2014 BYU Cougars College Football Preview
Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall
2013-14 Record: 8-5, N/A Independent
2013-14 Bowl Result: 31-16 loss to Washington in Fight Hunger Bowl
Odds to Win National Championship: +10681
Offense: 8, Defense: 6
Last year, Robert Anae and the BYU staff morphed the offense to a fast-paced system that produced the No. 14 total offense in the nation and the 10th-best rushing offense, including two 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams.
The Cougars will likely be even better this year, as the unit returns eight players, including the entire offensive line, but it needs to replace starters at receiver and tight end.
BYU will have to replace its all-time leading receiver in Cody Hoffman, but have some capable replacements in Devon Blackmon, Nick Kurtz, Jordan Leslie and Keanu Nelson.
Four players from 2013 participated at the NFL combine in February—only three college programs had more defensive players invited, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds page.
Mendenhall has a proven track record of keeping up a nationally ranked defense, as this unit has averaged a No. 20 scoring-defense ranking over the past eight seasons.
Senior safety Craig Bills and linebacker Alani Fua lead a group of six returning starters from last year, and a seventh in cornerback Jordan Johnson, who missed last season due to injury.
The Cougars will be challenged out of the gate, especially when heading out on the road and taking on the Texas Longhorns in Week 2, while coming back home and hosting the Houston Cougars the following Thursday.
BYU does have to go on the road to take on the Boise State Broncos at the end of October, and will finish things out against the California Golden Bears in the Bay Area
College football handicappers are anticipating a huge year out of the Cougars, especially if Hill is able to stay healthy throughout, as he’s the motor of Anae’s offensive machine.
Williams has the potential of being a Heisman Trophy candidate after averaging 5.7 yards per carry in 2013, which could place a major spotlight on this team out of Provo.
BYU would play in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl if eligible.
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