2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 56 BYU Cougars
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the BYU Cougars
No. 56: BYU Cougars
BYU Cougars Prespring Status
Considering the doom-and-gloom the 2016 season appeared to be before it all started – the schedule, on paper, looked like a brutal death march – coming up with nine wins and being one point off against Boise State from rolling to a nine-game winning streak to close out the year. Granted, the slate eased up over the second half of the year, but whatever – the Cougars came up with a great first year under head coach Kalani Sitake.
There are some big, big losses on the offensive side, but QB Tanner Mangum and six starters are back to an attack that ran for over 200 yards per game and exploded from time to time. The defensive front gets gutted, but the back seven should be a major plus, and the depth is in place to form an excellent rotation in certain spots. However, there’s that problem with the …
BYU Cougars Biggest Issue
Defensive line. Losing RB Jamaal Williams is a killer, and it’ll take a rotation to fill his shoes, but the defensive side is the problem with ends Harvey Langi and Sae Tautu gone along with Logan Taele on the inside. Not having safety Kai Nacua around anymore will hurt, but the rest of the secondary is fine, and the linebacking corps should be good, but the line loses some of the top pass rushers and playmakers in the backfield from a run defense that finished ninth in the nation. Fortunately, to clean up the mess is the …
BYU Cougars Biggest Positive
Linebacking corps. Leading tackler Fred Warner is back, along with the second and third guys, Butch Pau’u and Francis Bernard, respectively. Langi was like a linebacker – working in the middle as well as his spot on the end – but, again, now he’s gone. Fortunately, there are just enough good prospects waiting around to build up the depth.
Really, Why Are The BYU Cougars Ranked Here?
Can BYU really beat the better teams? Last year it came up with a few strong wins over Group of Fivers Toledo and Wyoming, but the team couldn’t get by Utah, Boise State or West Virginia. Fortunately, the Cougars should be stronger overall, even with the key losses on the defensive front and the offensive backfield. Coming up with a ten-win season, though, might be next to impossible with LSU, Wisconsin, and Utah headlining a brutal slate – but you’ve heard that before.