4. BYU (14-3, 2-2)
Four new teams joined the Big 12 this season, with BYU the only one not joining from the AAC. The Cougars just spent over a decade in that league after life in the MWC, meaning the Big 12 is their jump to the power conference level. The Cougars weren’t exactly entering the conference on a high note, coming off their worst season in the WCC. In fact, BYU has made the NCAA Tournament just once in the last nine years.
Things are trending towards a major reversal, evident early in the season with a big win over last year’s title finalist San Diego State. Their only nonconference loss came in a close battle at Utah, though Big 12 play has brought its own issues. The Cougars dropped their first two conference games, including at home to Cincinnati, but bounced back last week with a road win at UCF and a 15-point victory against Iowa State. BYU has shown the ability to be a strong offensive unit and that was on full display against the Cyclones.
If they can play like that on a more regular basis, then the Cougars can do damage in their first season in this league, especially with how Trevin Knell, Jaxson Robinson, and company have been faring. It’s not just the offense that’s been making plays, the defense is pretty high in the metrics as well, though weeks in the Big 12 may significantly change that outlook. It’s been a great start for a balanced BYU squad, but how will these coming weeks challenge a team facing some of these opponents for the first time in decades?