Football Playoff Committee ranks BYU 14th, threatening NY6 bowl bid

BYU Football is 9-0 and ranked No. 8 in the AP Top 25, but reality set in when the College Football Playoff committee put the Cougars at No. 14 on Tuesday in the first rankings of the season.

If the Cougars want to have a real shot at making it to a coveted New Years Six Bowl against a Power 5 team they have to crack the CFP Top 12, putting the onus on BYU to find another opponent to strengthen its schedule over the next three weeks.

Head coach Kalani Sitake appeared on ESPN following the ranking reveal and said the team was preparing to play Washington on Nov. 28. Plans eventually fell through between the two teams, but Sitake wanted to “crush” the “false narrative” that BYU was “hiding or ducking” from the potential matchup.

“I want to make sure everyone understands we’re not afraid of anybody,” Sitake said. “We will respect everyone we play, but there’s no fear in this.”

BYU currently has just one game remaining on its schedule, against San Diego State on Dec. 12. CFP committee chair Gary Barta spoke about the decision to put BYU at No. 14 on ESPN, mentioning the strength of schedule as the biggest issue.

The committee views the win at Boise State on Nov. 6 as BYU’s best win, but Barta added that the Broncos were “shorthanded” against the Cougars.

Sitake commented on the committee’s assessment by pointing out that the major injury to the Broncos was at the quarterback position, and the Cougars still dropped 51 points on them in Boise.

“Last I checked I didn’t know the Boise State quarterback played defense,” Sitake told the local media after his ESPN appearance. “We’ve never been full strength, but we don’t cry about it either.”

Sitake said BYU has two open dates left this season, Dec. 5 and 19, to schedule more opponents in hopes of improving its resume and rising into the Top 12 and a NY6 Bowl spot.

“If there’s anybody that actually has availability to play those games, we’d love to do it,” Sitake said.

Members of the media on the ESPN broadcast and on Twitter expressed confusion over BYU being ranked so low, but encouraged Sitake and athletic director Tom Holmoe to “get on the phone now” and schedule prominent opponents in the remaining weeks, namely undefeated Cincinnati and Marshall.

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