2008 Mountain West Football Year in Review: BYU Cougars

BYU had its ‘Quest for Perfection’ slogan, and it took a while for BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall to fess up that the slogan meant for the football team, and not as he put it ‘for life, family, and nearly everything but football.’ Most people picked BYU to win the league, as we did here back in August, and figured their season to look like this:

  • Lock it up: Northern Iowa, Wyoming, @Utah State, UNLV, @Colorado State, San Diego State
  • 50/50: @Washington, UCLA, New Mexico, @TCU, @Air Force, @Utah
  • Not a Chance: NONE
  • Projected Record: 11-1

BYU had a great start to the season shooting up the rankings with two consecutive shutouts of UCLA 59-0 and then 44-0 over Wyoming.  At this point Max Hall was being touted as a potential to at least a finalist for the Heisman trophy, but then things did not look good in their Utah State win.

The following game after Utah State the Cougars looked average against a bad New Mexico team with a final score of 21-3, but it was really closer then that.  The game that exposed BYU and took them out of BCS contention was the TCU debacle.  That TCU game was the first real team that BYU played that had talent and speed, and TCU exposed the Cougars bad secondary and also their offensive line of BYU which is big but have little or no speed.

BYU was just beaten bad in that game and they were not the same after that and struggled against a seven win Colorado State and a five win UNLV, and in both games BYU had to come from behind to win those games.  Then BYU was completely destroyed by Utah with Max Hall having six turnovers and looked lost at times.  A note in that BYU game is that the coaches were being stubborn, because the Utes were giving BYU the run all night but the BYU staff chose to pass the ball which did not work well.

Finally in their bowl game in Las Vegas for their fourth straight appearance in that bowl game, and the players were not happy.  BYU ended up losing that game as well and while they finished with a 10-3 record the season was not what the team had because of their ‘Quest for Perfection.’

The problems this year besides the obvious of the defense was that the coaches were stubborn and predictable with Austin Collie doing a double move streak route, a Dennis Pita in or out route, and then a run up the middle with Harvey Unga.

Other news from 2008 was that Austin Collie tossed his name in the hat for the NFL draft and should be at worst a third round pick.  Overall BYU had their third straight 10 win season, and 32 wins in the past three years.

Up next…TCU Horned Frogs

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