It’s little surprise that Utah football, with a young but talented team, is expected by many national media members to make another run at the top 25 and the Pac-12 South in 2021.
But BYU? Most have had the Cougars taking a step back this season, after going 11-1 last year and finishing the season ranked No. 11, with so much talent moving on.
Pro Football Focus, though, has both BYU and Utah challenging to be top 25 programs in 2021 in their preseason rankings released Tuesday.
The Cougars come in at No. 22, while the Utes are just outside the top 25 at No. 26.
PFF’s Eric Eager and Ben Brown identify BYU running back Tyler Allgeier as the team’s top returning talent and were willing to make their prediction on who would win the Cougars’ starting quarterback job to replace now-New York Jet Zach Wilson.
“After losing the second-best quarterback in college football, not many expect the Cougars to live up to a top-25 ranking,” Eager and Brown wrote. “Still, they have playmakers at skill positions and could be returning one of the best offensive lines in the country. Baylor Romney settling into a quarterback-friendly system could allow BYU to surprise again in 2021.”
BYU and Utah face each other Sept. 11 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Utah is the third-highest ranked Pac-12 team in PFF’s rankings, behind No. 16 USC and No. 13 Oregon. Washington (No. 29), Arizona State (No. 33) and Stanford (No. 44) are also in the top 50.
Utah State, coming off a 1-5 season and under first-year coach Blake Anderson, is No. 120.