Which Teams Could BYU Football Possibly Add To Its Remaining 2020 Schedule?

Nov 10, 2020, 11:09 AM | Updated: Nov 11, 2020, 10:56 am
Army West Point...
Could we see Army back on the BYU football schedule in 2020? (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football has two games remaining on its 2020 schedule. With an 8-0 record and an 88 percent chance of going undefeated the rest of the way, does BYU bother any more games?

From Kalani Sitake’s point of view, he wants to get another game.

“I mentioned after the [Boise State] game that we were hoping for 12 opportunities. We’ve ended up playing eight right now, and we have two more scheduled. So I think the window for adding a game this week has already passed, and so definitely we’ll have a bye this week. Then North Alabama afterward and then, we’ll see,” said Sitake. “But that’s something our administration controls, and I know Tom’s on top of it. If there’s an opportunity for that to happen, then great.”

Suppose BYU does add another game. What’s out there to add? Let’s take a deeper look.

BYU Football Schedule Options – Nov. 14th: Bye Week

No game will be added this week, leaving the Cougars with a much-needed bye after seven consecutive weeks without any interruption.

November 28th

Teams with openings

  • Army West Point
  • No. 16 Marshall

Here’s where things start to get interesting. The number one target in regards to adding a game has to be Army West Point. Tom Holmoe has wanted Army on the schedule ever since he became the athletic director. Both BYU and Army ADs have taken a patient approach to potentially rescheduling this game.

This past weekend, Army’s rivalry game against Air Force was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak with the Falcons, leaving Army with only 10 games this season. With that game removed, do the Knights want to add another big game to the schedule? Few would be bigger than a game against a Top 10 opponent in BYU.

Army has another open date on December 5th, but it seems unlikely they would schedule BYU there a week before their rivalry game against Navy. The AD at Army, Mike Buddie, has stated the Commander-in-Chief trophy and Navy games are their top priorities. Do they feel playing BYU two weeks before the Midshipmen is enough time to get ready for their big rivalry game? That’s the big question.

Army would give BYU a little bit of a bump in its strength of schedule if added. The Knights are 6-1, and their lone loss was a 14-point setback against Cincinnati.

Along with Army, undefeated and 16th ranked Marshall has an open date on November 28th. Marshall has had November 28th as an open weekend since before the season. Now that both the Thundering Herd and BYU are undefeated, maybe there’s an incentive for the Thundering Herd to step out of Conference-USA play and play in a Top 25 game.

December 5th

Teams with openings

  • Army West Point
  • No. 19 SMU
  • UCF
  • Tulane
  • East Carolina
  • UMass
  • UAB
  • Middle Tennessee
  • South Alabama
  • Arkansas State
  • Georgia State

There are a lot more options for the December 5th date. The notable options include Army, nationally-ranked SMU, and UCF. When looking at possibly adding SMU or UCF, is there anything to gain for BYU, or is there more to lose? Both SMU and UCF are good football teams. But neither would likely bolster BYU’s odds of making the College Football Playoff. Do you take that risk to possibly lose out on your chance of at least getting a big payday in a New Year’s Six bowl?

After those three, there are many teams that BYU could probably pay to come to Provo for a game. In a pandemic, where finances are tight, what’s the incentive of paying UMass to get smoked by 50 points in a “guarantee game?”

December 19th

Teams with openings

  • No. 22 Liberty
  • SEC, ACC, Big 12 teams not in league Championship Games

Here’s where a little creativity comes into play with possibly adding games to the BYU football schedule. December 19th is the championship weekend in this wild and crazy college football season. Maybe BYU considers putting a game on the final weekend to stay in the national conversation during the last weekend of games.

Undefeated and nationally-ranked Liberty has an opening on the 19th. The Flames are 7-0 and have four games remaining. Two religious, undefeated, Independent teams squaring off on Championship weekend could make a lot of sense.

But let’s think outside the box with this exercise. If there’s one thing clearly missing from BYU’s schedule it’s a game against a Power 5 team. Maybe the Cougars could target one-loss Power 5 teams who won’t participate in their league title games this season.

Assuming Alabama wins the SEC West and Clemson plays in the ACC Championship game, one-loss teams such as Texas A&M and Miami will likely be on the outside of their league title games. Would these teams consider playing BYU on December 19th to boost their Playoff resume? If you’re BYU, you want the chance to prove yourself and make a run at the College Football Playoff by playing a highly-ranked Power 5 team.

Another scenario: Don’t schedule any more games

BYU will likely try to add games. They won’t duck opportunities, but if games don’t come to fruition, maybe they stay at 10 games for the season. If that happens and they go 10-0 in those games, BYU would have a great chance at going to a New Year’s Six bowl game. The key to making it into the NY6 is to be ranked in the top 12 of the Playoff rankings.

Playoff rankings will be released every Tuesday starting on November 24th.

The newly branded “Bowl Season” will place a heavy emphasis on geography in picking teams for bowl games. A date in the Fiesta Bowl would make a lot of sense for the Playoff committee if BYU qualifies for the New Year’s Six.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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 and the KSL Sports app.

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Which Teams Could BYU Football Possibly Add To Its Remaining 2020 Schedule?