PROVO – After passing its toughest test for the 2020 season so far, BYU football retained its place among the country’s best teams on Sunday morning.
The cougars increased two places to a tie for No. 11 in the latest edition of the USA Today Coaches’ Survey and climbed two more places to No. 12 in the latest Associated Press Top 25. This puts cougars just behind Miami (Florida) and just before North Carolina after Tar Heels’ first loss of the year to an invaluable Florida state in a coaching poll.
The ranking in the AP poll remains the highest for BYU since it climbed to No. 7 in 2009 before finishing at No. 12 nationally.
BYU also ranks sixth in Jeff Sagarin̵
The fact that BYU, which is coming together to beat Houston 43-26 on Friday night, is ranked among the 15 teams in the country is no longer a big surprise. The Cougars are 5-0 for the first time since 2008 and are one of only 10 programs not yet beaten in a season with a minimum of three games.
Others on that list include top-ranked Clemson, who released Georgia Tech 73-7 on Saturday; Alabama, the SEC force that has three times selected Georgia Stetson Bennett’s quarterback on the road to a 41-24 victory over the Bulldogs; Carolina Coast, the 4-0 Sun Belt team that won its first game as an FBS program against a ranked opponent with a 30-27 win over No. 21 Louisiana; and Liberty, a FBS Independent colleague who went through the ACC Syracuse 38-21 program on Saturday at the Carrier Dome to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the Flames were on the FCS Big South program in 2008.
Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgia and Ohio are the top five in the AP poll. The Bulldogs (3-1) are the highest-ranked team with a loss after Saturday’s loss to Alabama. The cougars jumped to No. 13 in Oregon for the first time since the AP began allowing teams to vote for Pac-12 schools whose seasons have not begun.
Utah received 36 votes, nine places outside the Top 25 and just behind undefeated Liberty.
With perhaps the toughest test behind them – and certainly the toughest match before the trip to Boise State on November 7 – the key focus for BYU now remains on keeping the current schedule ahead of them. Prior to that date with the Broncos, the Cougars hosted Saturday against Texas and played for the first time with Western Kentucky on Halloween night.
How do they keep their focus on the Bobcats, who are just 1-5 after a 30-20 loss to Sun Belt’s rival in South Alabama, and the Hilltoppers, who dropped to 1-4 after being twinned by UAB 37-14? BYU’s broad successor Dax Milne gave some information after the big victory over Houston.
“It’s fun to win every week,” Milne said. “We celebrate it over the weekend, we talk about it on Monday and then it’s over. We know we’re a great team and if we reduce the mistakes, we can play with anyone.”
If BYU stays focused, he should take a 7-0 record in Blue Turf. That would have topped the 6-0 start in 2008, when Max Hall and the cougars suffered their first loss of the season in a 32-7 strike at No. 9 TCU. BYU finished 10-3 this season, adding losses to rival Utah and a loss to Arizona in Las Vegas, marking an approximate norm for cougars in their six 5-0 starts in the program’s history.
Of course, one of these endings stands out above the others:
- 2001: After a 12-0 start and rise to No. 9 in the AP poll, BYU lost to Hawaii 72-45 before losing 28-10 to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl in Gary Croton’s first year as head coach. The cougars finished the season, ranked 25th by the AP.
- 1984: Best Scenario, BYU reached a record of 13-0, which included a record of 8-0 in the Western Athletics Conference, and finished No. 1 with the AP and coaches with a 24-17 victory over Michigan in the Lone National Cup the program.
- 1981: BYU finished 11-2 with a 7-1 record in the WAC before a 38-36 victory over No. 20, Washington, in the Holiday Bowl. The cougars finished under number 13 from the AP and under number 11 from the coaches.
- 1979: BYU sets a record of 11-0 in the regular season, which includes 7-0 in the WAC game, before losing to No. 9 in Indiana, 38-37 in the Holiday Bowl. The “Cougars” finished the season, ranked number 13 by the AP, No. 12 by the coaches.
This BYU team ranks among the most complete in the country, at least statistically. The cougars rank among the most complete teams in the country, at least statistically. BYU ranks sixth in total offense, averaging 541.0 yards per game with 43.6 points, and just outside the top 10 in the overall defense with 288.0 yards allowed per game
Separately, quarterback star Zach Wilson shines brightly – and he is even mentioned as a potential choice for the NFL Draft. The teenager, who prepared for Corner Canyon, ranked third in the country with 1,641 passing yards, equal to fourth with five touchdowns and eighth overall with an average of 348.2 yards per game. He also ranked second in the country with 110 points, responsible for before Saturday’s match.
If the cougars continue to play as they were, he will also see much more results.
№ 12 BYU (5-0) vs. Texas (1-5)
Starting: Saturday, October 24 at 8:15 p.m. MT
Radio: BYU radio, KSL radio
Series: First date
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