BYU moved up one spot to number 13 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings released Tuesday. BYU jumped ahead of Wake Forest after their loss to Clemson. Utah moved up 4 spots to 19, strengthening BYU’s resume a bit. BYU is right behind #12 Michigan State and #11 Oregon after their losses over the weekend.
A New Year’s Six Bowl is still a possibility for BYU, although they will definitely need some help. Beating USC this weekend is an obvious prerequisite, and that win over a flailing 4-6 team won’t move the needle.
Utah beating Oregon was good for BYU’s NY6 hopes because 1) it makes the Utah win look better, 2) it all but guarantees the Pac-12 will only get one NY6/CFP bid, which opens up an at-large slot, and 3) it increases Cincinnati’s odds to get into the CFP, which would also open up an at-large slot since no G5 team would replace Cincinnati in a NY6 bowl.
#4 Cincinnati getting into the 4-team CFP would help out BYU, since that would mean none of the NY6 bowls would have a G5 automatic qualifier — Cincinnati in the CFP satisfies that requirement.
There are a few teams ahead of BYU in the at-large pecking order that have games this weekend.#9 Ole Miss plays at Mississippi State Thursday and #12 Michigan State hosts Penn State Saturday. Both losing would help. BYU at a minimum needs to pass at least one of those teams. #10 Oklahoma losing to #7 Oklahoma State could also be enough for BYU to pass the Sooners.
#8 Baylor hosts Texas Tech Saturday. The Bears beat BYU already, but a loss would give them their third of the year and potentially put them behind BYU. Baylor losing wouldn’t ding BYU at all, and the committee could decide to leapfrog BYU over them based on the strength of the Utah win and Baylor having one more loss than BYU.
The Pac-12 north race is also worth monitoring. If Oregon loses to Oregon State and Washington State beats Washington, then Washington State would play Utah in the Pac-12 title game. BYU beating the North and South champ wouldn’t be bad optics.
Those are a lot of things that would need to happen, but the path is there for BYU to sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl, which would likely be the Fiesta Bowl. This is the last full weekend of games before conference championship weekend the following Saturday.
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