With the opening of college bowl season last night in the TCU yawner — er, win — I passed on the preview because it was set up to be a yawner. A Tuesday night game in the heart of shopping season? Putting it up against reruns of my new hero Bear? C'mon, Worldwide Leader, you gotta come out of the gate stronger than this!
But in the two hole sets up one of the best matchups of this second season — The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl between 10-2 BYU and 7-5 Oregon, Thursday night at 8 p.m.
The Cougars have done nothing but surpass expectations (4th in nation ATS at 9-2-1) this year, and the Ducks have done nothing but underperform all year. When the officiating foul-up of the year results in your most memorable victory, the season was a disappointment.
THE STATS: Edge, BYU Cougars
Yards per play: BYU 6.8 (4th in the nation) vs. Oregon 5.9 (27th in the nation)
BYU has a slight edge here. I would have expected more out of the Ducks but the Pac-10 defenses are better than widely accepted.
Yards per play allowed: BYU 4.9 (36th) vs Oregon 4.9 (36th)
A push, but BYU gets a much bigger edge here for the differential (1.9 vs. 1.0).
Turnover Margin: BYU 25 to 11 (4th) vs Oregon 20 to 30 (109th)
This is a big edge. BYU's record alone would suggest they care for the ball better but Oregon is just plain sloppy, averaging 2.5 turnovers a game.
3rd down conversions allowed: BYU 32.9% (29th) vs. Oregon 33.5% (33rd)
An effective push for two pretty good defenses.
BYU has a top-ten runner in Curtis Brown, a top-five QB in John Beck, and the best catching TE in the game in Jonny Harline. Oregon is loaded at wideout yet have their top two struggling with injuries (James Finley and Jaison Williams). But, they are embroiled in a QB controversy as Brady Leaf (yes, Ryan's brother) looks to get the start. Will Oregon be content to run the ball all night long with the Weekly Show Jon Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson? Probably not, if history is any guide.
Great note on the Phil Steele site: BYU has played at this stadium three times in the last 13 months (this bowl last year plus a visit to UNLV), so the temptation of Sin City may not be so novel as it might be to the neon-clad Oregon squad.
BYU -3 at presstime, and the digit is 61.
I am very confident of the Cougars in this one against the spread, but that number is awfully high with two good defenses (NCAA avg was 44 ppg this year).
Plus, remember that BYU does the haka…Powered by Sidelines