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BYU football: Cougars seem to be hitting their stride

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  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    "It's definitely there. We're just dominating right now."

    Sorry, Mr. Hoffman, but dominating is far from the right word. Are the Cougars playing better? You bet. Would they beat Texas if they played them again right now? Or even Utah? Hard to say; especially Utah since the Cougars are still turning the ball over too much.

    But they are playing better now than they did at the beginning of the season, especially on offense. I fully expect them to finish the year strong with, hopefully, no more than 1 loss (I expect them to lose to TCU; and there is a possibility of a let down against Hawaii. Wouldn't be the first time, right Mr. Doman?) A strong finish and good performance in the bowl game would be great. But they need to figure out how to start the season better.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:03 p.m.

    BYU will hit their stride when the following two things happen:

    1. Get a consistent, top-notch QB with enough experience to perform when he's at the helm.

    That could be Nelson, finishing out his BYU career; could be Heaps if he finally loses his fear of contact; could be Lark; or, who knows? But, SOMEONE has to step up because NO college team can succeed with a subpar QB.

    2. Get a top-ten quality defense.

    Something's missing in this year's defense. Many possibilities, like lack of CB talent to allow more blitzing, or lack of will by Bronco to blitz (afraid of allowing a big play), or lack of overall defensive talent (I doubt that one), or something. Whatever it is, BYU needs it. The defense has been a great disappointment compared to the shut-down defense we fans had expected.

    TCU and Hawaii are the only remaining teams left on schedule that should have any chance of beating BYU. Both away games versus decent talent.

    Win those, and maybe next year won't be as disappointing. Depending on those two issues.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:31 a.m.

    Mid season stride, that is what is left of the season. Oh well 20/20 hind site.

    Lark is a senior so he is done after this year. That being said Lark should get to start against ISU, jake wont learn anything more by playing against the Bengals, so why not let Lark play.

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:46 a.m.

    The Cougars' real bowl game this year will be the TCU game. The horned frogs are the toughest game on the scheduled -- including any team that BYU might face in the long list of irrelevant bowls.

    Going to Hawai'i would constitute a bowl trip, I guess, since it will definitely be the most enjoyable location at which the Cougars will play this year or next.

    The two big remaining question marks for the Cougars are, "When (not whether) Nelson will get hurt?" and "Will Heaps transfer to another school in order to get playing time since Nelson has one more year of eligibility?"

    My prediction is that Nelson has a one in four chance of making it past the TCU game without a serious injury. Heaps will come back in and look good for a game or two, and we shall then see at the Hawai'i game whether the Cougars really have made any progress.

    Other than those questions, I think

  • TizTheSeason Lehi, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:38 a.m.

    Strength of remaining schedule????

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:53 a.m.

    If beating poor teams and losing to reasonable and good teams is hitting a "stride", they're hitting it hard.

  • fan32 St. George, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:57 a.m.

    BYU's biggest problem is they waisted a year babysitting Heaps. Well, that seems to be over now and Nelson has made watching fun again. Next problem is this independent experiment. Holmoe couldn't sell the Big12 on BYU, let's see if he can sell the fan base on independence. He has had a tough time being successful outside of playing football. Hopefully he can change that. Jury is out. Independence will be successful if LES stays full. It will be a failure if it doesn't, plain and simple. LES would need expansion in the Big 12. Do we have the best executives we can find guiding BYU sports? Jury still out. I will be to the game Saturday cheering the cougars on.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:25 a.m.

    "Walking with a swagger?" Bwahahahahahahahaha! BYU ONLY scrapes by teams with losing records, scheduled for a handful more of poor WAC/Big Sky teams at LES and "that" is impressive? Oh my goodness? Can it get anymore pathetic? BYU has slipped into abyss forever. I hope the crew that makes all the decisions in SLC will drop BYU athletics. It is a very sad state of affairs at best in the 21st century. I can't wait for the TCU game............what a spectacle that will be. Goooooooo Frogs!

    Why isn't the Idaho St. game on at prime time on Saturday? BYU is such a "storied" program, like Notre Dame no less!? Hahahahahahah!

  • KamUte South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:58 a.m.

    High School schedule. Way to hit stride.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    Man, you guys are flat out awful!

    "If, not when he gets hurt." ANY player has a chance of getting hurt, including a true pocket QB. Riley is riskier, but also tougher. Give it a break.

    "If beating poor teams and losing to reasonable and good teams is hitting a "stride", they're hitting it hard." No, we lost to an awful team, and we are doing better than that now. Would you be happier with, "We THINK we are hitting our stride, guess we'll find out in Dallas." Give it a break already.

    "- including any team that BYU might face in the long list of irrelevant bowls." You do remember that the "long list" consists of precisely one bowl - the Armed Forces bowl? The article reminded you, in case you forgot. Would require reading...

  • PAC12Fan South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    This "stride" will fet fans into a lather. Should win the rest except TCU and bronco will stay onas coach.

  • SCCougar LEXINGTON, SC
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    @ Big Hapa: Lark is a Junior

  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    I love my Cougs and what the team & program stands for, but come on. Talk and even mention of BCS in articles is so premature. Of course the offense is hitting its stride because of the weakened schedule they've been playing over the last 3-4 games. Let's see how they do against TCU. That will be a real test. With the schedule our Cougs have, which I understand was the best we could do for a first year of going independent, we've got to strengthen the schedule by a long shot and dominate the schedule to even be considered in the same breath as BCS. Oregon State and Washington State isn't going to cut it. We need the upper echelon of the Pac 12-- USC, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State. With that being said, I couldn't be happier being bowl eligible after the beat down of Idaho State this Saturday. The Armed Forces Bowl will be just fine this season.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    The TCU game will be the toughest game the Cougars will have this year. If they are able to stay in that game and possibly even win, then I will say they have improved quite a bit from the beginning of the year. The Hawaii game may be the same to some degree but we will have to see what their record is at the end of the year. Nelson seems to be the biggest reason for the increased level of success. Hopefully he can continue to improve. Shouldn't be hard with the exception of the two games mentioned above.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    What is in the water in Utah County folks? In all honesty, there is no other sports team in the world where the coach(s) and players spew such continuos erroneous hype and ridiculous optimism to "sell" their existence like BYU football does. It is almost sick, really, but it remains the best entertainment of all-time without question.........including Y fans as well. CrAzY funny it is. THANKS BYU!!!!!

  • SCCougar LEXINGTON, SC
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    mgr63: Trolls need to put others down to deflect their own situation.
    Are you really going to base your Ute's season on the BYU win? Who on the U schedule the rest of the year has a winning record? Do you really want the "crew that makes all the decisions in SLC" to drop BYU athletics? Really, besides Montana State, BYU is the only team on your schedule that you've beaten that has a winning record. Your justifications make no sense.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    You'll never know BYU's potential until they play someone other than patsies. Idaho State?? And they'll doubtless lose to TCU. Given, this is the first year of independence so they had to grab anyone willing to stick their head above the log. But "hitting their stride" this year will mean little...if anything.

  • dustman Nampa, ID
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    "Swagger."

    Worst sports word ever. But I admit my old spice deodorant is called swagger. Does that make me a hypocrit?

    Exciting. TCU and Hawaii always show up to play when it comes to BYU. BYU Could be 9-4 after the bowl game.

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    James Lark is a good friend and an unfortunate stander by this season. He worked on his delivery in the off season and it showed as he stepped up in early workouts and made an impact. We all remember the optimism regarding his status, "most athletic QB ever at the Y" stuff that was being thrown around. He and Riley are close friends, a great story in and of itself. In fact, James initially instructed Riley on the medical redshirt rules which allow Riley to repeat this, a junior season. Had the redshirt not been granted, Riley would be playing this year as a senior and James might then have had his senior season next year to take over the offense. Nothing is etched in stone yet other than we know Heaps needs to develop. I love watching Riley Nelson run the show. He is a man and a true leader, but I would love to see James Lark get a shot to show you all the stuff he's made of. I think it would be a treat!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    Now is when we begin are national championship run. we can still win it this year because were pretty good now.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    @SCCougar, yes I agree.......Utah, in a rebuilding year, injuries everywhere has struggled. However, the U lost to some very good teams and were in every ball game until the turnover bug destroyed them. As we look at the season thus far, Utah has/will have 4 "cupcake" teams on their schedule......Montana St., BYU, OSU and AZ. BYU has/will have 7. I do think Montana St. could beat BYU however. BYU's lil' run in the late 20th century is over........back to mediocrity is their destiny.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    @Counter Intelligence, Sir, you are correct. The fun reading this blather is hilarious as heck though.........you must admit.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    mgr63

    "the U lost to some very good teams and were in every ball game until the turnover bug destroyed them"

    The same thing could be said of BYU, unless you don't consider Utah to be a very good team. BYU was in both games, before losing a close game at Texas and getting killed by the turnover bug against Utah.

    Get over your hatred. It's not healthy.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    Ute trolls are out in force. I think they are worried whether or not they will become bowl eligible. Don't worry, I have faith that U'll reach 6-6 and qualify for the New Mexico Bowl where you'll battle a 7-5 Wyoming Cowboy team. That could be the game of the year.

    I too would like to see what Lark can do, but let's keep the momentum going with Nelson. Hopefully, we'll get a big early lead on Saturday and we can see Heaps play the 3rd quarter and Lark play the 4th quarter.

    I'm hoping we'll redshirt Heaps in 2012 to focus on his development. I still believe he has a lot of potential, but he needs to develop and mature. The future continues to look bright at QB U after an early misstep this year, with the following starter and back-up.

    2012 - Nelson, Lark
    2013 - Heaps, Hill
    2014 - Heaps, Hill
    2015 - Hill, Mangum
    2016 - Hill, Mangum
    2017 - Mangum
    2018 - Mangum

    @mgr63
    Colorado and UCLA are not cupcakes?

  • Papa Smurf UTE Herriman, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    Is everyone serious with them playing better? Yes, the team is showing more energy behind Nelson than they did for Hypes, but come on. We have been through all of this already. They even talked about it ad naseum on all the radio shows. This is a product of their very weak schedule. Nothing more. If they would be playing teams like AZ St, Washington, Texas again, Houston, etc. they would be losing and have the same results. Are we going to say the same thing again next year when they lose to the good teams to start off their 2nd independent season, then beat all of the lower teir WAC, Conference USA, and MWC teams? BYU has been playing more as a team since Riley took over at the helm, but they are still just getting by the easy teams. If they played Texas again, they would probably lose, and same with Utah. I doubt they would have as many turnovers, but the result would be the same. A win for the UTES.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    @LonestarRunner, the score was 54-10, a COMPLETE beat-down......and the U didn't quit like BYU did with a totally healthy team. The U lost their gimpy starting QB, had to start a kid at QB that only arrived to the program this fall, new starters everywhere(young squad) and an O-line that has been decimated by injury.......that's how they lost. Texas is horrible, had 3 different QBs against BYU, Ole Miss is a disaster and if that frosh didn't drop the wide open TD pass BYU would have lost. BYU won in a miracle against Utah St., UCF should have won and San Jose St was right there as well. BYU is a joke!

    Millions despise BYU........the unhealthiness resides within "U" and your ilk.......it is called "martyrdom."

  • JustintimeY Boise, Id
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    The TCU game will tell us everything we need to know about the cougars this year can Riley carry the team to a win over a two loss TCU team. Riley and Alisa have changed the way the team is playing regardless of the quality of the teams. Before Neilson came on Heaps was ready to give USU back to back beat downs. Can the coaches and players step up and win against a good but down TCU team??? Don't forget BYU is projected to play SMU in the Arm Forces bowl. The same SMU team that beat TCU already this year. If the team does not beat TCU a 9-4, record is likely. Hawaii will be no gimmie in Hawaii; they will be ready to renew the past rivalry with the cougars. With wins over TCU, Hawaii and a bowl win over SMU I will consider this a good start to independence despite the start. 9-4, 8-5 will be a big disappointment.

  • Veracity Morgan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    KamUte

    High School schedule. Way to hit stride.

    At least BYU is hitting a stride, Utah is hitting a brick wall...sorry.

  • lasermann Orem, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    @mgr63:

    Dude, it's just a game. Take deep cleansing breaths, close your eyes, imagine yourself on a beach somewhere ... Hawaii, right? Find your happy place. Ahhhhh. Isn't that better now?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    Hitting their stride??? Look who they have played the last 3 games - Utah State, San Jose State and Oregon State... and what is the combined record of these 3 teams??? Most teams would hit their stride with this sort of competition.

  • BYU/Jazz fan West Valley, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    mgr63

    "Millions despise BYU........the unhealthiness resides within "U" and your ilk.......it is called "martyrdom." Are you kidding me? Didn't the New York Times just report that BYU has twice as many fans as Utah does? Maybe you should do a little bit of homework before spouting off more of your hate.
    Every case you made of a BYU game could be made for the Utah games as well. "woulda shoulda coulda, turn over bug, etc..." seems to be the mantra of both teams. Isn't it the same for any team that loses?

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    It is time to stop comparisons between Utah and BYU. Utah has not beaten a good team in the last two years. They are a bad team and will get worse. BYU is trying to find a QB and leader. They're improving with Nelson.

    The schedule looked a lot better in August than it does today. Ole Miss, Texas, TCU, Oregon State, UCF, and Utah all looked like a good SOS schedule. Alas, all those teams are having a down year. That happens.

    The WAC teams on the schedule are a necessary add, given the loss of the mighty MTN teams. CSU, Wyoming, Air Force, et al. would not have strengthened the schedule that much, if at all.

    But remember the Boise State strategy. Beat a few name teams and smash the WAC teams and get your BCS bids. Utah is finding out that the PAC12 is over their heads. The Big12 would be a tough match for this BYU team. Oklahoma, OSU, KSU, et al. would beat either BYU or Utah like ugly stepchildren this year. If BYU can join the Big12, go for it. Otherwise, stay Indy and win. Nuff said.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    mgr63 | 8:41 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

    And BYU was very much "in" the Utah game until the turnover bug got them. Why don't you worry about your own sorry Ute situation? like no offense at all, so what if White the 45th carries a 100 times for 550 yards and all you get is 3 points . Your D is going to have to win most of your games for you. I still don't buy into the mighty PAC-12 factor, yes ASU, Oregon, USC and Stanford are great teams but after that the other teams are pathetic and would lose to teams from the WAC or Big12 etc. BYu only lost by one point to Texas who's Sagarin is #18 SOS #4!! higher than any Ute opponent. Since you Utes love the Sagarin.

  • lasermann Orem, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:48 a.m.

    @mgr63:

    Dude, it's just a game. Take deep cleansing breaths, close your eyes, imagine yourself on a beach somewhere ... Hawaii, right? Find your happy place. Ahhhhh. Isn't that better now?

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    BlueHusky | 10:39 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

    Amen.

  • SportsCenter Olympus Cove, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    mgr63

    The joke is on fans of a certain PAC 12 newbie who were so arrogant that they assumed they could waltz through the PAC 12 south with a gimpy starting QB and JC transfer backup QB that nobody else wanted.

    After an 0-3 start, you're against the 3rd, 4th, and 5th best teams in the PAC 12, you're forced to use a game where your opponent imploded with 7 turnovers as the sole highlight of your season.

    It's actually quite comical to watch the BYU-haters trying their hardest to tear down the only opponent that gives the U any credibility in their first PAC 12 season.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    No BSC bowl. No conference championship. That's a big YAWN for me. We played Utah too early. Not much really to look forward to except a less potent TCU. Can we flash forward to next year? At least the opposing teams will be more interesting. But even then, Armed Forces Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl? What will be next? We have a long way to go as an independent to get in a BSC bowl. Even if we do great next year, it's doubtful we would be invited. We would need to establish several years of consistent success to do that.

  • MacNasty Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    I'm surprised that mgr63 is posting about cupcakes. He mentioned that Arizona and OSU are cupcakes. His is on the hook now. I wonder what kind of excuses he will make if Arizona and/or OSU beats the Utes.

    BTW, most consider Colorado and UCLA as cupcakes as well. California is on the cusp.

    So mgr63's Utes should win each of those games by at least 3 or 4 touchdowns. Let's all watch and see if that transpires.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    Air Force has had a pattern of wearing down as the season goes long, attributed by some to the rigors of officer training. BYU has a pattern of starting out slow and ending with their finest performances. Perhaps it also could be attributed to the type of regimen they go through as students. Perhaps as they get more comfortable with their classes, schedules, they become more efficient in other ways as well. It is probably also due to the approach the coaching staff takes to each season.

  • lanius Woods Cross, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    Can you imagine the fun if they were not "hitting their stride"! Then I really would not get any work done, reading all the drama! Love it!

  • TheSportsAuthority Arlington, VA
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    BigRich

    BYU has as much to look forward to as Utah, winning the remainder of their games, qualifying for and winning a bowl game, and improving a still very young team to be even better next season.

    Is there really much difference between playing in the Armed Forces, Poinsettia, Kraft Fight Hunger, or New Mexico Bowls?

    Outside of the BCS championship game, none of the other bowls means anything. How many fans could name the winners of the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose Bowls from 2007?

  • U WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    jarka-rus | 10:41 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011
    "BYu only lost by one point to Texas who's Sagarin is #18 SOS #4!! higher than any Ute opponent."

    The Y also only won by 1 in Ole Miss who's Sagarin is #85 you can't use this logic both ways.

    "And BYU was very much "in" the Utah game until the turnover bug got them"

    Ole miss was up the entire game until the turnover bug got them and their QB drops the ball on the ground late in the 4th, agaain you can't use this logic both ways

  • 4D Draper, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    Really Byu fans? How can you talk trash to a team that completed dominated you 54 to 10. It wasn't just a close game, Utah completely dominated in all phases of the game. Utah left no doubt who has the superior team on the field. In my opinion Montana State is better than Byu. After re watching both games i think Montana State would beat the cougars. Furthermore, for all the Cougars who are making fun of Utah's schedule. The Cougars would be 0-6 right now playing Utah's schedule. There is no way Byu would of beat Pitt last week. Looking at Byu's schedule I don't know how Utah wouldn't be 6-0 playing that weak of a schedule.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    The label "cupcake" is getting thrown around alot, but there is no official definition of what constitutes a cupcake on the schedule. So as a Ute fan who, like Jarka-rus points out, respects Sagarin's ratings, please allow me to use them to qualify Utah's and BYU's schedules:

    Utah: thus far has played 3 top 30 teams, 4 top 60 teams, and 6 top 90 teams.
    Utah: scheduled to play an additional 2 top 60 teams, 3 top 90 teams, and 0 teams worse than OSU at #115.

    BYU: thus far has played 1 top 30 team, 2 top 60 teams, and 6 top 90 teams.
    BYU: scheduled to play an additional 1 top 60 team, 2 top 90 teams, and 3 teams notably worse than OSU's #115.

    To date, Utah has played the 9th toughest schedule in the nation. BYU's schedule is ranked #60.

    I don't believe that BYU has to apologize for this season's weak schedule - they had to throw it together late as a result of leaving the MWC. But BYU fans should be very cautious about measuring their team's progress against this season's opponents, and poking fun at Utah's schedule makes you sound silly.

  • PAC12Fan South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    @ Blue Husky Girl

    "Utah is finding that the Pac 12" is over their heads".

    On the contrary, Utah is finding where they belong in the Pac 12. They are not as good as the top 4 and they are not one of the bottom 4. Utah is landing the recruits to compete with the top 4. The difference is in the backups. The defense has played well in every loss but when you are on the field 60% of the time, you are not going to be successful. Utah will end the season going 5-1 through the rest of the year and end up 8-4. Utah's needs are qb, left tackle, taller receivers. Utah has two 6-5 receivers that transferred from other schools on the team next year, Utah just signed four highly recruited linemen this month and we have commits from two highly recruited qb's and will probably land a very good jc backup quarterback at some point. The defense will always be solid at Utah.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    @ Utah'95,

    Nice work to compile those stats. Shows what I'd originally thought.

    I posted at the first of the season that the Utes had the tougher schedule over BYU, and for that reason would have a worse record by the end of the year.

    So far, that's proving true.

  • Starfarer Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:10 p.m.

    How sad...

    The majority of the post for this article are ute fans trying to tell BYU why they are worse off then they are. Like lipstick on their own pig makes theirs look better.

    I thought about writing a rebuttal to them...

    then I remembered, I no longer care what ute fans think.

    Your opinions mean nothing to me anymore.

  • Dixie Dan Saint George, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:28 p.m.

    With 4 cupcakes + TCU, the Y should win 9 games and will call the season a "success." Pity as they will not have beaten a top tier team during the season. If Heaps rides the bench the rest of the season, look for him to transfer next year.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Deseret, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    Easy to hit your stride when you do not play anyone. This schedule is one of the weakest in all of NCAA DIV IA football.

  • custer Boise, ID
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Last season Utah played three decent teams: TCU, Notre Dame, and Boise State. The Utes lost all three games by a combined score of 101-13. Utah only scored one TD and that was against TCU during garbage time when the score was 40-0 at RES no less.

    This season Utah again has only played three decent teams: Washington (22), Arizona State (24), and USC (28). Of course, Utah lost all three, and will now fight for the Pac 12 table scraps with Wash St, Arizona, Oregon St and Colorado.

    Kudos to the Utes though---they did defeat BYU. The measuring rod of a good season.

  • Utehaterforlife Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    As a BYU fan I have to disagree with the title of this article, BYU isn't hitting there stride, they are just playing really bad teams now.

  • Ravenal Somewhere in, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    It's borderline hilarious and sad that Ute fans are pointing to their victory over, and I'll admit it, a struggling BYU team as their signature win of the season. This from a fan base that has "moved on" since joining the Pac 12 and repeatedly claimed that "BYU is irrelevant". The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Let's face it everybody, neither team has performed up to the expectations this year. Both programs might as well be building momentum for next season.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:25 p.m.

    U < Y

    You understand the irony of a Utah fan using that display name, don't you?

  • bballjunkie Pleasant Grove, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    SoUtHappa

    Makes all sense in the world now! Do I accuse you of being Riley or James cousins now? Lol

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    Idaho State, TCU, Idaho, New Mexico State and Hawaii

    Well, 1 for 5 isn't too good. One legit team (TCU) out of five remaining games. What in the world is BYU playing Idaho teams for? What's on the schedule for the future... Dixie and Snow college???

  • Christy B Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    "Easy to hit your stride when you do not play anyone."

    Pitt 3-4 #61
    Cal 3-3 #59
    OSU 1-5 #115
    Ariz 1-5 #106
    UCLA 3-3 #55
    WSU 3-3 #71
    Colo 1-6 #107

    BYU 5-2 #57 Obviously, BYU would fit right in the middle of the PAC.

    If the Utes don't beat every opponent remaining on their schedule by at least 40 points, we'll know that the Utes are either regressing, or their win against BYU was a fluke.

  • bmwsportsfan ROOSEVELT, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    Interesting Facts about Heaps and Riley's Defenses Rankings in Pass Defense Efficiency/ Total Defense:
    Heaps: Ole miss: 64/ 106, Texas: 12/ 30, UCF: 4/ 3,
    Riley: San Jose: 79/ 94, Oregon State: 112/ 75.
    Utah State: 55/ 33.
    In terms of competition Heaps has clearly played tougher defenses along with an inexperienced offensive coordinator calling the shots.
    I'm just saying its an interesting point.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    San Jose St, Utah State, Idaho and Idaho St, New Mexico St, Hawaii...6 games with some of the worst Div 1 teams in the country. Are the Idaho teams even division one??? Holy cow, BYU Football is a joke. While BYU is facing those mean Idaho and New Mexico st teams Utah is playing week after week Pac 12 teams. The U has struggled with injuries but honestly which program is headed up and which is headed for the dumpster? Nice job Bronco and Tom. Way to bring such national excitement back to Provo. I guess with a 5'10" starting QB whose longest throws are of the 5-9 yard variety you ought to be happy to be playing such pathetic competition at this point in the season. Maybe if all goes well the Y can play in the Armed Forces Bowl!! Wow, talk about the big stage!! Perhaps intramural football would be funner to watch.

  • mgr63 DALLAS, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    BYU is a national "cupcake" and has been for 15+ years! Congrats!

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    patriot

    What in the world is Utah playing Montana teams for? What's on the future schedule, Montana Tech????

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:05 p.m.

    Let's be real here folks, had the Y beat Texas and the U I think we could say the they were a team on the rise and I would expect them to be ranked as well. However, BYU was destroyed by Utah and lost to Texas so even a win over TCU wouldn't get them close to the top 25. BYU really has to upgrade its schedule if they want to be taken seriously as an independent. Idaho and New Mex St aren't going to cut it.

  • Cougars - Wise Older Brothers Anaheim, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    It's nice of our little brothers to drop in to compare schedules; once a little brother, always a little brother.

    The highlight of their season is beating a team that has been a "national cupcake" for 15+ years.

    Hillarious!

  • Pasta Cedar City, Ut
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    Dear Byu,
    you're schedule is a joke, of course you are "hitting your stride", you're playing bad teams.

    Ps I hope Idaho State beats you, wouldn't that me great.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    patriot
    "which program is headed up"

    0-3 in conference and 3-3 overall, with wins against the Montana pee wees, Byu and Pitt. Yep Ute logic.
    I guess if you are on the bottom the only way to look is up, I'll give ya that.

    And hey Ute fans if you are so bent on cupcakes, then why don't you return your two BCS trophies, I seem to remember plenty of MWC cupcakes those years. And you had to get lucky against Air Force and TCU in 08. Oh and on the 08 schedule you will find, Weber, New Mexico, UNLV, what USU??? CSU, San Diego, hardly a powerhouse schedule at all. Please. don't sit here and act like all you do is play top 10 teams every year.

  • Ballfan6 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:31 p.m.

    I don't get the U fans. You talk about how bad BYU is, WHY do you keep bringing up 54-10, if BYU is that bad, stop bringing it up and i would start focusing on your own team, they need it.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    patriot

    Oh yeah and Michigan in 08 was an abysmal 3-9 team that you had to barely squeak out a win against. So barely beating Ole Miss(2-4) this year in the SEC on the road isn't a bad accomplishment if you asked me.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Deseret, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    @ Christy B

    You are right, BYU would fit in the middle of the Pac 12. However, while I have season tickets to BYU I also root for the Utes. I want both schools to do well. I want BYU to do well so that more big time college football will come to town. I like sitting in LES to see the big names. I loved it when USC and ND came to town it was a great atmosphere. I will be at RES when USC and Stanford come to town. I am not a fan of Nelson because I believe he has no long term upside. It is easy to hit your stride playing lesser competition. There are big problems with BYU football right now. The future is looking dark. That does not help scheduling. Beating SJSU and ISU doesn't help either, but things can be turned around. Am I "true blue" or a "Utah man?" Nope. I don't have a dog in that fight, but I will spend my money either place.

  • lanius Woods Cross, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:12 p.m.

    @jarka-rus

    The most laughable thing about your comment (4:24) is that BYU had roughly the same schedule in the years before, during and after and still was not good enough or (lucky enough as in '84) to do anything worth note at all.

    No worries BYU is hitting their stride so all will be well....maybe.

    P.S.
    If we are talking about returning trophies for bad schedules, perhaps we should revisit 1984 - don't you think.

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    The claim = BYU needs to upgrade its schedule if it wants to be taken seriously.

    Facts = This is the first year of independence and Holmoe had to take what he could get. That means playing lesser teams in some cases. For future schedules, the opponents are "better" (or, at least, they are more respected programs nationally; not necessarily better on the field).

    But don't let the facts get in the way of your hatred. To all the Anti-BYU-Utites, have a nice day.

    And a nice day to the real Ute fans, too.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    "Hitting their stride" is one way of saying it. I say there are playing better, but against a weaker schedule.

    Riley Nelson does make a difference. His energy feeds the team's passionate side of their attitude more than anything. I think this is often the case for BYU. They have some motivated guys that need a kick start. Probably due to the amount of adult responsibilities many of them (players) have already taken on in their young lives.

    Oregon State was the Cougars best game so far.

    I think Utah and BYU are about the same, with Utah a little better. Not 54-10 better, but still better.

    BYU's schedule is a snoozer from here on out except against TCU and maybe Hawaii.

    Utah's schedule doesn't let up. They do have the weaker PAC 12 foes all coming up. Is Utah in over their head? I am 50/50 on that. With Wynn, Devonte Christopher, and Dalin Rodgers out, it's a challenge for Norm Chow to restructure his offense, one trying to digest what is new anyway.

    John White IV is a solid RB, but he can't carry the ball 36 times again.

    Utah's defense is their rock.

  • GoGetter Sandy, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:13 p.m.

    "It's definitely there. We're just dominating right now."

    Well, for a "dominating" you sure had your hands full with Oregon State and San Jose State Mr. Hoffman.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    sccougar

    Yes I stand corrected James is a junior. I was confused with Riley's medical red shirt that allowed him to get his Junior season back sorry.

    Hey Bytheway, James was the one who informed Riley about the medical red shirt post FSU injury option, strange that his coach's did not.

    Thank heaven's for small favors.

  • UTOPIA Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    It's funny how BYU always hits their during their stretch of playing flat out bad teams. I feel for the BYU season ticket holders the most who work hard to pay for tickets to watch horrible competition.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    Uteanymous,

    Considering that EIGHT of BYU's twelve games this season are against teams that are currently ranked below Montana State, and FOUR of them are against teams ranked below the University of Montana, one could say, "When is BYU going to get brave enough to schedule some teams from Montana?"

    Any objective observer recognizes that by moving up to the Pac-12, Utah's football schedules will be tougher than their previous MWC and WAC schedules. Even with Arizona, Oregon State, and Cal struggling more than most expected, they are still more dangerous than New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado State typically are.

    BYU's situation is quite different. Their recent departure from the MWC left them few opportunities to play opponents who have historic credibility. It's one thing to have a few easy opponents scattered throughout the schedule, but to go into the season knowing you'll face five of them won't win many votes on the national scene. Then to have two more of them turn out to be surprisingly bad......

    I expect BYU to finish 9-3. It's always a good thing to win 9 or more. I hope the Utes can get 8 wins.

    Good luck, Cougars!

  • CTJ fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    mgr63

    Your Pac12 is not good they have 2 good teams the rest mediocre. Oregon and Stanford yet when they play a good team from another conference they lose. Texas would have beaten everyone the Utes have played this year so far. The ONLY reason Utah beat BYU like that was 7 turnovers 2 for touchdowns. If that had been reversed then it would of been BYU 54 and Utah 10. Lets face it those who've never played the game and look at a game like that as a beat down even though they didn't do much without the help of a turnover. Just ask the Ute players with Washington and AZ state, you can't get momentum when you keep turning the ball over and it all goes to the other team. The first half of that game is more indicative of the caliber of the teams, with BYU out front without the gift touchdown. You can't have it both ways and say Utah lost because of turnovers then have a different philosophy when it goes the other way.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Listen people what do you think the BYU can do when this time of year all other teams are smack in the middle of there conference play, no team would want to schedule with an independent now at this point in there seasons.

    Yes BYU and its announcement of it's intention to become an independent was made rashly, without many programs able to rearrange set schedules, that had been planned out and scheduled years out with other schools. Thus rendering BYU into a very hasty and desperate position to take what was available.

    So now we have the 2011 season it is what it is and you fault finding, conspiracy theorists, piling on voyeurs and out and out BYU haters you are all simply annoying pimples.

  • Marked it Down Park City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Utah'95

    "EIGHT of BYU's twelve games this season are against teams that are currently ranked below Montana State, and FOUR of them are against teams ranked below the University of Montana, one could say, "When is BYU going to get brave enough to schedule some teams from Montana?"

    Only one of Utah's remaining six PAC 12 opponents is ranked ahead of BYU, and that team just barely:

    #55 UCLA
    ........#57 BYU
    #59 Cal
    ........#61 Pitt
    #71 WSU
    #106 Ariz
    #107 Colo
    #115 OSU

    Feel free to point out which of Utah's remaining six opponents the Utes shouldn't be able to handle easily. Afterall, the Utes beat the 2nd highest ranked team on that list by 40 points; or was that just a fluke?

    Sorry, I'm not buying that Utah's remaining PAC 12 schedule is all that difficult.

    #32 TCU, btw, is ranked just below #30 USC and #28 Washington

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 20, 2011 6:18 a.m.

    The football team doesn't "stand" for anything. It's just a football team.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Oct. 20, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Marked It Down,

    If you're trying to fight with an "arrogant Ute fan," you've got the wrong guy.

    The Montana jab (which is statistically accurate, by the way) that obviously upset you was made to rebut a comment made by another reader.

    Please respond to what I wrote, not what you THINK I meant.

    Do I think that Utah's dismantling of BYU by 44 points was a fluke - the win wasn't a fluke, but the blowout certainly was! Turnovers/mistakes by BYU played a HUGE part in that game. If those two teams played ten times, 8 of them would likely be decided by 10 or fewer points.

    Utah's remaining games are against #s 55, 59, 71, 106, 107, and 115. In the remaining five games, BYU will face #s 32, 82, 131, 149, and 218. The difference isn't subtle.

    You're right, the rankings suggest Utah should win out, but each of them has more athleticism and depth than most MWC teams (what the Utes are used to seeing week in and week out) have. Any of them could trip up Utah.

    I would be shocked if BYU doesn't win 8 or more. Utah would be fortunate to win 8.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 20, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    lanius | 5:12 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011
    Thanks for validating my point, 08 you got "lucky" several times. Michigan, AF, TCU, Alabama(tons of players out and no heart to play). Guess your just not lucky this year, just bad. But it doesn't matter what you think, 1984 National Champions in the history books.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    Oct. 20, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    lanius | 5:12 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011
    Thanks for validating my point, 08 you got "lucky" several times. Michigan, AF, TCU, Alabama(tons of players out and no heart to play). Guess your just not lucky this year, just bad. But it doesn't matter what you think, 1984 National Champions in the history books.

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 20, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    bballjunkie,
    Both, or neither. You choose, as it would be an honor to be related to either James or Riley. They are honorable, mature and tough young men. Hope you get that bitter pill down!