BYU-Texas football matchup named one of top nonconference contests in 2014
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
This year's football matchup between BYU and Texas already has intrigue, as the Longhorns seek revenge for Taysom Hill and the Cougars running uninhibited in a 40-21 victory last season in Provo.
Now, Athlon Sports and Fox Sports have brought more recognition to the contest, ranking the Sept. 6 game at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium as one of the top nonconference games to watch in 2014.
David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest rated the BYU-Texas matchup the fifth-best nonconference game for Big 12 teams, out of a total of 30.
"A win for the Longhorns here would be enormous," Ubben wrote, noting that Texas will be looking to grab a key win to help first-year coach Charlie Strong get off to a strong start.
Hill rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns to lift the Cougars to the 2013 win that led to Texas firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. BYU rushed for a school-record 550 yards in the contest.
Texas is coming off an 8-5 season that ended with longtime coach Mack Brown resigning and could use this game to make a statement.
Ubben also gives BYU a boost after it's dealt with snubs from the SEC and ACC this offseason that the Cougars won't be considered a "Power 5" opponent, as college football heads into its new playoff era.
"(The Big 12) plays 11 games against major conference teams (including BYU. I don't care what you think, ACC and SEC)," Ubben wrote.
Athlon Sports' Braden Gall also has high expectations for the Longhorns-Cougars contest, ranking the game the 14th-best out of the top 30 nonconference matchups nationwide this season.
"Hill is going to be even better this year, so stopping that ground attack is still going to be a tall order," Gall wrote. "This Texas team will be more physical and more fundamentally sound this fall and the game is on the 40 Acres."
The last time the two teams met in Austin, Texas defeated BYU 17-16 in 2011.
Gall has the Cougars' Oct. 24 road contest at Boise State on his list as well, with that game coming in at No. 23.
"New Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin will be in the middle of his first Mountain West season and Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill will be looking to build a potential Heisman Trophy resume with a great road performance," Gall wrote.
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