The Toledo game may be a season defining game for BYU Football and for Kalani Sitake.
Up this point in the season, nobody really knows what BYU Football is from a talent standpoint. Are they really good, mediocre or not very good? As a BYU Football expert with over 200 articles covering the Cougars, I can't honestly give that answer yet.
It is safe to say that last year if BYU played Wisconsin ten times that the Badgers would have won probably eight. Was USC the one in ten? Maybe. If that is the case, Toledo, Boise State, South Florida, Utah State and San Diego State are all looking like very competitive games.
BYU can not go 2-3 or worse against those teams if the Cougars hope to be relevant going forward in the near future, and if Kalani Sitake hopes to get an extension after this season. In other words, the Toledo game is key because it is very possible that BYU goes 2-2 against the other four teams.
If BYU Wins by a Lot
The Cougars really need this game and honestly if they were healthy they would probably have it. Unfortunately, with no Ty'Son Williams, Zayne Anderson or other players who are banged up it levels the playing field a bit.
If BYU goes out and takes down the Rockets by more than two scores, it shows that BYU is better than an above average G5 team and they realistically could finish out the season 7-1 or better.
It would also show that BYU's 2-2 start was not all that bad and considering it was four teams against P5 teams (three ranked) the Cougars can still have a nice season and perhaps finish ranked. It would still be early to give Sitake a contract extension, but the win would at least be a step in the right direction.
BYU Wins in a Close Game
If knuckles are white, heads are sweating and heart rates are racing in the final two minutes of the game, BYU is in danger, even if they go on to win. BYU Football is too big of a name brand to be in close games against MAC teams. Especially in Kalani Sitake's fourth season.
Yes, I know that games like that happen even to the best teams, but it has become all too common for BYU the last few years with closer than comfortable wins or losses to far worse teams (on paper) such as Northern Illinois, California, UNLV, UMass and yes even Toledo.
On a positive note, a close win would all about secure a bowl game with later games against Liberty, UMass and Idaho State. However, it would not help Sitake get an extension and Cougar fans would continue to be where they currently are as Jason Shepherd so perfectly said on BYUSN "Cautiously optimistic".
If BYU Loses
Ugh... If BYU loses this game things are going to start to get real ugly around Cougar Nation. Fans are already upset about having to pay for ESPN+ and the Cougars not showing a real huge improvement since Sitake took over. A loss to Toledo would anger a lot of fans and they would have a reason.
Don't get me wrong, Toledo is not a bad team, in fact they are favored to win their division. But it is Toledo and they are from the MAC, arguably the weakest conference in division one football. The common fan will not see an actually talented team on their home field taking down a beat up and tired BYU team. All they will see is a MAC team taking down BYU.
The loss would put Sitake on the hot seat again and many casual fans would probably close the door on the team for the rest of the year barring the Cougars taking down Boise State and Utah State next month.
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Regardless of what happens, fans will finally have a read on this year's team, something that normally doesn't take five games to figure out.