Eyes on the enemy: week 5

Scott Cunningham

Almost half of our remaining opponents had a bye week last weekend, there are some important notes to consider though.

With a strong win over Utah State, BYU's season is looking much more positive.  With the exception of Wisconsin and Notre Dame, BYU is favored in all the rest of it's match-ups, which is good if we hope to get back into the Top 25.  That's not to say they will be easy games, but if we see continued improvement on offensive production and defensive takeaways, we should have a strong season. So, how did our opponents do?

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets are looking really good this year, but had been relatively untested until last week.  A 15 point loss to a top 15 team (Miami-FL) is not that bad, and their only other loss was to Virginia Tech (now ranked 24th in AP Polls).  This will be a great game, one that BYU is favored to win in the computers at 59%.

Notre Dame

BYU definitely has a good chance against the Irish. The computers say it's a 48% chance.  Notre Dame won a close one at Arizona State last week.  Summing USC is as bad as most believe, Notre Dame should win the rest of it's games until the Cougars come to town.  If the Fighting Irish are 8-2 at that point, they could very well be in the Top 25 again, and assuming a close loss to Wisconsin the Cougars could make this into a top 25 match-up, one that even has the potential to have the Cougars favored.  I'm getting a little ahead of myself there, so we'll just let it play out and see what happens.

Nevada

The Wolfpack played at SDSU, and narrowly lost an overtime shootout 44-51.  BYU is still strongly favored in the computers at 87%.

The Others

Wisconsin, Boise State, and Houston all had a bye, the computers say BYU chances to win those are 31%, 77%, and 68% respectively.

Idaho State lost to North Dakota and they take on Northern Colorado (1-5) next week.  BYU will win this one. (As a point of interest, most computer ranking systems do not compute quality of opponent for FCS games, giving all FCS teams the same low ranking, regardless of actual strength so the numbers aren't always reliable.)

As for those we already played, Texas gave us a small boost beating Iowa State ("fumbles" aside), but the rest of our past opponents lost, Virginia lost to Ball State, MTSU lost to East Carolina, and Utah lost to UCLA. (Although the Utah loss would be a "quality loss" if there were such a thing.)

Beating Utah State did a lot for the Cougars, bringing us up to a 37th computer ranking (moving 13 spots in the right direction from the 50 of last week).  The win not only helped this week but I believe it will continue to aid our ranking in weeks to come as well.  Even without Chuckie Keeton, the Aggies are a strong team and have a shot at the MWC title, their future success will help BYU down the road.

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