PROVO – After passing its toughest test of the 2020 season to date, BYU football held its place among the nation’s best teams on Sunday morning.
Cougars came two spots up to a No. 11 draw in the latest edition of the USA Today Coaches poll and climbed two more spots to No. 12 in the recent Associated Press Top 25. That puts Cougars right behind Miami (Fla.) And straight ahead of North Carolina after Tar Heels ‘first loss of the year to unranked Florida State in the coaches’ vote.
The AP poll rankings remain the highest for BYU since climbing up to No. 7 in 2009 before finishing at No. 12 nationally.
BYU also ranks sixth in Jeff Sagarin’s ratings with a score of 94.86 and follows only Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Georgia in the largely computer-based metric.
That BYU, who fought to beat Houston 43-26 on Friday night, is ranked among the top 1
Others on this list include top-ranked Clemson, who rolled Georgia Tech 73-7 Saturday; Alabama, the SEC power that selected Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett three times en route to a 41-24 victory over the Bulldogs; Coast Carolina, the 4-0 Sun Belt team that won its first game ever as an FBS program against a ranked opponent with a 30-27 victory over No. 21 Louisiana; and Liberty, the fellow FBS Independent who drove past the ACC program Syracuse 38-21 Saturday at the Carrier Dome to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the Flames was an FCS Big South program in 2008.
Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgia and Ohio State mark the top five in the AP poll. The Bulldogs (3-1) are the highest-ranked team with one loss after Saturday’s defeat to Alabama. The Cougars jumped ahead of No. 13 Oregon for the first time since the AP began allowing teams to vote at Pac-12 schools whose seasons have not begun.
Utah received 36 votes, nine rankings outside the Top 25 and just behind undefeated Liberty.
With arguably the toughest test behind it – and certainly the toughest matchup until a Nov. 7 car ride to Boise State – BYU’s key focus now remains on keeping the current schedule ahead of them. Prior to that date with the Broncos, the Cougars have homemade Saturday against Texas State and a first-time matchup with Western Kentucky on Halloween night.
How do they stay focused on the Bobcats, who are only 1-5 after a 30-20 loss to Sun Belt division rival South Alabama, and the Hilltoppers, who fell to 1-4 after being blitzed by UAB 37-14? BYU receiver Dax Milne gave some insight after the big win over Houston.
“It’s fun to win every week,” Milne said. “We celebrate it all weekend, talk about it on Monday, and then it’s over. We know we’re a good team, and if we minimize mistakes, we can play with someone.”
If BYU stays focused, it should take a 7-0 record in Blue Turf. It would top the 6-0 start in 2008 as Max Hall and the Cougars suffered their fist loss of the season in a 32-7 blowout at No. 9 TCU. BYU finished 10-3 that season, adding losses to rival Utah and losses to Arizona in Las Vegas, which pretty much marked the norm for the Cougars through their six 5-0 starts in program history.
Of course, one of these finishes stands out from the others:
- 2001: After a 12-0 start and rising as high as No. 9 in the AP poll, BYU of Hawaii lost 72-45 ahead of a 28-10 loss to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl in Gary Crowton’s first year as head coach. The Cougars finished the season as No. 25 by the AP.
- 1984: The best case scenario, BYU rolled to a 13-0 record that included an 8-0 record at the Western Athletic Conference, finishing as No. 1 by the AP and coaches with a 24-17 victory over Michigan in the Holiday Bowl for the program’s solitary national championship.
- 1981: BYU finished 11-2 with a 7-1 record in the WAC before a 38-36 victory over No. 20 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. The Cougars finished No. 13 by the AP and No. 11 by buses.
- 1979: BYU collected an 11-0 regular season record that included a 7-0 mark in the WAC game before losing to No. 9 Indiana, 38-37 in the Holiday Bowl. The Cougars finished the season ranked No. 13 by the AP, No. 12 by the coaches.
This BYU team ranks among the more complete in the nation, at least statistically. The Cougars rank among the most complete teams in the country, at least statistically. BYU ranks sixth in total offense, averaging 541.0 yards per carry. Match with 43.6 points and just outside the top-10 in the total defense with 288.0 yards allowed per.
Individually, quarterback Zach Wilson’s star is shining brightly – and he is even mentioned as a potential NFL draft. The junior, who was ready for Corner Canyon, is in third place with 1,641 passing yards, tied for fourth with five touchdowns and eighth overall averaging 348.2 yards per game. Match. He also ranked number two nationally with 110 points responsible for before Saturday’s slate of play.
If the Cougars continue to play as they have been, he will also see many more scores.
In the air
Nr. 12 BYU (5-0) vs. Texas State (1-5)
Kickoff: Saturday 24 October at 20:15 MT
Radio: BYU Radio, KSL Radio
Series: First meeting
More stories you might be interested in