BYU’s No. 14 Ranking Causes Upheaval Among College Football Gurus, And For Good Reason

a blurry image of a person playing football: Dax Milne #5 of the BYU Cougars catches a pass and scores a touchdown in the first half against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on October 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

© Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Dax Milne #5 of the BYU Cougars catches a pass and scores a touchdown in the first half against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on October 16, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Brigham Young University decided a few years ago to go independent as a college football team, meaning they could play anyone, anywhere at anytime. It meant tough road games against great programs or home games against lesser-known up-and-comers.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things about college football. Some colleges decided to postpone their seasons until further notice, and independents like BYU, Notre Dame, Army, Navy, Liberty and others scrambled to find teams to play.

Notre Dame found a temporary home in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for a single season, and they have a full schedule of Power 5 teams. BYU, on the other hand, stayed independent, and had to schedule some lesser-known teams like UT-San Antonio and North Alabama. This was because teams from major conferences were forced to cancel all, or most, non-conference games.

BYU is 9-0 for the season and Notre Dame is 8-0. Notre Dame’s biggest win of the season was a 47-40 win at home against Clemson in double overtime. Clemson was without their top player—quarterback Trevor Lawrence. BYU’s biggest win was on the road at Boise State, 51-17.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is mentioned among Heisman Trophy favorites this season. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book is mentioned among Heisman contenders.

In the initial College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings Tuesday night, Notre Dame was listed at No. 2 by the CFP committee. BYU was ranked No. 14. There are eight teams ahead of BYU that have a

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ESPN Updates BYU’s College Football Playoff Odds

For a third consecutive week, BYU did not receive a lot of help from the teams ranked above them in the AP poll. Following yesterday’s games, ESPN updated BYU’s chances to make the College Football Playoff. BYU’s odds of making the College Football Playoff dropped from 25.1% to 14.1%.

What Hurt BYU’s CFP Odds on Saturday

Cincinnati beat UCF – This was the most important game for BYU yesterday. Cincinnati passed their most difficult test of the season winning a close game at UCF. The result of this game boosted Cincinnati’s playoff resume above BYU’s. Cincinnati’s chances to make the CFP improved from 12% one week ago to 35% according to ESPN’s playoff predictor.

Oregon & USC won – Oregon won a very close game against UCLA. USC beat Utah on the road.

What Helped BYU’s CFP Odds on Saturday

Indiana lost to Ohio State – BYU needed Ohio State to beat Indiana. The Hoosiers put together a late comeback but the Buckeyes held on to win 42-35.

Wisconsin lost to Northwestern – Wisconsin had a 55% chance to make the playoff before they lost to Northwestern. Now the Badgers have a 9% chance to make the CFP.

Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State – BYU needs to the Big 12 champion to have two losses. After the Sooners beat the Cowboys on Saturday, Iowa State is the only one-loss team remaining in the Big 12.

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