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ESPN lists BYU and Utah State as potential playoff spoilers in 2014

Published: Friday, Aug. 15 2014 4:35 p.m. MDT

Quarterback Taysom Hill makes a play action fake during BYU football camp at SAB outdoor practice field, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (Michelle Tessier, Deseret News) Quarterback Taysom Hill makes a play action fake during BYU football camp at SAB outdoor practice field, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (Michelle Tessier, Deseret News)

Whether it's the old BCS or the new College Football Playoff, it's a yearly tradition for national pundits to share their opinions on who might be a postseason big-bowl spoiler.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach wrote that he believes a pair of Utah schools — BYU and Utah State — could be one of the non-Power 5 teams to make a run at the four-team playoff this season. Other schools Schlabach mentions as possible playoff busters are Cincinnati, Marshall and Central Florida.

Schlabach cited BYU's returning starters on offense — including quarterback Taysom Hill, running back Jamaal Williams and plenty of experience on the offensive line — as reasons for optimism, but the Cougars' strength of schedule questions may be too much to overcome.

USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton during Utah State University football team practice, Aug. 5, 2014, in Logan. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton during Utah State University football team practice, Aug. 5, 2014, in Logan. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"BYU, perhaps more than any other program, seems to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the new postseason," Schlabach wrote.

Scheduling could also derail the Aggies' hopes, as Utah State travels to Tennessee to start the year, finishes at Boise State and plays 13 regular-season games. Still, Schlabach points to a big reason for the confidence in the team from Logan.

"Quarterback Chuckie Keeton is back for his senior season and might be a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy," Schlabach wrote.

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