BYU has been climbing in the AP poll over the last few weeks. Heading into their matchup against Western Kentucky, BYU is ranked #11 in the AP poll and # 10 the coaches poll. This week, let's look at the teams surrounding BYU in the AP poll to see where BYU can improve in the polls - this could be the first week that BYU cracks the top 10 in the AP poll.
It's important to remember that all of this will go away if BYU doesn't beat Western Kentucky and the teams they are favored to beat - something the Cougars have struggled to do consistently over the past few seasons. In the words of Al Davis, "Just win, baby."
#4 Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are heavy favorites against Georgia Tech on Saturday.
#5 Georgia: Georgia travels to Kentucky this week. The Bulldogs have an 86% chance to win according to ESPN FPI.
#6 Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State hosts Texas this week. Texas has not lived up to expectations this season, but they do have a dangerous offense that could create problems for the talented Oklahoma State defense. This game is a tossup according to ESPN FPI.
#7 Cincinnati: Cincinnati is only one game through a difficult five-game stretch. They handled undefeated SMU last week, they host Memphis this week, they host Houston next week, and they travel to UCF a few weeks after that. If the Bearcats make it through those games unscathed, they deserve to be in the top 10.
#8 Texas A&M: Texas A&M has a 77% chance to beat Arkansas this week.
#9 Wisconsin: Wisconsin's game against Nebraska was cancelled this week after Wisconsin had a COVID-19 outbreak in their program. It's unclear when the Badgers will be able to play again. This could be a team the BYU leapfrogs in the coming weeks if the Badgers are forced to cancel a few games. The Badgers just surpassed BYU last week after an impressive victory over Illinois.
#10 Florida: Speaking of COVID-19 outbreaks, Florida has had one of the worst outbreaks in the country. Their last two games have been postponed. They host Missouri this week before taking on Georgia the following week.
#11 BYU: BYU needs to win and they need to look good doing it.
BYU is also in danger of being leapfrogged by teams that win on Saturday:
#12 Miami: Miami has a 69% chance to beat NC State this week. Miami and BYU have been switching back and forth in the rankings. Miami could surpass BYU with an impressive victory over NC State who is 4-2 this season.
#13 Michigan: Arguably no team on this list is a greater threat to leapfrog BYU than Michigan. It might not be this week, they face Michigan State who is coming off a loss to Rutgers, but Michigan will eventually surpass BYU if they continue to win. After this week, they face a few notable challenges like #17 Indiana and #9 Wisconsin.
#14 Oregon: Oregon kicks off their season in a few weeks.
#15 North Carolina: North Carolina faces 1-4 Virginia this week.
#16 Kansas State: Kansas State travels to West Virginia this weekend to take on the Mountaineers. Kansas State has a 52% chance to win according to ESPN FPI.
#17 Indiana: Indiana will have the opportunity to prove themselves over the next few weeks after they beat #8 Penn State last week. They travel to Rutgers this week before taking on Michigan the following week.