PROVO, Utah – Outside of the BYU football program, expectations are low for the Cougars in 2021, especially from the ESPN FPI.
In 2020, BYU climbed to No. 13 in the final FPI rankings with an 11-1 record. Heading into 2021, BYU is in the middle of the pack.
ESPN FPI has BYU at No. 63 in their 2021 preseason ratings with a projected record of 7.3-4.7. How they get the decimals on a record, I’ll never know. Inject that advanced data into your veins.
Five teams on BYU’s 2021 schedule are ranked higher than the Cougars in the FPI ratings. Here’s the full list of ratings for BYU’s upcoming opponents.
Where BYU Football opponents land in ESPN FPI preseason ratings for 2021
* = Ranked higher than BYU (No. 63)
Arizona – 102
Utah – 57*
Arizona State – 31*
South Florida – 105
Utah State – 120
Boise State – 78
Baylor – 47*
Washington State – 90
Virginia – 32*
Idaho State – N/A (FCS)
Georgia Southern – 88
USC – 26*
The FPI gives BYU an 88.2 percent chance of reaching six wins, the minimum win threshold to qualify for a bowl game.
Last year, BYU faced four teams that finished with at 63 or above in the FPI. BYU was 3-1 in those games. The lone loss came against Coastal Carolina after a whirlwind cross-country game on 48 hours notice.
One of the big questions for BYU this year will be at quarterback. Who replaces Zach Wilson as the starting signal-caller? Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick will have the autonomy to decide and has four quarterbacks to decide from in Jaren Hall, Baylor Romney, Jacob Conover, and Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters.
BYU opens the 2021 season on Saturday, September 4th, against the Arizona Wildcats at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.