Spring Ball is in the rearview mirror, meaning we have a couple months until Fall Camps begin across the country in late July and August.
The end of Spring Ball also means many national outlets update their “way-too-early” top 25 polls. BYU ended the 2021 season ranked 19 in the AP Poll and is among the nation’s leaders in returning production, meaning they are showing up in the majority of the rankings.
We round up some of the rankings from various media outlets below.
Spring update: Coming off back-to-back seasons with 10 victories and entering their final one as an independent, the Cougars bring back almost everyone who was a big contributor in 2021. In fact, BYU will return 88% of its production, according to ESPN’s Bill Connelly, and that ranks second in the FBS. If the Cougars can keep quarterback Jaren Hall healthy and find a capable replacement for Allgeier, who left for the NFL, they’ll be poised for another campaign with 10 wins or more. One concern: BYU’s schedule next season includes home games against Baylor and Arkansas, road games versus Oregon, Boise State and Stanford and a contest with Notre Dame in Las Vegas.
The Cougars have won 21 games in the past two seasons, return starting quarterback Jaren Hall, who should lead a dynamic offense with California transfer Christopher Brooks filling a need at running back. The defense brings back almost its entire unit and gets back several players lost due to injury. If those pieces come together then it should take a big step forward. Even with the returning production, BYU is not getting a ton of love nationally but this has the makings of team that can deal with a tough schedule (Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, Arkansas) and make a run for the playoff or New Year’s Six game if they avoid major injuries.
The Cougars have certainly earned an invite to the Big 12. Kalani Sitake has the program on an even course with 21 combined wins the last two seasons. Versatile RB Tyler Allgeier is gone to the NFL, but Cal transfer Christopher Brooks hopes to fill in.
QB Jaren Hall is back. Buzzy WRs Chase Roberts and Kody Epps should see bigger roles, and Cal transfer RB Chris Brooks will help fill the shoes of Tyler Allgeier. The defense will benefit from the return of injured LBs Payton Wilgar and Keenan Pili, who join leading returning tackler Ben Bywater in a deep position group. Vanderbilt transfer CB Gabe Jeudy-Lally gives the Cougars a nice third option at cornerback.
When you return a difference-maker at quarterback coming off a 10-win season, hype is warranted. But now, BYU welcomes back top wideout Gunner Romney — who skipped an NFL opportunity — and landed Cal running back Christopher Brooks and Stanford fullback Houston Heimuli out of the portal to complete what should be a feared offense next fall. Over the first seven weeks, BYU will play Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame and Arkansas, four teams included in our preseason way-too-early rankings. If there’s a dark-horse playoff team for 2022, you could be looking at them based on the schedule opportunities.
The Cougars only have two chances to beat up on the Pac-12, not five, but with a loaded defense and veteran quarterback (Jaren Hall), they should be just fine in Year Last as an Independent. Opener: Sept. 3 at USF