With a strong win over Georgia Tech the computers have started to believe in BYU again (finally). BYU has achieved a 26th place average ranking by the computers. That ranking is partially bolstered by big upsets last weekend from Utah and Texas. Let's check in with what our opponents were up to Saturday.
Our fellow Cougars got a 25-15 win over Memphis, a team that lost to Middle Tennessee State. Should BYU continue to improve as they have thus far I would expect a big BYU win, by as much as 21 points, maybe more. The computer gives it a 10 point spread and favors BYU by 78%
The Broncos pulled out a win over Utah State, something that I was impressed at considering the strength of the Aggie defense and Boise's recent offensive struggles. But Joe Southwick had one of his better nights and led the Broncos to victory. The BYU defensive secondary will be get another good test here, but I think they will be ready for it and (again) if the offense continues to perform well and improve, this will be a pretty sure win. The computers mostly agree saying that BYU is the 76% favorite.
This remains as the biggest, hardest game left on BYU's schedule. The Badgers got a HUGE win over Northwestern. This was a 19th ranked Wildcats team that barely lost to (undefeated) Ohio State the week before, and Wisconsin blew them out to the tune of 35-6, earning the Badgers a spot back in the top 25. BYU is only given a 31% chance at winning this game, but I still see it as completely possible if 2 things happen, we have to stop the run game, and Jared Aberderis needs to be perfectly covered every play. More on that game in three weeks.
We will win.
For the first time this year the computer actually favors BYU to win at Notre Dame, coming in this week as a 66% win chance. The Fighting Irish were idle last weekend and play at USC next week. This will be another really great game, BYU is looking better than last year, Notre Dame is looking worse, and last years 3 point Cougar loss could very likely be avenged.
The Wolfpack as also idle last weekend, but BYU win and subsequent higher ranking now gives the Cougars a 93% win chance in this match-up. Nevada will likely loose about two more games (take your pick at Boise, at Fresno, against Colorado or San Jose... all 'State') and BYU will stay the favorite in this season finale.
Like I mentioned, and hopefully you heard about, Utah had a major upset hosting the #5 Stanford Cardinal. That win makes our loss to Utah look less pitiful, and our win over Texas looked a lot better after the Longhorns stole a win from #12 Oklahoma. Those two big wins added to BYU's own impressive win were more than enough to give BYU a net positive increase despite losses by Virginia, Middle Tennessee, and Utah State.
Overall, BYU's season is looking great and if we have a big "statement win" in Houston this weekend, BYU just might gain enough respect in the polls (and continued respect from the computers) to be included in the season's first BCS rankings that will be released next Sunday. (If not in the top 25, perhaps in the "next five" category.) BYU's season is looking up-and-up (anything is better than that Virginia loss..) and I am happy to see the Cougars doing so well.