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BYU 2023 Season Game By Game Predictions



LaVell Edwards Stadium
Credit: McCord Mecham

2022 Record: 8-5

A hot start with a disappointing final record. There were high hopes coming into the 2022 season for BYU after a promising showing in 2021 that included a top 10 ranking at one point and a 5-0 record against PAC 12 teams, including the eventual PAC 12 champions. BYU seemed to have started right where they left off with a 50-21 win over USF and then a big win at home over the 9th-ranked Baylor Bears. It went downhill from there. BYU went to Oregon and came out of there with a 41-20 loss and a lot of questions. BYU won their next two games against Wyoming and Utah State but in lackluster fashion with those games being a bit closer than they would like. Then BYU went on a four-game losing streak against Notre Dame, Arkansas, Liberty, and ECU. A lot of the blame for those losses was being put on the defensive coordinator, Ilaisa Tuiaki, whose "drop eight" defense had been called into question many times by BYU fans. In that four-game span, BYU gave up an average of 37 points per game. BYU then seemed to correct the ship a bit with a decent win against Boise and then carried that confidence to finish the season with a four-game winning streak, including a bowl win vs. SMU.


Sam Houston: W 48-10

Sam Houston, who is new to the FBS ranks, went 5-4 last season in the WAC. That being said, they are no slouch to sleep on. SHSU won the FCS national championship in 2020 and wants to prove they belong in the FBS. BYU fans still have large expectations for their team though and if BYU doesn't have a good showing against SHSU they could leave this game feeling like a loss even if they win. I think BYU comes out hot with a bit of a chip on their shoulder for not being higher in the Big 12 preseason rankings. They want to prove something, so expect them to blow out SHSU in game one.

Southern Utah: W 66-14

BYU has never lost to an FCS team and that streak will continue after this game, but in these FCS games, it is not only about getting a win but winning big and getting up early to get some younger players some game time. I think BYU does this and still dominates in the second half with their second and third-stringers.


At Arkansas: L 28-24

This was a rough one for BYU last year. Giving up over 600 yards to anyone makes it hard to win a game. I think this year's matchup will be a lot closer. Given the home-field advantage that Arkansas has, I still give the slight advantage to them.


At Kansas: W 35-28

BYU got a good matchup for their first Big 12 conference game, on the road in Kansas. Kansas coming off a wild year where they saw themselves ranked as high as 19th in the AP poll when they played TCU at home. It was all downhill from there and they only saw one more victory the rest of the season with another solid win over number 18 Oklahoma State. This will still be a solid Kansas team but with the excitement of BYU's first Big 12 game and that chip I mentioned before, I think BYU comes out of David Booth Memorial with a win.


Cincinnati: W 31-21

This will be the first Big 12 matchup with two of the newcomers going head-to-head. Cincinnati is going through a bit of a rebuilding phase right now as they transition into the Big 12. I think this is still a close game until late and then BYU will pull away.

At TCU (16): L 34-24

Even though TCU lost a lot of its production after its run to the national championship game last season, I still expect TCU to be one of the top teams in the Big 12 this season. I think TCU keeps a comfortable lead throughout the game, but it ends in a respectable 10-point loss for BYU.


Texas Tech (20): W 27-23

This one will probably surprise some people but here are my reasons for thinking BYU comes out of this game with a close victory. This is BYU's homecoming game, the energy that will be in LES is going to be electric. The ROC student section will be a factor in this game, just like they were last year against Baylor and in 2021 against Arizona State! If my other predictions are correct, then BYU will be only a two-loss team up to this point with those losses being against good teams. They will probably be on the verge of cracking the top 25 or maybe just fallen out with last week's loss to TCU. BYU seems to always have at least one decent upset each season. This should probably be a sellout for BYU at home and BYU has matched up well to similar teams in recent history. I think BYU controls the line of scrimmage and puts together one of their best overall team performances of the season to come away with a four-point victory for homecoming.

At Texas (10): L 40-28

This will be a fun game and if my predictions are correct, potentially a top 25 match up! BYU is 4-1 against the Longhorns, and the last time BYU visited DKR, they came out of there with a 41-7 victory. This came just a year after BYU dismantled the Texas defense in Provo in a 40-21 which contributed to Manny Diaz losing his defensive coordinator position at Texas. The one victory that Texas has over BYU was a one-point win in 2011 in a heavily defensive battle. I think this year Texas ends that streak and has a convincing victory over the Cougars. I think BYU will be coming off of a hard-fought victory the week before over Texas Tech with a high-emotion homecoming win and won't have enough to keep up with Texas this week.


At West Virginia: W 26-24

I haven't seen too many "experts" putting WVU very high on their lists this year. WVU is ranked 66th nationally in returning production from last year. But with both BYU and WVU having a tough slate of games coming into this game, both teams could be pretty beaten up and may be relying on some pretty deep bench players to keep them going. I think that no matter what previous records look like coming into this game it is going to be a close one with a slight edge to BYU who would potentially be in the hunt for the Big 12 championship game at this point with only 2 conference losses.


Iowa St: W 32-28

The challenge of a full P5 schedule starts to show in this game for BYU as their depth starts to become a factor. With this game being at home I still give the slight edge to BYU but some holes in the defense start to show and some young inexperienced players have to step up to help out.


Oklahoma: L 28-19

For the first time in over a decade, BYU is playing all P5 teams in November and again we are seeing the struggles of having enough depth for late-season victories. BYU will probably have a few key players out by this point and don't have enough to keep up with Oklahoma who have averaged 8th in the recruiting rankings over the last 5 years.


At Oklahoma St: L 24-14

BYU's depth again just can't keep up with Oklahoma State in this late-season matchup and BYU sits a few key players who have had nagging injuries for the past couple of weeks to let them rest up before the bowl game. Oklahoma State leaves Provo with the W.


2023 BYU Preseason Prediction: 7-5

Overall, I think this would be an incredible inaugural Big 12 season for BYU. BYU does usually have 1 or 2 nice upsets in their schedule each year, but with that, they also tend to have a couple of bad showings and get upset each year. I think the biggest challenge is going to be staying healthy late into the season. This is going to be a key factor for a while to come for BYU until their recruiting catches up with the rest of the Big 12.


Either way, I am excited to see how the Cougars do and can't wait for them to surprise some people early on! Go Cougs!

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