Going into South Bend BYU was favored by most computers, statisticians, and oddsmakers, but this is college football, and the odds are merely a suggestion. It made for the second 'late season' loss for BYU (the other to Wisconsin) and for some makes for a disappointing season. While the loss was disappointing, there is still football to be played, and BYU has plenty of chance to make a positive statement for the end of the season, and it starts in Kyle Van Noy's hometown.
The Wolf Pack are 4-7 on the year getting a somewhat surprising win over San Jose State last weekend. Their other wins are over the cellar-dwellers of the Mountain West (Hawaii, Air Force) and FCS foe UC Davis. Nevada is not the worst team BYU has faced this season, but they're definitely in the lower half. Check out Nathan's article for the full scoop on the Wolf Pack.
Fight Hunger Bowl
We have a much better idea of which Pac-12 team the Cougars will be facing in the Fight Hunger Bowl as the season draws to a close. Almost all bowl projections are putting the Washington Huskies across the field from the Cougars. Not only is Washington the 6th place team in the conference, but the storyline of Steve Sarkisian, former BYU QB, now Washintgon head coach, it's like a gift wrapped ad campaign for the bowl committee, one they're not likely to pass over. Now there is still the chance that Washington looses to Washington State in the Apple Cup this weekend. That combined with the assumed win of Oregon over Oregon State would put WSU in 6th place, another team that BYU has played in recent years and coached by Mike Leach (a lifetime BYU fan who copied the offense of LaVell Edwards in creating his own).
The Huskies got a good win over Oregon State last weekend, while the Cougars destroyed the bowl hopes of that team up north (Utah).
Either Washington team would be a great opponent for BYU and an exciting match up. Washington is not only more likely, but is considered the better team (being ranked as high as 15th earlier in the season) so a win over the Huskies would look better than a win over the WSU Cougars, and that's what I'm hoping for!
Where do we stand
If you pay attention to the polls and rankings you may have noticed a familiar team floating between 25th and 26th, not BYU sadly, but Notre Dame. Last weekend's loss was basically a game for the 25th place spot and the Irish won and BYU is left on the outside. A ranking is still possible for the Cougars if they show up and win big at Nevada and in the Fight Hunger Bowl, and with a little bit of outside help (other ranked teams losing), we might crack the top 25.
Going out strong in our final two games could be an important segue into next season where BYU faces a slightly softer schedule and a returning cast of explosive players. I look forward to the final two games, and hopefully a very strong finish from what is a very talented BYU team.