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Eyes on the enemy: week 4

For some, a loss to Utah makes the season a failure, but BYU still has many games left, most of which are winnable for the Cougars so all is not lost! Here are the numbers to prove it.

Lets hope we can keep Middle Tennessee scrambling on Friday.
Lets hope we can keep Middle Tennessee scrambling on Friday.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of the pain and agony of Saturday night, we still have lots of football to look forward to this year.  The way I see it, the Cougars were just being nice to the Utes and giving them a chance at making a bowl this year, it's even possible for BYU to get a rematch in the Fight Hunger Bowl at the end of the season.  The Utes have an uphill battle to make a bowl, but for BYU it should be pretty straightforward.  Despite the loss, BYU is still ranked by the computers in the top 50 (well, 50th exactly), which is still better than five of our future opponents.  Let's take a look at who's on the slate.

Middle Tennessee

While playing fairly solid, the Blue Raiders have yet to face serious competition.  Even their one loss was against the North Carolina Tar Heals who are known more for basketball than they are for football.  Still MTSU is a decent team that BYU will need to play hard, but should come away with the win.  The computers rank MTSU at 83rd, and give BYU a 91% chance to win this game, so we don't need to worry too much about when we'll get win number 2 for the season.

Utah State

This continues to be an intriguing match up.  After the Aggies almost upset USC in LA, they are ranked 40th, and looking harder and harder for BYU to beat.  Unless BYU can learn how to get into the end zone much more frequently in the next two weeks, we may be coming home from Logan as the worst of the Beehive Boot teams.  The computers say BYU has only a 26% chance to win.

Houston and Boise State

The computers say BYU 's chance of winning these games are at 67% and 66% respectively.  Houston has put up big numbers but against fairly soft competition, like beating Rice 26-31 on Saturday.  While Boise State has a surprisingly weak defense and almost no running game at all.  The Bronco's lost to Fresno State 41-40 on Friday night.  Both teams have younger quarterbacks who don't handle defensive pressure very well.  Both these games are in reach for BYU, especially if we can improve our "blue-zone" scoring.

Wisconsin and Notre Dame

While both teams are nationally ranked, Notre Dame has been looking increasingly frail, winning games by slim margins, much like last year's team.  On Saturday the Fighting Irish squeezed out a 4 point win over Michigan State.  BYU only needs to learn the basics of football (scoring touchdowns) to have a good chance at upsetting the Irish.  The computer's say it's only a 34% likelihood.

As for Wisconsin, who pounded Purdue 41-10, BYU will need a lot more help on offense to put up a solid fight.  The Badgers are actually better than their 3-1 record shows and BYU only has an 18% chance of beating them.  However since they are a run-first team, BYU's run defense may be able to make it a closer game than expected.

As for the other teams:

Georgia Tech is still winning, but about to hit the meat of it's schedule.  They are ranked 17th by the computers and BYU is a 30% underdog

Idaho State got beat up by Washington, and is still a sure win for BYU come November.

Finally Nevada hosted Hawaii and won by 22 points.  The Wolf Pack is ranked 82nd by the computers and BYU is a 66% favorite.

As for our past foes, Texas got a much needed win against Kansas State. Every win for the Longhorns goes a long way to boost BYU's rankings.  Virgina also got a win, though against an FCS foe, Virginia Military Academy.

What's important is that BYU will win this week, and that we're still on track for at least six wins this season, probably more.