On paper it seems like a surprise that Baylor is one of two games that BYU is actually favored to lose in 2021 according to ESPN FPI, but when we look at things closer it actually makes a lot of sense.
First, the Cougars will be traveling for really the first time all season into a hostile environment. With Utah, South Florida and Boise State all at home, Arizona in Las Vegas, and likely a relatively empty stadium at Utah State the Cougars will not face loud opposing fans until they arrive in Waco.
Statistically, this should be a really good matchup. Baylor is coming off a 2-7 season last year, but they are expected to be a lot better this year with 10 out of 11 defensive starters coming back. Last year the Baylor defense held Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas to 27 points which while not elite shows that even with decent progression, this defense could be one of the few teams to hold BYU under 30 points.
I give the advantage to BYU’s defense though in this game as they have practiced against what likely will be the Baylor offense for the past three seasons. Even though Jeff Grimes will probably help the coaches in preparing for the Roderick offense (that was run a few times last season) the defense hasn’t practiced against that, so BYU has the edge.