PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The first College Football Playoff poll was released on Tuesday, and BYU not where they thought they would be.
The Cougars were ranked 14th in the poll, not only eliminating their slim chances at the College Football Playoffs, but also putting a New Year’s Six Bowl Game in jeopardy.
In the end, it came down to strength of schedule.
“We can only control what we can control,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We’ve been wanting to add games the entire time. I need to remind everyone again. We were the only ones that were playing football in the West, and when that happened, we reached out to all these conferences that were playing football, and as conferences started to make decisions to go conference-only, we had to pivot, work and maneuver.”
BYU really has one quality win this year over Boise State, a 51-17 romp on November 6th. The Broncos were down to their third string quarterback, and that wasn’t enough to impress the committee.
“Zach Wilson is definitely a Heisman candidate, playing at a high level,” said CFP Selection Committee Chair Gary Barta. “They’ve beaten three or four teams above .500. But as you look at their schedule, and that is certainly where the committee went, and looked at their best win is against Boise State. Boise was shorthanded in that game.”
“Last I checked, I didn’t know the quarterback for Boise played defense,” Sitake countered.
Despite a perfect 9-0 record, three two-loss teams were ranked ahead of BYU in Iowa State (#13), Oklahoma (#11) and Georgia (#9).
BYU’s original schedule included games against Utah, Michigan State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri and Stanford. But when COVID-19 hit, the Cougars had to scramble to put together a 10-game slate.
So now there is no path to the playoff, and maybe not even a New Year’s Six bowl game, seeing how only the highest ranked non-Power-5 team is guaranteed a spot, and right now that is #7 Cincinnati. But all BYU can do is try to schedule more games and win.
“We would love to play more,” Sitake said. “I love seeing this team play. I don’t care about what the bowl game is going to be. I just love our boys so much, and I just want to see them get the respect they deserve.”
BYU currently has one game remaining on December 12th at home against San Diego State.
Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State are the top four ranked teams in the poll.