First, the good: BYU basketball. I think we're going to be far better than most people think. I predict we're in the tournament and win at least 1 game and depending on matchups, more than two games. Why do I have this optimism? Several reasons:
- New Staff - I posted this several weeks ago. (https://www.cougarboard.com/board/message.html?id=21758408
) I believe the new staff will transform the program. I believe their use of data will make BYU better and will win us games that last year we would have lost. They want to be the most data-driven staff in America. After spending a lot of time with them at camps and then since, this staff will take this team to the next level.
- Returning players - We know what we're getting with TJ and Yoeli. Yoeli coming back is huge. Expect a heavy dose of pick and rolls with him. Also, don't sleep on Baxter. Dude can ball.
- New players - Jake Toolson transferring is a big deal. Duke legit wanted him and were disappointed they didn't get him. He is the best player on the team. And on a team that has Yoeli Childs on it, that's saying something. But I believe it isn't close. Toolson is the best player. Jesse Wade could start and could be a big contributor.
- Schedule - Maui provides the opportunities for more Top 50 wins then normal. But, the biggest thing that has hurt us recently has been sub 100 and even sub 150 losses. I believe we'll win more Top 50 games and lose ZERO sub 100 games.
- Expectations - I think the fanbase is so down, discouraged, apathetic that they're largely ignorant of what Pope and his staff are building. This team will be good. They'll sneak up on us. And low expectations with good/great results breeds happiness.
Football - Why am I pessimistic? First, let me say that Zach is a baller. I think the team will be 'good' but that's it. Overall I think the season will be disappointing. Why?
- Expectations - We saw what Zach did in the bowl game and we expect the kid to be the second coming of Detmer or McMahon. He's going to struggle. I also think we simply don't have as much talent as at least 5 and possibly 6 of the teams we're playing. We're delusional football fans. A 7 win season with this schedule is good. Fans would be disappointed with that.
- Schedule - I would be surprised if we didn't start the season 0-4. We all know how we've done against Utah this decade, then we go to Knoxville and play a team that will be more athletic and faster than us in 95 degrees with 95% humidity. Then we have USC and Washington at home. Again, anything other than 0-4 to start would pleasantly surprise me. Then you've got to win out to get 8 wins. Like I said above, 7 wins is a good season.
- Kalani - I love the man. I don't believe the team plays with enough precision to beat really good teams (or avoid losing to bad ones) with consistency.
- Weapons - I don't see any elite weapons for Zach to throw to or hand the ball off to.
- Defense - I *think we'll be good on defense, but I'm less confident about the group then I was last year.
So again, I think we'll be decent, but we'll be in such a 0-4 hole to start the year that any missteps the rest of the way leave us with a 6 or 7 win season. It's tough to feel good about that.