At the midway point of the 2023 college football season, there is a strong possibility that BYU, Utah and Utah State all could make a bowl appearance this year.
The Cougars (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) sit just two wins away from being eligible for the postseason in their first season in a Power Five conference, thanks to a strong start to the year.
After a lopsided loss to TCU last week, though, one has to wonder — is this Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech a must-win to become bowl eligible?
The Utes (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) would have to experience an absolute meltdown to not become bowl eligible — they are just one win away and league doormat Arizona State is still on the schedule.
Over the next month, though, Utah will take on some of the toughest competition the Pac-12 has to offer, and those games are expected to determine if the Utes can follow up two years of making the Rose Bowl with another high-profile bowl appearance.
The Aggies (3-4, 1-2 Mountain West) have been up-and-down during their first seven games, and that clouds whether they will make a bowl for the 11th time in 13 years.
Utah State, though, has been competitive throughout the year and — considering its remaining schedule — could still string together a winning streak.
How has the first half of the 2023 season impacted the midseason bowl projections for each team? Through seven weeks, here’s a look at where several national media outlets have predicted the three Utah FBS schools will be playing in the postseason:
What are the latest bowl projections for Utah football?
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: Holiday Bowl, vs. Duke.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Los Angeles Bowl, vs. Wyoming.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Iowa.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Wisconsin.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Wisconsin.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Alamo Bowl, vs. Kansas.
- Steve Lassan, Athlon Sports: Las Vegas Bowl, vs. Iowa.
- College Football News: Sun Bowl, vs. Virginia Tech.
- The Athletic: Sun Bowl, vs. Virginia Tech.
What stands out: Right now, Utah continues to be on the outside of the majority of high-end Pac-12 bowl options — that’s understandable, considering the upper-level competitiveness of the league this season.
The next few weeks will go a long way toward shaping up what postseason options the Utes will have, with Utah playing No. 18 USC, No. 9 Oregon and No. 5 Washington in the next four weeks. The games against the Trojans and Huskies will both be on the road.
Come Nov. 11, following Utah’s game at Washington, there ought to be a much clearer picture of whether the Utes will be positioned for a third straight Pac-12 title, or if they’ll find themselves headed to a middle-tier conference bowl option in the league’s final season.
What are the latest bowl projections for BYU football?
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: Independence Bowl, vs. Washington State.
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: First Responder Bowl, vs. New Mexico State.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. Army.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: Independence Bowl, vs. Washington State.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Guaranteed Rate Bowl, vs. Nebraska.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Guaranteed Rate Bowl, vs. Minnesota.
- Steve Lassan, Athlon Sports: Armed Forces Bowl, vs. UTSA.
- College Football News: Gasparilla Bowl, vs. South Florida.
- The Athletic: Liberty Bowl, vs. Kentucky.
What stands out: This is such a wide variety of options, kind of like when BYU was an independent (maybe it just feels that way looking at this list).
The Cougars could face another Power Five opponent, like a Kentucky or a Washington State, or — just as likely — they could face a Group of Five opponent that isn’t likely to excite the fanbase.
One potential win-win destination for both the team and fans is the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, which is held in Phoenix and pits a Big 12 team against a Big Ten opponent.
What are the latest bowl projections for Utah State football?
- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN: Idaho Potato Bowl, vs. Miami (Ohio).
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Idaho Potato Bowl, vs. Buffalo.
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: No bowl projection.
- Brett McMurphy, Action Network: No bowl projection.
- Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: Hawaii Bowl, vs. SMU.
- Erick Smith, USA Today: Frisco Bowl, vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.
- Steve Lassan, Athlon Sports: No bowl projection.
- College Football News: Cure Bowl, vs. Appalachian State.
- The Athletic: Hawaii Bowl, vs. Tulsa.
What stands out: While there are a few of the midseason bowl projections that have Utah State missing the postseason, it’s worth noting that the Aggies (3-4) are favored in three of their final five games in ESPN’s Football Power Index and slight underdogs in the other two.
This is an upgrade from bowl projections a quarter of the way through the year, when Utah State only had one believer — ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura — that the program would make a postseason appearance.
The funnest matchup and location could come in the Hawaii Bowl, which matches up a Mountain West Conference team against an American Athletic Conference opponent.