Richard Shiro/Associated Press
It’s been a historic 2020 season for Coastal Carolina. After becoming an FBS program when they joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2017, the Chanticleers had three straight losing seasons, never finishing better than 5-7 (which they did in 2018 and 2019).
This season, though, the team has not only already secured a winning record, but it’s also looking to go undefeated. But first, it will make more history on Saturday.
For the first time in school history, it will be the host of ESPN’s College GameDay, the popular weekly college football kickoff show that sets the stage for the day’s action.
College GameDay will begin at 9 a.m. ET at Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C.
Originally, Coastal Carolina was set to host Liberty on Saturday afternoon, but that matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns within the Flames’ program. The Chanticleers are now set to host BYU in a matchup that was made official on Thursday and could lead to one of these teams getting an opportunity to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Here’s the full Top 25 schedule for this week, along with picks for each game, followed by a closer look at this spontaneous BYU-Coastal Carolina matchup that could be the most exciting game of the day.
Week 14 Top 25 Schedule, Predictions
Friday, Dec. 4
No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette at Appalachian State, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Saturday, Dec. 5
No. 4 Ohio State at Michigan State, noon ET, ABC
No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn, noon ET, ESPN
No. 15 Oklahoma State at TCU, noon ET, ESPN2
Western Carolina at No. 17 North Carolina, noon ET, ACC Network
Rice at No. 21 Marshall, noon ET, ESPN+
Syracuse at No. 2 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
No. 6 Florida at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
West Virginia at No. 9 Iowa State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 12 Indiana at No. 16 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
No. 19 Iowa at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
No. 24 Tulsa at Navy, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Vanderbilt at No. 8 Georgia, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Stanford at No. 22 Washington, 4 p.m. ET, Fox
No. 13 BYU at No. 18 Coastal Carolina, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
No. 23 Oregon at California, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 3 Clemson at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
No. 1 Alabama at LSU, 8 p.m. ET, CBS
No. 10 Miami at Duke, 8 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Baylor at No. 11 Oklahoma, 8 p.m. ET, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 6
Washington State at No. 20 USC, 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Picks in bold.
BYU-Coastal Carolina Preview, Prediction
By agreeing to travel across the country to Coastal Carolina, BYU is putting its undefeated season on the line.
The Cougars weren’t scheduled to play again until Dec. 12, when they’re likely to earn a home win over San Diego State. Now, they have an extra game against one of the top surprise teams in all of college football.
However, BYU could also hand Coastal Carolina its first (and maybe only) loss of the season. Like the Cougars, the Chanticleers are nationally ranked and own a perfect 9-0 record.
It’s been exciting to watch both of these teams get to this point with unblemished marks.
BYU, which is at No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings, has routed most of its opponents. Its closest game thus far was a 27-20 home win over UTSA on Oct. 10. The rest of its victories have been by 17 points or more, with its most impressive win being a 51-17 triumph at Boise State on Nov. 6.
A big reason for BYU’s success has been the play of junior quarterback Zach Wilson. He’s passed for 2,724 yards, 26 touchdowns and two interceptions while also rushing for 191 yards and eight scores. The Cougars’ offense ranks fifth in the nation with 535.8 total yards per game.
Wilson could end up among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy, and he’ll have a chance to strengthen his case against a Coastal Carolina that ranks 15th in the country (and second in the Sun Belt) with only 322.2 total yards allowed per game.
The Chanticleers are at No. 18 in the CFP rankings, and they’ve won seven of their nine games by 14 or more points. Their other two victories came against strong competition—a 30-27 win at No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 14 and a 34-23 victory over Appalachian State on Nov. 21.
Coastal Carolina has already secured a spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game on Dec. 19, in which it will have a rematch with Louisiana-Lafayette. But will the Chanticleers still be undefeated by that point, or will the Cougars be too much of a challenge to overcome this weekend?
It should be a more competitive game than most that BYU and Coastal Carolina have each played this season. So, don’t be surprised if both teams have bright spots before the game comes down to a close finish.
However, BYU’s high-powered offense is going to be too tough to stop late, as Wilson will lead the Cougars on a late scoring drive that helps them secure the win and improve to 10-0. But even if Coastal Carolina loses, it’s still been an impressive season for a team that should get back on track in the following weeks.
Prediction: BYU 31, Coastal Carolina 28