How BYU Football Has Fared When Ranked In Preseason AP Top 25

Aug 15, 2022, 10:16 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm

BYU Football, AP Top 25, Aaron Roderick...

The 2022 BYU football team is the 12th Cougar team to be ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. Others like 1997 have struggled to handle expectations. (Chuck Wing, Deseret News)

(Chuck Wing, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is once again a preseason AP Top 25 team.

For the first time since 2009, BYU cracked into the rankings entering a college football season. They check in at No. 25 on the 2022 preseason poll. A preseason ranking hasn’t been next to BYU’s name in week one of any season in the Independence and Kalani Sitake eras.

It’s a big deal.

Remember that when the College Football Playoff committee releases their rankings in November, they don’t factor in the AP or Coaches Polls. But, the narratives and perceptions around teams ranked in the Top 25 help the cause for something more significant in a given year.

On the flip side, you don’t want to be a team deemed a bust and couldn’t live up to the preseason hype.

The 2022 BYU football team is the 12th squad in BYU’s history to earn a preseason AP Top 25 ranking.

Only two of the last 11 BYU teams to receive a preseason ranking finished the season with a higher ranking than where they started.

Here’s a look back at the previous 11 BYU teams that entered a season ranked. And ultimately, how they finished.

2009: Preseason ranking – No. 20

Finished 11-2 overall and No. 12 in the final AP Top 25

Led by Max Hall, Harvey Unga, and Dennis Pitta, BYU knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma in the first game at Cowboys Stadium (Jerry’s World).

They also had wins over ranked Utah and Oregon State squads.

2008: Preseason ranking – No. 16

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 25 in the final AP Top 25

The “Quest for Perfection” season. After a pair of top 25 finishes in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, BYU was the preseason darling to bust the BCS and go undefeated.

The hype and expectations got to them. They still finished with ten wins, but it was a far cry from where they had hoped to be. Of course, it also didn’t help that rival Utah was the one who finished undefeated and went to the Sugar Bowl.

1997: Preseason ranking – No. 19

Finished 6-5 overall and unranked in the final AP Top 25

After the glow of the No. 5 finish in the 1996 season. The voters gave an inexperienced BYU team the benefit of the doubt and still ranked them No. 19.

They quickly learned they weren’t ready for that ranking as No. 4 Washington crushed them 42-20 in Provo.

1993: Preseason ranking – No. 19

Finished 6-6 overall and unranked in the final AP Top 25

BYU started the season 4-0, all of their victories coming against WAC opponents. Then the wheels came off during a trip to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA.

The Bruins whacked BYU 68-14 in Pasadena. Unfortunately for this squad, the eye-popping score totals for the opponents continued. The 1993 team allowed 37 points per game.

1992: Preseason ranking – No. 25

Finished 8-5 overall and unranked in the final AP Top 25

BYU started the season 1-3 and was entirely out of the national conversation for the remainder of the year.

1991: Preseason ranking – No. 19

Finished 8-3-2 overall and No. 23 in the final AP Top 25

Ty Detmer’s senior year and the season he tried to win a second Heisman Trophy. The schedule was a gauntlet as BYU opened with nationally-ranked Florida State, UCLA, and Penn State, all away from Provo.

They started 0-3 but then worked their way back into the polls by not losing another game.

1990: Preseason ranking – No. 16

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 22 in the final AP Top 25

The preseason buildup for BYU versus No. 1 Miami was out of this world. BYU got the upper hand pulling off the greatest win in program history.

BYU climbed to No. 4 in the AP Top 25 twice. Entering the Hawaii game, BYU had an outside chance at contending for the National Championship. But losses to Hawaii and Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl sent BYU tumbling down the final rankings.

1989: Preseason ranking – No. 19

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 22 in the final AP Top 25

Ty Detmer’s sophomore year. The nation was already aware of how prolific Detmer was becoming in LaVell Edwards’ passing attack.

BYU was ranked in all but three games in the ’89 season.

1986: Preseason ranking – No. 18

Finished 8-5 overall and unranked in the final AP Top 25

Here’s a strange thought, the 1986 season ended with BYU not winning the WAC Championship. Can you imagine if there were social media back then? The uproar would have been unreal.

1985: Preseason ranking – No. 10

Finished 11-3 overall and ranked No. 16 in the final AP Top 25

The year after the National Championship, BYU football was ranked throughout the 1985 season. A shocking loss at UTEP prevented BYU from potentially making another run at the title.

1981: Preseason ranking – No. 16

Finished 11-2 overall and ranked No. 13 in the final AP Top 25

It was quite the accomplishment for BYU to earn a preseason ranking in 1981. The ranking came less than ten years after LaVell Edwards inherited a BYU program mired in mediocrity. He was turning them into a juggernaut.

Jim McMahon led BYU to an 11-2 season and a second-consecutive year capped off with a Holiday Bowl victory.

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

Cougar Tracks

BYU Football, Zach Wilson, Kalani Sitake, Signing Day...

Mitch Harper

Ranking BYU Football’s Best Players To Sign During The Kalani Sitake Era

The best players to sign with BYU football for Kalani Sitake from high school and the Transfer Portal.

14 days ago

Foster Pavilion, Baylor Bears, BYU Basketball, Big 12...

Mitch Harper

Foster Pavilion Was Great Stage For BYU’s First Big 12 Road Game

Baylor's new $212 million home was a great setting for a Big 12 basketball game.

1 month ago

BYU Football, 12-Team Playoff, LJ Martin...

Mitch Harper

Three Things BYU Football Needs To One Day Reach 12-Team Playoff

The 12-team Playoff is coming in college football. What does BYU need to do to one day play in the bracket?

1 month ago

Big 12 Basketball, BYU, Dallin Hall...

Mitch Harper

How Will BYU Basketball Fare In Big 12? Projecting 2024 Order Of Finish

Where will BYU finish in their first season of Big 12 Conference play? Time to make predictions.

2 months ago

BYU Basketball, Mark Pope, Big 12...

Mitch Harper

Mark Pope Lays Out BYU’s Expectations For Inaugural Big 12 Schedule

Big 12 play has arrived for No. 12 BYU Basketball. Mark Pope shares his expectations for conference play.

2 months ago

BYU Basketball, Trevin Knell, Three-Point Shooting...

Mitch Harper

What We Learned About BYU Basketball During Nonconference Play

BYU basketball turns its attention to Big 12 play. But first we take a step back at look at what we learned about the Cougars in nonconference.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

How BYU Football Has Fared When Ranked In Preseason AP Top 25