Well... this has been fun each week to go through and pick out the games on the national level that have the most relevance for BYU. Unfortunately with the losses to Notre Dame and Arkansas, BYU itself is currently less relevant on the national level. Despite that, I still enjoy watching BYU and I still enjoy watching football. That said, this means that my selection of games will sadly no longer be as focused on current-season impact to BYU at this point (which means conference impact takes on a somewhat larger role).
Saturday Noon ET
Top game here is going to be Kansas @ Baylor (ESPN2). Watching this supports the Big 12 viewership numbers, but more than that, we should be the biggest Baylor fans outside of Waco. Baylor is likely our only victory (thus far) that has the possibility of being seen as a quality win. If we want to move up and finish the season ranked, it'd help to get Baylor up there as well. Baylor is favored by 10.
Other options include:
- Cincinnati @ SMU (ESPN) - Cincinnati is currently the highest ranked G5, and will be joining the Big 12 with us so them getting to an NY6 would have value. Also of note is SMU as a team that has been considered for expansion (initially for the Big 12, but now for the PAC). Finally, it looks to be a pretty good game according to the Vegas line, where Cincinnati is favored by only 3.5
- #14 Syracuse @ #5 Clemson (ABC) - Ideally we'd like a Big 12 team (that isn't Texas or Oklahoma) to get into the playoff. Right now there's 7 teams ahead of the top Big 12 team, which means we're rooting for any and all of Georgia, Ohio St, Tennessee, Michigan, Clemson, Alabama, and Ole Miss to lose. This is (sadly) one of the harder tests Clemson will have this year. It's not necessarily a strong chance (Clemson favored by 13.5), but if they don't lose here, it's hard to see them losing to Notre Dame or Miami.
Saturday 3:30 ET
As always, the easiest choice of the day is to watch BYU play. This one is BYU @ Liberty (ESPNU) and despite prophecies that the sky is falling, BYU is still favored by 7. I don't love where this season has gone, but I'm still confident we beat Liberty and believe that we can finish as a Top 25 team with a strong finish. To add soem perspective, if we finish ranked it'll be 3 seasons in a row, which last happened in 2009 and only the 2nd time since LaVell Edwards last did it in 1991.
Other games of interest include:
- Ole Miss @ LSU (CBS) - Ole Miss is another of the teams we want losing to give the Big 12 a playoff chance and they're actually the underdog this week, going into Death Valley in Baton Rouge to take on LSU. LSU is favored by 2.5 so should be a good game.
- Arizona St @ Stanford (PAC12, 4 ET) - Not a game most will be watching, but it has a few interesting points from the BYU perspective. Arizona St is a possible expansion candidate and Stanford is a future opponent. Not really nationally relevant (at all), but atfer Stanford beat Notre Dame, it's worth watching to see if they're getting it together. Stanford is favored by 2.5 points
- Another game worth mentioning is #9 UCLA @ #10 Oregon (FOX) with UCLA as the last remaining unbeaten team in the PAC and Oregon as likely our worst loss. We're rooting for Oregon there, and Vegas likes them as well, favoring them by 6.
Saturday 7 ET
A fairly weak slate compared to the norm for this timeslot, but at least one fantastic matchup in #17 Kansas St @ #8 TCU (8 PM ET, FS1). TCU is the lone undefeated Big 12 team at this point and really the best (only?) chance for the Big 12 to make the playoff this year. Kansas St only has 1 loss and is in the driver's seat for conference championship appearance. Should be a good game and always nice to support the future conference's TV numbers and TCU is favored by 3.5 so will likely be close.
Other games of note include:
- Boise St @ Air Force (CBSSN) - Boise St is one of our better remaining opponents and will be going up against a quality opponent here. Granted it will mostly be seeing how they defend the run, but it'll also be a nice chance to see how they do on offense in their last real challenge before BYU (Colorado St is the opponent in between). Air Force is favored by 2
- ...nope, not listing any other ones. Could watch a future conference target Colorado @ Oregon St (PAC12, 8 PM ET), but all that would do is tell you Colorado is terrible and you already know that. Or you could watch the ranked game with #24 Mississippi St @ #6 Alabama (ESPN), but Alabama is favored by 21 and angry, so I doubt it will be worth watching either.
Again, this time slot is pretty sparse. The best of the bad options might (bleh) be San Diego St @ Nevada (CBSSN, 10:30 ET) since San Diego St is a potential expansion candidate for the PAC12 (or for the Big 12 if they want to beat the PAC to SDSU and avoid taking one of the 4 corners). Not necessarily recommended but better than the alternatives of:
- Washington @ Cal (ESPN) - There's just no BYU connection here. Washington is mediocre. Cal is worse than that, just having lost to Colorado. It's football...but that's about all it has going for it. Still bettter than the last option though
- Utah St @ Wyoming (FOX Sports something?, 9:45 ET) - Not only is this game going to be tough to find, it's also irrelevant to BYU. Can't even use it as a chance to scout teams we played since that's in the past. And neither team can be a resume-booster at this point. Plus, if you watch, you likely end up rooting for either Utah St or Wyoming, both of which feel kind of gross. For what it's worth, go Wyoming as they're currently the only BYU victory over a team with a winning record.