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BYU Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Prediction and Preview

BYU Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Prediction and Preview

BYU Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Prediction and Preview

A pair of top-20 teams are set to meet in prime up in the Pacific Northwest when No. 20 BYU faces off with No. 11 Washington. These two programs have a unique history in their nine meetings.

Washington’s fan base is still upset over BYU winning the 1984 national title, while in 1996 the Huskies spoiled the Cougars' attempt at the first 15-0 season ever. There also have been several close battles in between those two landmark games.

Saturday night is the first matchup between these two schools since 2010 and it should be a fun one under the lights on Montlake.

BYU at Washington

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET


Spread: Washington -17

Three Things to Watch

1. Washington’s playoff hopes will be shattered if they lose to BYU

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With a notch already in L column for the Huskies, there’s no more room for error if Washington wants to get back to the College Football Playoff. The Huskies cannot afford another loss, especially against a BYU team that they are currently favored to beat by 17 points. Washington’s speedy and athletic defense is nothing that BYU has seen has seen this season, and the hope is that the advantage there will be enough to carry the Huskies to victory.

2. BYU looking for third upset of season

The Cougars' two wins over FBS foes have come where they are a double-digit underdog. Can BYU get it done a third time? Washington is the toughest test to date with how athletic the Huskies are. BYU matched up well against Wisconsin, but this is a different challenge. The Cougars will need to establish their running game early and often (and probably get a lucky bounce or two) if they want a chance to pull off yet another upset.

3. Quarterbacks Jake Browning and Tanner Mangum

Both fan bases have had moments where they get frustrated with their QBs. Washington’s Browning and BYU’s Mangum have given their team some great moments but also are responsible for some head-scratching moments. Whichever quarterback makes the fewest mistakes will likely lead his team to a victory. Mangum won at Wisconsin with only 89 passing yards and Browning has had his share of moments that have left the door open for the opponent to keep hope for an upset. This will be a position battle that everyone needs to pay attention to.

Final Analysis

This is a tough game to read. On paper, it looks like a complete mismatch based on the talent disparity, but, BYU has shown a knack to not turn the ball over and keep things close. BYU will cover the 17-point spread and have an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter, but the playmaking ability from Washington’s receivers and the elite secondary the Huskies have will seal the victory in the final 15 minutes.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Washington

Prediction: Washington 26, BYU 17

— Written by Mitch Harper, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Harper is BYU Insider for ESPN 960 Sports and Publisher of Cougar Nation, part of the Rivals network. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch_Harper.