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What Would it Take for BYU to be BIG 12 Title Contenders This Year?

video board at LES
Credit: McCord Mecham

To begin the season ESPN gave BYU a 0% chance to win the BIG 12 championship. They were only favored in 3 of their games, and severe underdogs in a handful. Now, three weeks into the season, how have things changed? ESPN's FPI doesn't update each week but our feelings do, and my feelings say BYU has more than a 0% chance to win the conference. It may be 0.1% but I'm still saying there's a chance.

Let's break it down, what would it take for BYU to pull it off?

So far, a lot would have to happen but it's not technically out of the question yet. 3-1 heading into their BIG 12 home opener, with a good win over a decent SEC opponent. I know a lot of people right now are asking, "What is wrong with Arkansas?" instead of, "Is BYU better than we thought?" but from my totally biased opinion, I do think it should be more of the latter.

BYU needs to control what they can control and just win. According to ESPN's matchup predictor, this week against Cincinnati is basically a toss-up, with Cincinnati favored 57.2%. If BYU can get past this "toss-up" game with a win, then they'll be heading to Fort Worth, Texas for arguably their toughest challenge yet when they face TCU. TCU has a 79.9% chance in that matchup, which was similar to the chance Arkansas had against BYU two weeks ago. Right now, all we have to judge these matchups off of are, who has played who, and how did they do? TCU's loss to Colorado is looking not that great so far with Colorado struggling against CSU and getting blown out by Oregon. Either way, if TCU is actually not as good as we are thinking, or they are but BYU can squeeze another big win out, then Texas Tech is looking more and more winnable as time goes on.

If somehow BYU can do this, they will be going into Texas 7-1, ranked in the top 25, Texas would most likely still be undefeated, and we'd be having College Gameday in Austin for week 8. I don't think BYU would have to win this game to still be a contender for the championship this year so let's throw in a tiny bit of realism here and say BYU loses this one in a close game. Like Wyoming did.

BYU then will be going to WVU, whose loss versus Penn State isn't looking like that bad of a loss. Penn State is really good this year, shocker I know. At this point though, if BYU is 7-1 then we will have all admitted that BYU was way better than we thought and hopefully shouldn't struggle against WVU, even in Morgantown. Then we would have Iowa State at home which is the only other game that BYU is currently favored to win the rest of the year.

BYU gets by Iowa St easily and has Oklahoma at home. Again, IF the Cougars are the only two-loss team at this point, then we severely underrated them and this should be a good tight matchup. This is the second to last game of the season for BYU and we should be seeing the championship race playing out. Oklahoma and BYU would both be vying for a spot in the title game, probably against Texas. For BYU to be a contender in this scenario, BYU must win this game.

We are most likely going to see some sort of pods, or divisions in the BIG 12 starting next season but this year we don't. It is the true, top two teams that make the title game. The argument can be made that just being a "contender" would be, being in the talks of potentially making the title game that late in the season. So technically at that point, BYU would have accomplished the goal of being "contenders" but, for BYU to actually make the game, they would have to then go to Oklahoma State and win there as well. Which, if BYU has done all of this up to this point, shouldn't be too big of an issue. We would also have to see Oklahoma lose to another BIG 12 team besides BYU. BYU would also have to figure out their running game which posted a dismal 9 yards against Kansas. A one-dimensional BYU team will not do all of this. But, it's fun to dream right?

BYU would then be in a rematch against Texas for the BIG 12 championship! Easy right?

This would be amazing for us BYU fans and a mind-blowing season! I would spend way too much money going to the BIG 12 championship game and have to explain to my wife why our kids can't go to college anymore'd be worth it.

Go Cougs!


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