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One BYU College Football Playoff Path Involves Utah Football

Nov 11, 2020, 11:04 AM | Updated: 11:05 am
Utah BYU Ty Jordan...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes and head coach Kalani Sitake of the Brigham Young Cougars meet prior to their game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU is a really good football team, and this 2020 squad ranks among one of the best ever to suit up in Provo, however, if they are to make the College Football Playoff they still need help.

Do not take too much stock in the AP and coaches poll which have the Cougars ranked eighth – they have no bearing on the College Football Playoff poll which doesn’t release the first set of rankings until November 24.

This is not to be all doom and gloom for BYU, because there is good news. The AllState Playoff Predictor currently gives the Cougars just under a 25 percent chance to make the field of four.

What helped BYU over the weekend was Florida beating Georgia and eliminating the Bulldogs. There will be other elimination games as the season goes on. The loser of the SEC title game is likely out – unless it is Alabama, and the loser of the ACC title game if it is a rematch between Notre Dame and Clemson. Basically, the Cougars need to have Power 5 teams with at least one loss, and that even includes the Pac-12, because an undefeated Oregon and USC would be in the conversation, even if they are only 7-0, they could still jump the Cougars.

While there are games that are beneficial to BYU, they also have some concerns of their own with just two games left in North Alabama and then San Diego State. The Cougars do have the best probability to go undefeated per ESPN’s FPI at 89 percent, but neither the Lions nor Aztecs provide much juice to move BYU up in the eyes of the committee.

BYU’s win over Boise State will go a long way to help the Cougars chances for a New Year’s Six or College Football Playoff, and that 51-17 victory is exactly what KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell said was needed.

“All that matters is perception. I mean, we’re talking how this is a big win for BYU, end of the discussion,” Mitchell said. “It’ll be a big win provided that it means something at the end of the year. So if BYU gets into the playoffs, they get into a New Year’s Six Bowl or they go undefeated this will have meaning. This is a meaningful game. You cannot apologize for the schedule BYU has. It’s been a tremendous job to get a schedule period with being an independent team and they have won decisively.”

The Boise State win will carry a lot of weight but it is the only game in which BYU will have played a ranked team and the Broncos carry a lot of respect, so beating them by 34 points is a big deal and could be a determining factor in their final ranking.

Could Utah Help BYU?

BYU is trying to add a team on November 28 and possibly a team that is ranked to boost the Cougars’ strength of schedule. The Cougars are going to need help and it could come from a team just up the road in Salt Lake City.

With this year being quite odd, how wild would it be if the Utes were to help the Cougars earn a spot into the College Football Playoff? Weirder things have happened in 2020.

Mitchell states the case for how Utah could help the Cougars get to the Playoff. It is quite simple and it requires the Utes to go out and win the Pac-12 which would include a win over USC – currently ranked 20 – and then beat an Oregon team that is currently 11.

“A crazy scenario. Ohio State beats Wisconsin they are out, Alabama, Ohio State. Florida gets beat by Alabama, they are out; Clemson and Notre Dame cancel each other out,” Mitchell said. “Oregon is the fourth team and they will play in the Pac-12 Championship game against Utah, and Utah will beat them. That is a real scenario.”

It would be quite ironic if Utah were to be the team to help BYU make the College Football Playoff by winning the Pac-12. The Utes would not be out in the cold because by winning the Pac-12 they would still go to a New Year’s Six bowl game, so a win-win for the Cougars and Utes.

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