Johnny Teixeira | The second round of the College Football Playoff Rankings released earlier this week, and to my surprise BYU moved up. No, they did not move ahead of a 6-2 Georgia, nor ahead of 6-2 Oklahoma or 5-1 Indiana. The current CFP rankings placed BYU (9-0) at No. 13, up one spot from their No. 14 position on the first week of rankings. Admittingly, BYU moving up more than one or two spots was pretty unrealistic considering they have not played a game since November 21, 2020 when they stomped North Alabama. Considering that most of the teams ahead of BYU secured a win in week 13, including Iowa State’s huge victory against No. 17 Texas, it was obvious the Committee only moved BYU up in necessity because of a Northwestern loss. However, a saving grace may have just fallen into the laps of the BYU Cougars: the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
In order to greatly improve their playoff chances, BYU needed to increase their strength of schedule. The College Football Playoff Committee explained their low ranking for BYU was due to their weaker schedule compared to other college football teams. This put BYU in a tough situation having only SDSU on their remaining schedule at the time. Ranked No. 18, and in somewhat a similar situation, Coastal Carolina (9-0) looked to BYU as a potential opponent in week 14 after, their original opponent, Liberty, opted out due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The two sides quickly jumped on the opportunity to play each other and now we have a Week 14 matchup: No. 13 BYU (9-0) @ No. 18 Coastal Carolina (9-0).
This game will easily be the toughest matchup for each other yet. With seasons on the line for both teams, expect the best of the best to come out of the tunnel. Quarterback Zach Wilson leads an explosive Cougars offense that ranks fourth overall in yards per game and fifth overall in points per game, beating their opponents by an average pf 33 points. BYU’s defense is no joke, ranking seventh in total defense and holding their opponents to an average of 13.9 points per game which is fourth in points allowed.
Even against a strong Coastal Carolina defensive unit, do not expect BYU to stray away from what got them to this point. Expect the passing attack to start off hot but do not be surprised if BYU aims to establish a running game against a CCU run defense that allows an average of 140 yards per game. For the Chanticleers, redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall has led an impressive unit thus far, connecting on 20 touchdowns with just one interception.
Although CCU’s bright spot has been their run game, BYU has been amazing defending the run only giving up 89 yards per game on the ground. This disparity could lead CCU to seek success through the air which could easily turn this game into an all-out air raid. In order for BYU to secure their tenth win on the season and greatly increase their playoff chances, they are going to have to establish themselves early and often. CCU will not be able to keep up with BYU if Zach Wilson is taking command and putting points on the board with authority. This game will most certainly be BYU’s biggest test so far this season, and in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, they are going to have to pass. However, a statement blowout win is not necessary for the Cougars thus there is no need for this team to get nervous.
Currently BYU is a 10.5 point favorite on the road with an over/under of 61.5 for the game. Vegas expects this to be a high scoring affair and I would be shocked if this did not turn out to be true. While both teams have impressive defensive units, the game will be decided by quarterbacking. It’s Heisman candidate Zach Wilson versus redshirt freshman Grayson McCall. I will take the experience and confidence of Wilson in this one. His ability to lead a team on and off the field should not go unnoticed. With this weekend being the pinnacle for BYU’s season, I expect Zach to be able to lead this team to victory.
Featured image courtesy Deseret News and Associated Press