Breaking down BYU’s 2017 football schedule, team by team

With BYU’s season opener a little more than two weeks away, it is indeed the perfect time to look at the Cougars’ schedule. While it is never too early to talk football, we have a better idea how these teams are going to do now that fall practices are in swing around the country.

Here’s a breakdown of BYU’s 2017 opponents:

vs. Portland State, Saturday, Aug. 26

2016 record: 3-8 (2-6 Big Sky)

Last season, the Vikings had one of the more potent offenses in the FCS as they were No. 13 in their division in total offense. The reason why they only won three games last season is they also gave up an average of 478.5 yards per game, and that’s good enough for No. 114 in the FCS.

Portland State has focused on forcing turnovers in fall camp. Linebacker Sam Bodine made two picks in the first week of camp, according to the team’s camp notes. The Cougars can’t afford to get too sloppy in their season opener, but this game should be a nice first game of the season.

vs. No. 12 LSU (at NRG Stadium in Houston), Saturday, Sept. 2

2016 record: 8-4 (5-3 SEC)

LSU’s summer has not been without a little drama. Starting guard Maea Teuhema was indefinitely suspended and will now transfer away from the program. He’s the latest in a small stream of 10 transfers that has left the Tigers with just 11 offensive linemen on scholarship.

Drama or no drama, LSU is as dangerous an opponent as the Cougars could ask for. Darrius Guice is the most talented and dynamic running back BYU will face in 2017. While he was a backup last year, he still managed to rush for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns as he picked up a lot of playing time when Leonard Fournette was out with injury. Who knows what kind of stats he’s capable of now that he’s the main man in Baton Rouge.

vs. No. 25 Utah, Saturday, Sept. 9

2016 record: 9-4 (5-4 Pac-12)

The Utes are as solid as ever on defense, particularly on the defensive line. Lowell Lotulelei will likely be a first-round draft pick, like his brother Star before him. The linebackers appear to have turned a corner and the secondary, though somewhat inexperienced, is still plenty talented.

It’s on offense where…

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