Following a weekend in which both Utah and BYU lost to high-profile opponents, the bowl projections for the Cougars and Utes are like their fan bases — down a little bit.
Here’s a look at where a sampling of several national publications predict Utah and BYU will play in the postseason after the Utes lost to UCLA 42-32 and the Cougars lost to Notre Dame 28-20.
*-indicates same projection as last week.
Bowl projections for Utah football after Week 6
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Mississippi State.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Holiday Bowl, vs. Florida State.
- Brett McMuprhy, Action Network: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. LSU.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Holiday Bowl, vs. North Carolina.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Florida.
- College Football News: Holiday Bowl, vs. Notre Dame.*
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Holiday Bowl, vs. Florida State.
For the first time all year, Utah (4-2) is not projected for a New Year’s Six bowl by any major publication.
That, of course, would easily change if the No. 20 Utes beat No. 7 USC this weekend.
For now, though, projections for Utah revolve around the Las Vegas Bowl or Holiday Bowl. If there’s a silver lining, the list of projected bowl opponents for the Utes are big-name programs.
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura identified the Utes as the team whose postseason profile took the biggest hit last week.
“It’s a deflating place to be after six games for a team that came into the season with expectations to build off of last year’s Rose Bowl appearance. Instead, the best Utah can do is rebound from here to earn a return trip to Pasadena,” Bonagura wrote.
Bowl projections for BYU football after Week 6
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: New Mexico Bowl, vs. UNLV.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: LendingTree Bowl, vs. Troy.
- Brett McMuprhy, Action Network: Boca Raton Bowl, vs. SMU.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. Cincinnati.*
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Frisco Bowl, vs. Air Force.
- College Football News: Birmingham Bowl, vs. South Carolina.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. Cincinnati.
The loss to Notre Dame extinguishes any remaining hopes the Cougars (4-2) had of breaking into a New Year’s Six game in their final season of independence.
So, how is BYU’s final postseason before joining the Big 12 shaping up right now?
While there are some less exciting options among the projections, a couple of them have BYU facing fellow future Big 12 program Cincinnati in the Armed Forces Bowl, and another has the Cougars meeting the SEC’s South Carolina.
A big game awaits BYU this week with Arkansas coming to Provo.
Bowl projections for Utah State football after Week 6
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: None.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: None.
- Brett McMuprhy, Action Network: None.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: None.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: None.
- College Football News: None.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: None.
Utah State (2-4), not surprisingly, isn’t showing up in the bowl picture even after an impressive win over Air Force.
ESPN’s Football Power Index has Utah State as the favorite in three of its next four games — against Colorado State, New Mexico and Hawaii — and if the Aggies were to win each of those contests they are favored in, they would need just one more win for bowl eligibility.
The Aggies’ other three games are at Wyoming and against Mountain West Conference division leaders San Jose State and Boise State to end the year.