BYU Football: BYU’s fate will be decided today

Nov 6, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Jackson McChesney (21) runs the ball against Idaho State Bengals cornerback Jihad Brown (21) in the fourth quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

BYU Football will likely beat Georgia Southern, but the Cougars’ postseason fate lies in the hands of other teams.

Last week BYU Football received no favors in their hopes for making a New Year Six Bowl. It seemed that every single game that could have gone in BYU’s way didn’t. If that happens again this week, it is game over.

As things currently stand, BYU would be the fifth at-large team with only two open spots. Michigan State, Notre Dame, Baylor and Oklahoma are all ahead of BYU, however, it is unlikely that both Baylor and Oklahoma will be in that position later in the season. It is also quite possible that a third at-large spot would open up in Cincinnati makes it into the College Football Playoff.

With only Georgia Southern and USC left on the schedule, there is very little that BYU can do to “jump” a team in the rankings without them first losing. That means BYU needs help, and quite a bit of it.

While there certainly are some games next week that can help BYU, a bulk of the help will need to happen today in the following games.

  • (3) Oregon vs (23) Utah – If Oregon loses this game, they will certainly fall out of the Top 4 for the rest of the season. Regardless of what happens then, it is unlikely that the Pac 12 will get two teams in the NY6 since it would either be a three loss Oregon or Utah. This also would open up a spot for Cincinnati to make it into the Top 4 and open up that third at-large.
  • (7) Michigan State vs (4) Ohio State – Ohio State needs to blow out Michigan State. The committee has already shown they don’t appear to be sold on the Spartans. If a few other games go BYU’s favor and the Spartans drop to the No. 11/12 spot, maybe just maybe the Cougars would be able to jump MSU the following week if they are more impressive vs USC than Mich State is against Penn State, or better a loss.
  • (11) Baylor vs Kansas State – Technically Baylor could still make it to the Big 12 Championship game, but if they don’t Kansas State is the only real obstacle they have remaining on their schedule. A third loss would drop them below BYU in the rankings permanently.
  • Iowa State vs (13) Oklahoma – This game is essentially the same as Baylor vs Kansas State, except that Oklahoma still has Oklahoma State looming next week. From an optics standpoint however, it would be nice for the Cougars to pass the Sooners in the rankings.
  • (10) Wake Forest vs Clemson – Speaking of optics, even though the ACC will have only representative from the conference in the NY6 it would be nice for the Cougars to pass the Demon Deacons this weekend.
    • Note on optics: Going back to the Michigan State situation. If Wake Forest and Oklahoma both lost this weekend, BYU would jump up two spots. Although still an outside shot, next week if No. 11 Michigan State beat Penn State 21-20 and No. 12 BYU beat USC 42-14, maybe just maybe the Cougars would swap places with the Spartans in the final rankings. If BYU is No. 13 however and Oklahoma/Wake Forest lose next week, the Cougars won’t jump MSU (or any other team in that scenario).

While there are of course other games that could help BYU Football with their rankings, theses are the five that are most important while also being most helpful. For example, Ole Miss isn’t losing to Vanderbilt, so there is no reason to spend time worrying about it.

BYU’s chances at making a NY6 don’t require all five of those results happening, however at least three, and quite honestly probably four of these games need to go in BYU’s favor for this to even be a discussion next week .

Of course all of this will be a mute point if the Cougars don’t go and take care of care of Georgia Southern. A win just won’t be enough at this point in the season, the Cougars need to win by at least three scores.