The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the BYU Cougars.
No. 94: BYU Cougars
Spring Practice Starts: March 5
Spring Game: April 7
BYU Cougars Spring Status
From 9-4 to 4-9, BYU crashed and burned last season with an offense that didn’t go anywhere or do anything, and a defense that was fine, but didn’t get any help.
More than anything else, the Cougars were boring. They weren’t even competitive in several of the losses in the 1-7 start, and winning three of the last five wasn’t enough to salvage the season.
There’s a logjam of quarterback options, and almost all of the skill players are back, but the O line has to replace the entire interior.
The other side has even more hope, losing just three starters, even if one of them was the team’s best player, LB Fred Warner.
The upside is there for a quick turnaround, but the offense has to show up again.
BYU Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. Tanner Mangum is the main man, but he’s coming off an Achilles’ heel injury and won’t be ready until fall camp. As good as he is when healthy, though, he’ll still have to earn the gig back again.
Five different Cougars threw a pass last year, and eight were in camp when spring started, but Kody Wilstead chose to transfer, whittling it down a wee bit. Beau Hodge, Joe Critchlow, and Zach Wilson are the main men fighting for the gig, but it all changes if and when Mangum is back and ready to go.
BYU Biggest Issue
Scoring. It’s up to Jeff Grimes to get the fun going again. The Cougar offense put up an okay 384 points in 2016 after hanging up 438 on the board in 2015. Last year? 222 points with 102 coming in the three late wins over Mountain West lightweights. BYU managed to score 20 points or fewer nine times.
BYU Biggest Positive
Defensive experience. Warner is done after leading the team with 87 tackles, but the next nine tacklers from last season are back, The defensive front needs to get into the backfield more, but overall the D was fine considering it had to carry the team. If the O can just do anything this season and go on more long, sustained scoring drives, look out.
Really, Why Are The BYU Cougars Ranked Here?
2017 has to be an aberration. It was an ugly season with an attack that simply didn’t work, but after the first losing season since 2004, the experience and upside are there to go back to being dangerous again in a hurry.
The talent is just okay, and this might not be a great team, but experience, depth, and options should be enough to expect a bowl game.