Saturday College Football Preview: BYU Cougars at Texas Longhorns

BYU Cougars at Texas Longhorns
Saturday, 9/10/11, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Texas -7
Current Betting Line:  Texas -7.5
Opening Total:  50
Current Total:  49.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Texas Longhorns Vs Baylor Bears
The Texas Longhorns are looking to move past their 5-7 record of a year ago

BYU escaped out of Oxford with a 14-13 win as 2-point road favorites over the Ole Miss Rebels last week and will now travel again to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns.  The pair of round trip flights will have the Cougars traveling more than 6,000 miles in the first two weeks.  “Right back into the fire,” said Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy.  “We are happy to do it.”  The schools met in a home-and-home series in 1987-88, with BYU capturing wins in both.  The program is 12-14 all-time against Big 12 opponents and upset the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners in its 2009 season opener in its last such contest.  BYU is 6-4 ATS as an underdog.

The Cougars defense ranks as one of the top units in the country after a single week, coming in ranked 15th in total and 30th in scoring defense.  BYU held Ole Miss, an SEC opponent, to 208 total yards an no offensive touchdowns.  Offensively, the squad was rather sluggish in its opener with sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps at the controls, as he finally warmed up in completing 13 of 16 passes for 151 yards in the second half.

Texas is aiming to put its disappointing 5-7 record of a year ago in the rear-view mirror and came away with a 34-9 win over the Rice Owls as 23.5-point favorites.  The Longhorns finished the game with a substantial 282 yard edge in total yards.  Head coach Mack Brown also has a young squad under his wing and got a big chance to evaluate talent in playing 18 true freshman in the opener.  “Those guys are playmakers,” Brown stated.  “We’re just trying to get guys involved.”  Texas has enjoyed great success early in campaigns, posting wins in 35 of its last 39 September games, while going 3-6 ATS the last two-plus years.

The Longhorns were happy with the offseason development of starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert, as he led three long scoring drives against the Owls.  He had problems all of 2010 in turning the ball over, being intercepted a total of 17 times.  Many questions also were raised on the defensive end with coordinator Will Muschamp leaving the sidelines and taking the head coaching job at Florida.  The unit had held 34 of its last 39 opponents under their season averages, as one of the more dominant forces in the country.

Bettors will likely back the Cougars due to their 5-1 ATS mark in non-conference games, while the Longhorns are 5-15-1 ATS versus winning teams.

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