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Top 5 non-power opponents BYU football should schedule

A staff poll revealed the Group of 5 teams we want to see BYU play the most. (SPOILER: A rematch of a brawl is popular.)

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About two years ago, I polled the staff of Vanquish The Foe about non-BCS teams (as we called them then) we'd like to see BYU play.

The only rule (as was enforced for the current vote about to be revealed) was to not cast votes for teams already on BYU's future schedules. The results two years ago? Navy, Northern Illinois, Air Force, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, and Army topped the poll.

NIU and Fresno State are now on future schedules. With a largely different staff, did the rest carry over? I polled our staff on the Group of 5 teams we'd like to see BYU schedule, and here are the results:


Total Points: 23

Two years ago, Memphis didn't receive a single vote. I wonder what could have possibly changed since then?

Matt Brown: "This should need no explanation. Two dramatically different fanbases. Two interesting teams. A rematch of one of the weirdest and most controversial BYU games in recent memory. Hell yeah Memphis and BYU should play again soon."

We have heard a lot about the two schools and the American Athletic Conference cooperating with each other's investigations. Wouldn't take much more to sign a home-and-home, I don't think.

Past Games: 1
Last: 2014 - Memphis 55, BYU 48 (OT)


Total Points: 19

The winner of the poll two years ago was only unseated by a bloodlust for a brawl rematch. The sentiment to schedule Navy is a popular and understandable one that has existed since the moment BYU declared independence. Academies carry a lot of similarities to BYU, Navy has been fairly successful, it takes BYU to a brand new place on the East coast, Bronco has always expressed a desire to play tradition-rich service academies in independence, and Ken Niumatalolo is LDS. Can we please get this done at some point?

Rachel Konishi: "Have you seen Meet The Mormons?"

Past Games: 2 (1-1)
Last: 1989 - BYU 31, Navy 10


Total Points: 12

Air Force appears again at number three as it did two years ago. The reasons are similar to that of Navy but with a tradition of formerly being in the same conference to go with it. Some of BYU's strangest MWC losses came at the hands of the Falcons, but in the Bronco-as-head-coach-and-defensive-coordinator era, the Cougars have stifled Air Force's option attack at every chance.

Jake Welch: "Watching the option offense is a thing of beauty and watching Bronco's defense dismantle it is even better."

Past Games: 31 (BYU 24-7)
Last: 2010 - Air Force 35, BYU 14


Total Points: 11

Full disclosure, the first-place vote SMU garnered was mine. BYU made a decent grab at some solid Dallas/Fort Worth area recruits in the 2015 class, and Guy Holliday has some goodTexas connections. It never, ever hurts to schedule games in the heart of Texas to let these guys come and see you. Better yet is winning. Kids in Texas know BYU just walloped Texas twice. SMU certainly wouldn't carry that weight, but it would carry some.

There's history in this series, of course. You know, like one of the greatest games in college football history. The two briefly shared a conference back when the 16-team WAC was a thing, too. Getting a series scheduled just makes too much sense.

Past Games: 3 (BYU 3-0)
Last: 1997 - BYU 19, SMU 16


Total Points: 9

My heart leapt with joy when I saw other people than myself put UTSA on their ballots. Look, playing games in Texas never hurts. UTSA, however, plays its home games in an NFL-sized stadium in a locale that has that unique "we're scheduling in fun places" flare we've seen a little in Tom Holmoe's scheduling. It could be a fun trip for a lot of BYU Texans, and Larry Coker is building a winner out of nothing in San Antonio. BYU could maybe even get a 2-for-1 out of it, but if not, a home-and-home with a school that plays in a huge stadium in Texas ain't bad. MEEP MEEP.

Past Games: None

Others Receiving Votes (Points)

Georgia Southern (8) - The Eagles just missed the cut. Keith Shirts: "I would say they are up and coming, but they may have already arrived. They struggle to get home games, a plight shared by BYU. Problem solved. Would be a good, challenging series." Hey, more Bronco vs. The Option (oh hai Air Force and Georgia Tech) sounds fun.

San Diego State (6) - Some of us just can't get enough of beating the Aztecs on the turf. Matt Brown: "Important recruiting state/metro, plus the schools have a ton of history."

Army (4) - Same as Navy and Air Force.

Central Florida (4) - Would have probably been a wildly popular pick if BYU hadn't already played a series against the Knights. New is fun in the indie era, but UCF would be a great staple on the schedule from a location and competition standpoint.

North Dakota State (3) - Bison love. Rachel Konishi: "I don't care they're not FBS. They play a fun style of football." Hey, if you're going to schedule an FCS team anyway, might as well make it fun. (Just don't lose!)

Akron (2)
Central Michigan (2)

Ohio (1)
Marshall (1)
Idaho (1)
Butler (1)
- Steve Pierce's ballots consisted of all basketball schools, something you'll see more of in the Power 5 version of the poll.
Kansas (1) - Jake Welch: "But seriously, they're a Group of 5 team.

Stay tuned for the Power 5 poll on Thursday.