Week two of our local college football picks. Here’s how the staff’s picks line-up:
Utah State at Utah
Grant: 34-10 Utah. Ultimately, this game will come down to the battle in the trenches. I think the Utah State front seven is going to give the Utah offensive line a battle. So much so, the game will be a close one through the first half. In the end though I expect Utah to wear the Aggies down and pull the game out in the end.
Patrick: 42-17 Utah. This should be an easy game for the Utes but a game that can’t overlook as it is a rivalry game. Utah State showed last week that they just aren’t a very good team and the Utes need to get their 1’s some rest over the next couple of weeks before they head into conference play to ensure that they are 100% healthy. I expect to see a lot of 2’s and 3’s getting some playing time this week.
Chesh: 31-13 Utah. I think the Utes will roll but I still don’t trust their offense to be crisp and moving. Like I predicted last week, the defense will score at least once. Matt Wells will use Michigan’s game plan of focusing their entire front-7 on stopping Devontae Booker who averaged less than three yards per carry. I also don’t think the Aggies have enough to completely stop the Utes. They’ll see success for the most part but the D will dominate. I’m giving USU a garbage time touchdown, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see them kept out of the end zone. They’re a bad ball team.
Justin: 34-16 Utah. I still don’t know what to make of the football game that USU played last week. Can they be THAT bad? The Utah D will be tough as always but I expect a little better performance from the Aggie offense than we saw against SUU. I don’t think it will be close but the Aggies will score some points.
Blair: 31-10 Utah. Utah St has serious questions on the offensive line. Utes should be able to rush the QB whenever and however they want. The secondary is going to make Chuckie Keeton force the ball into tight spaces thus creating a lot of turnovers. Booker will get it rolling getting well over 100 yards despite Utah St valiant effort from their linebacking unit.
Devin: 30-10, Utah. The Aggies can’t possibly be as bad as they were last week, right? While this game should be a blowout for the Utes, I fear they’ll make it harder than it has to be. I’m expecting Utah start slow, but open up the lead in the second half. I’m also expecting Utah State to somehow stumble into the end zone – after last week, don’t ask me why I feel this way.
Brett: 17-10 Utah. Aggies aren’t that bad. I expect the Aggies to keep this game competitive. To USU, this is a rivalry game for them. They always seem to play up to Utah’s standard.Its up to Utah to raise the tempo or let the Aggies hang around. This is the classic example of a trap game. While the next game may not be a game they are looking forward to, the Oregon game on the horizon could have Utah looking past the Aggies.
Todd: 28-10 Utah. The Aggies were terrible against SUU. Chuckie Keeton doesn’t look like he’s ready for that triumphant return. I’d like to see the Aggies beat the Utes, but it’s not gonna happen this time.
Steve: 31-17 Utah. The Aggies simply overlooked SUU and aren’t as bad as they appeared. The Utes O-line will struggle to open holes for Booker against another tough front 7 but Booker breaks tackles to rush for 100+. Utah’s defensive line reeks havoc on a weak USU O-line as Chuckie struggles to move the ball with his depleted receiving core. Bold prediction: we see at least 2 defensive or special teams touchdowns.
Alan: 34-14 Utah. I expect the Aggies to be up for this game. First week a letdown? Maybe. And maybe that gives this game a false positive. Maybe. But I’m not betting on it. The Utah defense looks fantastic, yet again. I do expect the Aggie defense to be ready and physical, but Booker should wear them down. In the end, I just don’t see the Utes losing.
Boise State at BYU
Grant: 27-24 BYU. This game is a coin flip right now. BSU was only favored by 2.5 last time I saw. This game will come down to two thing: home field advantage (If BYU can sell the game out) and the kicking game. In the end, BYU squeezes out another win. I just hope BYU fans are working on their heart health. They are going to need it.
Chesh: 27-16 BYU. With Nacua and Laulile back from suspension, the defense should improve. Key word: should. Boise State looked bipolar against U-Dub last week on both sides of the ball but I expect them to move the ball in the trenches at times. However, Tanner Mangum looks very good. Small sample size, sure. But this is not 2014. The team is rallying around him, and that emotional win with Taysom out should provide confidence that they can win ball games without having a letdown. No blow out, but the game will be ending with T-Mang in victory formation.
Justin: 24-21 BYU. I feel like I have even more questions now about this BYU team than I did before the Nebraska game. Yes they won, but how does Mangum do when a team is preparing specifically for him? Can BYU muster a rushing attack this week without Hill? I think BYU still has the QB advantage and I hope the defense doesn’t have a repeat performance from last year. I expect a tough fought battle that is close throughout. Because of the exceptional special teams play last week, I think BYU has the edge.
Blair: 21-20 BYU. Getting Kai Nacua back will let Jordan Preator back to his more natural boundary cornerback. That should help out with the secondary problems they were facing early in the Nebraska game. Losing Taysom Hill is a major blow, and those expecting Tanner Mangum to replace his production are in for a giant surprise. Mangum will do good things, but Boise State’s front seven can get after the QB. It will all be too close to feel comfortable either way, but I think BYU rallies the troops for their opening home game and squeaks out a tough fought battle.
Brett: 35-17 BYU. Nacua’s return helps out a secondary. Boise State is breaking in a new QB and RB. Add in the fact they have a new Offensive Coordinator, and it makes things interesting. BYU is breaking in a new QB, but Mangum is better than what he showed. His quick release will help against the front seven that is coming for him. Plus our receivers are taller. Throw JUMP BALLS!
Todd: 27-17 BYU. Let Mangum Mania continue in Provo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again this year’s Boise State team isn’t as good as years past. BYU will be tested but the wideouts will have a great game and Tanner Mangum will lead them to victory.
Steve: 28-27 BYU. Boise let a very average Washington team hang around but still came out with the win. Make the same mistake against BYU and they will lose. Boise’s passing game struggled, which is bad news for an game in which they will need to expose BYU’s secondary. Both teams will struggle on offense but BYU will grind out a hard fought victory.
Alan: 24-21 BYU. Boise should provide a good test in front of the home crowd. There are too many unknown variables in this game, particularly for the Cougar offense. Mangum’s first start in front of the home crowd, I suspect, will be a rough one. He’s capable, but this game has all the makings of a slight emotional let-down. Still, I expect the home-field advantage to come into play and the Cougars to escape with a win. I am tempering my excitement slightly, but Mangum looks extremely promising.