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San Jose State Spartans vs. BYU Cougars Preview and Prediction

Kalani Sitake

Kalani Sitake

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In any given year, a San Jose State-BYU matchup wouldn’t conjure up much intrigue. This year however is very different. The intrigue is in this game for all the wrong reasons. Both teams are having near identical seasons with each currently 1-7 and their lone wins have come against winless teams from the FCS ranks.

So if you want a game to determine who might be the worst team in college football for the 2017 season, BYU and San Jose State in an afternoon tilt in Provo is right up your alley.

San Jose State at BYU

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. ET

TV Channel: BYUtv/ESPN3

Spread: BYU -12.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Both head coaches worked together at their previous schools

Two years ago when Kalani Sitake was being courted by BYU while the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, current San Jose State head coach Brent Brennan was a wide receivers coach for the Beavers and was one of the first people to learn that Sitake was going to be the next head coach at his alma mater.

Sitake discussed possible scenarios with Brennan to get him to BYU, but nothing ever transpired. Sitake and Brennan have a close friendship and they were even next door neighbors while they lived in Corvallis.

Both coaches know they are better than their 1-7 records show and they looking to get back on the winning side of things.

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2. BYU’s running back situation

Not only have the Cougars been losing games on the field, they are now losing players off of it.

BYU’s starting running back Ula Tolutau is not expected to play this weekend after being arrested earlier this month for possession of marijuana.

BYU returns an injured Squally Canada, who was the starter at the beginning of the season, and KJ Hall, who returned last week from an injury after being sidelined for the previous six games.

3. Let’s talk about stats

In the 25 major team statistics nationally, both BYU and San Jose State are sub-100 (out of 129 FBS teams) in nearly almost category. BYU is sub-100 in 16 and San Jose State is sub-100 in 17 statistics.

Nearly the highest statistical category for each team is in Net Punting. BYU ranks 23rd in the nation while the Spartans are 65th. Field position will be key in this game. Whoever wins the field position battle is going to have a great chance at winning this one.

Final Analysis

Have I made you excited for this game yet? Which team wants to avoid the dubious distinction of being the worst team in college football? From looking at everything, BYU is the best bet here. But don’t expect the Cougars to have an offensive explosion. The Spartans will be in this one till the very end. Both teams struggle to put up points, so I expect a low-scoring affair that ultimately swings in favor of BYU due to a few costly San Jose State turnovers that give the Cougar offense short fields to work with.

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Prediction: BYU 17, San Jose State 13

— 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.

(Brent Brennan photo courtesy of Getty Images)