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After a long break Wyoming’s football finale is finally here. It has been quite a season and the Pokes will look to cap it off with a win in their 14th game of the 2016 season. The Cowboys tonight will take on their former conference foe and long time rival BYU. BYU comes into tonight with an 8-4 record and a 4 game winning streak. The Cowboys come in with an 8-5 record having lost their last game in the Mountain West Championship game.

The Cowboys covered the spread in the MW title game and are 8-4 ATS this season. They come into tonight’s match up as 8.5 point underdogs.

The standings are as follows:

 

Straight UpAgainst the Spread

Robert Gagliardi

5-8

2-10

Brandon Foster

4-95-7
Brad Reed7-6

5-7

Chad Smith7-6

4-8

Connor Cunningham7-6

7-5

Wyoming Cowboys8-5

8-4

 

Robert Gagliardi, Wyosports.net

Why should Cowboys fans be excited about this matchup?

Because it’s a bowl game, which isn’t something Wyoming goes to every year, which hopefully will change in the future. It’s against a good team, a former rival and a team most fans know about — for good or bad. It’s also a chance to see this team play one more time this season — a season where a lot of firsts occurred and perhaps more will happen Wednesday night.

Offensive Poke Pick: QB Josh Allen

Yes, Wyoming needs to get running back Brian Hill and the run game going, but chances are Allen will have to make a lot of plays with his arms and legs. He’s the biggest reason the Cowboys are where they are right now. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Allen must do that in this game.

Defensive Poke Pick:

The entire group. Whether it’s up front to be disruptive in both the run and pass games, the linebackers making tackles and being assignment sound to the defensive backs being sound in coverage and tackling — all 11 must play well for Wyoming to have a chance.

What does Wyoming need to do to win?

Not let BYU’s run game and senior running back Jamaal Williams get rolling. The offense needs to be balanced and also the Cowboys must win the turnover battle and be solid on special teams.

Bowl Game Prediction:

This has the potential to be a high scoring game, but may not be as high scoring as some think. Hope I’m wrong but going with BYU. Wyoming 27, BYU 35

 

Brandon Foster, Casper Star-Tribune

Why should Cowboys fans be excited about this matchup?

There’s no shortage of reasons for Wyoming fans to be excited for this game. For one, this is Wyoming’s first bowl game since 2011. That’s reason enough right there. But it’s also against one-time bitter rival BYU. Plus, the Cougars and Cowboys have each played in their share of exciting games this season, so this should make for a memorable end to a memorable season for the Pokes.

Offensive Poke Pick: RB Brian Hill

The BYU defense presents a tough run front, and outside of a long run by Hill, the Cowboys weren’t able to accomplish much on the ground in the conference championship game. This could be Hill’s final game in brown and gold, and it would be good to see him go out with a bang.

Defensive Poke Pick: LB Cassh Maluia

The freshman has impressed enough to earn a starting spot in D.J. May’s absence. Wyoming’s defense will need a strong game from the outside linebacker as it looks to continue its strong play from the conference championship game.

What does Wyoming need to do to win?

Wyoming needs to have the type of offensive performance it had been having for most of the conference season before the championship game. This is a team that wins with great, balanced offense and just enough defense, and without the first part of that equation, it will be difficult to end this season on a win.

Bowl Game Prediction:

I think Wyoming really needed the time off after a long 13-game season. I believe that rest will pay off for the Pokes, and even though backup quarterback Tanner Mangum is no schlub, I think Wyoming’s offense will be able to outplay the Cougars’ offense. Wyoming’s defense impressed me in the championship game. Its offense worried me. But I think the Cowboys will put it together for a win. Wyoming 31, BYU 28

 

Brad Reed, Wyonation.com

Why should Cowboys fans be excited about this matchup?

Cowboy fans should be excited about this match-up because it’s the culmination of a good season for the Cowboys. The team turned in an 8-5 record this season, hosted the Mountain West championship, and saw a really good team do really good things. The reward for that season is a trip to San Diego to play long-time rival BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl. Beating BYU in the post season would be a pretty sweet cap to a pretty special season. Plus, it’s not -10 degrees in San Diego.

Offensive Poke Pick: RB Brian Hill

It’s hard telling right now what decision Brian Hill is going to make regarding his career plans, but we won’t know those plans until after the bowl game is over. Will this be the last time we see Hill in brown and gold? Maybe. That said, I think Hill turns it up for this game. He may not know a lot about the history of Wyoming vs BYU but he knows to run over blue when given the opportunity.

Defensive Poke Pick: LB Lucas Wacha

It’s going to be important for the Cowboys to contain the many weapons that BYU has. Tanner Mangum at quarterback can beat you many ways. The three linebackers will be responsible for containing him to a point. Lucas Wacha is my Poke pick for the defense, a lot is on this senior’s shoulders.

What does Wyoming need to do to win?

Wyoming needs to play considerably better on defense against the rush than they did against San Diego State, New Mexico, and UNLV. Tanner Mangum will beat you with his feet, and will beat you through the air. The Pokes can’t afford the missed tackles they had against San Diego State. They also can’t afford to stay on the field when playing defense. The team is too thin to give up a lot of 3rd down conversions. On the other side of the ball the Cowboys can’t wait to get on the scoreboard. They raced out to a 10-0 lead on San Diego State, but struggled to score much after that until late in the second half. Keeping momentum going against a talented football team will be the key to this win.

Bowl Game Prediction:

Homer pick. Wyoming 23, BYU 17

 

Chad Smith, Wyonation.com

Why should Cowboys fans be excited about this matchup?

This is a game the fan base should no doubt be excited about. Although disappointed about the conference title game loss to San Diego State no one saw this type of season coming. The fans and players alike are now being rewarded with a game in sunny and warm California against an old bitter rival. What’s not to like?

Offensive Poke Pick: QB Josh Allen

Much like the San Diego State game, the Cowboys will have to throw in order to set up the running game for Brian Hill. With that in mind Josh Allen is my Poke pick. The key for him in this game is to get in rhythm early and play with a calm demeanor. Not being hyped up early as we saw early in the losses in the conference title and UNLV games. Give him some quick easy passes early to get Allen jump started and the Pokes offense should hum.

Defensive Poke Pick:

I will be keying in on the defensive line in this game. Wyoming will need strong performances from the big hogs in the trenches to slow down the methodical BYU offense. So here is looking at you Hall, Cain, Ghaifan and Prosser. The Cougars will rely on their running game with backup quarterback Tanner Magnum starting the game for an injured Taysom Hill.

What does Wyoming need to do to win?

The formula for this team remains the same, sorry if I sound like a broken record.

  1. A) The Pokes will need to run the ball (they are 7-1 in games where they run for over 200 yards.
  2. B) Win the turnover battle

Bowl Game Prediction:

Bowl games (with nothing really on the line) are very hard to predict. It’s difficult to gauge which team is up for the game without being at both teams practices. With that said BYU has a very good defense and I think that will be the difference in a close game. Wyoming 27, BYU 31

 

Connor Cunningham, Wyonation.com

Why should Cowboys fans be excited about this matchup?

There are a few reasons why I think Wyoming fans should be excited. The first and main reason is that the Cowboys are playing in a bowl game! It is only the 3rd bowl game since 2009 and that alone should get fans excited. The icing on the cake is the Cowboys are facing BYU. There is a lot of history between the two schools and any matchup against the Cougars should get Cowboys fans jacked up.

Offensive Poke Pick: Senior pass catchers

Josh Allen and Brian Hill are obviously the key players, but the receivers need to also have a big night. Look for Jake Maulhardt, Jacob Hollister, and Tanner Gentry to make big plays throughout the game.

Defensive Poke Pick: Defensive Backs

BYU is going to look to air it out all night and the DB’s, especially the corners need to be ready.

What does Wyoming need to do to win?

Win the turnover battle, control the ball, and score points early.

Bowl Game Prediction:

I like Craig Bohl and his squad. Wyoming 38, BYU 24

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