There is chatter among the fan base about whether or not BYU should schedule an 11th game, especially as we begin to see more postponements throughout college football. Marshall just got their game against FIU postponed and Wisconsin is dealing with an outbreak that got their game against Nebraska cancelled.
After this weekend’s game against Western Kentucky, BYU plays just twice over the following 41 days until San Diego State comes to Provo on December 12th. It’s easy to see the temptation to schedule another game, possibly even a Power 5 game against a Big 10 or PAC-12 opponent who has a game get inevitably postponed.
BYU should steer clear and stand pat with the schedule they have at the moment. The only reason they should schedule another game is if a solid opponent on their schedule has to cancel such as Boise State or San Diego State. If both of those games are on, BYU should avoid scheduling further games.
The risk far outweighs the reward. For those clamoring for another game to possibly catapult BYU into the College Football Playoff, that simply is an unrealistic goal. If UCF couldn’t get in after winning 25 straight games over two seasons, including a big NY6 bowl win over Auburn, why would they let BYU in with one undefeated season?
The risk is you schedule that 11th game, head into it 10-0 with all your New Year’s Six dreams ahead of you, then you lose it. Now, BYU is playing in the Armed Forces Bowl instead of the Fiesta Bowl, all because they felt the need to schedule an extra game. No one is forcing BYU to play 11 games, they control their own destiny.
The reward is an 11-0 season, which basically puts you right at where you were at 10-0, which is squarely in a spot to get a New Year’s Six bowl slot. Most bowl projections have either BYU or Boise State getting a New Year’s Six bowl bid, thus their game on November 6th might be treated as a type of play-in game. If BYU beats Boise State, everything they want is right in front of them. BYU should worry about beating Boise State rather than try and play more games.
Let’s be honest, the peak of BYU in independence would be winning a New Year’s Six bowl. The College Football Playoff is simply built to exclude the non-Power 5 conference teams and frankly, it’s hard enough for even a few Power 5 conferences to get invited (looking at you, PAC-12).
The Big 10 also just denied Nebraska’s request to replace their cancelled game against Wisconsin with FCS foe Chattanooga. There is no guarantee this 11th game would be a marquee Power 5 team, since they are restricted to what their conferences would allow. If BYU were to schedule a Conference USA opponent like Marshall, that would not be the springboard game BYU needed for a College Football Playoff invite, yet they risk losing it and costing themselves a shot at a big-time bowl.
I understand it’s fun to have big brand opponents, that’s part of the appeal of independence. However, let’s leave that to 2021 and beyond and take advantage now of a golden opportunity to score the first big stage bowl in decades this season. Let’s just wait for that big bowl game to play a marquee brand opponent.