Loyal Cougars

9-Line Prediction: BYU vs. Virginia

Introducing the 9-line Prediction. Nine specific predictions presented as over-under betting lines.

The BYU Cougars open the season in Charlottesville, Virginia against the Virginia Cavaliers. Here are nine Vegas-style lines, some serious, some not, to watch for on Saturday.

  1. “Mission trip” references by ESPNU crew – Line: 2.5 – Most members of the BYU Football team have served or will serve missions for their Church. This mission trip is really a 2-year fitness regimen, veiled as an evangelical effort, that is designed to benefit the Cougar athletic program. Each and every missionary-athlete returns from service with increased athletic prowess. OVER
  2. Paul Lasike touches – Line: 4.5 – The former Cougar rugby dude is poised to become a well-known commodity in Provo. Returning kicks, rushing the football, and catching passes out of the backfield, Lasike will have a varied role on the 2013 squad. As a 5’8 man myself, I wonder what type of injury Lasike could deliver upon my body were I to allow him to run me over. OVER
  3. Virginia rushing yards – LINE: 85.5   – BYU was terrific against the run last season. Gone is Romney Fuga’s presence in the middle of Bronco’s 3-4, replaced by either Marques Johnson (seeing his first game action in D1 football) or Eathyn Manumaleuna, playing in his 10th season at BYU. Will the Cavs be able to run the ball effectively?  UNDER
  4. Attendance: LINE – 61,499 – The Virginia Athletic Department has been vocal in its desire to see Scott Stadium at its capacity (61,500) on Saturday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Hoos were about 3,500 tickets away from a sellout. Will the final push bring the desired result? UNDER
  5. Spencer Hadley tackles: LINE – 8.5 –Kyle Van Noy is the face of the BYU defense. Look for his teammate on the other side of the linebacking corp to make a lot of plays on Saturday. Virginia will scheme to find places where Van Noy is not. Fortunately for Cougar fans, Hadley is one of the most underrated players in the West. OVER
  6. Taysom Hill rushing yards – 50 – Arizona QB Matt Scott averaged about 50 rushing yards per game last year under Robert Anae’s tutelage. (Anae was the run game coordinator in Tuscon.) Though Anae’s BYU attack is not a carbon copy of the offense run at Arizona, you can bet the good Doctor is going to find a way to get Taysom into the open field. OVER
  7. BYU O-Linemen who see action: 10.5 – Garrett Tujague said that he will bring 11 offensive lineman to Charlottesville and plans to play all of them. I’d be surprised if more than eight see action. UNDER
  8. Total Points: 50 – Much like the BYU-Ole Miss opener from a few years ago, this one will have a defensive feel. BYU typically underperforms against BCS opponents, especially on the road. The Cougar defense is good and will keep a mediocre UVa offense in check, but this one will be low-scoring. UNDER
  9. Line: BYU by -1COVER  — BYU 23 Virginia 20


  1. Latter-day Media (@latterdaymedia)

    August 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I know I just lifted weights and did football drills on my Mormon Mission!! Hilarious when people think that.

  2. lukejballard

    August 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

    great write-up, loved #1.

  3. Chase Troutner (@Captain_Strongo)

    August 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

    What an infernal lie. There’s no way Zach is 5’8″.

    • Zach Bloxham

      August 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm


  4. Geoff Johnston

    August 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Re #1. As I mentioned on Twitter, I left for my mission an average athlete and returned as both an NFL and NBA top prospect. No doubt this happened to many of you as well. We all know this is the norm for every missionary.

    Re #2. Since Anae will be running 106 plays I am going to take the over.

    Re #3. I’m pretty sure I had a class with Eathyn back in the early 90s.

    Re #5. I expect Hadley’s mustache to record two tackles and a QB hurry on its own.

    Re #6. I think Hill might have 50 yards rushing by the end of the first quarter.

    Re #9. C’mon Man! Are your blue goggles broken??

  5. Kurtis Larson (@kwlarson)

    August 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    *Steps up to the Bloxham SportsBook Desk* “Here you go.” *Hands paper to desk clerk with my wagers*

    #1: WAAAAAAYYYYYY OVER!!! CFB announcers haven’t been able to talk about “mission trips” for months. Right out of the gate, with not much else to go off of, this will be a go to topic of conversation.

    #2: UNDER. I think Lasike gets 4 touches but at least two punishing blocks on kick returns.

    #3: UNDER. BYU may miss Fuga, but Manumaleuna & Johnson will hold down the middle. (Also, see number 5)

    #4: PUSH. UVA ticketing staff will be herding people in but will come up just short as the final would be spectator gets distracted by the Declaration of Independence exhibit on campus. History buffs gonna hist?

    #5: OVER. I can’t remember where I heard/read this, so it’s probably not true, but i thought Spencer Hadley was moving to the inside and Alani Fua would be starting on the outside. If that is the case, Hadley will make even more tackles occupying the spot vacated by Brandon Ogletree.

    #6: OVER. I wanted to say under here because the more he runs, the more likely he is to get injured. But Dr. Bob will run this kid on designed plays a la Nevada with Colin Kapernick. Bronco has brought up the way they used him in the past and I think they’ll look to do the same with Taysom.

    #7: OVER. Are you going to doubt a man with this kind of a jawline? —> http://byucougars.com/files/staff/tujague-atuaia_mugs_0.jpg That is not a decision I would think lightly about.


    #9: COVER. BYU – 28 UVA – 13.

    • Zach Bloxham

      August 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Terrific as always, Kurtis!

  6. Ben (RFS_detmer14) Burt

    August 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Haha, love the satire threads weaved into the lines. Honestly though, this first game will answer a LOT of questions we all have. It’s hard to make any predictions on a season until at least the first game is in your pocket.

    Pumped for the game tomorrow. Glad it’s Cougar Season again!

  7. Steven Gibbs (@4JackGibbs)

    August 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    What about the over/under for pickle juice references? (0.5) OVER.