BYUThe football season is off to a good start. After an offensive burst against South Florida, they beat No. 9 Baylor at home to move up to No. 12 in the standings.
Things looked set to follow the momentum of the previous two strong seasons, where BYU was a combined 21-4. They began to garner Six Bowl buzz from earlier in the year.
Then everything fell apart. First, they lost explosively in Eugene to the Ducks. There was little shame in that, as the Ducks now appear to be a solid team playing in a hostile stadium.
The Cougars picked up two less than inspiring wins over Wyoming and Utah State. Then the skid struck, with three consecutive losses against our LadyArkansas and Liberty.
The 41-14 beating at the hands of Liberty was the revelation that this season is going around the drain. At 4-4, as an independent team for one last season, the only thing left to play is a bowl game.
This objective now seems compromised.
To qualify for a bowl, BYU must win six games. Their four remaining opponents are East Carolina, Boise State, Utah Tech and Stanford. According to ESPN’s SP+ ranking, which places BYU in 76th place, the three remaining FBS programs on BYU’s schedule are ranked higher. ECU (60th), Boise State (71st) and Stanford (73rd) all look like tough matchups for the reeling Cougars to end the season.
Is it even safe to assume BYU will beat FCS’s Utah Tech? Many FCS programs have beaten FBS programs, even Power 5. BYU’s defense allowed 41 points to a team that only had 21 points against FCS Gardner-Webb. Weber State also had a much easier time with Utah State than BYU.
BYU needs to win two of its last four games to bowl. Even though BYU beats Utah Tech, where does the other win come from? ECU has won two in a row, including knocking out UCF 34-13 of Big 12 mate. Their quarterback, Holton Ahlers, is one of the most experienced callers in the entire country. Hackers have reason to believe they can run and get through BYU’s defense that looks like hot Swiss cheese.
Next, BYU goes to Smurf Turf at Boise State, where they’ve beaten the Broncos just once in six tries. After Utah Tech, they travel to Palo Alto to face the Stanford Cardinal. It’s the same Stanford team that went to South Bend and beat Notre Dame, who defeated BYU at a “neutral site.” They have an NFL prospect in Tanner McKee, who turned down an offer from BYU.
Getting to a bowl is no longer a guarantee. It’s also the bare minimum for a college team to consider its season not a total failure.
CBS’ Jerry Palm currently has BYU listed in the Armed Forces bowl against SMU. ESPN has them in the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
These sites seem optimistic that BYU will pick up two more wins. Given the recent results, nothing will be given to the Cougars. They have to turn things around and win it on the pitch to avoid disaster.