As the landscape of college football changes, maybe it’s time to question what a P5 is and how BYU Football matches up.
“Who have they played?” “They played nobody!” These are two common phrases that fans like to use against other teams being considered really good. Although one may assume this would be reserved for teams that play in the CUSA or MAC conferences, it has spread to the Big 12, ACC and Pac 12 as well. In fact, I’ve seen it in the Big 10 West as well.
So what makes a team as a team who has ‘played someone’? It appears that a team has to be in a very select group.
The SEC West and Big 10 East are filled with really good teams, but oftentimes a team can not be an elite team themselves and ‘play anyone’. For example, I’ve heard Alabama be told they didn’t play anyone when their schedule consisted of Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss State, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, New Mexico State, Duke and Western Carolina.
So if Alabama, who plays in the SEC is being told ‘they didn’t play anybody’ then who does play anyone? How many games does a team need to play against Top 15 teams to be considered a good schedule? The answer is shockingly small.
Essentially unless a team is in the SEC West and has to play either LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama, or two of those teams plus either Georgia or Florida or in the Big 10 East, teams must play Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State or play two of those teams plus either Wisconsin or Iowa, the answer is probably no.
Other than that, the odds of playing three Top 15 teams is really low, likely putting a team in the ‘haven’t played anyone’ category.
This begs the question, what is a “Power” team then? If we are saying that Virginia in the ACC plays nobody all season other than Clemson, then why are all the ACC teams considered ‘Power’ teams?
What about BYU Football? They are always told they play nobody despite in most seasons playing at least five P5 teams plus Boise State and normally another top level G5 team. Would BYU have to schedule Alabama, USC, Ohio State and Clemson all in the same season to be considered to have ‘played someone’?
Is it time we stop using the phrase? Because the way it is used now sounds a bit hypocritical. If Oklahoma arrives at the end of the season undefeated but is told they haven’t played anyone, then why is Kansas State a P5 team? Why are any of the Big 12 teams P5?
While I’m not calling for this, I’m going to throw out the idea that maybe it is time to completely change up the layout of college football. Make a conference, or a division where it is teams of ‘somebodies’. How that is created is anyone’s guess, but here are few ideas.
- Has a team played in a National Championship in the last 50 years?
- Has a team played in a bowl game XXX amount of times in the last 25 years?
- Has a team won or played in a Conference Championship game in the last ten years?
- Does the team have any major award winners (Heisman, Doak Walker)?
- Does the team fill up their stadium to capacity or close to it?
If a team can’t answer well to most if not all of these questions, can they really be considered a Power team? The questions set a pretty low bar, yet many P5 teams wouldn’t be able to clear it.
By my quick observation, the teams that would make it to the “Power” level would be drastically reduced. BYU Football would make it. So would teams like Arkansas and Georgia Tech, teams that have struggled in more recent years but are rich with history. However teams like Duke, Kansas State and Washington State would not be, and maybe they shouldn’t be.
Again, I’m not advocating for a complete upheaval of college football, but if there is a time to do it, it is now.