COUGAR TRACKS

Game-by-Game Predictions For 2022 BYU Football Season

Sep 1, 2022, 7:00 PM
BYU Football, Kalani Sitake...
Making game-by-game predictions for BYU football in the 2022 season. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, UtahΒ – BYU football is about to conclude its Independence era this fall. The 2022 season marks BYU’s final year as an FBS Independent before becoming a member of the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

BYU’s last Independent schedule features five games against teams from power conferences. They open the season this Saturday at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Game-by-Game predictions for BYU football in 2022

So it’s only fitting that we dive deeply into the game-by-game predictions for BYU as the season starts. Here are my picks for each BYU game this fall.

Sept. 3: at USF Bulls

Location: Raymond James Stadium

TV: ESPNU

The season opener for BYU football is against the USF Bulls from the AAC. USF is led by head coach Jeff Scott, who enters his third year at the helm. Scott has only won three games at USF, so he made a significant push to pull players out of the transfer portal to overhaul his roster.

BYU’s last football game was against UAB in the Independence Bowl, where BYU played down to their opposition and lost. However, USF has a roster capable of competing against quality teams, which was something that the Bulls couldn’t say the past two years.

But this BYU is one of the most experienced teams in college football, and they don’t have a glaring weakness on offense.

There’s a chance that USF keeps this game closer than people would think it will be, but BYU ultimately stays in control of this game and comes away with a victory.

BYU 31, USF 20

Sept. 10: Baylor Bears

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV: ESPN

BYU versus Baylor will be a late-night Big 12 preview to open up the Cougars home schedule in 2022. This matchup is a revenge game opportunity for the Cougars. Last season, BYU was physically dominated by Baylor in Waco, a game that the Cougars lost by two touchdowns.

It wasn’t a bad loss for BYU, as the Bears went on to finish No. 5 in the final poll and win the Big 12 Championship, but it was a game that showed how far BYU has to improve if they want to go in the upper crust of the Big 12 when they join next year.

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen won the starting QB job in the spring. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being one of the best quarterbacks in the league this season.

With Utah off the schedule this year, Baylor seems to be a game that players are circling this year as the must-win game. I expect BYU to find a way to squeak out a victory in what should be a physical football game.

BYU 27, Baylor 24

Sept. 17: at Oregon Ducks

Location: Autzen Stadium

TV: FOX

BYU hasn’t played in Eugene since 1990. That was in Ty Detmer’s Heisman Trophy-winning season. Oregon upset the Cougars when they were ranked No. 4 nationally. BYU will look to deliver a similar outcome to the Ducks, who should be nationally ranked in the week three tilt.

Oregon has a star-studded defense with Orem High standout Noah Sewell leading the way. But, like Detmer’s team in 1990, BYU goes into Autzen and comes out with a loss. Oregon has won 28 consecutive non-conference games at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon 31, BYU 23

Sept. 24: Wyoming Cowboys

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV: TBD

An old WAC/MWC rivalry renews for the first regular season meeting since 2010 when Wyoming rolls into Provo.

Wyoming was one of the hardest hit programs in the transfer portal this off-season. The Pokes lost their starting quarterback, key wide receivers, and other notable personnel.

Wyoming coach Craig Bohl will get the most out of his team, but BYU won’t break a sweat with this one.

BYU 41, Wyoming 21

Sept. 29: Utah State Aggies

Location: Lavell Edwards Stadium

TV: ESPN

The last “Battle for the Wagon Wheel” game for the foreseeable future will take place on a Thursday night, two days before Latter-day Saint General Conference. BYU/Utah State is coming to a halt due to BYU’s move to the Big 12 Conference.

Utah State has one of the top players in the state with quarterback Logan Bonner, but they lose a ton of production in other key areas.

BYU gets their third consecutive victory against the in-state rival. But don’t be surprised if Utah State puts up some points in this game. They have a capable offense of putting up big numbers.

BYU 44, Utah State 35

Oct. 8: vs. Notre Dame

Location: Allegiant Stadium

TV: KSL 5

After years of waiting, BYU finally gets another game against the Irish. It’s not a game in Provo, which is what BYU likely wanted. Instead, it’s in Vegas, and it’s considered a Notre Dame home game. That’s not the ideal outcome. But the alternative for BYU was not to play the game at all.

BYU gets a chance to play a Notre Dame team that enters the season No. 5 in the preseason Top 25 poll. Is that too high for a team coached by a first-year head coach? Maybe. But the Irish still have elite talent in the trenches that will test BYU.

Because of Notre Dame’s talent in the trenches, I’ll give a slight edge to the Irish.

Notre Dame 26, BYU 17

Oct. 15: Arkansas Razorbacks

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV: TBD

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has been a perfect fit with the Razorbacks program. The third-year head coach has brought a toughness to Fayetteville that was lacking significantly under previous coach Chad Morris. As a result, Pittman now has people believing Arkansas could be one of the top teams in the SEC West.

It’s not often SEC teams come out to Provo. Arkansas is only the second SEC program to travel to Provo. The other is Mississippi State. Six years ago, Mississippi State visited and took a midseason loss to the Cougars.

I’m calling for a similar outcome for BYU to take down the Hogs.

BYU 24, Arkansas 21

Oct. 22 at Liberty Flames

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

TV: TBD

The game that will have BYU fans saying, “why on earth is BYU playing there?” It happens every year with Independence. Liberty is that game in 2022. Maybe the storyline could be another game against former Utah quarterback Charlie Brewer.

Liberty is a solid football program under head coach Hugh Freeze, but BYU will hold them off.

BYU 35, Liberty 24

Oct. 28: East Carolina Pirates

Location: Lavell Edwards Stadium

TV: ESPN2

One of the worst losses in BYU football history happened five years ago at East Carolina. BYU took an L against an ECU team that was the nation’s worst defense. Despite the Pirates’ futility on defense, BYU could still only muster up 17 points.

Both programs have made many improvements over the last five years, but ECU’s rebuild has been a longer process. BYU comes away with revenge and a blowout win.

BYU 35, ECU 20

Nov. 5: at Boise State Broncos

Location: Albertsons Stadium

TV: FOX Networks

When they take on Boise State this November, revenge will be on BYU’s mind. Last year, when BYU was undefeated and ranked No. 10 in the country, Boise State rolled into Provo and defeated BYU 26-17. Much of that was aided by back-to-back fumbles that each led to points for the Broncos.

Like the Utah State series, BYU’s annual matchups with Boise will end after this year due to the Big 12 move.

Boise is going to be motivated to send BYU out with another loss. At the same time, BYU will be looking for its second-straight victory on the blue turf (a blowout win in 2020).

I’ll give a slight edge to the Broncos, as they should have a bounceback year this season.

Boise State 28, BYU 27

Nov. 19: Utah Tech Trail Blazers

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV: BYUtv

The first meeting between BYU football and in-state foe Utah Tech, formerly known as Dixie State, will go how most BYU versus FCS games go, an opportunity for players you’ve never heard of to play.

BYU 63, Utah Tech 6

Nov. 26: at Stanford Cardinal

I wouldn’t be surprised if Stanford were better than they were last season. But “a lot better” might simply be getting to bowl eligible. Stanford was bad last season, and during their seven-game losing streak, it looked like they had given up on the season altogether. The offense reminded people of Buddy Teevens Stanford teams instead of the ones that brought the Cardinal to national prominence in the Jim Harbaugh era and early years of David Shaw.

They will be improved, but still not good enough to beat BYU.

BYU 30, Stanford 27

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

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