BYU Football: Too Early Preview: BYU vs Cincinnati

BYU vs Cincinatti

Can BYU make it past its biggest home challenge or will the Cincinnati Bearcats be too much for the Cougars?  On Friday October 16th 2015, BYU and Cincinnati will meet for the first time ever.  Last year Cincinnati finished with a decent 9-4 record and was in a three way tie for first place in the AAC, and lost to Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl.


Gunner Kiel returns for his Junior (RS) season with a lot of returning weapons.  He is in my opinion the best quarterback BYU will face this coming season.  Gunner Kiel had an interesting journey to Cincinnati.  He was the number one pro style quarterback recruit in 2012 and is remembered for not being able to make up his mind.  He committed to Indiana and LSU before going to Notre Dame his freshmen year.  He then decided he didn’t like Notre Dame.

Sounds like a Jake Heaps kind of story, but Gunner Kiel had immediate success with the Bearcats.  He sat out the 2013 season per transfer rules.  In 2014 the sophomore quarterback threw for 3254 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.   In retrospect Max Hall threw for 3848 with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a sophomore.  Kiel had fewer yards but more touchdowns and one extra interception.

Gunner Kiel is a drop back passer, but coach Tuberville claims he is deceptively fast.  He had lots of success throwing all over the field last year, but needs some improvement with footwork.  It will be to the Cougars benefit to get pressure and get him scrambling.

Backs and Receivers

Coach Tuberville calls his receivers “as good, deep, and athletic as any group in the nation”.  They are returning five receivers that had 25 plus receptions and over 400 yards.  Kiel’s best targets are 6 foot 6 wide out Mekale McKay, who had 725 yards and 8 touchdowns last year, and senior Shaq Washington, who had 761 yards last year.

Even Tuberville admits they were “too one dimensional last year”.  The Bearcats had a very inconsistent run game.  In wins they averaged 184 yards per game and in losses they averaged 94.5 rushing yards per game.  Not impressive either way you look at it.  They are going to try to throw all over the Cougars which in years past spells disaster.


Last year the Cincinnati defense started awful, but improved when it looked like they started to read and react instead of sticking to scheme.  This is good and bad, a read and react defense means that the players on that defense are aware enough to make plays, but made them much worst against the pass.  I think Taysom Hill will do will against such a defense.  Last year they didn’t have much of a pass rush mainly because they didn’t trust the secondary.  They claim that things are different this year.  That’s still yet to be seen.

Too Early Prediction

This game is in Provo, but is the biggest home challenge the Cougars will face in 2015.  Looking at style of play it looks to be another shoot out.  I see Taysom being healthy and building off of past performances, in the end he and Jamaal Williams will be too much for the Bearcats.  BYU wins 54-48 in an entertaining fashion. GO COUGARS

Jamaal Williams has chance to be special
Jamaal Williams

About the author

R Todd Graham

I'm Todd Graham, no not the coach, I'm a big BYU, Utah Jazz and Seahawks fan. I think I'm funny others may disagree. My opinion is mine you are welcomed to disagree.


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  • Unless we really blow it bad, this could be the most exciting game of the year,
    # 42, AAC Cincinnati @ LES #46 Independent BYU.

    46-42 gives 4 point advantage to Cincinnati, while the 4 point home field advantage goes to BYU making the game dead even with no advantage going one way or the other.

    As far as closeness of score and not knowing who will win until the final seconds of the game, this reminds me of some of the hair raising memories playing the Utes where the game was won or lost in the last few seconds of the game.

    It is too bad that neither team is a P5 team.

    It is hard to say that this G5 game, vs. Cincinnati, will be better than the P5 games we play this season vs. Nebraska, UCLA, Michigan and Missouri, and throw in that G5 team that seems to be playing like a P5 team, #22 Boise State, and I guess the best thing to be said about the Cincinnati game is that the excitement of not knowing who will win this game until the game is over, makes this a game not to miss.

    • Not a reply, but an update.

      ESPN now has us at @#45 and Cincinnatti at 52. We have a home field advantage of 4 that favors BYU by 11.

      If you take the average of Lindy’s Sports and ESPN, that makes the two teams even but giving BYU 4 point advantage by having the game at LES.

  • 1. Kiel is a Junior (RS), not a Soph (RS)
    2. It’s Mekale McKay, not Mykell
    3. Shaq Thompson was a LB for UW last year, Shaq Washington is the WR for UC

    • You’re right. I don’t know how I misspelled and typed the wrong Shaq with stats in front of me. thanks and Thanks for reading

  • “This game is in Provo, but is the biggest home challenge the Cougars will face in 2015.”

    Bigger than Boise State?

      • Todd,

        I read your preview: “…”

        It is very professionally done and it was enjoyable reading. I have never missed a match up between Boise State and BYU.

        I remember when Boise State wanted to join us in the MWC and we thought that they were just wannabes that were not good enough to join us and than they set out to prove to us that they were good enough, and than some.
        (2 BCS Bowls etc + consistant high rankings)

        While I do enjoy your posting (agree or not), I do reserve the right to have a difference of opinion on some issues.

        Lindy’s College Sports currently has Boise State ranked at 22, I have them at #26 and ESPN has them at 31. Lindy’s has BYU at 46. ESPN has us at 45.

        I have us ,BYU, at 29 for as long as Taysom Hill stays healthy at QB; Mitch Mathews stays healthy at WR; Jamaal Williams at RB; and Tejam Koroa at Center, buy they must all stay healthy on the Offensive in order to keep that #29 rating from me.

        On the Defense, Bronson Kaufusi DE; Travis Tuiloma DT; Bronson Kaufusi DE and Manoa Pikula LB must all all stay healthy to stay at my rating of 29.

        If Taysom, Mathews or Williams gets hurt, I see us dropping to # 49-55 depending if 1,2, or 3 of them get injured.

        Add injuries of any of the other said players and i see a very long, sorry, unraveled season with hopes of being discovered and promoted in the eyes of the P5 conferences as all but over.

        If all of those said players remain healthy the full season, we will make a big splash that will not go un-noticed among the P5 conferences.

        ESPN has us at #45.

        I liked Crowton and I thought that he was a great OC genius. Not so great as the HC. I think that Bronco Mendenhal is a very good DC, but not so much so as a HC.

        I would love to have someone like Sakisian or whittingham as our HC with
        Crowton as our OC, Anae as our line coach, Mendenhal has our DC, Ty Detmet as our QB coach, and leave the receivers coach and the RB coach to the decision of the new HC.

        It would be great if we could get Steve Young to do recruiting for us. I like the other coaches that I have asked to be replaced. I would not want them fired, but reassigned as needed.

        Once he, Gary Crowton, was put on the hot seat due to the embarrassment the school suffered during the late evening hours in one of the players private apartment, Crowton had to spend more time defending himself than preparing for the next big game.

        Remember it was Crowton that brought us to #5 in the Nation. We were true contenders for a BCS Bowl. We lost that chance losing in Hawaii when Doman had to play with a separated shoulder and Luke Staley played with a fractured leg. It was announced minutes before that game that even if #5 BYU won against Hawaii, they would not be offered a seat at the BCS Bowl. We never came close to getting a BCS bowl after Crowton was fired.

        I believe that we have learned our lesson firing Crowton. Since than Rose had the Davies affair and Bronco had the Unga thing, but no blame was ever put on the coaches. I am happy that we got passed that. Too bad for Crowton that he had to take the blame for something that was out of his control.

        Nobody has come close to gertting us to a BCS Bowl, since Crowton was fired.

        Once fired, Crowton went to Oregon and was chosen as the National Assistant Coach of the Year.

        The following year the defending National Champions, LSU grabbed him as their new OC.

        He was great there, but after that, who knows why, but he fell apart.

        I would love to have him back as our OC and keep Anae as our Line Coach. Unlike many that post here, I do think that Anae is doing a good, if not great job under the circumstances that he is coaching.

        I think that Bronco is a good man, but as a HC, I question if he has it in himself to bring us to the next P5 conference team level. I would love to keep this good man as our DC and get someone like Sarkisian or Whittingham to come in as our HC and get us in that prestigious grouping of P5 conferences..

        While I see some minor differences in our thinking, I do think that we are more alike than we are different in our opinions.

    • This has nothing to do with football. I noticed your comment on Philip Jenkins website. I completely agree with you and made a very similar comment on his last article.

      Then of course, he deleted all my posts (because of their content, I didn’t have anything remotely offensive). So just a heads up. Mr. Jenkins isn’t one to allow dissent apparently. He can dish it but he can’t take it. And he never seems to actually discuss evidence, only to imply that there is none.

      • checking in on my school I saw your post. I have to disagree with you on that, Jenkins allows plenty of dissenting comments, people should look for themselves.

      • Well, I guess I can only speak from my experience. But he clearly deleted mine on content not on anything offensive. And how would you know if many more like me haven’t been deleted from his site?

        I thought he allowed dissenting comments too, until all mine were deleted. I could show you the post if you don’t believe me.

      • I read your comments he came down pretty hard on you for being unscientific and illogical. I assumed you deleted your comments out of embarrassment, but if you didn’t do it, then yes please show the post. I’ll be happy to ask Philip why they were deleted and have them restored, unless he has a specific reason he won’t mind. I archived the comments so I have copies of yours.

    • JT

      Excellent question that you ask. According to Lindy’s Sports, Boise State is rated

      ESPN has them rated at #31.

      The average is 26 1/2 while our average is 45 1/2.
      Giving us a 4 point home field advantage, gives the winning favorite to Boise State by 14-15 points.

      So Indeed, Cincinnatti is Not the biggest challenge at home. Boise State is clearly the biggest challenge at LES. Cincinnati is the second biggest fish in our sea at LES.

  • JT is right. There’s no way this game is a bigger home challenge than Boise State who is in several preseason Top 25 polls in the low 20’s. While I think Cinci will be a great game, if you’re going to make statements like “biggest home challenge,” not once, but twice in the same article, you should really double check the home schedule for that team first. Unless, of course, you really believe that Cincinnati will be tougher than Boise State (please tell me you don’t think that, right?)

    • Igniter,
      ESPN just dropped Boise State from Lindy’s College Sports rating of #22 down to the new ESPN rating of # 31. This game, being played at LES GIVING US THE 4 point HFA makes Boise State the favorite by 10 points. ESPN raised us 1 pt from #46 to #45.

      • RO:

        I’m confused. Even if Boise State has slipped from #22 to #31 in it’s rating of by ESPN, are you saying that now makes the game against #52 Cincinnatti legitimately the “biggest home challenge,” or are you trying to say that this slight adjustment means you’re not quite as delusional as you were before? 🙂 I’m confident that 99 out of 100 fans and experts alike would agree that Boise State is by far BYU’s toughest home opponent this year. With that said, I totally agree with you that Cincinnatti will be tough, and arguably the “2nd biggest home challenge” of the year. 🙂 I appreciate the update, though.

      • Of course not igniter. I apologize for any confusion. I will try to simplify what I am stating:

        According to Lindy’s College Sports team rating
        #22 Boise State # 42 Cinn #46 BYU HFA 4 pts.

        According to ESPN
        # 31 Boise State # 52 Cinn #45 BYU HFA 4 pts

        Average of Lindy’s college Sports and ESPN
        #26.5 Boise State # 47 Cinn #45.5 BYU HFA 4 pts

        Taking the average of the two prognosticating groups

        #26.5 Boise State is favored over BYU by 19 points less the
        4 pt HFA = Boise State by 14-15 points.

        #47 Cinn. favored over 45.5 BYU makes Cinn favored by 1 1/2 point less the HFA which makes BYU favored by 2 1/2 points.

        Boise State is the most prestigious team at this point and favored to win by more points, while Cinn is the closest to being the same rating as our and therefore a very interesting game to watch.

        If I had to choose one game to watch and give one ticket game away, I would watch the Boise State game. I see Boise State as our real rival, like it or not.

        Thanks for your reply. Ron

      • Ron:

        That’s actually very interesting info. I think both games will be fun to watch, and I agree that BYU and Cinci (at least on paper) will be very evenly matched. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

  • Sports Brothers

    When a G5 team, or lower division team, plays a season, it really doesn’t mean much about how good that team really is, regarding how many games they won in a season.

    BYU could schedule a season playing 1. Weber State, 2. Savanna State 3. Idaho 4. Idaho State 5. UNLV 6. Army 7. Southern Miss 8. UCON 9. New Mexico 10. Nevada
    11. San Jose State 12. Fresno State

    This would guarantee us that we would have a 12-0 season. That would not be an indication that we are a good team. Instead, it would show that we program a season to win all 12 games.

    At present, according to most prognosticators, Cincinnati is rated at # 42 Lindy’s Sports and #52 by ESPN.

    We are rated at #46 Lindy’s Sports and #45 ESPN.

    Taking the average of each team, both BYU and Cincinnati are dead even. Give BYU the home field advantage, 4 points, the game is in favor of BYU if they are well coached and prepared to win. Otherwise, it is anybodies game.

  • While traveling for business, I developed created a moderately complex algorithm to predict how well BYU will do against its opponents this year. I won’t go in to how it work because that would take way to long, but it had BYU Beating Cincinnati 44-30. Going back into the algorithm, I found that one of the key factors feeding this prediction was the matchup of the Bearcats sub par rushing defense vs a strong Cougar run game featuring Taysom Hill and Jamal Williams.
    Just for reference, the algorithm currently predicts BYU losing to Missouri and Michigan by 3, beating UCLA by 1, Nebraska by 3, ECU by 6, and BSU by 9.
    There is still some fine tuning to do. I think the algorithm as it stand may slightly underestimate prolific offenses that are largely one dimensional. The algorithm as it currently stand puts a heavy emphasis on defense as indicated by BYU loosing to Missouri and Michigan (the 2 best defensive teams on the schedule) but beating UCLA which most people (including myself) believe is the best team on their schedule.