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Virginia Cavaliers Vs. BYU Cougars Free Pick 8/31/13

BYU Cougars (8-5) at Virginia Cavaliers (4-8)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Scott Stadium)

The Line: Virginia Cavaliers +3 --- Over/Under: 47 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPNU

The BYU Cougars travel to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers in week one of the 2013 college football season.

The Virginia Cavaliers finished the 2012 season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the ACC. Virginia lost their identity in 2012, as they went away from establishing the run and were forced to pass the ball too many times, resulting in turnovers and limited success. In 2013, sophomore QB David Watford will lead the Cavaliers offense. The running game lost Perry Jones and Clifton Richardson, but junior Kevin Parks returns and will be counted on to carry the load for Virginia. Virginia returns their entire receiving unit from a season ago. The group is still young, but senior WR Tim Smith should continue to hold down a starting role. The offensive line is a huge question mark heading into the season, with senior LT Morgan Moses being the most experienced player on the line. On the defensive side of the ball, only two seniors will start for the Cavaliers this year. The rest of the defense is made up of sophomores and juniors, with a ton of talent and potential. Senior DE Jake Snyder and senior DT Brent Urban will lead the defensive line unit, while junior LB Henry Coley and junior Daquan Romero will lead the linebacker group. The Cavaliers secondary will be led by a projected all-conference pick, junior CB Demetrious Nicholson. Juniors Anthony Harris and Brandon Phelps return at strong and free safety. Virginia has the potential of being a great team in the ACC but they will have to go back to what has made them successful in the past, running the ball and playing solid defense.

Virginia Cavaliers Vs. BYU Cougars Free Pick 8/31/13

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The BYU Cougars finished the 2012 season 8-5 overall and return 8 starters on offense and 4 on defense. The BYU offense struggled at times in 2012, scoring just 28.7 points a game. BYU’s offense started to show a spark late in the season, scoring at least 41 points in 3 of the last 4 games. Sophomore QB Taysom Hill took over the starting job midway through the season and will be healthy for the 2013 season opener. Sophomore RB Jamaal Williams and senior Michael Alisa will split carries out of the backfield for the Cougars. Senior WR Cody Hoffman would have been an NFL draft pick but decided to come back for his last year. Hoffman finished with 100 catches last year for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns. One of the biggest reasons the offense struggled last season was because the line failed to protect the quarterback and was inconsistent in opening up holes for the running backs. The line must improve with 4 starters back, including LT Ryker Mathews who started all 13 games last year. Defensively, the Cougars were third in the country on defense allowing just 14 points a game in 2012. The defensive line must replace NFL draft picks Ezekial Ansah and Romney Fuga. Senior Eathyn Manumaleuna will move from left end to nose tackle, while sophomore Bronson Kaufusi will be the best defensive end on the team. Senior LB Kyle Van Noy is another potential All-American who returned to BYU instead of entering the NFL draft. Van Noy finished with 13 sacks and 6 forced fumbles in 2012. The secondary returns 3 starters and should be the strength of the defensive unit. Junior CB Jordan Johnson made 48 tackles and broke up 15 passes last year. BYU has some good talent on offense and defense heading into this year, but the offensive line must improve in order for the Cougars to reach the next level.

BYU is the better team overall compared to Virginia, considering their defense returns their best player in Van Noy and an explosive offense. BYU will have to travel to Virginia for this one and it’s tough to win on the road, especially in week one of the season. I think the Cougars have the leadership and talent to beat this Virginia team that looked lost at times last season. This game will be close for the first three quarters, but I believe BYU wins by a touchdown late.

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BYU -3

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