With just three weeks remaining in college football’s regular season, there’s a lot at stake for BYU, Utah and Utah State in regards to their postseason destinations.
All three teams are bowl eligible, and the Utes and Aggies are both leading conference division races at the moment.
Here’s a breakdown of who fans of these programs should be cheering for this weekend for best possible bowl outcomes, and how these games could influence the three teams.
Results that could help BYU’s odds of making a New Year’s Six bowl
No. 8 Oklahoma beats No. 13 Baylor. There are three Big 12 teams in the six spots above No. 14 BYU right now in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Sooners beating the Bears would surely knock Baylor below the Cougars. A Baylor win, though, muddles the Big 12 picture right above BYU.
No. 11 Texas A&M beats No. 15 Ole Miss. This is a tough call, as BYU would benefit from both of these teams losing in the final three weeks of the regular season and very well could gain nothing in CFP position from this game’s result regardless.
Texas A&M still has LSU on its schedule, while Ole Miss has Mississippi State. At some point, the Cougars would gain ground in the CFP rankings if both teams picked up a third loss.
Virginia beats No. 9 Notre Dame. The Cavaliers, whom BYU beat 66-49 at the end of October, could help out the Cougars by handing Notre Dame a second loss, which would knock the Irish closer to BYU in the CFP rankings (though probably not below them).
TCU beats No. 10 Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs upset Baylor last week, and a win over Oklahoma State could knock the Cowboys below the Cougars. More realistically, though, it would likely drop Oklahoma State a spot or two above BYU before the Cowboys face Oklahoma on Nov. 27.
No. 12 Wake Forest beats No. 16 NC State. Considering the ACC champion is unlikely to make the College Football Playoff, that league’s conference champion will land in either the Peach Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. In this case, it keeps NC State from leapfrogging BYU while hoping the Cougars can pass Wake Forest further down the road.
Results that would help Utah in Pac-12 South title chase
No. 24 Utah beats Arizona. The Utes control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, and they would move to 6-1 in Pac-12 play with a win over the one-win Wildcats. Utah can also wrap up the Pac-12 South title this weekend if it wins and the next result also happens.
Washington beats Arizona State. The Sun Devils are the biggest threat at this point to the Utes in the Pac-12 South race — they trail Utah by a game in the Pac-12 South standings. Utah, though, owns the tiebreaker over ASU with its win over the Sun Devils earlier this year, and a Huskies win would give the Sun Devils a 4-3 league record.
With a Utah victory and a Sun Devils loss, the Utes would win the Pac-12 South and earn a spot in the league championship on Dec. 3.
Colorado beats UCLA. The Bruins currently sit in third place in the Pac-12 South standings and are still technically alive in the division race. If Colorado beats UCLA, the Bruins would be 3-4 in Pac-12 play, and it would leave only two Pac-12 South teams with winning conference records through Week 11.
Utah State Aggies
Results that would help USU in MW Mountain Division title chase
Utah State beats San Jose State. The Aggies currently lead the Mountain West’s Mountain Division by a game heading into arguably their toughest remaining contest of the regular season. With a win, Utah State would jump to 5-1 in conference play with two weeks to go.
Wyoming beats Boise State. The Broncos are the biggest threat to unseat Utah State in the Mountain Division right now — Boise State holds the tiebreaker over the Aggies after beating them earlier this season. If the Cowboys can beat the Broncos, though, it would make Boise State 3-3 in conference play.
Colorado State beats Air Force. Utah State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over both of these teams. If the Rams beat the Falcons, though, both teams would be 3-3 in MWC play and stay at least a game (or more) behind Utah State in the league standings.