Top 25 teams and games — No. 18 BYU Cougars


Published: Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 13, 2008 at 12:11 a.m.

No. 18 BYU

The buzz: BYU enters the 2008 season with its eye on a potential BCS bowl game berth. The Cougars enter the season with confidence, having won 10 straight including a Las Vegas Bowl win over UCLA. They have most of their offensive stars back as well as All-American candidate Jan Jorgensen at defensive end.

Difference-maker: Junior defensive end Jan Jorgensen led the MWC and ranked 12th nationally with 20 tackles for a combined loss of 115 yards last season. He also led the MWC with 14 sacks and is on several preseason watch lists including the Lott Trophy.

The upside: The Cougars will return junior quarterback Max Hall, an Arizona State transfer who threw for 3,848 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago as well as leading rusher Harvey Unga, who rushed for 1,227 yards and 13 TDs last year as a freshman.

The downside: The Cougars will be shuffling their linebackers to replace Kelly Poppinga and Bryan Kehl. Poppinga and Kehl were the Cougars top two tacklers a year ago with 113 and 91 tackles, respectively.

Schedule factor: BYU shouldn't have many problems with a relatively light MWC schedule. However, nonconference games at Washington (Sept. 6) and at home against UCLA (Sept. 13) should provide the Cougars with a challenge.

Game No. 18 Missouri at Texas

Where: Texas Memorial Stadium

When: Oct. 18

Why it's sexy: Features two of college football's most recognizable quarterbacks in Missouri's Chase Daniel and Texas' Colt McCoy.

Preseason buzz: Will Muschamp had plenty of success slowly down offenses in the SEC. Now, Texas' new defensive coordinator will get a chance to try to stop one of the Big 12's top offenses in Missouri. The game comes a tough time for Texas one week after it hosts Oklahoma.

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