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BYU Cougars Football Preview Predictions and Schedule 2011

BYU leaves the Mountain West Conference this year and joins Army, Navy and Notre Dame as an Independent. A good move? Depends who you ask. Obviously BYU thinks it's a good move, but if your a hardcore college football fan or bettor, you likely don't approve. I know I don't. Plenty is lost from a fan and betting standpoint when a team is no longer affiliated with a conference. You lose conference rivalries and most importantly you lose incentive. Sure you want to win, but as an Independent, the only incentive is reaching a bowl. The more wins, the better the bowl. The only championship an Independent can shoot for is the BCS title and that's not happening with this bunch. What's sports without a legitimate chance to win a title?

All of the above creates betting opportunities, especially with rivalries that go back many decades. That will no longer be the case for BYU, but they'll still be playing football and there will still be opportunities to step in, so let's take a look at the 2011 season for the Cougars.

BYU returns just about their entire offense, one which averaged 26 points per game and was 42nd in rushing nationally. There's plenty of room for improvement offensively and they should do just that this year. The defense took some hits losing 3 starters in the secondary but otherwise there is plenty of depth at key positions. The BYU defense was 24th in the nation last season in total defense and played great down the stretch, even holding a potent Utah offense to just 17 points.

It will be tough going for BYU right out of the gate. Their first four games are at Ole Miss, At Texas, Utah and Central Florida at home. They'll also play at Oregon State and will host TCU. As tough as that schedule may seem, you can't look at any of those games and pencil in a guaranteed loss. They can beat those teams, including Texas. While they likely won't beat them all, 4 wins against those 6 teams is not out of the question. 3 wins minimum. Which means at the very least a 9 win season for BYU in 2011. Bronco Mendenhal hasn't had a losing year yet and doesn't look like he's about to start.

Circle September 17th on your betting Calendar. After starting the year with two tough road games, BYU returns home to face old MWC rival Utah in their home opener and has a chance to avenge last seasons 17-16 loss. In that game, Utah led 13-0 at the end of 3 quarters and had a chance to win it late with a field goal that was blocked. If BYU comes up short against Texas and Ole Miss there will be even more value in this revenge affair.

2011 BYU Cougars Football Schedule

Sept. 3 at Ole Miss
Sept. 10 at Texas
Sept. 17 Utah
Sept. 23 Central Florida
Sept. 30 Utah State
Oct. 8 San Jose State
Oct. 15 at Oregon State
Oct. 22 Idaho State
Oct. 29 Bye
Nov. 5 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 12 Idaho
Nov. 19 New Mexico State
Nov. 26 Bye
Dec. 3 at Hawaii
 

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