2017 was a bad year. No matter what happened against Utah State, 2017 was not going to be a year that Cougar fans would want to remember. However, it didn’t have to be miserable.
In 2017, the Cougars started off the year 1-3 with terrible losses to Utah, LSU and Wisconsin. In the Utah game Tanner Mangum was injured and backup Beau Hoge became the starter. While not great, Hoge was a formidable quarterback. Early in the game against Utah State, Hoge was injured and taken out for essentially the rest of the season.
When Hoge was taken out, the Cougars were actually leading 21-14 and it looked like Hoge was finally starting to calm down a bit. BYU likely would have won that game as well as East Carolina, UMass and perhaps even Fresno State with a healthy Beau Hoge. For a team that finished 4-9, even two of those four games mentioned being switched to a win would have made the Cougars bowl eligible.
To put that in perspective, had BYU been bowl eligible in 2017, they would be riding a 16 year bowl game streak which would be tied for fourth longest streak in the nation and 15th all time.