Yee Haw Cougar fans . . . .it’s getting to be that time again. Ok, well not exactly; but, this is the first pre-season article on the Cougs that I have thus far found. It comes courtesy of Mitch Harper from (all places) betus.com, an online sports gambling site. Regardless, they have some pretty things to say about the home team.

First, they’ve posted the 2006 schedule with projected wins and losses:

BYU Cougars
Head Coach:Bronco Mendenhall
2005 Record: 6-6 (Loss to California in Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl (35-28)

2006 Schedule with Projected Wins and Losses:
(Projected Wins in Bold)

1. @ Arizona
2. Tulsa
3. @ Boston College
4. Utah State
5. @ TCU
6. San Diego State
7. UNLV
8. @ Air Force
9. @ Colorado State
10. Wyoming
11. New Mexico

12. @ Utah

That’s not a bad projection . . . but he really needs to bold that last game there up in Gentile country. Last year was a heart break loss to the savages up north, and I have to think the Cougs are out for Ute scalp this time around.

Harper’s analysis of last year’s schedule, with some bright spots included:

2005 Review: With a new energetic head coach in Bronco Mendenhall at the helm and a new offense similar to the “Glory Years” offenses of the 80s, the Cougars were ready to bounce back from three consecutive losing seasons, and retain the glory once held at the tradition-rich school. In the season opener against 22nd ranked Boston College, BYU only put up three points in a embarrassing loss at home. An easy win over Eastern Illinois and then two devastating losses to TCU and San Diego State put the Cougars at 1-3 and had people questioning if a fourth straight losing season was in the works. But the Cougars bounced back with two wins over New Mexico and Colorado State. Loss at #9 Notre Dame but it was much closer than the score indicates. After Notre Dame, BYU went on a 3-game win streak and their record was at 6-4 making them bowl eligible for the first time since 2001. Going into the Utah game, BYU was a 10-point favorite, but a terrible first half, forced BYU to make a large comeback which was almost achieved but came up short in overtime.

BYU still received a bowl bid to play in the Las Vegas Bowl against a very good California Golden Bears team. Cal who had only given up one 90+ yard drive (USC) the entire 2005 season going into the bowl, gave up three to BYU’s prolific offense. John Beck threw a pick on a late drive to have the chance to send it to Overtime ending the game at 35-28, and finishing BYU’s season at a 6-6 record.

Harper’s final thoughts are lift the heavy hearts of Couger fans everywhere after the post LaVell drought:

BYU is on a quest to “Return To Glory” and this season has all the makings to be a year that makes huge strides in achieving that. The offense is going to be one of the best in College Football and will put up staggering offensive numbers. If the defense can at least play “C” grade ball this Cougar squad can win 9-10 games and have a shot at winning the Mountain West.

BYU is also making a big splash in recruiting for the Class of 2007 with 18 commits already, the second most behind Texas who has 22. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall is doing great things in Cougar Town.

I entered BYU as a freshman just before my mission while BYU Football was just exiting the dark ages, but a young LaVell Edwards had just taken the helm with hope shining brightly within the human breast. By the time I returned from my mission BYU was just entering its glory days of names like Marc Wilson, Gifford Nielsen, Jim McMahon, Robbie Bosco, Steve Young and the like. Who knows . . . perhaps we’re on the brink of a new BYU football dynasty. All I can say it that it’s about time! Rise and Shout!