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What upset alerts could BYU, Utah and Utah State football be involved in this year?

247 Sports takes a look at potential trap games for each team in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll

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Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Morgan Pyper tries to tackle Utah State Aggies quarterback Logan Bonner in Logan.

BYU Cougars defensive back Morgan Pyper (10) tries to tackle Utah State Aggies quarterback Logan Bonner (1) in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Upset alert!

Every weekend during the college football season, those words inevitably make it into our vocabulary.

Whether the upset alerts actually occur is another story, but the potential for Top 25 teams to lose to someone they’re expected to beat provides a thrill on Saturday afternoons in the fall.

With the first full week of college football games set to kick off this weekend, 247 Sports’ Sam Marsdale identified a trap game for every team ranked in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll.

All three Utah FBS teams — BYU, Utah and Utah State — made an appearance somewhere on the list, whether as the favorite — both BYU and Utah are ranked in the preseason Top 25 — or as the team that could pull the upset. 

The Cougars, in particular, show up in multiple spots.

Where do Utah teams appear on 247 Sports’ list of Top 25 trap games?

  • Marsdale listed Utah State as No. 25 BYU’s trap game, a contest that takes place Sept. 29 in Provo.
  • “On a short week, BYU welcomes the defending Mountain West champions. The Cougars also see their next game against Notre Dame in Las Vegas. That makes this one an easy choice,” Marsdale wrote.
  • The Cougars also are listed as the trap team for two other Top 25 teams, Notre Dame and Oregon. BYU faces the Fighting Irish on Oct. 8 in Las Vegas and the Ducks on Sept. 17 in Eugene, Oregon. 
  • Marsdale points out that Notre Dame faces Ohio State and North Carolina on the road prior to the BYU matchup, then adds, “A non-Power Five team right now, the Cougars have emerged as a strong team in the last few years. … This will be no relaxing game.”
  • The BYU-Oregon game comes two weeks after the Ducks play defending national champion Georgia and one week before they open up Pac-12 play.
  • “BYU’s magic from last season may largely have been forgotten as Utah soared and took the attention off the happenings in Provo. … Downing the Cougars could be much more difficult than anticipated,” Marsdale wrote.
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Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) gets a hand up to block the pursuit of UCLA Bruins defensive backs Quentin Lake (37) and Qwuantrezz Knight (24) during the second half of the Utah-UCLA game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

Adam Fondren for the Deseret News

  • For defending Pac-12 champion and No. 7 Utah, meanwhile, Marsdale predicts the Utes’ trap game this season could be at UCLA on Oct. 8. 
  • The Bruins could be 5-0 entering that game after a nonconference slate that includes games against Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama, as well as Pac-12 games against Washington and Colorado. 
  • Marsdale suggested that even if Utah loses in its season opener at Florida this Saturday, a spot in the College Football Playoff could still be on the table if the Utes win out.
  • “Each contender has a slate where the nation finds out if they are the real deal. And for the Utes that’ll come when traveling to UCLA before hosting USC in consecutive weeks,” Marsdale wrote.
  • “Before that? Utah plays Oregon State after battling Arizona State on the road, and as the Pac-12 South race heats up between the Utes and Los Angeles schools.”