BYU has begun the season 4-0 for the first time since 2014 and has risen up the AP Poll to No. 14. As such, there are a few pundits that are pitting BYU into some exciting bowl slots.
First Responder Bowl vs. Tulsa (ESPN)
This is not one of the more exciting ones but Tulsa would be a respectable opponent. These two teams have locked horns during bowl season before, during the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl. Tulsa won the last regular season meeting in 2007. The Golden Hurricane may not be long for a middling bowl slot as they are fresh off of a big win at UCF and now face No. 8 Cincinnati for another chance at a big upset.
Armed Forces Bowl vs. Cincinnati (CBS)
Speaking of Cincinnati, the Bearcats are on a roll at 3-0 and as mentioned, are in the AP top 10. They are 3-0 after their most recent win two Saturdays ago against USF. Cincy’s biggest test is at SMU on October 24 and after that, the path is clear for a possible undefeated season. If that happens, they will surely have the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six bowl slot. BYU is 2-0 against Cincinnati, both wins coming since 2015.
Armed Forces Bowl vs. TCU (College Football News)
This would be a reunion of old WAC and Mountain West rivals. Now, TCU is in the Big 12 and has made some noise in that last few years, winning a share of the Big 12 title in 2014 and winning 11 games in 2017. The Horned Frogs are slow out of the gates this year at 1-2 with their lone win being in Austin against No. 9 Texas. These two squads saw a lot of each other in past decades and TCU has the edge at 6-5. Their last meeting came at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with TCU coming out on top.
Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma State (ESPN)
This projection is becoming a weekly occurrence. Certainly, BYU would be over the moon if such a prediction came true. Oklahoma State is a Big 12 school with plenty of history including a little against BYU, as the Cowboys beat BYU in the Cougars’ first two bowls in school history including the 1974 Fiesta Bowl. OSU is currently 3-0 and No. 7 in the polls and all of a sudden looks to be the Big 12’s biggest hope for a bigtime bowl or even a College Football Playoff representative, since Oklahoma and Texas each have two losses. This would be BYU’s first big bowl in the BCS or New Year’s Six eras.
Fiesta Bowl vs. Oregon (USA TODAY)
USA TODAY stands firm with the projection of the Ducks and Cougars meeting in Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl. Again, this would be BYU’s biggest bowl of the millennium and against a premier opponent. Oregon is fresh off of a PAC-12 title and Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin. These two have met during bowl season, back in 2006 at the Las Vegas Bowl when the Cougars trounced them 38-8. They haven’t met in the regular season since 1990 but are slated to meet in Eugene in 2022.
My prediction: Fiesta Bowl vs. USC
I too am sticking with my pick from a week ago. BYU sleep-walked through their win against UTSA but I am going to go ahead and say that was a wake-up call more than anything else. This is still a good team, maybe even a great team. USC is the favorite in the PAC-12 South and would love nothing more than to meet BYU on a national stage and exact revenge from their upset loss in Provo last season. For the Cougars, this would be a huge opportunity to play the Trojans in one of the biggest bowls of the season.