COUGAR TRACKS

BYU Football In Great Spot To Win Rest Of Their Games

Nov 7, 2019, 12:16 AM | Updated: 12:17 am
Brigham Young Cougars celebrate after recovering an Utah State Aggies fumble during the first half ...
Brigham Young Cougars celebrate after recovering an Utah State Aggies fumble during the first half of an NCAA football game at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Colter Peterson, Deseret News

PROVO, Utah – Momentum is a great thing in college football and BYU has a lot of it right now.

Less than one month ago, BYU’s season was on the ropes sitting at a 2-4 record with two regional rivalries looming in the next two games.

Now after defeating both teams and viewed as an underdog in those games, BYU is back to .500 with a 4-4 record and playing with confidence.

The challenge for BYU during the Kalani Sitake era (since 2016) has been consistency. Can they keep up this new wave of momentum into the final month of the regular season?

I believe they will and from looking at what’s ahead, BYU should win the rest of the games they will play (including a Hawaii Bowl game) the rest of the way. Here are a few reasons why the Cougars are set to close the season on a tear.

#1 Schedule eases up

Through eight games, BYU has played the 12th toughest schedule in the country according to Sagarin ratings. That’s going to drop significantly in the next few weeks. Which is okay. When most teams around the country are playing cupcakes in September, BYU was tackling one of the toughest schedules in the country. It all evens out.

Liberty has an explosive offense but their best win is probably a victory over a terrible New Mexico team. The Flames have talent at the top of the roster, but a majority of their team is built to be an FCS program as they were in that division just two years ago.

Idaho State the following week, they are an FCS team and BYU has never lost to a team from the lower level of Division I. Then UMass might be the worst team out of all teams from the FBS and the FCS ranks. The Minutemen are bad.

Anything less than 3-0 in the next three would be shocking.

#2 San Diego State isn’t better than Boise State or Utah State

Former Mountain West Conference rival San Diego State is nationally-ranked and feeling good with their 7-1 record. When you look at how the Aztecs have defeated, there’s not much to write home about. The Aztecs defense is nasty but their offense can’t score enough to put teams away. BYU will be arguably the best team the Aztecs have faced the entire season.

SDSU head coach Rocky Long wouldn’t schedule BYU if it was up to him. Probably would have been smart to tell his athletic director that sooner because BYU will be the favorite when the two teams meet on November 30th.

#3 Quarterback depth

BYU’s quarterbacks are really good. The Cougars have four guys that have won games as a starting quarterback. Whoever trots out for BYU, the Cougars will have a decisive advantage at that position.

#4 BYU’s Collaborative Effort on staff

The USF loss was a low point for this year’s BYU football team. That low point put BYU in a tight spot with their backs against the wall and they have since responded with a vengeance. In large part because of the changes within the staff. Kalani Sitake has taken on a greater role on the defensive side of the ball and the collaborative effort between Jeff Grimes and Aaron Roderick has worked masterfully on offense.

BYU’s playing aggressive and the taking inferior teams lightly mindset feels to be behind them as they head into the final stretch.

#5 Motivated to play for Kalani Sitake

BYU players have made it clear they’ll run through a wall for Sitake. Linebacker Chaz Ah You stated last month that he knew Sitake’s job was on the line and that they wanted to play for him. No contract extension has been extended yet for the fourth-year head coach. But with a strong finish to this year, you can guarantee BYU will have no choice but to extend Sitake for the long-term.

*****

There’s a lot to like about what BYU can accomplish in the final four games of the regular season and in the Hawaii Bowl. It all starts on Saturday against the Liberty Flames with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. (MT) on KSL Newsradio. Listen to Cougar Sports Saturday at 12 pm for pregame coverage of the matchup.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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