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2020 BYU Football Opponent Tracker: Season-Openers Highlight Week Three

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 05: Quarterback Gunnar Watson #18 of the Troy Trojans looks to pass against the Missouri Tigers in the third quarter at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – We knew this season would be weird, but waiting 19 days in between BYU Football games just feels strange. The postponement of the game against Army leaves BYU with another bye this weekend.

The good thing for BYU fans is that this weekend’s slate features all of the FBS teams BYU is scheduled to play or has already faced will be in action this weekend. For those of you chomping at the bit to watch North Alabama kick off its season, you’ll have to wait until October 3rd. Sorry.

Navy (0-1)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Tulane, 10 a.m., ABC

Is BYU a byproduct of Navy having a dip year? Or did the Midshipmen lose on Labor Day night solely because of no tackling? An interesting test awaits Ken Niumatalolo’s Navy squad traveling on the road to face AAC foe Tulane in a network television game.

Tulane last year won a bowl game and is already 1-0 this year after defeating South Alabama. For BYU fans hoping Navy is far better than what they showed two weeks ago, this will be an important game to shaping the national narrative around the Cougars win.

Troy (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Middle Tennessee, 2 p.m., ESPN2

We get our first glimpse at BYU’s next opponent this Saturday when Troy travels to take on a Middle Tennessee team that was downright awful against Army in week one. Former BYU offensive line coach Ryan Pugh led the Trojans in his first year as offensive coordinator to the 18th best team in total offense a season ago. Seven starters return but they have to replace quarterback Kaleb Barker. Sophomore Gunnar Watson gets the nod in his first career start.

Louisiana Tech (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Southern Miss, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2

Welcome to the opponent tracker, La Tech! BYU’s newest addition to the 2020 schedule kicks off its season this weekend in Hattiesburg, Mississippi against Southern Miss. Last year the Bulldogs won 10 games and were one of the pleasant surprises, capping off the season with a shutout win over Miami in the Independence Bowl.

Only eight starters return in Skip Holtz’s eighth year in Ruston. This team has had to overcome a spike in COVID-19 cases due to Hurricane Laura swiping through the bayou.

UTSA (1-0)

Last week: at Texas State, Win, 51-48 (2OT)

This week: Stephen F. Austin, 1 p.m., ESPN3

The Roadrunners put up 499 yards of total offense in a double-overtime win over their in-state rival Texas State. Running back Since McCormick might be one of the top skill players BYU faces in 2020. The sophomore running back rushed for 197 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

This week against an FCS team should set up UTSA to be 2-0 heading into a home game at the Alamodome against nationally-ranked Memphis next week.

Houston (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Baylor, 10 a.m., FOX

The beauty of this football season amidst COVID-19 is highlighted by the Houston-Baylor matchup. This game came together a week ago. Who says we need schedules nailed down 10 years in advance?

Houston’s matchup with Baylor is the Coogs first against their old SWC rival since they were league foes back in 1995.

The debut of Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen last year was underwhelming as the Cougars finished 4-8. This year they are due for a quick turnaround as they return 19 starters and welcome in a number of Power 5 transfers.

Texas State (0-2)

Last week: UTSA, Loss, 48-51 (2OT)

This week: at ULM, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU

Texas State hasn’t won a game yet. But in my opinion, they are some of the biggest winners so far in college football. Why? They’ve played two games already and are well on their way towards a third.

Tough schedule so far for the Bobcats but they’ve shown well offensively. Defensively is the problem as they’ve allowed 41 points per game so far. This should be the week the Bobcats get their first win against fellow Sun Belt team ULM.

Western Kentucky (0-1)

Last week: at Louisville, Loss, 21-35

This week: Liberty, 10 a.m., ESPNU

Western Kentucky was no match for an upstart Louisville team that appears to be a spoiler threat in the ACC. WKU got on the board first with a touchdown then the Cardinals reeled off 28 unanswered and the Hilltoppers never threatened after that.

This week’s game should be interesting as WKU hosts Independent Liberty in a game that could be very competitive throughout.

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

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