After beating undefeated Houston in thrilling fashion, the BYU football team is building a campaign to be a top 25 team. It started with a dominant win over Texas, which was ranked 15th by the Associated Press the night of Sept. 7. The problem: the Longhorns contest may not prove to be the Cougars’ signature win, let alone a high-profile one.
It may continue a trend where BYU has beaten a nationally ranked team that wound up worse than expected — even outside the polls.
Texas is now just 4-2, and if it follows a pattern seen in each of its past three seasons, it may be mediocre when all is said and done. Since reaching the 2010 national championship, the Longhorns went 5-7 and 8-5 in 2010 and 2011 before finishing 9-4 and 19th in the final Associated Press poll last season.
Texas’ 16-point win over nationally ranked Oklahoma on Oct. 12 may have cooled head coach Mack Brown’s seat. Still, only a three-game winning streak has kept the Longhorn program from embarrassment after starting 1-2. Following its 40-21 loss at BYU, Texas lost by three touchdowns at home against an average Ole Miss club.
The Cougars’ beatdown of the Longhorns isn’t the only time a BYU team has defeated a nationally ranked club, only for that opponent to be much weaker than expected — even outside the final Associated Press poll. The trend is found during the LaVell Edwards era. Under Edwards, BYU went 21-21-1 against ranked teams, but nine of the victories came against teams not found in final rankings. Those 10 teams had a combined record of just 76-63-3.
Such wins have also happened twice under Bronco Mendenhall — but it’s not like many examples avail themselves since his teams are just 4-13 against top 25 competition. There is no example possible with Gary Crowton-coached teams. They went 0-6 against nationally ranked clubs in four seasons.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. firstname.lastname@example.org | @wilklogan