Monday, April 28, 2008

Post-Spring MWC Football Round-Up: the Contenders

Although they change order from year to year, these three teams continue their choke-hold on the conference's top expectations. All three return much of their offenses. The Utes and Cougars must re-construct key pieces of their defenses. The Horned Frogs appear poised to emerge from a semi-rebuilding year with a vengeance. Utah wins the scheduling lottery, facing both TCU and BYU at home, in November.
  • BYU-- The pieces are in place for an utterly devastating offense. Will the defense take form fast enough to keep the pressure off Max Hall and his offensive brethren? The Cougars' have to travel to Fort Worth and Salt Lake City, though, facing both of the MWC's other best teams on the road. Both contests look to be dandies. This could be the first year in a while nobody sweeps the conference. Jake Locker's Washington Huskies may test the Cougars' new starters at linebacker and safety passed their limits, but by the time BYU travels to Fort Worth, the squard should be solid.
  • TCU-- After a tough but disappointing season, look for the Frogs to cash in some good luck for a change. They will bring an improved pass rush, power running, and QB play to the gridiron in '08, and will compete for the league title. They play in each of the first 11 weeks of the season, and will need some luck to face Utah-- in Salt Lake City on week 11-- healthy. If the Frogs can break their Thursday blues, and beat BYU and Utah (both meet the Frogs on Thursday nights), the Frogs will be an attractive one-loss invite to the Orange Bowl. Of the Frogs' opponents, only Oklahoma is more talented.
  • UTAH-- This is Brian Johnson's last year with the Utes, and it may be his best. Utah's defense loses key personnel at all three levels, but likely will have the offensive firepower to give their D room to grow. Facing BYU and TCU at home is a boon. Winning the season opener at Ann Arbor will attract the national spotlight; cashing in on that attention could make Utah a favorite for an at-large BCS berth.

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