Having officially reached the midway point of the college football season, Utah, Utah State and BYU are all within reach of the six wins needed for bowl eligibility.
Here are my projections on where the three teams will end up for some postseason fun, along with a trophy on the line to cap off their 2021 seasons.
After back-to-back wins over Washington State and USC to begin Pac-12 play, the Utes look to be getting back on track after struggling in losses to BYU and San Diego State.
The Utes are starting to show promise behind quarterback Cam Rising, who threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns in a big win over USC at the Coliseum. Needing just three more wins for bowl eligibility, Utah is favored in five of its seven remaining games, meaning a bowl invite should come with relative ease.
The Utes have a big game coming up this week against No. 18 Arizona State, a matchup that could make or break Utah’s shot at a Pac-12 South title and conference championship game appearance.
Projection: SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Date: Thursday, December 30
Location: Allegiant Stadium – Paradise, NV
Time and channel: 8:30 p.m. MT, ESPN
The Aggies started off the Blake Anderson era on a high note, notching come-from-behind wins over Washington State, North Dakota State (FCS), and Air Force to begin a season 3-0 for the first time since 1978.
Since then, Utah State has come back to earth, with multi-score losses to rivals Boise State and BYU leaving them at 3-2 overall. But after a 1-5 disaster 2020 campaign, a return to a bowl game after a one-year absence is definitely in reach for the Aggies in 2021.
According to ESPN FPI, USU is favored in all but one of its seven remaining games – at home against Wyoming the lone exception – meaning not just a bowl invite, but a Mountain Division title and conference championship game appearance is still in the cards. A victory over winless UNLV this week would see the Aggies inch closer to their bowl game aspirations.
Projection: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Date: Tuesday, December 28
Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas, TX
Time and channel: 1:15 p.m. MT, ESPN
With hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl game and an undefeated season now dashed, BYU is basically guaranteed a berth in the Independence Bowl unless chaos among the rest of the country ensues and the Cougars win out to move back up in the national rankings.
Sorry Cougar fans, but the odds of that happening are very slim. Pack your bags for a trip to Shreveport.
Projection: Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Opponent: Louisiana Tech
Date: Saturday, December 18
Location: Independence Stadium – Shreveport, LA
Time and channel: 1:30 p.m. MT, ABC