Week 3: Houston at BYU

Houston (1-1) at BYU (2-0) Sept. 11, 8:00, ESPN 

Here’s The Deal: Just two weeks into the new season, the ground floor of a possible special season is down in Provo. BYU returns home with a couple of road victories and a No. 25 ranking in the AP poll. Last week’s 41-7 blitz of Texas in Austin was the kind of statement that made national waves. The Cougars will look to keep the momentum going against Houston, which it defeated last October in a 47-46 thriller. The Texas version of the Cougars gets a second chance to polish up its image after opening the season with an ugly home loss to UTSA. They rebounded against Grambling, but Houston still has a ton to prove. 
Why Houston Might Win: The Cougars’ speed—on both sides of the ball—will cause problems for BYU. Houston harbors an abundance of playmakers, from WR Deontay Greenberry and RB Kenneth Farrow on offense to back seven defenders Derrick Mathews, Efrem Oliphant and Trevon Stewart. Its penchant for creating turnovers and generally wreaking defensive havoc has become a trademark under coordinator David Gibbs. 
Why BYU Might Win: BYU’s answer to Houston’s quickness will be the brawn of QB Taysom Hill and an enormous offensive line. The hometown Cougars are capable of muscling the visitors off the ball, exploiting a significant size advantage. Hill has already powered his way to five rushing touchdowns, while improving his accuracy as a passer. BYU can be brutally efficient with the ball slowing the game to a pace that Houston will find maddening. 
Who To Watch Out For: Hill is the cover boy in Provo. But the defense has played a role in the 2-0 start, giving up just two offensive touchdowns. That D, led in the front seven by DE Remington Peck and LB Bronson Kaufusi, will be a problem for Houston QB John O’Korn. The sophomore has been a mystery so far, throwing just one touchdown and four picks, and LaVell Edwards Stadium is a tough place to turn things around. 
What’s Going To Happen: BYU returns home as a borderline conquering hero. Houston hits the road a little unsure of itself. It’s the recipe for lopsided game on Thursday night. The blue Cougars are not only playing better than the red Cougars, but the crowd energy will be a big factor. Unless O’Korn can turn things around in a hurry, Houston is staring down the barrel of its second double-digit loss in three games. 
Prediction: BYU 34 … Houston 20 
Line: BYU -18.5; O/U: 57.5 
Must Watch Factor: (5: The Drop – 1: 19 Kids and Counting) … 2.5