At the completion of both of their nonconference schedules, the Utah and BYU football teams are both undefeated, along with 37 other FBS teams around the country.
But how do the Utes’ and Cougars’ 3-0 starts stack up against each other and the other unbeatens?
ESPN’s Bill Connelly attempted to answer that question, as he ranked all 39 unblemished teams following last weekend’s games.
“What criteria am I using for this? A combination of computer rankings and my own opinions. I tend to adhere mostly to what the numbers say, but I reserve the right to have terrible opinions and overreact,” Connelly wrote.
Of the 39 perfect teams, Connelly ranked Utah No. 14 and BYU No. 34. These rankings, of course, are different from The Associated Press Top 25 poll, which has the Utes at No. 11 and the Cougars effectively at No. 35 after they received three votes in this week’s poll.
The Utes so far have beaten Florida, Baylor and Weber State, while the Cougars have beaten Sam Houston, Southern Utah and Arkansas.
Regarding why he ranked Utah at No. 14, Connelly wrote, “Quarterback Cam Rising has yet to make his debut, and the offense hasn’t been inspiring. But the defense has allowed 31 points in three games, and the Utes have ground out a pair of wins over power conference teams all the same.
“Ceilings might win national titles, but Utah has one of the highest floors in the country.”
As for BYU, Connelly wrote, “BYU beat Arkansas on Saturday by winning the field position and red zone battles. The offense remains dreadfully inefficient and needed short fields to top 30 points.
“But the defense is coming around nicely, and confidence is growing heading toward Saturday’s trip to Lawrence, Kansas.”
Connelly is perhaps most known for using the SP+ metric, which essentially measures a team’s efficiency, along with ESPN’s Football Power Index.
SP+ has Utah ranked No. 17 in the country and FPI has it ranked No. 19. BYU, meanwhile, is ranked No. 47 in SP+ and No. 56 in FPI.
The Utes have the 38th-strongest schedule in the country to date according to SP+, while the Cougars sit at 77th.
SP+ gives Utah a 0.9% chance of going undefeated during the regular season, and it gives BYU a less than 0.1% chance of running the table.
Connelly ranked Washington No. 1 among the 39 teams and Georgia State at No. 39.