The lines for several major matchup college football games coming this fall have been unveiled at DraftKings Sportsbook. Week 1 of the college football season starts on Thursday this year, and the biggest matchup of that night is one of the most intense rivalries in college football. We take a look at the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes from Rice-Eccles Stadium, home of The MUSS.
BYU vs. Utah
When and where
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Why the line is what it is
Last year this game was a 30-12 win for the Utes, but it wasn’t actually that close. UU had 48 carries for 262 yards, and just mauled a Cougars defense that looked completely outmatched by Zack Moss and Tyler Huntley. Those guys both graduated after outstanding careers, but there seems to be plenty of capable talent coming in behind them.
South Carolina transfer Jake Bentley will likely have the reins at quarterback after 33 starts in the SEC, though Texas transfer Cam Rising and senior Drew Lisk. Running back Devin Brumfield was the lead backup for Moss last year, with 59 carries for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
The Utes went 11-3 last year and reached the Pac-12 title game, while BYU limped to a 7-6 finish after a loss to Hawai’i the day before Christmas on the islands. Zach Wilson is the likely leader to head back as quarterback now, but he also had 11 TD’s and nine interceptions during a banged-up nine-game season. And when he makes mistakes, they tend to be killers.
Why it might change
Can a school that’s had Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, and plenty of other elite passers attract a transfer quarterback to come and open up the offense? Is there an impact running back that also doesn’t mind the code of conduct restrictions of the Mormon church and wants to prove themselves on the field? If so, this line might move towards the Cougars. But with the coronavirus changing everything, it’s also affected schools that need to get in the transfer portal to upgrade talent. And Kalani Sitake is one of those coaches that needs the portal.
Where the value is now
BYU was very up-and-down last year, and doesn’t seem to have added a ton of talent. Whereas Utah at least has options to reload. The Utes might not be heading back to the Pac-12 title game without Moss and Huntley, but this is a game they should comfortably win at home if guys like Mitt Romney’s nephews are in the mix to start at quarterback and wide receiver. They’re nice players to have, but not the impact guys needed against a good P5 school.
Utah brings back most of their offensive line that straight-up paved the Coogs last year in Provo. No reason to think they can’t do it again, especially with The MUSS and one of the better home field advantages in college football behind them. The Utes head coach Kyle Wittingham should continue to beat BYU, his alma mater, for the tenth year in a row.
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