BYU Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Preview and Pick

BYU Cougars (0-0 in MWC, 1-0 overall) -9.5, O/U 55 at Washington Huskies (0-1 in Pac-10, 0-1 overall) +9.5, O/U 55. Saturday September 6, 2008 Seattle, WA- Husky Stadium (72,500) 3 p.m. EST, TV FSN (Fox Sports Northwest)
by Wilson of

The University of Washington Huskies will host the 16th ranked BYU Cougars this Saturday in front of a curious crowd at Husky Stadium. The Husky fans are not used to the way the program has diminished over the past few years and they will be starving for improvements. Coach Willingham was asked at Mondays press conference if he was going to address the poor field position issues that the team had against Oregon. As a coach you have a tough time answering such an obvious questionof course he is addressing every aspect of the game, but he cant instill experience into the guys; that comes over time.

Bookmakers have the spread at -9.5 in favor BYU, which may surprise some hard nosed Husky fans as the Huskies are 85-26-5 in their home openers. Thats a .754 winning percentage.

U of W will need to play flawless football if they want to keep the high power offense of BYU in check. Last week BYU put up very impressive numbers even though they were playing a weaker team in N. Iowa. QB Maxx threw for 486 yards and two touchdowns while tight end Dennis Pita collected 213 yards on 11 catches, which set a new MWC record for tight ends.

BYUs defense is stronger this year with more returning players and their d-line averages 6 feet-3 inches and 264 pounds. Traditionally the Cougars have had a strong offense but Willingham acknowledged his concern regarding their defensive system.

Meanwhile, the Huskies are facing, maybe, the biggest game of their season as far as making a statement. They may not have to win this Saturday, but they truly must show signs of improvement or it could be a long season. Jake Locker addressed impatient Husky fans during a press conference earlier this week by telling fans they needed to relax and not throw in the towel so quickly.

Locker remains the Huskies go to guy as he showed his talent against Oregon in the second quarter last week by leading the team down the field and scoring on the drive. However, he must continue to be that leader which the coaching staff knows he can do and they feel comfortable having him in that role.

On the plus side, BYU is 0-3 at Husky stadium and the Huskies lead the series 4-2 overall. Playing at home will definitely push the emotions and fire up the players, which most sportsbooks are guessing the two teams will put up a total of 55 points or so.

BYU currently has the longest winning streak among FSC (D-1A) teams, having won 11 consecutive games. They cruised last week 41-17 over N. Iowa and before that they won the Las Vegas Bowl over UCLA 17-16, so they are flying high right now and could be very dangerous on Saturday in Seattle.

Wilson’s Pick: Ill admit, Im not a Husky fan, but my Cougars (Washington State) are down as well. It will be a tough year in the Evergreen State especially for the Huskies as I dont see them upsetting the Cougars of BYU this week. Oregon showed how they easily stopped the run and stuck one on one with the Husky receiversI dont think a week will fix that kind of issue. BYU wins big and covers the spread plus some. Luck to ya.