BYU Football Bowl Projections After Release Of First Playoff Rankings

Nov 3, 2021, 2:14 PM
Tyler Allgeier - BYU Football...
BYU football running back Tyler Allgeier against the UTSA Roadrunners during the 2020 season. (Photo courtesy of Nate Edwards, BYU)
(Photo courtesy of Nate Edwards, BYU)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football garnered some respect from the College Football Playoff Committee, landing at No. 15 in the first Playoff rankings of the 2021 season. But the question every Cougar fan is likely asking is, will it change the potential bowl options?

The short answer, no.

BYU is still slotted to play in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 18 against a team from Conference-USA. But, if the Cougars find a way to rise into the Top 12 of the Playoff rankings by season’s end, they’ll be in the at-large pool for a New Year’s Six game.

Due to the limited at-large spots this season, BYU will probably need to get into the Top 10 of the rankings to secure an at-large bid in the NY6. However, that’s a tall order considering BYU’s demanding schedule eases up significantly in the final month of the season.

Back in August, I mentioned the possibility of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Arizona. BYU has a clause in their ESPN contract that they could be an alternate for that game if the Big 12 or Big Ten cannot fill the spot. As of right now, both leagues are on pace to fill those bids.

The Independence Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. (MT) on network ABC.

Updated bowl projections for BYU Football

Here are the latest bowl projections for BYU football now that the first Playoff rankings are out.

Bowl Season: Independence Bowl vs. UTEP

The official Bowl Season organization is getting into the Bowl Projections mix now that the Playoff rankings are out. They have BYU facing an old WAC rival in UTEP. There’s no way to spin this projected game; a bowl pairing with UTEP would be a complete dud of a matchup for a nationally-ranked BYU team that could come into the postseason with ten wins.

ESPN: Independence Bowl vs. UTSA

Both Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach tab UTSA to play in Shreveport against BYU. If you’re going to play in the Independence Bowl, play the best team possible. UTSA is likely going to finish the season undefeated. At the end of the season, an undefeated Roadrunners squad probably finds a way to sneak into the Top 25.

With all these bowl games amounting to glorified exhibitions outside of the Playoff, a game against an undefeated team wouldn’t be a bad consolation. Kalani Sitake knows something about that from his playing days when the Cougars faced undefeated Tulane in 1998 then Marshall in 1999.

Yahoo!: Independence Bowl vs. UTSA

Another interesting note on UTSA; I asked BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki in August if his defense was up for the challenge to face a more rigid schedule that featured seven Power 5’s. He quickly pointed out that BYU’s defense in 2020 faced some good teams. The sixth-year defensive coordinator pointed to UTSA and said, “I felt like you could have put UCLA uniforms on them and you would have thought you were playing a Pac-12 team.”

BYU defeated UTSA last year 27-20.

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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