BYU Football appears to be the underdog in most big games this season, again.
You would think that a team that just sent 13 players to the NFL and finished 11-1 in 2020 would merit respect.
You would think.
As preseason betting lines are coming in, it appears that BYU Football is still in the same boat that they have been in since going Independent. Underdogs and irreverent. Depending on the website or betting lines you look at, it appears that BYU is an underdog against Utah, Arizona State, Baylor, USC, Virginia, and possibly even Boise State.
In other words, in games against P5/G5, BYU is expected to be in the 2-6 or 3-5 range.
Obviously as fans we shouldn’t be expecting the Cougars to match their success that they had this past year. Losing a second overall NFL Draft pick and 12 other starters to the NFL will do that. But to say that BYU will probably only win 25% of their big games feels sort of like a slap in the face to the coaching staff, the team and the organization as a whole.
Even in an average year, BYU normally wins about 40% of the big games (P5/Boise State). And in case you haven’t noticed, most of those games are against the top 2-3 teams in their conferences (Utah, Wisconsin, USC, Washington, Texas to name a few).
This year, BYU Football plays middle of the pack or worse teams for the most part. Virginia, Baylor, Washington State, and Arizona are just a few. Boise State, who has struggled the last two years against BYU is bringing in a new coach. Even Utah is expected to finish in the middle of Pac 12. The only really good team that is expected to finish ranked this season that the Cougars play all year is Arizona State.
In a normal year, I would say that the Cougars would go 4-4 or 5-3 against this level of competition. With all the offensive weapons the Cougars return, I am calling 5-3 or 6-2 right now. Am I saying that a partial fan? Maybe, but regardless, I would never have a team that just finished 11-1 with an average winning margin above 20 points projected to win 25% of their big games.
Honestly, lines or underdogs shouldn’t matter, it’s all about what happens on the field. What frustrates me is the disrespect that these national brands are giving BYU and the doubt that they have in Kalani Sitake and the other coaches to build a winning brand.
This year is going to be a statement year. Is BYU back? Was last year a fluke? Can the Cougars compete at the P5 level? Can they only be a bottom dweller? Vegas seems to think that latter, and that needs to change.