AP Top 25: Could BYU Football Play 6 Ranked Opponents in 2019?
With the release of the AP Top 25, there is a real chance that the Cougars end up playing up to six ranked teams in 2019.
The AP released the Top 25 Monday morning and there were not very many surprises. Clemson and Alabama were No. 1 and 2, no G5 teams were given very much respect, and the Pac 12 had more teams ranked in the Top 25 than there will be at the end of the season.
While only two of BYU's opponents appear in the current Top 25, there is a real chance that the Cougars could play a record six Top 25 teams in 2019. Obviously a lot would have to happen, but it is realistic.
While there is a chance that seven of BYU's opponents may be ranked, only six could happen because two of the teams would eliminate the other. Here is a list of potential teams in order of odds that the Cougars will play them while ranked.
1. Utah - 100%
Current Ranking : 14
Utah is the first game of the season and they are already ranked No. 14 in the polls. Unless the Associated Press comes out and says it was a joke, BYU is playing a ranked team here.
2. Washington - 99%
Current Ranking: 15
The Huskies are almost a guaranteed Top 25 opponent for the Cougars as well as they are currently ranked No. 13 in polls and only play Eastern Washington, California and Hawaii. Even if they lost to California they could be ranked in week four when they play the Cougars, but that probably won't happen anyway.
3. Boise State - 85%
Current Ranking: 33
The AP doesn't like to rank G5 teams high in the preseason. Boise State, although lower than they normally are, will probably be 5-1 or 6-0 when they come to Provo. A 5-1 BSU may not be good enough to be ranked, but if the Broncos take down Florida State in week one, they will probably for sure be ranked.
4. Utah State - 50%
Current Ranking: 38
The Aggies are getting no respect for what they did last season despite hiring probably a better coach and returning their quarterback. While they may not go 11-3 in 2019, they could very well be 6-1 when the Cougars play them. They will likely lose to LSU in week six of the season, but if they can hang tight with the Tigers they could find themselves ranked despite a loss. They avoid Fresno State and Boise State until after BYU plays them.
5. USC - 30%
Current Ranking: 47
If USC starts off 2-0, they have an outside shot of being ranked because of their brand and because like BYU, they start off with a tough schedule with games against Fresno State and Stanford. I don't have USC going 2-0 to start off, and even with a start the Trojans may be in 26-30 range. But who knows, USC is a strong brand and whipping a ranked Stanford team could get them ranked.
6. San Diego State - 25%
Current Ranking: NR
San Diego State avoids Boise State and hosts Utah State and Fresno State. Their toughest game will be against UCLA, a weak Pac 12 team. With a weak schedule the Aztecs may need to be 10-1 going into the game to be ranked, but quite honestly, I see no reason why they couldn't do that with the schedule they have. Their other non conference games are Weber State and New Mexico State.
7. Hawaii Bowl Game - 15%
There are a few ways that this happens. The first is that Hawaii is ranked at the end of the season and decides to stay home to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Their schedule plays in favor of being ranked if they were to be able to pull off some upsets at the right time. Beating Arizona in week one would be a great start, they avoid Utah State and host Fresno State and San Diego State. Losses to Washington and Boise State would leave the team at 10-2 going into the regular season finale against Army, a team I project to be ranked by the end of the season. A win against them would potentially put a 11-2 Hawaii team ranked in the Top 25.
Then there is also the chance that the Cougars somehow run the table or lose only once and find themselves in a BCS game, a guaranteed ranked opponent.
8. Toledo, Liberty, UMass, Tennessee, Idaho State: <1%
Toledo and Tennessee may find themselves ranked in the Top 25 at some point during the season, but not in time for them to play BYU. The fact that TN isn't even receiving votes says that they won't be ranked even if they beat Georgia State 100-0. Toldo can have a few good wins by the time they play BYU, but being a team from the MAC they won't make that jump that quick either. The other teams need no explanation.