BYU Football was one injury away in 2019 from likely being a consistent Top 25 team.
Playing the “what if” game is very dangerous and more times than not is completely pointless. Fans often seem to remember a bunch of what ifs in relation to losing causes, but in the same thought process seem to forget the ‘what ifs’ in winning games. For example you won’t hear BYU fans talk much about “What if Mitch Matthews didn’t catch the hail mary against Nebraska?” while you will hear a lot of “What if Taysom Hill doesn’t go down in 2014?”
Regardless of how fair or unfair using the ‘what if’ game is, looking back the past few seasons since Ty Detmer left, the Cougars really are just one ‘what if’ from truly being a real Top 20 team.
What if Ty’Son Williams doesn’t go down?
In 2019 BYU Football started off their season 2-1 with big wins over Tennessee and USC. They later went on to finish the season 5-5 with four of those losses coming by less than one score. While Washington was a game that the Cougars were going to lose regardless of whether they had Ty’Son Williams, Jamaal Williams or Reggie Bush, the rest of the games BYU would have probably won.
Breaking down the stats, Williams averaged 5.4 yards per carry against P5 competition. Compare that to Lopini Katoa (4.2) and other running backs who averaged a combined 4.8 yards per carry against a mix of G5/P5 teams and it becomes clear that Williams could have been huge in losses to San Diego State, Hawaii, USF and Toledo.
It is reasonable to assume that Williams would have averaged well over 6.5 yards per carry against G5 teams which would have in almost all likelihood led to a few more scores. Would the Cougars have gone 4-0 in those G5 games? Perhaps not, but it is a reasonable assumption to think they could have gone at least 3-1.
At 10-3 BYU Football is likely ranked at the end of the season with some national respect coming into 2020, and now 2021.
Again, I hate playing the ‘what if’ game because I’m sure there were teams on BYU’s schedule that feel the same way. The only reason I felt this important to bring up is because this is a ‘what if’ that would have changed the perception of BYU Football for the past two and half years. This team is really good and Kalani Sitake and the rest of the coaching staff and players deserve that recognition. Watch out for BYU Football this year, because if they stay healthy and do what they’ve done the past two years, this team is going to win a bunch of games.