The three FBS teams in the state all hosted games in Week 6 of college football but none of them provided enough home cooking to come out with a win. Here is a look at the midterm report card for each school:
BYU: The Cougars had their Homecoming spoiled by the Boise State Broncos. Even the return of Tanner Mangum did little to spark the offense and he still looked hobbled after some plays.
For at least the first possession BYU looked like a capable offense as they scored on a 10 play 48 yard drive. However that was just a teaser for the fans as Boise State rallied to score 24 unanswered points. One anemic offensive stat last night was that Boise State receivers combined for 13 catches while the entire BYU offense combined for just 12 first downs. Yikes.
It wasn’t as bad as being blanked by LSU (who lost to Troy) or failing to score a touchdown on Wisconsin but it isn’t looking good. If the Cougars lose in their rematch with the Mississippi State Bulldogs like they are expected to, they will have to win out their last five games vs inferior but capable opponents.
Midterm Exam: D (at least they managed a touchdown)
Midterm Report Card: D- (defense: C offense: F-
Projected Final Grade: C (they should get to 6-6 and get to a bowl game but it won’t be pretty. Currently ESPN doesn’t have anyone projecting them to make a bowl but it’s possible if the Cougars rise and shout enough. Calling a Las Vegas Bowl loss to UCLA to end the season at 6-7)
Utah Utes: The Utah Utes looked like they had a midterm group project where the smartest kid in the class (Tyler Huntley) got sick on presentation day and the fate of your grade depends on a kid who is content with getting by (Troy Williams). It’s only one loss so College Football Playoff buzz might still be present in October but just like the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, anything that can go wrong for the Utes near the end of the season, will go wrong.
Midterm Group Project: C+ (any loss even if it’s close is automatically a C+ unless it’s against Alabama or Clemson on the road. Then it’s a B.) Utah tried to make a late rally on a rising Stanford team but it was too little too late.
Midterm Grade: A- They just had their first loss of the season but they were the last team in the PAC-12 South to do so.
Projected Final Grade: A- They will get there if they win the majority of their remaining games and finish the season with at least a share of the PAC-12 South Division Title. Then if they win the title they could likely lose to the winner of the Apple Cup in the North and still possibly earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. Still, it seems like the Utes win the Division title every year (until the second week in October).
Utah State Aggies: My how much one week can change your season in college football. The quality of USU’s rivalry win over BYU was diminished significantly considering another top tier Mountain West team like Boise State proved it could handle the Cougars.
The loss against Colorado State yesterday was equivalent to getting overconfident after acing the pop quiz then getting a poor score on your midterm exam. The Aggies just didn’t cause turnovers like they did last week because Rams quarterback Nick Stevens throws a tad better than Koy Detmer and Beau Hoge. He prefers throwing it either to players on his actual team or throwing it out of bounds. He saw the film of Jalen Davis catching more touchdowns from BYU quarterbacks than any single BYU receiver did last week.
The good news is USU didn’t commit any turnovers either and made an exciting finish after a second touchdown and an onside kick recovery with less than 2 minutes remaining. Had they made a quick drive and recovered another onside kick they would have had a chance to win the game. They just made the rookie Madden mistake of throwing 4 incomplete Hail Mary passes and allowing the Rams to win the game in victory formation.
Midterm Exam: C (it was still a two possession loss so their loss wasn’t as acceptable as Utah’s but it was a lot more acceptable than what BYU managed on Homecoming.)
Midterm Grade: B (all of USU’s wins have been an A+ as they have had three double digit wins. However, all of their losses have been C Grade or worse double digit losses. Two of those losses came to Power 5 teams though so it will average out to be a B for now.
Projected Final Grade: A- The Aggies will be in the thick of a Mountain Division title race and likely will make a trip back to a bowl game either in the Arizona Bowl, Hawaii Bowl or the fan favorite Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The only way to get an A on the season is to win the Mountain Division and win the Mountain West title. That proves to be a daunting task as San Diego State is one of the 13 undefeated teams left in college football.
It’s a tough time in the Wild West every week playing games in Wisconsin, Louisiana or Arizona but the three FBS teams in the state lately have found a way to keep bowling and add more accolades to their school legacies.