As of today, BYU football is only 60 days away.
Less than two months.
While we’re close, we aren’t quite close enough. To help hold you over, I’ve gone ahead and ranked BYU’s 12 scheduled opponents for the 2022 season in order of who I want to beat the most.
Starting at number 12, we have Utah Tech, formerly known as Dixie State. An FCS opponent is one we should beat in the first quarter of the game, and not typically one I care all that much about.
Number 11: Liberty. I actually kind of like Liberty. I think Hugh Freeze is a great coach and they’re one of those teams that doesn’t give you any reason to dislike them. I obviously want to beat them, but it’s not a game I circle on my calendar.
10: ECU. The Pirates would be lower on this list had it not been for the loss to them in 2017. Not only did we lose, but we lost our 7th game in a row to a 1-6 ECU team. It was not my favorite moment in BYU Football history. I want revenge for what was a tough game to watch, although it was the first look the CFB world got at Gardner Minshew.
9: Wyoming. A game against Wyoming is kind of like a family reunion. You try to avoid it, but it always comes around. When you get there, there’s this feeling of familiarity but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is. You get through it and end up getting something positive from it (a win), but all you feel afterward is relief. I don’t get particularly excited for games against Wyoming. It’s nothing against them as a program, but I don’t enjoy playing them. Probably PTSD from playing in War Memorial Stadium as former MWC opponents. I think Lavell put it best by saying. “I’d rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie.”
8: Utah State. The game against USU matters, and anyone who says it doesn’t is lying. It doesn’t carry the weight of a game against Utah, or even against Boise State, but it still matters. We as a fanbase are relieved when we beat the Aggies, and furious when we lose. Although I’m furious when we lose any game, I’m extra mad after losing to Utah State. They are our rival. We may not end up playing them as often in the future, and this is one of the reasons we need to win this game this year. It’s more important than in years prior.
7: Stanford. In previous years, a game against Stanford would have me more nervous and more excited than this one. This could all change as it’s the last game of the season and Stanford could end up being great, but I don’t see that happening. Stanford’s program has been struggling over the last few years and David Shaw doesn’t seem to have the same fire he had in the mid 2010’s. I still get excited at the potential to beat a Pac-12 team, but it’s not the same as it could have been six or seven years ago.
6: Arkansas. This is a big game by any standard. It’s an SEC team coming to Provo, which has only happened with one other team (Mississippi State). Arkansas had a very good team last year and Sam Pittman knows what he’s doing. Many national media outlets are anticipating the Razorbacks to have an even better season than they had last year, so this game is going to be enormous for Coug fans.
5: USF. BYU will be matching up with USF for the second straight year. This game is less important than the game last year for a few reasons, but more important for different reasons. It holds less significance because we got our revenge from 2019 already when we beat them last year. However, Jaren Hall still has to get his revenge, as Baylor Romney started at quarterback in that game. This is also BYU’s first game of the season. A loss in Tampa to start the year could cause a lot of Cougar fans stomach’s to churn.
4: Notre Dame. This one is pretty obvious. I think it would be safe to say most BYU fans have changed their outlook on Notre Dame from peachy to sour grapes. With the 2-4 scheduling agreement that they were able to change to a 1-3, then turning that one home game to a neutral site game in which they control ticket distribution, a lot of BYU fans are frustrated with the Fighting Irish. Regardless of that, this will be a massive game, as both teams have a great shot at entering it undefeated. This could be a top 10 primetime game in Vegas between two independent powers battling for CFP/NY6 game positioning.
3: Oregon. Another Pac-12 team, another big game. Oregon is one of the biggest brands in college football, and a team BYU hasn’t played since 2006. BYU dominated the last game, 38-8 in the Vegas Bowl. Oregon has a lot of ground to cover this year, with a new head coach and a transfer quarterback in Bo Nix. BYU fans should travel well to Eugene, and it should end up being a great game.
2: Boise State. This game is always important. The rivalry with Boise State has seemed to be one of the fastest growing rivalries in the sport. With very competitive games, close wins, and big upsets, this game has gotten exponentially more important over the last 12 years. This year is more important than a game vs Boise State has been in a while. Last year, Boise came in to Provo and beat the then 6-0, #10 ranked Cougars. I remember sitting at that game with my 11 year old Brother In Law. It was only his second BYU game he had ever been to. He was so frustrated and confused on how BYU lost to that Boise team. I think that is consistent with how a lot of us felt after that game. BYU should be looking to get revenge in a big way in this game, especially as it’s the last game BYU will play vs Boise for at least four years.
1: Baylor. With BYU joining the Big XII in 2023, Baylor will likely end up being a yearly opponent for the Cougars going forward. Last year’s Baylor team was excellent, and was too much for BYU to handle when they played in Waco. This year, the game is in Provo, and Baylor will be without Gerry Bohanon, who transferred to USF. I think every BYU fan should be looking forward to this matchup, and I for one desperately want BYU to win this game.