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Huskies vs. BYU Cougars Pick.
Washington Huskies (0-0) at BYU Cougars (0-0) September 4, 2010 7:00 p.m. EST LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,045) Provo, Utah
By Wilson of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Huskies +3/Cougars -3
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The Washington Huskies Football Program of old use to place fear into their opponents but those days have fallen by the way side during the last decade or so. The Huskies last winning season was 2002 and their last Rose Bowl appearance was in 2001. They look to this new season with their relatively new coach, Steve Sarkisan, to improve on their late season push from last year.
UW finished with a 5-7 record last season good for 7th in the PAC 10. More importantly, the Huskies managed to turn a few heads with the way they played. For starters, the Huskies covered the spread in more than a few games and they upset USC 16-13. This year they have more returning starters including team leader QB Jake Locker. Locker threw for 2800 yards and 21 TDs last season and is a threat through the air and on the run. The rest of the offense is paced by returners WRs Jerome Kearse and Devon Auguilar along with RB Chris Polk. Washington averaged 26 points per game last season which should improve even more this year.
Washington was 7-5 ATS overall last season going 5-2 ATS at home and 2-3 ATS on the road. They were 6-6 O/U overall with 4-3 O/U at home and 2-3 O/U away. The Huskies are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games and 7-15 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
The big concern for the Huskies has been the strength of their defense. Coach Sarkisan believes his guys have been getting after it and he also mentioned that they are showing improved quickness. Guys to watch out for on D will likely be tackle Alameda Taamu, LB Mason Foster, S Nate Williams, and CB Desmond Trufant (brother of Seahawks Marcus Trufant).
BYU meanwhile has to fill the gap left behind center where standout QB Max Hall guided them in the past. The QB decision is still unclear as junior Nelson Riley will compete with freshman Jake Heaps who was the No. 1 2010 High School QB recruit according to sources such as scout.com. The Cougars are without their top two offensive weapons from last season in RB Harvey Unga and WR Dennis Pita. It will be interesting to see how BYUs offense responds with some new blood at the helm.
The defense of the Cougars only gave up 110 yards per game last year and they should be in good shape to maintain close to the same numbers. In this game however it will be the SS Andrew Richs job to contain the Huskys WR Kearse. Kearse could burn the Cougars if hes not addressed.
BYU finished last season with an impressive 11-2 record and ranked 14th in the nation. The Cougars were 7-6 ATS overall last season going 2-4 ATS at home and 5-2 ATS on the road. They were 8-5 O/U going 3-3 O/U at home and 5-2 O/U away. The Cougars finished 2nd in the MWC with their only conference loss to TCU.
This game opened with BYU -7 and the O/U at 57. Most offshore casinos have the Cougars at -3 with an O/U of 57. As of this writing, if you are in Las Vegas you can get the same -3 at the Hilton, Mirage, PH, and Hard Rock Sports Books.
UW lost to these Cougars two years ago in a heartbreaker 28-27 at Husky Stadium. You can bet that QB Jake Locker will be looking for revenge in this baby!
Wilsons Pick: The Huskies have more playmakers than BYU. UW 31, BYU 24. Luck to ya.