For reference, BYU checks in at No. 25 in his SP+ rankings.
Sep. 3 at USF (Tampa, FL)
2022 SP+ ranking: 89
This is a tricky season opener. Up until the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl, BYU had never won on Florida soil. This game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, also home to the 2020 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These two teams squared off in Provo last year, with BYU winning a closer-than-the-experts-thought contest, 35-27. USF has athletes galore and will pose a problem. Former Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon transferred to USF and is now the guy in Tampa. He gets a second shot at BYU after beating them last year with the Bears. This might get uncomfortable for Cougar fans, even with the less-than-stellar outlook on USF as a team. At times, BYU does not play up to their standards in Week 1 nor against seemingly inferior competition.
Prediction: BYU 23, USF 20
Sep. 10 vs. Baylor
2022 SP+ ranking: 40
Baylor was arguably the best team BYU faced all season after the chips were down last year. They were Big 12 champions and ended up beating Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl for a stellar 12-2 season. Their defense was one of the best in all of college football, ranking 10th in scoring. They return 14 starters from one of the best teams in program history, including most of their dominant offensive line. The drop-off this season is at quarterback. As mentioned, Bohanon jumped ship for USF. How their new quarterback plays, who is assumed to be Blake Shapen, will determine the ceiling of this talented team. They completely dominated BYU on both sides of the trenches in last year’s 38-24 win over the Cougars. Both sides return most of those trench players, which does not bode well for BYU.
Prediction: Baylor 27, BYU 21
Sep. 17 at Oregon (Eugene, OR)
2022 SP+ Ranking: 24
The Ducks check in on the SP+ rankings one spot ahead of the Cougars. This will be perhaps BYU’s toughest game on the schedule. Oregon is always talented and fast. They come into this season with a new head coach in Dan Lanning and new quarterback in Auburn transfer Bo Nix. They have won 19 straight games at Autzen Stadium dating back to 2018. Autzen Stadium is one of the hardest venues for a road team to win. BYU has slayed a few giants on the road in recent years but this will be a tall task. Oregon has Rose Bowl and maybe even College Football Playoff hopes once again.
Prediction: Oregon 33, BYU 24
Sep. 24 vs. Wyoming
2022 SP+ Ranking: 104
The Cowboys finished 2021 by blowing out Kent State 52-38 in the Idaho Potato Bowl, finishing 7-6. They also blew out eventual Mountain West champion Utah State 44-17 in Logan, which raised some eyebrows. However, they finished just 2-6 in Mountain West play and will be replacing the majority of their production. Historically, BYU has dominated Wyoming, having won eight straight matchups. They last played in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl, with BYU winning 24-21. With the returning talent BYU has and this being in Provo, the Cougars should handle business.
Prediction: BYU 33, Wyoming 13
Sep. 29 vs. Utah State
2022 SP+ Ranking: 92
Utah State is certainly a wild card. On one hand, they are the reigning Mountain West Conference champions after an 11-3 season, finishing No. 24 in the final AP poll. They also return their starting quarterback in Logan Bonner. However, they lost some key experience on defense. They could be anything from challenging for another double digit-win season or middle-of-the-road once again. They open their road schedule at Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama. By the time they play BYU, they will either be battle-tested or battered to bits. Also, the last time these two squads squared off in Provo, the Aggies blasted the Cougars 45-20 in 2018. It’s always a stiff battle for the Wagon Wheel.
Prediction: BYU 37, Utah State 30
Oct. 8 vs. Notre Dame (Las Vegas, NV)
2022 SP+ Ranking: 7
This is the marquee game on BYU’s 2022 slate in regards to national appeal. The Irish and Cougars meet up for the first time since 2013 and will do so in Sin City. Overall, BYU is 2-4 against Notre Dame. This year’s version of the Irish has College Football Playoff hopes. They are coming off of an 11-1 regular season before losing in the Fiesta Bowl. That lone loss was to Cincinnati, who made the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame returns a talented quarterback in Tyler Buchner, who is a threat with his legs. They have 15 returning starters and a stellar offensive line. BYU’s weakness is along the defensive line. That is not a good omen.
Prediction: ND 28, BYU 23
Oct. 15 vs. Arkansas
2022 SP+ Ranking: 26
BYU, Oregon, and Arkansas are all bunched up at 24-26 in the SP+ rankings. The Razorbacks have a chance to be really good. Their quarterback, K.J. Jefferson, is an absolute stud. He has Cam Newton (Auburn era) qualities and size. BYU’s main advantage is that they are in Provo. Arkansas has not traveled west of Texas since 2018, when they lost to Colorado State. Jefferson is the great equalizer in this scenario. He had over 2,600 passing yards and 660 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns last season. With another step, he is a dark horse Heisman candidate. This will be a battle that will be decided in the trenches as well as if Arkansas can handle the elevation in Provo.
Prediction: BYU 30, Arkansas 27
Oct. 22 at Liberty (Lynchburg, VA)
2022 SP+ Ranking: 66
The biggest difference for Liberty this season is their situation at quarterback. Gone is Malik Willis, who was arguably the most talented signal caller they have ever had. Now behind center is a familiar face to BYU, in Charlie Brewer. Yes, that Charlie Brewer, the one BYU beat when he was still the starting quarterback for Utah early last season. This may work to BYU’s advantage. The Flames are a rising program under veteran head coach Hugh Freeze. The Cougars had to scratch and claw for a victory over Liberty at home in 2019, 31-24. It might be a similar fight on their turf.
Prediction: BYU 33, Liberty 27
Oct. 28 vs. East Carolina
2022 SP+ Ranking: 81
The Pirates won the last meeting back in 2017. ECU is coming off of a 7-5 season, their first winning season in 7 years. Quarterback Holton Ahlers returns for his fifth year, most of those as a starter. He is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country. They are a sneaky team with plenty of experience. They had the South Carolina Gamecocks on the ropes last season. The biggest key in this game is that it’s at home for BYU. If this were in Greenville, it would be much more of a “trap” game.
Prediction: BYU 31, ECU 17
Nov. 5 at Boise State (Boise, ID)
2022 SP+ Ranking: 43
This game has major red flags. This will be the final game of a 10-games-in-10-weeks stretch without a bye for the Cougars. They will be beat up and bruised going to the blue turf of Boise, where they are 1-5 as a program against Boise State. The Broncos already tend to give the Cougars trouble. We need only look back to last year, where that loss to Boise State might have kept BYU from getting invited to a New Year’s Six Bowl. Head coach Andy Avalos is trying to get the Broncos back to the days when they were competing for New Year’s Six Bowls themselves year after year. Last year they went 7-5 as quarterback Hank Bachmeier played hurt most of the year. He is back for the fourth year as a starter and will have Boise State competing for a conference title.
Prediction: Boise 24, BYU 23
Nov. 19 vs. Utah Tech
There is no need to spend a lengthy paragraph on the team formerly known as Dixie State. Utah Tech recently left Division II for the FCS and the WAC. The Trail Blazers played their first full season as an FCS squad last year, going 1-10.
Prediction: BYU 60, UTT 7
Nov. 26 at Stanford (Palo Alto, CA)
2022 SP+ Ranking: 77
BYU went 5-0 against the PAC-12 last year. Stanford is no longer a top tier program in the conference. However, the Cougars have never beaten the Cardinal in two tries. This might be their last chance to notch that first win. Quarterback Tanner McKee is a former BYU recruit and even served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has high expectations as a former four-star recruit. He helped Stanford upset No. 3 Oregon last season. They are dangerous with him at the helm with a stout offensive line. Everything else around that is a question mark for the Cardinal. It will be an empty stadium late in the season after a brutal schedule.
Prediction: BYU 27, Stanford 24
Final record: 8-4