You'll be pleased to know I have officially cleansed myself of conference expansion speculation, and I'm ready to get down and dirty with the upcoming season. Today I'm all about the Ole Miss Rebels.
I am ripe with nervous excitement for this game. First, because I'll actually be there in the stands, and second because this year's crop of Cougars has more potential than perhaps any other team in BYU history. Well... Recent history, anyway. I'm tossing and turning and foaming at the mouth ready to see how Jake Heaps fares as a sophomore, if Ross Apo lives up to the astronomical hype, and how many QBs Jordan Pendleton sends to the ER.
Ole Miss will be a huge test. It's an SEC team with big expectations, just like us. We'll be playing in an unfamiliar territtory in hot, muggy, sticky Mississippi. But BYU's especially talented this year, and we've got the horses to run with the Rebs, despite this mythical "SEC speed" I keep hearing about.
BYU will win if: We can stop the run. That's what it's all about. Ole Miss has a huge offensive line and a playmaking running back... Captain What's His Name. Also, they're breaking in a new QB who isn't very good. If Ole Miss can't run effectively, they'll get bowled over.
Ole Miss will win if: Obviously, they'll win if they can run. I feel like I just said that.
Key player: My key player in this game is Sir Jake Heaps. I was really impressed with Jake at the end of last season, and all reports are that he's made huge strides this offseason. I can't wait to see how he plays against a speedy, physical defense. If Jake is on, and if the line gives him time to throw, we'll be sailing to a comfortable win.
My prediction: I'm sold on this team. I think the pieces are in place for the Cougars to have a special, special season. We've got the best front seven in school history, phenomenal talent on offense, and our opponent has a whole truckload of question marks. I see BYU playing fast, playing physical, wreaking havoc on defense, and putting up points on offense. Ole Miss will struggle on offense, and too many mistakes on D will give the Cougs a comfortable win. I'm calling it 31-10 for the good guys.