• Adam Gibby

BYU Versus Tennessee Will be Like Mixing Water and Oil


History says that both BYU Football and Tennessee should lose the next game, but only one of them will.


Often times, when a team loses in dramatic fashion weird things can start to happen. That is also the case when BYU Football loses to Utah.


It is an emotional toll that can really affect a team and how they are able to function. If handled correctly, it can be used to motivate a team for the rest of the season. If not used correctly, it can destroy a team and ruin their season. Normally it is somewhere in the middle, but history says that in a normal situation both BYU and Tennessee would lose this next game.


BYU's history after losing to Utah

Obviously losing to Utah is never fun. In fact, it is the worst thing that can happen to BYU second only to perhaps losing a seventh game in a season. In the last eight games after playing Utah (minus the Las Vegas Bowl Game where BYU didn't have another game that season), the Cougars have gone 4-4 overall, however they have scored less than their season average in five out of the eight games. While there are some factors to consider when looking at those games, it does show that BYU tends not to come out and excel after losing to the Utes. In fact, it shows they are a bit sluggish and struggle to score points.


What history says about Tennessee

I went back and looked at 15 of the worst losses by teams since the year 2000. Most of these losses were teams that were projected to have great seasons but ended up losing a real head scratcher to a team that they should have beaten by 20 points or more. Here are some of the results:

  • 6 out of 15 went on to lose their next game. Again, these were teams that were supposed to be ranked in the Top 15 and maybe only lose two or three games all season. Under other circumstances only one, maybe two of the 15 should have lost the next game.

  • 10 out of 15 went on to lose a game within the next two games. Again for teams that were projected to 11-2 this is extremely interesting.

  • 11 out of 15 scored less than their season average in the next game.

  • 5 out of 15 had a clear self destruction after the loss and finished the season really bad.

  • Only 3 out of 15 came out the next game and had a blowout win.

History is showing that in likelihood, the Volunteers are not going to come out and light the scoreboard on fire. In fact they will likely score less than 20 points since their average last season, which returns essentially the same team, averaged only 22.1 points. It is extremely unlikely that they are going to put up more than 30 points. Under any other circumstance this team would be in a situation to have another really tough loss.


What happens when you mix water and oil

Had either team won their first game of the season, history would say that the team who was 1-0 would be very likely to win since BYU tends to play slow after losing to Utah and teams in general play sluggish after a bad loss. But this is a water and oil kind of situation. They don't mix well and there isn't a lot of history of games under these circumstances. Teams coming off an embarrassing loss just don't play teams that lost to their rival that often which should make this game interesting.


So what will we get? Nobody knows. Maybe the combination of the two teams will cancel out each other and it will be a normal game. Maybe the fact that one is down will motivate the other play extremely well. Or perhaps it will be an extremely low scoring game that nobody really feels like they win at the end.


If I had to make a pick, I would say that BYU has the slight edge. Not because they are feeling alright about losing to Utah, but because they lost to No. 14 Utah which is a bit easier to swallow than most years.

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