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BYU's NY6 Hopes on Life Support after New CFP Rankings

As things currently stand, BYU is on the outside looking in

On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee unveiled a new top 25. These are the rankings that will eventually determine which teams participate in the playoff and receive at-large NY6 bids. In the updated rankings, BYU improved from no. 13 to no. 12. 

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Heading into championship weekend, BYU's NY6 hopes are on life support. However, there is still a narrow (and we mean very narrow) path for the Cougars. As things currently stand, BYU is the “First team out" in March Madness terms. Below, we outline the things that would need to happen for BYU to sneak into a NY6 bowl.

Here are the CFP rankings as of Tuesday night:

  1. Georgia
  2. Michigan
  3. Alabama
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Ohio State
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Baylor
  10. Oregon
  11. Michigan State
  12. BYU
  13. Iowa
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Pitt
  16. Wake Forest
  17. Utah
  18. NC State
  19. San Diego State
  20. Clemson
  21. Houston
  22. Arkansas
  23. Kentucky
  24. Louisiana
  25. Texas A&M

If the season ended today, this is how the NY6 would look:

  • Orange Bowl: Georgia (1) vs Cincinnati (4)
  • Cotton Bowl: Michigan (2) vs Alabama (3)
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State (7, auto) vs Oregon or Utah (10, 17 auto)
  • Peach Bowl: Pitt or Wake Forest (15, 16 auto) vs Michigan State (11, at large)
  • Fiesta Bowl: Baylor (9, at large) vs Notre Dame (6, at large)
  • Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss (8, SEC auto) vs Oklahoma State (5, Big 12 auto)

Unfortunately for the Cougars, only the top eleven would make the NY6 in the current rankings.

There is one week remaining in college football season. BYU's path to a NY6 bowl, which has been slim from the beginning, is even narrower than it was last week. Here are the things that would need to happen this weekend for BYU to receive an at-large bid.

1. Michigan must beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship

If BYU is going to qualify for an at-large birth, Michigan must beat Iowa.

If the Wolverines lose, they would drop out of the playoff and take an at-large bid from the Cougars.

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2. Baylor must lose to Oklahoma State and drop below BYU

Baylor takes on Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship this weekend. To keep BYU's NY6 hopes alive, the Bears need to lose to Oklahoma State.

That's not all. In the final rankings, the committee would have to drop Baylor below BYU. Since Baylor owns the head-to-head victory over BYU, the committee could rank the Bears ahead of the Cougars even after a loss.

It's worth noting that the Bears dropped one spot from no. 8 to no. 9 in this week's rankings, making them slightly more vulnerable to drop below BYU if they lose.

3. Oklahoma State misses the playoff

This is where things get dicey. If BYU is going to qualify for a NY6 Bowl, Oklahoma State has to miss the playoff. Oklahoma State is currently sitting one spot outside the playoff at number five. 

There are a few different ways Oklahoma State could qualify for the playoff and shut the door on BYU's NY6 dreams.

  1. With a win over Baylor, Oklahoma State could leapfrog Cincinnati and qualify for the playoff
  2. Oklahoma State would slide into the playoff with a Georgia win over Alabama.

So for Oklahoma State to miss the playoff, Alabama must beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and Cincinnati must beat Houston in the AAC Championship.

In that scenario, the playoff could include Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and Cincinnati.

If all those things happened, this is how the NY6 could look:

  • Orange Bowl: Alabama (1) vs Cincinnati (4)
  • Cotton Bowl: Michigan (2) vs Georgia (3)
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State (7, auto) vs Oregon or Utah (10, 17 auto)
  • Peach Bowl: Pitt or Wake Forest (auto) vs Michigan State (10, at large)
  • Fiesta Bowl: BYU (11, at large) vs Notre Dame (6, at large)
  • Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss (9, SEC auto) vs Oklahoma State (5, Big 12 auto)

So is there a path? Theoretically yes. Is it likely? It is far from likely. BYU is probably looking at Lloyd Christmas-and-Mary-Swanson odds at this point. As unlikely as it may be, however, BYU enters championship weekend with a slight opportunity to make a NY6 bowl.