With the 15th-ranked BYU Cougars sitting at 3-0 after beating three teams from the Pac-12, talk nationally is heating up surrounding the idea of the Cougars going undefeated and whether they would get a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff if that happened.
Sure, just one loss in BYU’s remaining nine regular-season games would all but erase the CFP hopes barring something unbelievably wacky (take 2020 as your guide there), nevertheless, Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel wrote an entire column last weekend about the Cougars crashing the party.
“Going unbeaten is extremely difficult, but BYU has shown to be the kind of team that can at least entertain it,” Wetzel wrote. “The College Football Playoff committee may not want to include the Cougars in the four-team field, but a 12-0 team would have a very strong argument depending on how the top of the Power 5 leagues shake out.”
Later, Wetzel added, “BYU still has games against Power 5 teams Baylor, Washington State, Virginia and USC, not to mention rival Boise State. That leaves the opportunity for seven Power 5 victories (and Boise). No, it’s not the meat grinder of the SEC West, but that’s a very favorable slate and far stronger than what most “mid-majors” bring to the table.”
On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel published a mailbag in which he was asked if BYU would get into the CFP if it goes undefeated. Mandel wrote that it theoretically will be easier to compare the Cougars’ resume with Power Five schools than with Group of Five schools, but it will depend on how good their opponents end up being.
Any Utah Utes fan reading this may want to turn away right now, but Mandel wrote, “The Cougars’ biggest problem is that five of their games are against Pac-12 opponents, and the Pac-12 has been a steaming pile of garbage outside of Oregon and UCLA. Maybe Arizona State or USC turns back into a Top 25 team, but in general it’s going to be hard for Pac-12 teams to establish credibility within league play.”
Ultimately, Mandel concluded, “Short of an absolute chaos scenario where we have multiple two-loss Power 5 champs, BYU realistically is playing for a New Year’s Six bowl. But the good news there is, the Cougars don’t necessarily have to go undefeated to achieve that.”