The greatest thing about August is the fact none of us have been proven wrong. I can sit here and tell you the Utes will finish the regular season 12-0 and earn a trip to the national championship game and there is no evidence to suggest I am wrong in that prediction. At least not yet.
Of course, there are predictions that would force even the most optimistic fan to roll his eyes. Like, you know, New Mexico going undefeated and winning the title in a romp over Alabama.
I'll bet my life right here right now that does not happen.
But what about the predictions that, on their face, seem ridiculous but really aren't? You know, like in 2008 when some batted around the idea of Utah going undefeated. It didn't seem entirely implausible, right? The Utes had done the undefeated thing before. Then again, though, Kyle Whittingham had no history of coming close to an undefeated season. There were games out there that tripped them up and who was to say that would ever change?
Well it did and now all is right in the world.
So what about this year? What are the ridiculous Mountain West predictions that don't seem all that ridiculous once you examine them?
See after the jump...
05. BYU will finish with three conference losses.
Why this is ridiculous: The Cougars haven't finished with three conference losses since Bronco Mendenhall's first season in Provo. They only own one loss (to San Diego State in 2005) against a Mountain West team not named TCU or Utah. Why would that change?
Why this isn't ridiculous: For the first time in the Bronco Mendenhall era, the Cougars really are rebuilding. They did have to replace some key parts after their 2006 squad won the title and they did bounce back quite nicely - but that was then. This is now. The biggest issue facing BYU might be the fact they're not in the 2007 Mountain West Conference - which saw a down TCU team and a Utah program yet to hit its stride. That isn't the case anymore. Joining TCU and Utah and BYU will be the Falcons, who the Cougars face on the road two weeks into the season.
04. Air Force will beat Oklahoma.
Why this is ridiculous: It's Oklahoma! The Falcons will be improved, but they haven't been capable of getting a huge win over a top-flight program in years. They really don't have a track record when it comes to beating BCS schools. Even last year they lost to a fairly mediocre Minnesota program.
Why this isn't ridiculous: Air Force runs a tricky offense that could give the Sooners fits. Oklahoma also still has to prove last year's struggles minus Sam Bradford were nothing more than growing pains - even though Landy Jones started in 11 of their games.
03. Colorado State will go bowling.
Why this is ridiculous: Did you watch the Rams last year? After starting the season 3-0, they subsequently dropped their last nine games. That meltdown would make Bob Knight blush.
Why this isn't ridiculous: Their schedule is manageable. Their toughest out of conference game could be against Nevada. They do travel to Nevada and Miami, Ohio, but also host Idaho. In conference, their toughest road game will surely be against the Utes, while they get TCU and BYU at home. It isn't impossible to find six wins there.
02. TCU will lose to Oregon State.
Why this is ridiculous: The Frogs ran through their 2009 schedule with ease. They're supposed to be even better, theoretically, than last year. Oregon State was good - but far from great last season. The leaps needed to catch the Frogs in a game played deep in the heart of Texas just isn't going to be possible for the Beavers.
Why this isn't ridiculous: TCU's Fiesta Bowl performance proved they were mortal. Oregon State seems to love the role of underdog and they certainly have a history of dashing championship dreams (see SC). Though this game will be played in Texas, it's not certain the crowd will be entirely filled with Horned Frog fans. The Beavers have the tools and coaching necessary to shock TCU.
01. Utah will go undefeated.
Why this is ridiculous: They have too many questions on defense and their schedule is pretty tough. It's impossible to ask for this team to go undefeated, especially with a road trip to Notre Dame and home contests against Pitt and TCU. Add the inexperienced defense and it's an unlikely development for the Utes.
Why this isn't ridiculous: Though they have a tough schedule, only two of those games come on the road (Air Force and Notre Dame). The Utes also return a great deal of their offense and could produce enough firepower to make up for the questionable defense. If they get by Pitt, look out.
So there you have it. Five ridiculous predictions that might not seem all that ridiculous.