Reno Mahe, the former BYU and Philadelphia Eagles running back, gave a great reason to take nothing for granted in football.

Utah and BYU should listen up Saturday when the Cougars play Tulane in the Superdome and Saturday night when the Utes take on San Jose State in the Bay Area of California.

Utah is predicted to win by 13.5 points and the oddsmakers list the Cougars as 17.5 favorites.

Mahe acquired six great tickets for the BYU-Oklahoma game last week in Cowboys Stadium. Right before leaving for the game, Mahe learned friends who promised to buy his other four tickets had decided to stay home. Maybe it was the cost, it may have been a lot of things, but those buddies didn't want to go all that way and spend all that coin to see BYU undergo the expected and predicted beating by the Sooners.

"The thing is, you never know. You simply never know," said Mahe, whose voice was still hoarse by midweek from yelling during BYU's win over Oklahoma.

"It was a great game. But what you have is 11 guys each having to do 11 things on a play, and if just one of them doesn't do what they're supposed to, anything can happen. That's what makes football such a great game: Anything can happen."

Mahe found some eager takers for the tickets at the last minute. Those guys had the time of their lives.

Today, anything can happen. But you'd expect the Cougars and Utes to pick up another pair of non-league wins.

For the Cougars, quarterback Max Hall says the Cougars know much of the stuff they ran against Oklahoma (varied hike cadence, quick-developing passes, the draw trap and specific receiver screen) are now scouted. Defensively, BYU's surprise blitzes and some coverage schemes are also on film. Tulane may try to go deep where the Sooners refused.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham knows his opponents saw how he kept it simple for quarterback Terrance Cain and most of Utah's offense ran through Matt Asiata and receiver David Reed.

Will he extend the playbook today against the Spartans? The first things BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae said when he walked into Monday's Cougar meeting were ball protection and penalties.

"When you play a team like Oklahoma, you're going to have some penalties and turnovers," said Hall.

"Thing is, we may not play a team as good as Oklahoma; we might, I don't know. But if we eliminate turnovers and penalties, we'll be one of the hardest teams in the country to beat. If we beat ourselves with those two things, it will give everybody a chance.

"The three games we lost last year, we had both," Hall said. "We need to continue to execute, then expand the playbook and game plans and feed off that."

This week's MWC predictions:

Texas 35, Wyoming 10: The Longhorns in Laramie? Priceless. Anything can happen, but don't count on the Cowboys' defense stopping Texas no matter where the killing field is located.

Minnesota 34, Air Force 21: If the Falcons knock off the Gofers, the haughty staff at BCS headquarters would rush to the airport to protect their offshore accounts in person.

TCU 28, Virginia 7: Look for the Frogs to enter ACC territory and deliver a crushing blow to a lot of egos back East. This is the season-opener for TCU coach Gary Patterson.

Colorado State 42, Weber State 10: This Ram team is underappreciated and was pretty much overlooked until the impressive slap-down of Big 12 Colorado last week.

Utah 34, San Jose State 24: This will be a great test for young Utes' QB Cain on the road in WAC territory. Look for the Utes to win this one with some defensive turnovers that set up short fields for them.

Tulsa 37, New Mexico 17: The Lobos return home after a humiliating defeat at Texas &M. It won't get any easier against this explosive foe.

23 comments on this story

UNLV 24, Oregon State 21: The Rebels have enough firepower to take care of this Pac-10 team, but can they muster enough stops on defense?

BYU 37, Tulane 21: Trick plays might bite the Cougars at least once or twice in this game. This will be a great place to prove BYU's defense is flexible enough to handle an offense that is expecting blitzes and other Jaime Hill ploys now on film that surprised an under-prepared Sooner squad.

Last week's record: 7-1 (.815)

e-mail: dharmon@hotmail.com