Returning Starters – Offense: 8 Defense: 6
Preview: Things were looking up for BYU last season before their Heisman hopeful QB Taysom Hill went down with a season ending injury. The Cougars went 4-0 with Hill, then quickly fell to 4-4 under their backup, before finishing the regular season on a 4 game winning streak. At 8-4 the Cougars went into the Miami Beach Bowl where they fell to Memphis in 2OT by a final of 48-55. With Hill back in the fold BYU is hopeful to make strides again this season going against a tough schedule.
BYU should be carried by their offense this season with 8 starters returning to this side of the ball. Athletic QB Taysom Hill is back and ready to make another run at the Heisman. When watching Hill one of the first comparisons made is Tim Tebow who was another great QB on the college level because of his athleticism. Look for Hill to protect himself a bit by looking to throw more often during his senior season. The offense will be hurt by the loss of Williams at RB and it'll be interesting to see how the other guys at the position step up. The Cougars will be led at receiver by Mathews and the O-line starters look solid, but there is worry in terms of the depth of this unit.
The head coach will take control of the defense this season after BYU was roughed up time and again during their 2014 campaign. BYU will look to build their defense around the talented Bronson Kaufusi who might look to make a move to DE after playing LB last season. The LB corps is dealing with some injuries, but the frontline guys are expected back by the start of the regular season. The secondary is the weakness of the defense and this unit has to play better if the Cougars are going to reach their goals in 2015. JUCO transfer Takenaka will look to make a surprise impact at safety.
Prediction: BYU might be flying a bit under the radar during the offseason, but this team has the ability to put themselves back on the map if they’re successful in September going against Nebraska, Boise State, UCLA, and Michigan. If the Cougars can just go 2-2 during this stretch that has to be considered a success, with 3-1 being great, and 4-0 putting them in the playoff picture. BYU has a brutal schedule, but if they can somehow find a way to run through unscathed they will make the College Playoff.
Projected Record: 9-3