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Blue roundup: Despite tough schedule, Cougars could surprise

Published: Wednesday, March 21 2012 10:01 a.m. MDT

BYU's first day of spring football practice Monday, March 5, 2012, in Provo, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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The BYU football program, which is more than halfway through spring drills, will have a lot of returning players this fall and a challenging schedule.

As of now, according to the oddsmakers, the Cougars have a 125-1 shot at winning the national championship. CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman says not to count BYU out.

"The Cougars are the longest of long shots, but they might be worth keeping an eye. Usually teams beyond 75-1 are laughable options," Feldman writes. "Gritty QB Riley Nelson and dangerous WR Cody Hoffman are back to lead a team that finished 10-3 after a 2-2 start. It is worth noting that injuries have rocked the team this spring (among them: gifted soph WR Ross Apo banged up his shoulder, but is expected to be OK by summer, while LB Brandon Ogletree is dealing with a broken foot). I buy that this is a 10-win team and possibly better but the Cougars are further down this list for another reason: The schedule is problematic in that it has a handful of tricky games (back-to-back road games at Boise State and Utah and then a month later back-to-back road games at ND and Ga. Tech) yet doesn't have a true game or two where pollsters could point to at the end of the season to merit a BCS title game shot, meaning if BYU beats Boise State and/or ND, that alone would torpedo that opponent's merits unless, says, ND was 11-1 and beat USC."

Listen to coach Bronco Mendenhall after Tuesday's practice and his assessment of spring practices to this point.

Turning to basketball, watch a look back on the Cougars' recently completed NCAA Tournament appearance.

KSL color analyst Mark Durrant shares his review of the season.

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