In the News:
BYU Football Favored in 2008 Title
By Wendy Harris
"BYU's football team is a hands-down favorite to claim yet another conference title in 2008, according to a Mountain West Conference media poll released Monday.
The Cougars, who enter the 2008 season with the nation's longest winning streak at 10 games, captured 29 of 34 first-place votes to top the poll. Utah was a distant second with five votes and TCU came in at No. 3. The Cougars ended the 2007 season with top-20 rankings in various polls including the USA Today Coaches poll, tied with Auburn at No. 14, Associated Press poll, No. 14, and Harris poll, No. 18, and a win over UCLA at the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl.
"I don't pay too much attention to the rankings," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a news release. "While it may provide motivation and an opportunity to ask more of the team, this won't change how we prepare for the season, nor will it change how we prepare for each individual game. If anyone has been paying attention to our program, we've tried to make it clear that our focus has to be on how we work, how we prepare."
BYU's offense, which was ranked among the top 25 nationally in passing and total offense last year, will return 10 starters, including four MWC first-team honorees, led by junior quarterback Max Hall. Hall, who was the top sophomore quarterback nationally a year ago, was recently named to the 2008 Davey O' Brien National Quarterback Award watch list, which highlights 31 quarterbacks from around the nation. If selected for the award, Hall will join the likes of BYU passing greats Jim McMahon (1981), Steve Young (1983) and Ty Detmer (1990-1991) to receive the prestigious award.
"Max has high goals," Mendenhall said in a news release. "The fact that the other coaches and the media recognize that he can be that type of player is not a surprise to me. Max has a long way to go, in terms of where we are now until the end of the season. He has a good idea of what he wants to accomplish and he has to remain focused on those goals."
Sophomore running back Harvey Unga, junior wide receiver Austin Collie, tight end Dennis Pitta and offensive linemen Ray Feinga and Dallas Reynolds were named, along with Hall, to the All-Conference team.
Three starters will return for a Cougar defense that was ranked among the top 10 nationally in scoring, rushing and total defense in 2007. Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen was the only Cougar defender to be named to the pre-season all-MWC football team.
"It's important for people to understand that none of the predictions and other speculation that happen at this time of year will influence the outcome of the season," Mendenhall said in a news release.
The Cougars will begin their quest for another Mountain West Conference title as they challenge Wyoming on Sept. 20. BYU's first non-conference game is against Northern Iowa on Aug. 30 in Provo."
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Monday, July 28, 2008
at 11:11 AM