Loyal Cougars

Cougar Brain Trust: 2014 Season Preview

Today, we debut a new feature at Loyal Cougars: the Cougar Brain Trust. We’ve surveyed 60 die-hard Cougar fans for their predictions on a few metrics of BYU’s season. These folks are not just casual fans, but have been hand-picked from among the most respected voices across Cougar Nation. Special thanks to @tayshum for his help in selecting the questions and gathering the data.

We asked 60 Cougar fans for their thoughts on how they see BYU’s 2014 regular season unfolding. These aren’t their hopes or wishes, but actual estimates of what they believe is going to happen. Think of it this way: if you had to put money on it, what would you predict? These predictions represent the expected results across a variety of statistical categories-some meaningful and some quite pointless. Note that the responses apply to the 12 regular season games only, excluding any potential bowl game stats. The most popular answer is underlined. Here are the consensus responses:

Offense

What will be Jamaal Williams’ regular season rushing yardage total? In 2013, Jamaal averaged 109 rushing yards per game in 11 regular season games. After sitting out the Connecticut game, Jamaal will have 11 games to match that total of 1,202. 78% of the Brain Trust believe that Jamaal will not match his 2013 total. 43% said between 1051-1150. 25% said 951-1050. 22% answered 1151 or more. 10% said 950 or less.

Who will be BYU’s most productive receiver (Catches + Yards /10 + TDs x6)? There are no stats to research for this question, just a pure shot in the dark. And Jordan Leslie seems to be the favorite to take over Cody Hoffman’s role as Taysom Hill’s primary pass-catching target. 62% said Jordan Leslie. 28% said Mitch Mathews. 7% said Devon Blackmon. 3% said anyone else.

Higher total: Taysom passing yards or the sum of Taysom’s rushing yards plus a 200 yard bonus for each game played? In other words, will Taysom average 200 passing yards per game more than his rushing average? For reference, Taysom’s adjusted 2013 totals using this method would be 3,944 rushing and 2,938 passing. It looks like almost half of the members of the Cougar Brain Trust think that either Taysom’s passing game will be much improved or his rush attempts will be more limited in 2014. 52% said his rushing yardage would be higher, but 48% believed his passing yardage would still be higher even after the 200 ypg head start.

What will be Taysom Hill’s completion percentage? In 2013, Hill completed 53.9% of his passes. An amazing 92% of the Brain Trust believe that Taysom will improve on that number in 2014. 55% answered that Taysom will complete between 55 and 60% of his passes. 35% said his completion percentage will be between 60 and 65%. 8% replied that he would complete less than 55%. Finally, 2% said that Taysom would complete more than 65%.

Where will BYU end the regular season ranked in Offensive Plays per Game among FBS teams? For reference, BYU ranked 3rd in this category at the end of 2013. It seems that Cougar Nation expects this season’s offensive production to be similar to what we saw in 2013. 47% said 2nd or 3rd. 35% said 4th-10th. 13% said 1st. 5% said lower than 10th.

Longest Offensive play of the season? In 2013, the longest play from scrimmage was a 70-yard Jamaal Williams run against Idaho State. 60% said the longest play would be between 65 and 79 yards. 35% said the longest play would be 80 yards or more. 3% said the longest play would be less than 65 yards.

On what percentage of Blue Zone trips will BYU score a touchdown? The 2013 BYU offense was one of the must futile of the Bronco era, scoring touchdowns on only 48% of its Blue Zone trips. Approximately 4 out of 5 Cougar fans expect much needed improvement in this area in 2014. 50% said 50-59.9%. 27% of those surveyed said 60-69.9%. 18% of those surveyed said less than 50%. And 5% said 70% or more.

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