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National CFB Writer Tabs BYU As College Football Playoff Team

PROVO, Utah – Is the COVID-19 pandemic creating the best path for BYU to make a case for the College Football Playoff? One national college football writer loves what he sees from the undefeated Cougars through their first three games.

ESPN.com’s panel of college football writers and analysts shared their picks for the College Football Playoff after week five of the 2020 season. Bill Connelly, the S&P+ rating creator, has BYU ranked in his top four teams.

Connelly’s top four for the Playoff consist of Alabama (1), Clemson (2), Ohio State (3), and BYU (4).

BYU taking on the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl; who’s ready to see that matchup? Hey, these teams were trying to put a game together for week one, so it’s only fitting that they get their wish and play in the Playoff, right?

Connelly was the only writer on ESPN.com’s panel that had BYU in the top four.

In the shock of the week, the BYU Cougars land in the picks for the first time this season. The Cougars have put up 148 points during a 3-0 start and — now that they filled out a 10-game schedule — might have the résumé by the end of the season to crack into the playoff picture.

Fourteen writers from ESPN.com’s staff shared their Playoff picks and all of them had combinations that featured juggernauts Alabama and Clemson in their Playoff picks. Ohio State received thirteen votes from the panel of writers. It was the fourth spot for each writer that created some debate.

Along with BYU, Georgia, Florida, and Notre Dame, each received votes to be in the top four if the season ended today.

The case for BYU in the College Football Playoff

It’s hard to imagine BYU making it into the College Football Playoff. The biggest reason being the Cougars are not in the Power 5 structure of college football. But, BYU is not lumped in with the Group of 5.

Since the Playoff began in 2014, BYU has not been good enough late in October and into November to see how a College Football Playoff committee would view an Independent BYU program.

This year’s schedule will have a weak strength of schedule, but if BYU continues to dominate their opposition like their currently doing, maybe there’s an opportunity.

Quarterback Zach Wilson has been one of the top signal-callers in college football this season. Wilson has passed for 949 yards, six touchdowns, and he’s completed 84.5 percent of his passing attempts. He’s also scored on five rushing touchdowns through the first three games.

On the defensive side, BYU’s defense has been suffocating. Giving up eight points per game is the lowest points allowed by a BYU team through the first three games since 1952.

Go undefeated and dominate all of your opposition and have everyone else in college football with at least one or two losses, then maybe, and that’s a big maybe, BYU can find their way into the Playoff conversation this December.

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

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