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Preview: Wyoming Cowboys (2-5) at BYU Cougars (2-5)

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Going through the schedule many predicted the Wyoming Cowboys would be sitting at 2-5 at this point in the season but not BYU. Oh how the mighty have fallen this year and nothing would make Cowboys fan happier then a victory over BYU in Provo to end things on a high note. With the Cougars departing next year for football indepence their farewell tour is turning into a march of the walking wounded.

What ever can go wrong this year basically has for the usual Mountain West title contender. Here is tally of some of the highlights so far:

  • Planned to declare Independence in football and join the WAC in all other sports. WAC option is scratched by the Mountain West inviting Nevada and Fresno State.
  • WAC is put on life support after BYU, Nevada and Fresno State all bail.
  • BYU goes independent in football and joins the WCC in most other sports in 2011.
  • Utah State embaresses BYU on Friday night game televised on ESPN.
  • BYU fires Defensive Coordinator Jaime Hill shortly after loss to Aggies.
  • QB Riley Nelson suffers season ending injury.
  • Replay scandal in Provo after San Diego State has two blown calls not corrected by the replay crew. Mountain West forced to ban all alumni and school employees from replay booth.
  • WR O'Neill Chambers has his temporary suspension extended forever after he is kicked off the team for a prank.

Mix in many other assorted injuries throughout the season and shake well to get a real sense of the awfulness of this season.

Despite all that has gone wrong this year the Cougars are still favored by ten points this weekend. That seems like correct odds considering the fact that Wyoming has not scored against BYU since 2007 and haven't won in Provo since 1987. The Cowboys have only won four of the last twenty three meetings and trail in the overall series 30-43-3. Luckily this is not the typical BYU team so expect a much closer game this year.

Wyoming is used to being 20+ point underdog this year so just 10 points is refreshing at this point.

The fate of Cougar nation now rests in the arm of much hyped freshman QB Jake Heaps. This has been a rough start for the career for Heaps but Coach Bronco Mendenhall has faith in him and believes he is improving every week. On the year he's completed 51% of his passes for 976 yards and thrown just one touchdown compared to six interceptions.

The lack of a passing attack means RB JJ Di Luigi is the main weapon. On the year he has 519 yards rushing and four touchdowns in addition to 32 receptions for 322 yards. Brian Kariya is the other running back who is used in mostly short yardage situations. Most of the wide recievers can't catch this season but McKay Jacobson is a speedster.

Neither team has had much luck with offensive production and the Cowboys and Cougars average just 11.6 and 14.7 points per game respectivally. On the defensive side Wyoming is giving up 30 points a game while BYU holds their opponent to 28. With both teams facing brutal schedules so far it is exciting for each squad to face a more evenly matched opponent.

Each team has played Air Force and TCU so far this year. Wyoming lost 20-14 while hosting the Falcons and fell 45-0 at TCU. The Cougars are coming off a 31-3 loss this past weekend at TCU and their woes started with a 35-14 loss at Air Force in week two. Conclusion: TCU is really good and Air Force escaped Laramie with a close victory.

The big question for Wyoming is can they finally show up in Provo? Despite the Cougars record they are dangerous and will have the support of their home crowd behind them. Wyoming AD Tom Burman said he doesn't plan on scheduling BYU at all in the future so it would great to finish this rivalry with one more Cowboy victory. With a road victory over Toledo this year the Pokes have shown they can win on the road.

Who would win in real life?

I'm not going to lie, cougars and mountain lions share the crap out of me. If you've ever read Where the Red Fern Grows then you know what I mean. You usually don't that a cougar is about to attack until it is too late. They silently and quickly attack you from behind and you never saw it coming. Always a fun thing to think about while going on a trail run in the wilderness by yourself.

Verdict: Cougars can tear a human to pieces in real life but justice will prevail on the football field as the Cowboys improve to 3-5.