Bruce and Bruce

Episode 53 – Utah and BYU win Bowls, End Seasons

Episode 53 – Utah and BYU win Bowls, End Seasons

Listen Here! It’s been a little while since our last show, and while I enjoyed the break, it didn’t do anything for my podcasting skills. I would like to apologize in advance. If you are somehow able to only listen to Zach, you will be fine. We spend most of our time this week talking about the Utah and BYU bowl games, even though they took place a few weeks ago. Both teams won, which was the outcome we both predicted and hoped for, and they were fitting conclusions to good seasons. Utah had a bit more exciting of a second half against Navy, while the Cougars did all of their damage to UCLA in the first half. Both games were competitive until the very end, so they were thrilling, if not satisfying. As fans, we are anticipating bigger and better things next year. For Utah, they will be returning a big portion of their offensive line, Brian Johnson should be healthy, Darrell Mack and Matt Asiata could form a potent 1-2 punch, and their best offensive player, Brent Casteel, will be back from injury. Defensively, they will be hurt by significant losses: Martail Burnett, Gabe Long, Steve Tate, Joe Jiannoni, Molokai Mokofisi, and Kyle Brady, among others. A few emerging stars will return, such as Stevenson Sylvester, Paul Kruger, and Brice McCain. Incidentally, I hate to write this here, but I feel like I need to at least one more time: I hope McCain gets a few extra reps covering other teams’ best receivers on long throwing situations. Sorry. I just had to get that out of my system, again. BYU will have most of their offense back, including their very potent tandem of Max Hall, Harvey Unga, and Dennis Pitta. Austin Collie is expected to return as a deep threat, and Travis Bright should be fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered in the UCLA game. They will be losing all-purpose receiver Matt Allen and a few others, but should have enough good underclassmen to increase their production next year. However, and like Utah, they will take their most serious hits on defense. It would be enough to lose Bryan Kehl – perhaps the best athlete on the team – and Kelly Poppinga among the departing linebackers. But BYU will also graduate Quinn Gooch, Ben Criddle, Corby Hodgkiss, Kayle Buchanan, and Dustin Gabriel, which accounts for nearly their entire playing defensive secondary. I am tempted to say that Utah’s losses will be less significant than BYU’s, and that the power could shift in the conference next year. After all, Utah will have a senior quarterback behind an experienced line, and perhaps a bit of an easier job of retooling on defense. However, BYU is now the two-time defending conference champ, and Coach Bronco Mendenhall proved this year that he can adjust his plans for player departures. Under a lesser coaching staff this would have been an average season for the Cougars, but Mendenhall and his cohorts simply did not let that happen. BYU has not lost in the Mountain West Conference since November 19, 2005, and at the end of this season, they have to be the favorites to win next year. There is more to be had in our podcast, including a little about college hoops and the semi-pro team that plays in the Energy Solutions Arena. Our Top 3 in Utah for this week (a cumulative list): 3. Austin Collie 2. Brian Johnson 1. Bronco Mendenhall We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us at comments@utahsportscast.com.

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