BYU is set to face seven P5 opponents in 2021. Meanwhile, the Cougars rank dead last in returning production. Today, we take a look at BYU's opponents and how much production they return from last season.
Returning production stats courtesy of ESPN.
vs Arizona - Saturday Sep. 4
BYU will take on Arizona in the new Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Arizona is coming off an 0-5 season after which they fired head coach Kevin Sumlin. This will be the coaching debut for new Arizona coach Jedd Fisch.
2020 Record: 0-5
Total Returning Production: 76% (#46)
Returning Production on Offense: 75% (#54)
Returning Production on Defense: 77% (#40)
After nearly beating USC in their opener, Arizona stumbled to the finish line last season. Their season ended with a 70-7 blowout loss against rival Arizona State and the eventual firing of head coach Kevin Sumlin. In the case of Arizona, I'm not sure how much returning production will help their cause - they return 76% of the production from a very bad 2020 team.
Utah - Saturday Sep. 11
BYU hosts rival Utah at home where they will have another chance to end the streak.
2020 Record: 3-2
Total Returning Production: 86% (#8)
Returning Production on Offense: 81% (#34)
Returning Production on Defense: 91% (#5)
Utah returns a lot of production in 2021. After losing their first two games of the 2020 season, the Utes turned things around and finished 3-2. Their defense, which has become the staple under Kyle Whittingham, should be very good in 2021.
Arizona State - Saturday Sep. 18
BYU will face a third PAC-12 South opponent in as many weeks when they host Arizona State on September 18th.
2020 Record: 2-2
Total Returning Production: 84% (#11)
Returning Production on Offense: 86% (#15)
Returning Production on Defense: 82% (#21)
It's difficult to draw too many conclusions about a team that only played four games last season. Like Utah, Arizon State returns a lot of production in 2021.
USF - Saturday Sep. 25
BYU will play their third-straight home game against USF on September 25th.
2020 Record: 1-8
Total Returning Production: 59% (#101)
Returning Production on Offense: 51% (#109)
Returning Production on Defense: 68% (#75)
Speaking of poor 2020 seasons, USF went 1-8 in 2020. The Cougars can avenge their bad loss at USF in 2019.
@ Utah State - Friday Oct. 1
BYU will travel to Utah State to take on head coach Blake Anderson for the first time.
2020 Record: 1-5
Total Returning Production: 64% (#81)
Returning Production on Offense: 67% (#75)
Returning Production on Defense: 61% (#93)
The Aggies went 1-5 in 2020. The eye test of the 2020 Aggies was even worse than their record suggests - Utah State was downright awful last season. New head coach Blake Anderson will try to turn things around in Logan.
Boise State - Saturday Oct. 9
BYU will try to win their third-straight game against Boise State next season. Boise State will also feature a new head coach - former head coach Bryan Harsin was hired by Auburn. Andy Avalos is the new head coach at Boise State.
2020 Record: 5-2
Total Returning Production: 59% (#102)
Returning Production on Offense: 75% (#49)
Returning Production on Defense: 42% (#122)
Boise State ranks in the bottom third of college football in terms of returning production. In the past, returning production has been irrelevant for Boise State - they have found a way to win a lot of games every season. Can new head coach Andy Avalos continue the winning tradition in Boise?
@ Baylor - Saturday Oct. 16
BYU will travel to Baylor for their first of three-straight P5 games late in the season. BYU fans have wanted more meaningful games late in the season - that is exactly what the 2021 schedule will provide. The Cougars will face former BYU OC Jeff Grimes and former BYU OL coach Eric Mateos.
2020 Record: 2-7
Total Returning Production: 72% (#59)
Returning Production on Offense: 59% (#90)
Returning Production on Defense: 85% (#14)
New offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes will be forced to feature a lot of new faces on offense in his first year at Baylor - the Bears return only 59% of offensive production in 2021.
@ Washington State - Saturday Oct. 23
BYU will travel to Pullman to take on Washington State.
2020 Record: 1-3
Total Returning Production: 87% (#5)
Returning Production on Offense: 88% (#9)
Returning Production on Defense: 86% (#13)
Washington State returns a lot of production from a 2020 season where they went 1-3. Of note, Washington State picked up a quarterback transfer out of Tennessee in Jarett Guarantano. BYU beat Guarantano in an overtime thriller in 2019 when he played for Tennessee.
Virginia - Saturday Oct. 30
Bronco Mendenhall returns to Lavell Edwards Stadium to take on his former team.
2020 Record: 5-5
Total Returning Production: 66% (#77)
Returning Production on Offense: 72% (#63)
Returning Production on Defense: 61% (#95)
Bronco Mendenhall's trajectory at Virginia took a slight hit in 2020 when he went 5-5. Mendenhall will try to return to bowl eligibility this season.
Idaho State - Saturday Nov. 6
After nine very difficult games to start the season, BYU will finally get a little breather against Idaho State.
Idaho State is not an FBS team. Therefore, they are not ranked on the returning production rankings.
@ Georgia Southern - Saturday Nov. 20
BYU takes on Georgia Southern for the first time in program history.
2020 Record: 8-5
Total Returning Production: 51% (#119)
Returning Production on Offense: 46% (#119)
Returning Production on Defense: 56% (#103)
Like BYU, Georgia Southern will be very inexperienced in 2021.
@ USC - Saturday Nov. 27
A regular season finale in the Coliseum? Yes, you read that right. BYU will travel to USC to take on the Trojans.
2020 Record: 5-1
Total Returning Production: 69% (#67)
Returning Production on Offense: 69% (#69)
Returning Production on Defense: 69% (#73)
PAC-12 South champions USC returns less production in 2021 than most of their PAC-12 counterparts. Regardless, USC will probably be the most talented team BYU faces next season.
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