It’s time for bowl projections!
No. 11 Utah continues to move up in the polls after taking down then-No. 22 UCLA at home last week. The Utes were the only FBS program in the state to get a win in Week 4 as BYU fell 38-27 on the road to Kansas and Utah State lost 45-38 to James Madison (4-0) at home.
As of now, all three programs look like they will be bowl eligible. Here’s a look at where could we see the Utes, Cougars and Aggies play during the bowl season.
No. 10 Utah (4-0, 1-0)
Somehow, the Utes just keep winning. Even when the odds seem stacked against them, they find a way.
While the 14-7 game against then-No.22 UCLA was rather boring, the Utes took care of business at home to improve to 4-0 and move into the Top 10 of the polls.
The Utes jumped ahead early, thanks to Karene Reid taking an interception and returning it for a score on the very first play of the afternoon.
Utah’s defense held the Bruins in check the rest of the way, even as the offensive side of the ball struggled without Cam Rising once again. Nate Johnson did manage to throw a 7-yard touchdown to Landen King before the half, and those 14 points are all the Utes needed.
The win was even more important considering it was the Pac-12 opener for Utah as they look to win the league for the third straight time.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Utes moving forward, with a road matchup against No. 19 Oregon State next on Friday night. Will Cam Rising play? The questions about his status could very well make or break the team’s season.
Projection: Holiday Bowl
Date: Wednesday, December 27
Location: Petco Park – San Diego, CA
Time and channel: 6 p.m. MT, FOX
BYU (3-1, 0-1)
After a 3-0 start, the Cougars tasted defeat for the first time in Week 4. It was disappointing for BYU, who had their chances to pull off a victory in its first-ever Big 12 Conference game.
The Cougars took a 17-14 lead into the halftime break, but Kansas pulled ahead with two third-quarter touchdowns and never looked back to improve to 4-0 and vault into the Top 25 rankings.
The game might have had a different outcome if it weren’t for turnovers. While the Jayhawks never gave the ball up to the BYU defense, the visitors turned the ball over three times and each one led to Kansas scoring touchdowns.
Even with a loss, many BYU fans would undoubtedly still take a 3-1 start to the season, especially when one of the wins was over an SEC opponent on the road.
The Cougars have a great opportunity to notch their fourth win this week as they play their first conference home game as Big 12 members against 2-2 Cincinnati on Friday night.
Projection: Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Date: Saturday, December 23
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, TX
Time and channel: 1:30 p.m. MT, ABC
Utah State (1-3)
It appeared after falling behind 24-0 that not only the game was over in Week 4 for the Aggies, but maybe even the season.
Utah State did not quit, however, fighting back to tie the game at 38 early in the fourth quarter against James Madison at home.
While the comeback attempt ultimately fell short in a 45-38 loss, the Aggies will hope the second-half momentum from the game carries over to the Week 5 game.
Much like they have during the entire tenure of Blake Anderson, USU had to play from behind after a dismal first quarter. So far this season, the Aggies have been outscored 60-7 in the opening 15 minutes, with the only score coming against FCS Idaho State.
With a now true freshman quarterback in McCae Hillstead and a three-option rushing attack, the Aggies must start fast and score points early.
Facing an 0-4 UConn this week, USU will have to win to keep the potential of six wins and bowl eligibility in reach. A loss all but ends the Aggies’ hopes.
Projection: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Opponent: Central Michigan
Date: Saturday, December 23
Location: Albertsons Stadium – Boise, ID
Time and channel: 1:30 p.m. MT, ESPN