again. I'm actually more excited for this matchup than any other Las Vegas Bowl matchup we've had there since 2005.

If you have to force yourself to get motivated for a BYU Football game, a bowl game no less, don't call yourself a Fully Invested Fan, or hell even a BYU fan for that matter.

Now I'm not saying I'm the greatest BYU Football on the planet, I'm not. There's someone out there I'm sure that's a bigger and better fan, and that's great. But I do pride myself on being a loyal BYU fan. No matter what I always try to put a positive spin on the program. I never get down on these teams. Now guys like Cecil O. Samuelson, different story. But all in all I try to be an eternal optimist. Why get down and out? Its Cougar Football! This is the last football game were gonna see till September 2009, well unless you count the Blue-White Scrimmage. But still, it only comes 13 times a year the actual games. Get pumped about it, and cherish it.

I've never understood the mindset of fan bases anymore, and this is with any team across the country. Its just give up, win now, fire this coach fire that coach, etc. I get annoyed with it and its almost caused an elitist attitude on my part, I guess. I just get frustrated with how people act towards any of their teams. I rarely encounter a fan who is just there through thick and thin.

One of my biggest gripes with BYU fans has always been the lack of respect for Gary Crowton. I'm probably one of the few people who still respects what he did as a Head Coach at BYU. It's always a pet peeve of mine, when I see these BYU message boards and people post with titles such as, "Oh, I traveled with the team during the Crowton years." Or when people call local sports radio shows and say, "I've been a die-hard Cougar fan for years and I even put up with the Gary Crowton years and went to every home game still." Just stuff along those lines. Oh so it was so tough being a fan during those years? My personal view during that time was that BYU was snake bit. No confidence due to lack of support from fans at home games. I mean when the team was playing better away from Provo you know there's a problem. The negativity towards Crowton during his tenure has since left a bitter taste for me with BYU fans. People act like he was the biggest idiot there was, but if it wasn't for him we would have never seen John Beck step on a field. When Cougar fans were pleading for Matt Berry at QB, Crowton believed in Beck saying he would be one of the all-time greats at BYU by the time his career is over; and people just thought Crowton was high up in the night. Guys like Jonny Harline, Dennis Pitta, Austin Collie, Todd Watkins, never come to BYU probably if it wasn't for Crowton. People tend to forget that.

I could go on and on with this group. The negativity towards the hire of Bronco in December of 2004. Everyone was devastated that the program didn't get Whittingham. I remember the knock on Bronco was his lack of ability to recruit and his disinterest in making recruiting visits, but I wasn't all too concerned with that because the one trip Bronco made in his tenure as Defensive Coordinator, a trip to see Vince Feula, who at the time was a HUGE get for the program a 4-star JC transfer out of Cerritos who was gonna go to Utah had it not been for the visit by Bronco and Crowton.

Then when Bronco started his first season in 2005, the bad start he had. Everyone was just ready to jump ship after that San Diego State game, then everyone believed again after the New Mexico win. What kind of attitude is that?

Since, Bronco hasn't received as much slack, until the TCU game where the Firesides are now being mocked by some BYU "fans" and think Bronco's recruiting tactics bring no speed to the program. Then they mock the "The Quest" shirts thinking Bronco was actually referring to it as a Undefeated season. When Bronco said it had nothing to do with that I would take Bronco's word for it, the man doesn't say things for the hell of it. But that doesn't mean anything to BYU fans. 10-2 record is pathetic now apparently in Cougar Town. BCS every year is whats expected apparently. Four tough non-conference games is what we must schedule every year according to Cougar Fandom. And on and on and on. It seriously gets old.

I wasn't planning on posting all this, but its a topic that has always eeked at me and I have some strong views on it. I don't want to see a coach like Mendenhall walk away from the game in three years because all the stress this job and fan base has caused him. To me, Bronco has already reached a status where he leaves BYU on his own terms. Regardless of wins and losses, lack of difficult scheduling, or whatever. What Bronco says goes in Cougar Town, in my opinion.

So Bronco, Austin or anyone with BYU's Athletic Department that might come acrossed thisl; just know there are two fans on this little blog that win or lose, bowl game no bowl game, were here for the long haul and will support these programs no matter what, and be Fully Invested along the way.

I love Bronco. I love Austin Collie. And I love BYU Athletics.

Go Cougars!

December 10, 2008

"Todd's Taste of the Town" coming to the Las Vegas Bowl

The broadcasting team for the Las Vegas Bowl has been set, and its one of the better ESPN crews on their BCS-loving channel.

Mike Patrick will be doing the play-by-play and former Davey O'Brien winner Todd Blackledge will be the color commentator, with Holly Rowe holding down the sidelines.  Rowe if you remember is a former KBYU announcer.

But with Patrick and Blackledge doing the game, we get "Todd's Taste of the Town" which has become a popular segment in his broadcasts.  Usually takes place some time in the third quarter.

This crew is a major upgrade from the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl announcing team of Brent Musberger and Craig James who were interviewing guests it seemed like the entire time rather than broadcast the game.  Ryan Leaf if I remember was one of the guys who stopped by and was interviewed for what seemed to be the entire third quarter. Granted, it was a 38-8 blowout in favor of the Cougs, but still, it was a sad call from one of College Football's best in Musberger.

Last year had a good group with Brad Nessler, probably most fondly remembered for his call of the '96 BYU-Utah game in Salt Lake on ESPN.  Alongside him was Paul McGuire and Bob Griese with Bonnie Bernstein on sidelines.  Very good team and Nessler's call of the Manumaleuna blocked Field Goal was pretty awesome as well.  Still, I'm really excited for Patrick and Blackledge doing the call.  I don't recall Mike Patrick ever announcing a BYU game so it should be fun to see how it does and how much he knows on the Cougs.

Extra tidbit on Blackledge:  He won the Davey O'Brien at Penn State in 1982 one year after Jim McMahon won his and one year prior to Steve Young winning the award.

Tom Holmoe on 1320 Kfan's DJ and PK talking '09 Schedule, BCS, LV Bowl, and fan conduct in the Rivalry

BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe was on 1320's DJ and PK today talking about a few topics; one of which was regarding the 2009 Non-Conference schedule.
PK asked Holmoe if there was any new information on BYU playing Oklahoma next season and it seemed as though Holmoe kind of ducked around that question by answering, "there is a few possible games were looking at."  Holmoe didn't give any specific names but did say that the fourth game should be known within a couple of weeks.

David James asked Holmoe if this type of scheduling was going against Bronco's usual theories of balance with teams like Arizona State and Florida State on the schedule, and a possibility of Oklahoma.  Holmoe said we got a good team with a lot of players coming back so lets take it on!  It was exciting to hear but I still don't see Oklahoma happening.  As excited as it sounds I think its for the best.  Florida State and Arizona State are enough in one season if you ask me.  Personally, I would like to see a 7th home game but that's just my opinion.

Holmoe mentioned that yesterday he was in Vegas along with Bronco addressing the media along with members from the Arizona Wildcats, and Arizona is very excited to be in this bowl game.  BYU has got to be ready from how it looks, because the Cats are stoked.

The tickets for this game were already sold out prior to teams being announced, but now teams gotta sell their ticket allotments.  Each team gets 12,000 tickets and Holmoe said BYU is doing just fine with their tickets.  Arizona is selling many as well.

It was asked who Holmoe would be cheering for in the Sugar Bowl game with Utah and Alabama and Holmoe said he was cheering for the Conference.  He never really came out and said he was cheering for Utah but wants to see the Mountain West do well.  Wants to see this league get an Automatic Bid and feels the league has put together back-to-back solid seasons of football and hopes to see great bowl success as well.

Then finally the rivalry game was brought up and the lack of security there was in the stands and for the team prior to coming out on the field.  Holmoe said that fans gotta cool off in the rivalry and said that there are rivalries across the land that don't have the craziness like this one does.  Said something needs to be done.  Also brought up the MWC Basketball Tournament Championship game last year that saw fights break out in the stands and the lack of security that was there.

Personally, I don't think fan behavior in this rivalry will ever change.  Its gotten to the point where a lot of fans of both schools go to that game with the intent to just throw hay makers are persecute another fan for no reason at all and not even focus on the main importance of the event, the game itself.  I'm intrigued to see what Holmoe does to get the MWC to have more security in place, because he seemed to have some strong views on the topic.

December 7, 2008

The Wildcats in Las Vegas and a look at BYU's past five bowl games.

No shocker today. BYU is playing Arizona in the XVII (Thanks for clarifying that much needed stat) Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. I'm excited, I just hope the team is.

Now I know all the expectation this season was to go perfect and be BCS bound but it didn't happen. Oh well, time to move on and get excited for the best matchup we have seen in the Vegas Bowl since coming here in 2005. Both teams know each pretty well and each have a respect for one another. Unlike that clown Mike Bellotti from Oregon in 2006. Cal Head Coach Jeff Tedford came off as arrogant towards BYU it seemed like as well going into the 2005 matchup. Arizona on the other hand, is a team and a program that is just thrilled to be bowl bound. I'm excited for the "Rubber Match" against a talented Arizona team. Just another good bowl team BYU has had over the years. Which got me to thinking about all the good bowl teams that BYU has played as of late. So I give you a little reference quide to BYU's past five bowl games. Enjoy.

2007 Las Vegas Bowl: UCLA, Win, 17-16

BYU had lost earlier in the season to UCLA at the Rose Bowl, 17 to 27; in a game that BYU knew they should have won over the Bruins who were #13 in the nation at that time. The Bruins finished 2007 with a mediocre 6-6 record and fired Head Coach Karl Dorrell. UCLA put Defensive Coordinator Dewayne Walker as the interim coach for the bowl game. The Bruins looked like a team on paper that had no prayer against the Cougs who had just won ten straight games coming in and another Mountain West Championship but the Bruins defense kept them in it playing a spirited game to make a case for Walker to be the next head coach. Defensive End Bruce Davis was a mad man for the Bruins on and off the field, on the field he was causing havoc on BYU's Offensive Line like he did in the first matchup; off the field he was making cutting of the throat gestures towards BYU fans. He looked like a guy who had not taken his steroids that day.

BYU was shooting themselves in the foot the entire first half with UCLA's offense doing nothing and BYU not capitalizing. The biggest play of the first half was when BYU backed up by their own endzone with less than a minute left in the half decided to run the ball rather than take a knee. Harvey Unga fumbled the ball and UCLA capitalized scoring a Touchdown as time expired on the half to bring the score to 17-13, when clearly it should of been a lot more in BYU's favor.

BYU continued to struggle in the second half offensively, not scoring any points but that didn't mean stud Wide Receiver Austin Collie didn't make some amazing catches. Collie earned MVP honors for the game with his six catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. But Collie's efforts were still not enough for BYU to put up points. UCLA's offense put up a drive late in the game with less than two minutes putting the Bruins in Field Goal range which was set up by the key completion from Bethel-Thompson (yeah seriously) to Logan Paulsen for 36 yards and but the Bruins on the BYU 13 yard-line. We all now what happens after that as Eathyn Manumaleuna the stud Freshman who started every game in replace of the injured Russell Tialavea at DT got his big Cougar paw on the Kai Forbath kicked ball and BYU won it's 2nd straight bowl game. The first time that had happened since the '94 and '96 Bowl games.

2006 Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon, W, 38-8

BYU came into this Las Vegas Bowl clicking on all cylinders, 8-0 in Mountain West play and had a historic come from behind win over arch-rival Utah, everything was going right for the Cougs. But there was still unfinished business of beating a Pac-10 opponent and getting the first bowl victory since the 1997 Cotton Bowl.

Going in, it looked like this would be a game that was evenly matched and should be a close one. People mainly thought that because of BYU's lack of success against BCS schools in recent history and that season (losses at Arizona and Boston College), but these were two teams headed in opposite directions. BYU was rolling and Oregon had lost their last three including the Civil War game against Oregon State. This game however, had its bulletin board material with Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti saying BYU wouldn't do well in the Pac-10 conference and the Mountain West Conference was inferior to the Pac-10 and at the Fremont Street Extravaganza a fight broke lose when BYU was doing the Haka, a Oregon player got into the fray and started pushing. Nothing serious happened but you could clearly see both teams didn't like one another and it was classic Pac-10 not respecting BYU garbage.

BYU struggled early, with a few dropped passes by Matt Allen but other than that BYU rolled to an easy win over the Ducks who had an ugly yellow helmet with flames. Oregon's offense couldn't do anything on the Cougar D who was starting Cole Miyahira at Cornerback in replace of Ben Criddle who suffered a foot injury due to the horrible turf at Rice Chex Stadium. QBs Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf were helpless as former BYU HC Gary Crowton's offense was ineffective against the Cougar D. It was a great way to cap off the Comeback season for guys like John Beck, Curtis Brown, Jonny Harline and Cameron Jensen who led the Return To Glory charge for BYU Football. Another thing I loved about this bowl game was that it was one of the few games BYU played up to its potential and played really well.

2005 Las Vegas Bowl: California, L, 28-35

The first bowl game since 2001. BYU was matched up with a Cal team who started the 2005 season ranked #19 in the Coaches Poll. Cal started the season 5-0 but went on to lose four out of their final six due to the loss of QB Nate Longshore due to injury and costly turnovers. The Bears still had future NFL star Marshawn Lynch at Running Back and Justin Forsett, the Bears also had one of the best defenses in all of College Football.

Lynch was too much for BYUs D to handle as he ran for 194 yards and three TDs, as BYU's late comeback effort fell short when John Beck threw a interception to seal the win for the Bears. But there were many positives to take from this game going into 2006. BYU was the only team other than USC to produce 90+ yard scoring drives on the Bear defense, BYU did it three times. Cal was obviously no slouch as that same Bears team practically returned in 2006 and was a Pre-Season Top 10 team in 2006.

You could see John Beck finding his groove though in this game with the new Robert Anae offense and it made BYU hungrier for better results in 2006. I think that story turned out nicely.

2001 Liberty Bowl: Louisville, L, 10-28

This is one of those games I always look back at and wonder what could of been. Doak Walker winning RB Luke Staley was of course out after tearing his ACL in the final minutes at Mississippi State and practically all of BYU's team was banged up and staggering into the bowl game after getting lit up at Hawai'i 72-45, in a game where BYU was playing for nothing already knowing the BCS was out of the question.

BYU was a worn out team already playing 13 games coming into the not fan-friendly Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve. #22 Louisville was no slouch and was a program on the rise and had one of their best seasons in school history led by QB Dave Ragone and future Super Bowl MVP WR Deion Branch. Louisville was a talented group on both sides of the ball and BYU was struggling to find its idenity again with a defense that was giving up points at will and no rushing attack. It was a sad outing. Offensive Lineman scored the only touchdown for the Cougs in that game as BYU put up a season-low 10 points in a season that saw over 600 points scored in Head Coach Gary Crowton's first season.

Here's some sad stats from this game. Leading rusher: Paul Petersen (73 yards, 15 carries). Leading receiver: Andrew Ord (4 catches-62 yards). No one left to put up a good effort and the program still didn't have the Indoor Practice Facility at this time so the bowl preparation was being done in the sorry Smith Fieldhouse. Not a good combo.

1999 Motor City Bowl: Marshall, L, 3-21

Another BYU team that came into the bowl game reeling. Lost the last two games of the regular season to Wyoming and Utah causing BYU to share the first Mountain West championship in a 3-way tie with both Colorado State and the Utes. Had BYU won one of those last two they would of won the league outright.

Marshall on the other hand, was undefeated coming into the game and looking to prove they should have been considered for a BCS bowl led by future NFL player Chad Pennington at Quarterback. The Thundering Herd were a offensive juggernaut and a Mid-Major powerhouse at the time.

BYU got on the board first with a 28-yard Owen Pochman FG in the opening quarter but that was it for the Cougs as Pennington to WR Doug Chapman was the theme the rest of the afternoon in Mo Town.

Things got ugly for BYU QB Kevin Feterik who was playing in his last game as a Cougar. Feterik got injured with a collarbone injury from all the pressure the Marshall defense caused. Feterik was pissed and got after the O-Lineman grabbing one of their facemasks. If I remember correctly it was John Skiba's facemask he grabbed. Bret Engemann and Charlie Petersen had to finish the game for BYU. Another thing that didn't play into BYU's favor was stud Freshman Luke Staley only played the opening drive, after that he was done due to his lingering knee injury. It was the first 3-game losing skid to end a season in LaVell's coaching tenure at BYU.

I don't want to stop, I'm in the mood to keep going here's quicker recaps for the next five games.

1998 Liberty Bowl: Tulane, L, 27-41

Along with Marshall in '99 Tulane was a undefeated Mid-Major led by a future NFL QB, the Green Wave had Shaun King. King torched BYU's secondary who didn't have Heshimu Robertson due to Grades, so Rob Warcup was getting burned all day. On the other side, Brian Gray, King and the Wave weren't even looking his way. Ronney Jenkins was also suspended in this ball game. The Wave and the '99 Marshall squad are the only undefeated teams in the '90s to go undefeated and not claim at least a share of the National Championship.

1997 Cotton Bowl: Kansas State, W, 19-15

The first ever New Year's Day bowl in BYU's history in the historic Cotton Bowl. Kansas State didn't give BYU any respect leading up to the game and the Cougars proved K-State should of given the Cougs more respect as Steve Sarkisian went to K.O. Kealauhi and James Dye to put BYU up 19-15. Defensively, LB Shay Muirbrook was a beast at Linebacker with five sacks and Omar "The Blanket" Morgan sealed the win with a Interception capping off BYU's 14-1 season.

1994 Copper Bowl: Oklahoma, W, 31-6

Oklahoma had a lame duck coach in Gary Gibbs roaming the sidelines as the next OU HC watched from the Press Box in Howard Schnellenberger. Mr. Fedora got a show, not from his future Sooners but BYU QB John Walsh and the Cougar offense. Walsh threw 454 yards in a rout over the Sooners. Walsh rode that wave of momentum bolting for the NFL thinking he would be a high draft choice because of Mel Kiper dubbing him the #1 prospect for the '95 NFL Draft, he went in the 7th round to the Bengals.

1993 Holiday Bowl: Ohio State, L, 21-28

A mediocre 6-5 BYU team came into the Holiday Bowl as a major underdog to Ohio State who came into the game 9-1-1 on the year. But the Cougs should of won this game. The difference was a blocked punt that Ohio State returned for a Touchdown in the first quarter. BYU tied the game at 21 at Half but couldn't produce any points in the second half as Ohio State got the close win. A Tim Nowatzke dropped pass cost BYU big time.

1992 Aloha Bowl: Kansas, L 20-23

4th string QB Tom Young got the nod to start due to injuries with Ryan Hancock, John Walsh and Steve Clements. BYU still produced yards outgaining the Jayhawks 402 to 372.

BYU got off to a fast start with a Kickoff returned for a TD by Hema Heimuli to open the game but an inability to capitalize kept the game close as BYU lost to the Jayhawks on Christmas Day in Hawai'i.

BYU the past 10 years has played some tough teams and has had some things play against them in these games as well. One thing I will say, is that I have loved the preparation Bronco has had in the program for bowl games. Bowl games are no longer treated like vacations like they once were under LaVell. BYU has better facilities now to prepare for these bowl games and the results are starting to show with more wins and better execution in bowls.

So what would you say is BYU's best bowl opponent in the past 10 bowls? Also what was BYU's best played game in the last 10 bowls? I'd like to hear your opinion. Post in the comments section, love to hear.