BYU’s big defeat of Boise State on the blue turf has sent them soaring in the opinions of national writers everywhere. Here is a look at the latest projections for where BYU will land in a bowl.
Gasparilla Bowl vs. Tulane (Sporting News)
Starting off with the least exciting matchup. The name nor the opponent incites much excitement. Tulane and BYU do have somewhat of a history, as they squared off first in the 1998 Liberty Bowl, with the Green Wave taking that game. BYU has since won their last two meetings, first in 2001 for their first of 12 straight wins that year and also in 2009. Needless to say this bowl would be a massive disappointment after an 8-0 start.
Armed Forces Bowl vs. SMU (CBS)
This is another projection from a writer, Jerry Palm, who is yet to drink the royal blue Kool-Aid. He believes BYU’s weak schedule for the rest of the season will hinder their ability to maintain a good enough ranking to be selected as an at-large for a New Year’s Six bowl. SMU is no slouch, though, as they are 7-1 and No. 19 in the AP poll, with their only loss coming at the hands of No. 7 Cincinnati.
Orange Bowl vs. Miami (Bleacher Report)
This is an interesting pick since the Orange Bowl is the only one of the New Year’s Six bowls that has a specific conference tie-in this season. As it stands, this game pits an ACC opponent, like Miami, or Notre Dame, who may very well go to the College Football Playoff, against either an SEC or Big 10 team. It’s unlikely BYU gets slotted there ahead of a highly ranked team from either of those Power 5 conferences. However, the prospect of playing Miami in a big time bowl is exciting. Of course, there is history as BYU upset No. 1 Miami in Provo in 1990, a year after Miami won the national championship. That is the last time these two teams have squared off. Meeting the Hurricanes in a prime time bowl on their home turf has all sorts of intrigue.
Fiesta Bowl vs. USC (College Football News and 247 Sports)
Two different sites have this as the matchup. From a regional standpoint, it makes sense. Both teams have a heavy dose of fans spread throughout the southwestern U.S. and this game is in Arizona. Both sides would draw well, if allowed. USC is coming off of a dramatic comeback win over Arizona State but they look pretty flawed. They will need to out-duel Oregon in PAC-12 title game for this slot unless Oregon is one of the lucky four to be in the College Football Playoff. In any case, this is a revenge spot for the Trojans who were upset in Provo last year at the hands of Zach Wilson.
Fiesta Bowl vs. Oregon (ESPN and my pick)
Two ESPN writers and myself concur that this should be the matchup. Oregon looks like the class of the PAC-12 but they may not be good enough for a College Football Playoff invite. If they fall short but still win the conference, this is where they would be slotted. BYU would jump at the chance to face the Ducks, one of the nation’s most recognizable brands of college football. Again, the Fiesta Bowl makes the most sense for BYU given the geography. The last time these two teams faced was the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, where BYU whipped the Ducks 38-8. These two squads are also slated to face off in Eugene in 2022.