USA Today released their “Post Spring” rankings and BYU Football cracked their top ten.
Typically, it is very difficult for a G5 team to crack the Top 25 in the first AP poll of the season. Call it what you will (protecting the P5, building barriers for the G5), the bottom line is it is very rare to see a team not considered a blue blood in the top 15 or even top 25 to start off the season.
While it may be an outside shot, BYU Football may defy all odds.
On Tuesday, USA Today released their Post Spring Top 25 and the Cougars came in at No. 9. To defend their ranking they released the following:
“…Even with the returning production, BYU Football is not getting a ton of love nationally but this has the makings of team that can deal with a tough schedule (Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, Arkansas) and make a run for the playoff or New Year’s Six game if they avoid major injuries.”
The number nine ranking comes higher than many of the other projections including ESPN (19th), Fox Sports (16th) and Yahoo (15th). The common theme seems to be that most projections are pretty high on BYU. Despite this, it seems as though many fans are still cautious about how good the Cougars can really be.
The bottom line however is that BYU has an opportunity.
Whether or not the Cougars end up being a Top 15 again or not, it is appearing that they will have the chance to certainly be in a NY6 game and possibly in the College Football Playoff. With five P5 games including against Baylor, Notre Dame and Arkansas, the Cougars certainly will have plenty of chances to pick up a big win that can propel them into the Top 10.
You may be asking, what does that have to do with a preseason rank? While I hate preseason rankings, they do build different paths of least resistance for teams. For example, last season BYU started off the season beating three P5 teams and found themselves ranked 15th. If they were to already start off the season ranked, that ranking may have been in the top eight, despite having the same results.
From there, you can see that BYU’s path to a NY6 would have been much easier. As another example later in the season, if BYU were ranked No. 6 when they lost to Boise State and then Baylor, they may have fallen to No. 20-25 as opposed to out of the Top 25 completely. I truly believe that if BYU were still ranked after the Baylor game, they certainly would have made the College Football Playoff.
And yes, I know the committee makes the CFP rankings, but whether they admit it or not, the AP poll does heavily influence their decisions.
Last season two losses was enough to have the Cougars just on the outside of the Top 12 (NY6), but if the cards fall right, BYU could have two losses again and find themselves on the right side of the bubble this year.
Obviously things don’t always pan out how they appear, but it really looks like BYU will face four top 15 teams, which may be more than any other team in the country. Going 2-2 in these games certainly would build the resume to be in the Top12.