With the regular season all but over — except for conference championship games — all of the state’s FBS programs, Utah State, Utah, and BYU, has earned a spot to play in one of the bowl games this season. Where they could end up is becoming more clear as bowl selection nears.
So, here are my projections for where the three teams will end up for some postseason fun, with a trophy on the line to cap off their 2021 seasons.
Coming back late to win the regular-season finale at USC, the Cougars have reached 10 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 2006-09 seasons.
Currently on a five-game winning streak, BYU moved up one spot – to No. 12 – in the CFP rankings unveiled Tuesday night.
At 10-2 and ranked 12th, there is a slim chance at a New Year’s Six bowl bid. Otherwise, the Cougars are contractually locked into the Independence Bowl, and that’s where they’re projected to go knowing that two losses most likely will keep them out of the major bowls.
Projection: Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Opponent: Texas-San Antonio
Date: Saturday, December 18
Location: Independence Stadium – Shreveport, LA
Time and channel: 1:30 p.m. MT, ABC
Rolling over New Mexico in the regular-season finale on Saturday, the Aggies clinched the Mountain Division title and a trip to the conference title game.
Going from a one-win team in 2020 to nine wins in 2021 under first-year head coach Blake Anderson, Utah State has a chance to win its first Mountain West championship when they face San Diego State this weekend.
Win or lose though, the Aggies’ bowl picture still seems pretty up in the air with many options available.
Projection: Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Opponent: Kent State
Date: Friday, December 31
Location: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ
Time and channel: 5:30 p.m. MT, Barstool Sports
Closing out the regular season with a home win over Colorado, the Utes’ mission is simple. Beat Oregon and win the Pac-12.
If they do that, they will be headed to the Rose Bowl. If not, there are a few options, but the Alamo Bowl seems most likely.
But after how Utah manhandled the Ducks just two weeks ago, the team can smell the roses as bowl season nears and are favored to win on a neutral field in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 title matchup. Expect Utah fans to travel well and for the Utes to come out on top.
Projection: Rose Bowl
Opponent: Ohio State
Date: Saturday, January 1
Location: Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Time and channel: 3 p.m. MT, ESPN