The Cougars take on the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium in Seattle. The Huskies have not been relevant on the national scene since a 2001 Rose Bowl win over Purdue. The Huskies have not had a winning season since 2002—when they were just 7-6—and last year they only won four games.
When fans see teams from a non-BCS conference play and beat a BCS team, they assume it's an upset when it rarely is. Nevertheless, playing in Seattle will be tough, because Husky Stadium is a tough place to play for any school.
The reputation of the Pac-10 is that everyone can score and little defense is played. Washington could kind of score and played little or no defense—the Huskies averaged just under 27 per game, but their defense gave up 31 per game. BYU has a high octane offense and should bring the points against Washington.
Offense: Washington returns seven offensive starters back from last year's 4-9 team. The Huskies' top returning player is QB Jake Locker, a big man with speed to burn. He had just over 3,000 combined yards with 2,062 passing and 986 rushing yards.
Locker did have problems with his accuracy, completing only 47 percent of his passes and throwing 15 interceptions to just 14 touchdowns.
The offense will need to replace graduated running back Louis Rankin, who ran for just under 1,300 yards. The likely replacement looks to be sophomore Brandon Johnson. Johnson had limited playing time and compiled only 196 yards on 51 carries last season.
There is no doubt that Washington will be able to put up some points in this game—it just depends on who is going to do it for them.
Defense: The Husky defense returns six players on a defense that was not very good at all last year. The Huskies brought in Ed Donatell to shore up the defense—he was a defensive coordinator in the NFL from 1995-2007.
This team needs the help—they gave up 31 points per game and couldn't stop teams very often, so we will see if Donatell can turn things around.
This BYU team is similar to most Pac-10 schools in that they throw the ball a ton and can score a lot of points.
Early Prediction: Looking at BYU's recent past, they have struggled and lost early non-conference games, among them losses to Arizona, Boston College, Tulsa, and UCLA.
This BYU team should be able to win this game by ten points or more, but until BYU can prove that they can consistently win non-conference road games, the Cougars shouldn't look past any team.