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BYU has played its way into the Misery Index

The Cougars, losers of three straight, are among one of college football’s most struggling programs right now

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Liberty’s Tyren Dupree, right, battles against BYU’s Ethan Erickson during an NCAA college football game in Lynchburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Liberty’s Tyren Dupree, right, battles against BYU’s Ethan Erickson during an NCAA college football game in Lynchburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Paige Dingler, The News & Advance via Associated Press

Each weekend, USA Today releases a Misery Index that looks at college football programs that are going through rough patches — some longer and more forlorn than others.

Following BYU’s third straight defeat — a 41-14 loss to Liberty where the Flames scored the game’s final 38 points — the Cougars found themselves on the misery list following Week 8.

It wasn’t just for how BYU’s 2022 season has gone off the rails, as the Cougars — who were once ranked in the top 15 — fell to 4-4 with the loss.

Liberty compounded weaknesses that have been evident in recent weeks.

“The Cougars used to have a problem with their schedule being so front-loaded with good teams that it left them physically spent and beaten up by the time they got to the middle of the season. This year, the window merely shifted a bit later,” USA Today’s Dan Wolken wrote. 

“After a close loss to Notre Dame, there was slippage in a 52-35 loss to Arkansas last week. But on Saturday, the bottom fell out in a 41-14 loss at Liberty in which the Flames had a massive 547-258 edge in offensive yards and scored the game’s final 38 points.” 

BYU’s inclusion on the Misery Index was also about what this slide could mean for the program as BYU joins the Big 12 next year.

“The Cougars always have lofty ambitions. But the reality is they’re not built for this kind of week by week grind at the moment, which seems like a problem given that they’re headed for the Big 12 next year,” Wolken wrote. 

“They’ll face a lot of tough games in that league, and there’s going to be a massive learning curve that comes along with it. If BYU fans aren’t happy with 4-4 right now, the Misery Index suggests getting used to it for the next few years because it’s going to take some time to get up to power conference speed.”

Up next for BYU is a home game this Friday against East Carolina.

If the Cougars lose again, it will put the team’s chances of qualifying for a bowl game in serious doubt — two of BYU’s final four games are at Boise State and Stanford, and ESPN’s Football Power Index currently has the Cougars as underdogs in both those games.