The BYU Cougars will open up the post-Zach Wilson era with a neutral site contest against the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona really struggled last season and lost all five of their games, including a decimating 70-7 loss to in-state rival Arizona State to end their season. BYU had one of the best seasons in school history, finishing with a 49-23 win in the Boca Taton Bowl over UCF finishing 11-1 on the season.
BYU will no doubt see a falloff at the quarterback position after Zach Wilson was selected second in the NFL draft, it’s an open competition for the job but whoever it is will be inexperienced and likely a steep falloff. The offensive line will also likely take a step back after losing three starters including 2nd team All-American left tackle. As a unit, the offense will have seven starters returning including star running back Tyler Allgeier.
BYU also had a solid defensive unit last season but played one of the easiest schedules in college football. The Cougars will return just four starters on the defensive end including three key defensive linemen, and some key back end players in the secondary. BYU allowed just 15.3 points per game on the season but again didn’t play a single Power-5 opponent and lose 7 of their top 10 tacklers this season.
Arizona had a terrible season last year capped off by an embarrassing loss to end the season but returns eight starters on the offensive side of the ball. They'll have a new look at quarterback with likely Washington State Gunner Cruz or USF transfer Jordan McCloud starting week one. They’ll lose their top running back but both QB’s will present some ability to run the ball and they return most of the online including a top NFL prospect in Donovan Laine.
Arizona finished last season last in the Pac-12 in both scoring and total offense allowing 473 yards per game and 39.8 points per game. They’ll return 9 starters on the defensive side of the ball and they’ll continue to improve in the new system under Don Brown. It’s a new-look coaching staff that returns a lot of experienced guys on both sides of the ball and I expect the Wildcats to take a big step forward in 2021.