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2021 BYU Cougars: Tougher Schedule
Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK

2021 BYU Cougars: Tougher Schedule

The Cougars had a memorable 11-1 season in 2020 finishing No. 11 in the nation. A lot of people complained that the schedule was weak and they didn’t deserve their ranking. That definitely has some merit to it but they beat the hell out of everyone they played with the exception being, Coastal Carolina which by the way finished 11-1 also.

So what’s in store for 2021?

Well, first of all the schedule is much tougher and remember they are an independent with no conference affiliation so they play who they can get. Secondly, they have to replace a record-setting QB. Thirdly, they return some good players on a defense that was No.4 in points allowed in 2020. And finally, BYU is a pretty tradition rich program and usually fields a good team so they probably will be ok.

Offense: Replacing QB, Zach Wilson (3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns) is the major question mark going into the upcoming season. Baylor Romney and Jaren Hall battled for the job in the spring and it will continue into the preseason. Whoever wins the job will have running back, Tyler Allgeier, with his 1,130 yards rushing back into the fold. The offensive line has three competent starters back led by center James Empey. Receivers Gunner Romney, Neil Pau’u’ and TE Isaac Rex are good targets to throw to. There are pieces there if the quarterback position solidifies; the puzzle will be solved.

Defense: The linebacking position looks like the strength of the defense, led by Payton Wilgar, and joined by Max Tooley and Keenan Pili. All four down linemen have to be replaced and that will be a key to the defense approaching the success of a year ago. Sr., Uriah Leiataua and Jr. Lorenzo Fauatea will be expected to lead the way. Former 4-star recruit Chaz Ah You is back and healthy and will provide a boost to the secondary which returns Keenan Ellis at cornerback.

Conference Schedule:

9/4 Arizona at Las Vegas

9/11 Utah

9/18 Arizona State

9/25 South Florida

10/1 at Utah State

10/9 Boise State

10/16 at Baylor

10/23 at Washington State

10/30 Virginia

11/6 Idaho State

11/20 at Georgia Southern

11/27 at USC

This schedule is really ambitious and has some difficult games as BYU continues to be an independent in football.

Must Wins: Arizona, South Florida, Virginia, Idaho State, at Georgia Southern

Toss-up Games That They Need to Win But Also Could Lose: Utah, Arizona State, at Utah State, at Baylor, at Washington State, Boise State

Probable Losses: at USC

Summary: The Cougars upgraded their schedule and will have a harder time winning games in 2021. If QB, Zach Wilson was still in Provo leading the way, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Translation: If they can find a suitable replacement at quarterback they will be formidable. Defensively there are a lot of holes to fill but BYU usually can find players to fill in the gaps on that side of the ball. If they can win the games they are supposed to win and win three out of five toss-up games, they can get back to a good bowl.

Overall Record: 9-3

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